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Saturday, May 25, 2024

LCBO to Potentially Reintroduce Paper Bags Following Premier’s Request

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Ontario’s premier, Doug Ford, has issued a request to the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) to consider reinstating paper bags amidst concerns over the financial burden imposed on consumers by the current reusable bag policy.

In a letter addressed to the CEO of the Crown corporation, Ford emphasized the economic challenges faced by Ontario families, urging the LCBO to take “immediate steps” to revert to the use of paper bags. He highlighted instances where customers were left openly carrying alcohol in public due to the absence of free paper bags previously provided by the LCBO.

The LCBO had implemented a phased-out approach to eliminate free paper bags in April 2023, citing environmental benefits such as diverting approximately 2,665 tonnes of waste from landfills annually, equivalent to saving over 188,000 trees per year.

However, Ford questioned the environmental merits of the policy, arguing that paper bags are recyclable and expressing concerns about the additional financial strain on consumers. He emphasized the government’s commitment to making life more affordable for Ontarians and criticized the policy’s adverse effects in this regard.

While the LCBO offers alternatives such as eight-pack carriers, used cardboard boxes, and reusable bags for purchase, Ford’s request signals a potential reversal of the paper bag policy.

Responding to the premier’s request, a spokesperson for the LCBO confirmed that the corporation had received direction from the provincial government to explore the reintroduction of single-use paper bags. However, no specific timeline for their availability was provided.

The premier’s decision to prioritize the reintroduction of paper bags has drawn criticism from opposition parties, who argue that other pressing issues, such as healthcare and housing affordability, should take precedence. NDP Leader Marit Stiles and Liberal Parliamentary Leader John Fraser expressed skepticism about the government’s focus on this policy reversal.

In contrast, Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy defended the decision, stating that it aligns with the government’s commitment to providing choice and convenience to consumers. He attributed the policy change to feedback received from the public, indicating a willingness to accommodate consumer preferences.

Amidst the debate over the reintroduction of paper bags, Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner emphasized the importance of addressing broader issues such as housing affordability. He advocated for consumer responsibility, suggesting the use of reusable bags as a sustainable alternative that benefits both consumers and the environment.

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