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Canada Passes Single-Use Plastics Ban

Plastic cups and utensils

On June 20, 2022, the Canadian government enacted the Single-use Plastics Prohibition Regulations, SOR/2022-138. This law, reflecting Canada’s commitment to ban single-use plastics, will come into effect on December 20, 2022, with implementation occurring over the course of three years. The new regulations target six categories of single-use plastics (SUPs) by imposing restrictions on their manufacture, import, export, and sale in Canada.

Beginning on December 20, 2022, the manufacture or import of the following SUP products will be prohibited, with the sale of these items prohibited as of December 20, 2023:

  • Checkout bags
  • Cutlery 
  • Foodservice ware comprised of polystyrene (PS) foam, expanded PS foam, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), carbon black-pigmented plastic, or oxodegradable plastic 
  • Stir sticks
  • Non-flexible straws 

For the sixth category, plastic ring carriers, restrictions on their manufacture and import go into effect on June 20, 2023, and their sale is prohibited as of June 20, 2024.

Notably, the restrictions and timelines governing SUP flexible straws differ from those applicable to non-flexible straws. Flexible straws are defined as those constructed with a “corrugated section that allows the straw to bend and maintain its position at various angles.” The prohibition on manufacturing and importing non-flexible straws is inapplicable to flexible straws, and the sale of flexible straws is also permitted under limited circumstances.

For all of these categories of SUP products (excluding flexible straws), export will be prohibited as of December 20, 2025.

In connection with the publication of the SUP Regulations, Canada also released Technical Guidelines that provide more detailed information as to the intended scope and interpretation of these restrictions, to assist business operators with compliance determinations.