By Paul Vieira

OTTAWA--Canada said Monday it intends to appeal a Federal Court of Canada ruling that quashed the Liberal government's ban on some single-use plastics, like bags, straws and cutlery.

"We are exploring all options to continue leading the fight against plastic pollution," said a joint statement from the country's environment and justice ministers.

Last week, a Federal Court justice ruled the ban was unconstitutional and unreasonable. Canada listed some single-use plastics as toxic in May of 2022, saying this was part of its plan to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Canada's Liberal government has highlighted its initiatives to fight climate change and reduce pollution to appeal to voters, and differentiate itself from the Conservative Party.

Two resource-rich provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan, and a coalition of chemical and energy producers, including Dow and Imperial Oil, tried to have the ban reversed in court. Federal Court Justice Angela Furlanetto - who also holds a postgraduate degree in biochemistry - said the prohibition was "unreasonable and unconstitutional," adding the government's decision-making process was flawed.

"Even if the statement that all plastic-manufactured items have the potential to become plastic pollution is taken on its face, the evidence available to [cabinet] did not support the finding that all [plastic items] are toxic," she wrote. Justice Furlanetto added the cabinet "acted outside their authority" in listing a broad category of single-use plastic as toxic "in an unqualified matter."

The judgment ordered the ban be retroactively quashed and declared unlawful, as of April 23, 2021. In the joint statement, the environment and justice ministers said once the ban was introduced, businesses have pivoted to sustainable alternatives. "This has already led to significant reductions in plastic pollution," the minister said, adding that their political opponents would "undo this progress."

The ruling on the single-use plastics ban marks the second major setback in as many months for the Liberal government's environmental policy. In October, the Supreme Court of Canada said the government's environmental-assessment regime was largely unconstitutional because it infringed on the exclusive rights of the country's provinces to manage natural resources.

Write to Paul Vieira at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

11-20-23 1449ET