In August 2016, the City of Montreal passed a bylaw that prevents Montreal stores from selling light plastic bags.
The city’s plastic bag ban went into effect on January 1, 2018 and Montreal merchants were given a transition period to comply with the new by-law. No coercive measures were taken to enforce the by-law.
Today, on World Environment Day no less, the grace period has been removed and fines may be issued.
According to the Ville de Montreal website, individuals can now be fined anywhere between $200 and $1000 for a first time offence and from $300 to $2,000 for subsequent offences.
Merchants could face $400 to $2,000 fines for first offence and from $500 to $4,000 fines for repeat corporate offenders.
Take note that the initial ban does not target restaurant owners – only food merchants and providers.
The ban applies specifically to lightweight plastic bags (those under 0.05mm thick), as well as oxo-degradable, oxo-fragmentable, oxo-biodegradable, and biodegradable bags.
The small plastic bags, such as those used to bag fresh produce or medications, will not be banned due to health and safety reasons.
The website urges Montrealers to comply with the by-law by using reusable bags and to only use compliant bags when absolutely necessary. All plastic bags are promoted to be placed into recycling if they are used.