Single-use plastic bag ban

The Plastic Bags Reduction Act is now in effect. That means businesses will no longer be able to provide single-use plastic shopping bags at the checkout.

We’re banning single-use plastic bags to encourage waste reduction at the source and to help keep plastic out of our environment and landfills.

The law applies to all businesses, not just grocery stores.

Starting 30 October 2020, businesses can’t use any plastic bag inventory they have left, except for items that are exempt from the ban.

Businesses can choose how they manage their remaining plastic bags. They can recycle the bags, sell them or ship them to a business location in a province without a plastic bag ban. They can also donate them to a charity, like a food bank, that can use plastic bags when serving their clients. (The bag ban applies to charity-run businesses that sell items, like a thrift store.)

Stores can still sell packaged plastic bags like garbage bags and pet waste bags. Businesses and individuals should check with their municipality for what kinds of bags they can use for garbage and recycling

Plastic bag ban poster

Businesses can use this poster to communicate the single-use plastic bag ban to customers.

Alternative bags

Businesses can offer reusable bags to their customers, or ask them to bring their own. This is the best way to protect our environment.

Businesses can also choose to provide paper bags. We don’t have any rules around what type of paper bag to offer, but we encourage you to pick bags that are made from at least 40% post-consumer recycled paper.

Businesses aren’t allowed to provide bags made from biodegradable or compostable plastic. These bags contaminate recycling streams and don’t decompose properly in compost facilities.
Businesses can decide whether to charge a fee for the bags they provide, and what they do with the money.

When you can still use plastic bags

There are some exceptions to the plastic bag ban. Businesses can still provide plastic bags for:

  • loose bulk items like fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains or candy
  • food or baked goods that aren’t pre-packaged
  • small hardware items like nails, nuts and bolts
  • frozen foods, meat, poultry or seafood, whether it’s prepacked or not
  • prescription drugs from a pharmacy
  • products that can’t fit in a reusable bag
  • transporting dry cleaning
  • packaging medical supplies and health services
  • wrapping flowers or potted plants
  • protecting tires
  • transporting live fish
  • home-delivered newspapers, flyers and mail
  • packaged items containing liquids, like soup, that could easily leak during transport


If you need more information about the plastic bag ban, contact