Esquimalt adopts bag bylaw

June 18, 2021
Regional News

News release
For immediate release

Esquimalt, BC—Esquimalt has officially adopted its checkout bag bylaw in efforts to curb the volume of plastic ending up in landfills and the environment.

At the June 14 council meeting, council adopted the bylaw that will come in effect August 16, 2021. Staff will be working directly with retailers to ensure they are supported with signage and answers to common questions. There will also be a public education campaign to help familiarize shoppers with the process.

“We’re excited to join other municipalities in this important initiative,” said Mayor Barbara Desjardins. “Reducing single-use plastic bags in the region help all of us move forward in our sustainability goals.”

The bylaw requires that businesses no longer distribute free checkout bags to customers unless the bag is paper or reusable and the customer is charged for the bag. The purpose of the bag fees is to prevent the unintended consequence of having customers switch to wholesale use of paper bags, which also have a large environmental footprint, or to having reusable bags become a disposable item.

The bylaw contains a number of exemptions for certain items for which a reusable bag would be unworkable or a health concern (e.g., small loose items, meat and seafood, and large bulky items.)

As part of public consultation, staff sought input from residents and businesses on what an implementation plan should look like prior to crafting the draft bylaw. Details about the bylaw and implementation can be found at




Tara Zajac
Manager of Communications