Private Member’s Bill Threatens to Open Floodgates of Plastic Pollution in Canada – Statement

Statement: Private Member’s Bill Would Re-Open Plastic Pollution Floodgates in Canada

“In a timely collision of events, today’s debate in the House of Commons on a bill that could potentially increase plastic pollution coincides with the arrival of international delegates for plastics treaty negotiations in Ottawa. The private member’s bill, brought forth by Saskatoon-University MP Corey Tochor, aims to remove plastic from the toxic substances list under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). This move could have far-reaching implications for the environment and public health, as discussions around global efforts to combat plastic pollution unfold in the capital city.


Karen Wirsig, Senior Program Manager for Plastics:
“There is never a good day to open the tap wide to plastic pollution. But this is particularly bad timing for a bill that seems solely designed to make the plastics industry happy while preventing crucial protections for the environment and our health. It’s irresponsible to continue making and using unlimited amounts of throwaway plastics and we expect Parliament to affirm its commitment to address plastic pollution and distance itself from this unfortunate bill.”

Joanne Fedyk, Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council:
“This bill doesn’t solve anything for anyone. The evidence is clear: plastic pollution causes harm to the environment. All governments must act on it and not let corporate lobbying stand in the way of science.”


Representatives from United Nations member states and observers from around the world are gathering in Ottawa for global plastics treaty negotiations. Canada is hosting this round of talks and is part of a high-ambition coalition of countries seeking a treaty to end plastic pollution worldwide by 2040.

CEPA, introduced more than 30 years ago, is Canada’s cornerstone environmental protection law, which was updated by Parliament last June to include plastic manufactured items. Under the CEPA plastics listing, the federal government has implemented bans on six single-use plastics and has been consulting on regulations for plastic packaging, a major contributor to the over 4 million tonnes of plastic waste generated in Canada annually.

Canada, being one of the major plastics producers in the world, also generates one of the highest rates of plastic waste per capita.


Environmental Defence is a prominent Canadian environmental advocacy organization that collaborates with government, industry, and individuals to safeguard clean water, a safe climate, and healthy communities.

In conclusion, as the world grapples with the urgent need to address plastic pollution, the debate on the industry-friendly bill in the House of Commons serves as a stark reminder of the challenges and complexities in finding solutions that balance environmental preservation and economic interests. The decisions made in the coming days and weeks will have lasting effects on our planet and future generations. It is imperative for policymakers to consider the long-term consequences and prioritize sustainable practices that protect both the environment and human health.”



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