Bag Fee Called “illegal”: Toronto Taxpayers Coalition Files Competition Bureau Complaint Against City Of Toronto

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Today the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition revealed that it has filed a complaint with the Competition Bureau against the City of Toronto over its shopping bag fee by-law.

The City of Toronto is an industry leader in the sale of recycled plastics. Its bag fee bylaw has the effect of fixing the price of plastic bags in all 5,000 retail stores in Toronto.

We believe this is contrary to the act which states:

45. (1) Every person commits an offense who, with a competitor of that person with respect to a product, conspires, agrees or arranges
(a) to fix, maintain, increase or control the price for the supply of the product;
(b) to allocate sales, territories, customers or markets for the production or supply of the product; or
(c) to fix, maintain, control, prevent, lessen or eliminate the production or supply of the product.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the City of Toronto has fixed the price of plastic bags and prevented competition among retailers who may want to offer plastic bags for free or for a price lower than 5 cents”, stated coalition president Matthew McGuire.

“The by-law prevents competition in an industry that provides thousands of jobs in the Greater Toronto Area. This by-law is wrong on so many levels. Not all bags have the same cost to retailers but the city is forcing them to sell bags at the same minimum price.”

The bag fee is no penny ante matter. The fee takes an estimated $10 million to $20 million per year depending on how you calculate the number of bags issued at retailers.

Toronto residents are encouraged to join the TTC by filing their own complaints with the competition bureau.

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