(OTTAWA) Plastics producers sued the federal government on Tuesday to overturn a ban on single-use plastics that had been in place since 2022, arguing that their products were non-toxic.
In their defence, the multinationals Dow Chemical Canada, Imperial Oil and NOVA Chemicals, supported by two western Canadian provinces, intend to highlight the lack of sufficient scientific evidence from Ottawa to justify these regulations.
They will also try to convince the court that the federal government has exceeded its jurisdiction to regulate waste management.
On Twitter, Canadian Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault reacted strongly, accusing the companies of trying “to prevent (the) ban on harmful single-use plastics in court”.
“We’re going to stick to the science and fight for an environment where our shores, parks and waterways are healthy,” he said.
The phased ban on the import, manufacture and sale of plastic items such as bags, straws and cutlery was introduced last year as part of Ottawa’s commitment to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030.
The measure is based in particular on a recent study that found that plastic pollutes rivers and oceans and can remain in the environment for hundreds of years, harming wildlife and humans.
Today, Canada produces more than four million tonnes of plastic waste each year, estimates environmental group Oceana Canada.
Ottawa’s ban is widely supported by Canadians and joins more than 50 other countries passing laws to tackle plastic pollution, according to a poll conducted by the NGO.
“Continued production of single-use plastic is unsustainable and will prevent Canada from meeting its commitment to achieving zero plastic waste,” Oceana activist Anthony Merante said in a statement.
“If the plastics industry wins this case, we will continue to see whales washed up on shore, turtles drowned, and more plastics in our food, water and blood,” he warned. .
A judge will hear arguments from lawyers for all parties until Thursday and is expected to render a decision in the coming months.