(News Bulletin file photo)

(News Bulletin file photo)

North Okanagan regional district learns it’s not allowed to ban plastic bags

Cities, not regional districts, can create bylaws banning single-use plastics, according to a legal review by the province

The Regional District of North Okanagan will not be moving forward with its proposed ban on plastic checkout bags after finding out it does not have the authority to create a single-use plastics ban.

In July 2019 the RDNO approved a bylaw to place a ban on single-use plastic bags, but sent the matter to the Ministry of Environment for review before moving to adoption.

The results of that legal review are detailed in a Nov. 18 RDNO report, which states that the ministry was unable to approve or reject the bylaw because regional districts do not have “clear authority to regulate single-use plastic checkout bags.”

The news reverses the unanimous vote by elected RDNO officials in favour of the bylaw in July 2019, which came days after the B.C. Court of Appeal kiboshed the City of Victoria’s plastic bags ban after finding it to be an overstep of its jurisdiction.

READ MORE: Fed offers $2.3 million for plastics-based scientific research

While regional districts can’t regulate plastic bags, cities have the option to draft their own bylaws with approval from the province.

That approval won’t be necessary for much longer. In September B.C. approved single-use bylaws in Victoria, Richmond, Saanich, Tofino and Ucluelet, while also announcing plans to allow other local governments to create their own policies without the need for provincial approval.

According to the RDNO report, Salmon Arm has its own single-use plastics bylaw at the ready but is holding off for at least six months, when the requirement for provincial approval expected to be tossed.

The federal government has also stepped up its fight against plastic pollution.

Plans were announced in October to ban single-use plastic straws, stir sticks, cutlery, six-pack rings, carry-out bags and Styrofoam plates and takeout containers in Canada by the end of 2021.

Kevin Jardine, deputy minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, commended the RDNO for taking the lead on the issue of single-use plastics in a letter dated Oct. 1, while passing on the news that regional districts can’t impose single-use plastic bans.

READ MORE: B.C. approves plastic bylaws in 5 communities, aims for provincial plan

READ MORE: New Kelowna refill store offers alternatives to single-use plastics


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

Plastic Bags

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The BC CDC releases a map weekly that shows the geographic distribution of COVID in the province. (BC CDC photo)
Only one new case of COVID-19 in Golden region

The data shows new cases from Jan. 10 - 16

The Golden Rockets are keeping busy as the KIJHL team is ready to go when the league resumes games. (Claire Palmer photo)
Rockets keeping busy during COVID pause

The team is still practicing, waiting for the go-ahead for games

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons. File photo.
MP Morrison calls Keystone XL permit cancellation ‘devastating news’

Kootenay-Columbia MP reacts to the Conservative Party’s removal of a controversial Ontario MP

Interior Health reported 91 new COVID-19 cases in the region Jan. 20, 2021 and three additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
95 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health, two deaths

Another member of Vernon’s Noric House has passed

(Pixabay photo)
Black Press Weekly Roundup: Top headlines of the week

In case you missed it, here’s what made waves throughout the week

Sunnybank in Oliver. (Google Maps)
Sunnybank long-term care in Oliver reports third COVID-19 death

The facility currently has an outbreak with 35 cases attached to it

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Administrative headquarters for the Regional District of Central Okanagan in Kelowna. (File photo)
Tempers fly over a pricey picnic shelter in the North Westside

Lack of detail on $121,000 shelter expenditure further incites self-govenance wishes

Big White Village on Dec. 16. (Big White photo)
11 more COVID-19 cases linked to Big White cluster

Interior Health provided an update on the cluster on Friday

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital surgical unit

Despite 6 South being a surgical unit, RIH said surgeries are continuing at the hospital

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

Volunteer firefighters from Grand Forks Fire/Rescue head towards the scene of fatal car crash near Gibbs Creek Road, below Highway 3, Thursday evening, Jan. 21. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Motorist dies in Highway 3 crash west of Grand Forks

City first responders were called to the scene Thursday evening, Jan. 21

Vancouver Giants defenceman Bowen Byram could be playing for Colorado when the NHL resumes play. (Rik Fedyck/file)
Cranbrook product Bowen Byram makes NHL debut with Avalanche

Highly touted prospect marks first pro game following World Junior tournament in Alberta

Most Read