A ban on plastic shopping bags was given the final vote of approval Thursday by Victoria city council.
Under the bylaw, which will take effect July 1, businesses will not be permitted to provide customers with single-use plastic bags.
Instead, they must offer paper bags and charge customers a minimum 15 cents, rising to 25 cents on July 1, 2019.
Businesses can also supply reusable bags, which can be made of plastic and sold for a minimum of $1, rising to $2 on July 1, 2019. They will only be allowed to provide the paper or reusable bags if the customer requests it.
Businesses handing out plastic bags, or not charging for paper or reusable bags, could be fined. The fines range from $50 to $500 for individuals and from $100 to $10,000 for corporate offenders. Enforcement is not scheduled to begin until 2019.
When councillors first voted to ban plastic bags, they heard that at least 17 businesses, including Thrifty Foods, had already made the move to paper.
The list of exemptions is lengthy. Plastic bags will be permitted for loose bulk items such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains or candy; small hardware such as nuts and bolts; frozen foods, meat, poultry and fish; bakery good not already packaged; flowers, potted plants; prepared foods; prescription drugs; live fish; protection for bed linens, bedding or any large item that can’t easily fit in a reusable bag; newspapers or other printed material left at a residence or business; and clothing after it has been professionally laundered.