Toronto council to revisit plastic bag ban; city faces possible legal action

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TORONTO - Toronto is still on tap to be a plastic bag-free city in the new year.

City council voted today not to revisit the decision to ban the bags on Jan. 1, 2013.

Only 18 of the city's 45 councillors voted in favour of reopening the discussion, falling well short of the two-thirds needed to pass the motion.

The vote upholds a motion passed in June that saw council vote to scrap a five-cent bag levy for the remainder of 2012 before implementing the ban next year.

The move to eliminate bags has proved to be politically and legally contentious.

The Ontario Convenience Stores Association says the ban violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and has already announced plans to pursue legal action if it goes into effect.

Councillors opposed to the ban voiced concerns that it was rushed through City Hall without adequate input from the public. Coun. David Shiner tacked the ban onto the levy-elimination motion and saw it narrowly pass by a margin of 24-20.

Mayor Rob Ford _ a vocal opponent of the ban _ said the city had no valid rebuttal to any legal challenges.

"We're going to court, and we're going to lose," Ford said on his radio talk show. "We talked to our legal staff and they said we don't have a leg to stand on."

City solicitor Anna Kinastowski was scheduled to deliver a report analyzing the potential legal ramifications of implementing the ban, but did not address council before Wednesday's vote.

Organizations: Toronto council, Ontario Convenience Stores Association

Geographic location: TORONTO

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