Taxpayers: Scrap Calgary Bag Tax

Author: Kris Sims 2024/01/31

LETHBRIDGE, AB: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on the City of Calgary to scrap its mandatory bag tax.

“Many families are fighting to afford groceries right now and it makes life harder when the city nickel-and-dimes them with nuisance taxes,” said Kris Sims, Alberta Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “Calgary should scrap this bag tax before it balloons into wackier plans like the one the City of Vancouver had to abandon.”

The Calgary bag tax is called the “Single Use Items Bylaw,” and it is similar to the bylaw that started in Edmonton a few months ago.

The Calgary bylaw is now under review and may be repealed.

Businesses must charge customers a minimum 15 cents per paper bag and $1 for a bag that is deemed reusable. Those fees will jump to 25 cents per paper bag and $2 minimum for a reusable bag next year.

The tax also applies to paper bags used for delivery and take-out meals and for bags handed-out in fast food drive-thru lanes. The policy is detailed in an 18-page report on the City of Calgary’s website.

The city of Vancouver recently abandoned its paper cup tax due to pushback from residents and businesses.

“It’s better to leave the policing of shopping bags, cups and forks to customers and businesses instead of adding to the bureaucracy at Calgary City Hall,” said Sims. “Calgary City Hall should focus on keeping the streets safe, clean and repaired and stop creating new problems for overburdened taxpayers.“

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