On August 23, 2016, the city of Montreal adopted By-law 16-051, prohibiting the distribution of certain types of shopping bags in retail stores.
The ban for merchants offering light plastic bags to consumers took effect on January 1, 2018. It applies to all establishments whose main activity is the sale of merchandise at the retail level. A grace period for compliance will be granted through June 5, 2018. Banned are: conventional plastic shopping bags (a thickness of less than 50 microns) and Oxo-degradable, oxo-fragmentable, biodegradable shopping bags, whatever their thickness.
Now let me advise you that this ban does not apply in Côte Saint-Luc. While I always have reusable bags in my trunk, be it for the grocery store or the pharmacy, I do not believe we should adopt a similar by-law. Is it fair for someone who makes an unplanned trip to a store or for a senior or an individual using public transit who does not have any reusable bags handy? Yes, I suppose you can buy a new reusable bag at a number of stores. But should we force that on anybody?
I will be the first person to urge people to bring their own bag. I have more than a dozen in my trunk and the collection keeps growing. When I went on holiday to Tampa, I made sure to pack a few reusable bags and I used them for all of my grocery store visits.
Just understand your geography. In Montreal, not covered by the by-law are plastic bags used exclusively to transport foodstuffs to the cash counter of a retail store or to protect them, for hygiene purposes, from direct contact with other items (fruits, vegetables, nuts, bulk confectionery, prepared foods, meat, fish, bread, dairy products, etc.).
Côte Saint-Luc City Council will be addressing this with some kind of policy in the not too distant future.