Montreal adopts a regulation ending the universal distribution of grocery flyers

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Opposition councilors insist city must submit progress report by September 2024

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“We are on the right side of history,” said Mayor Valérie Plante, pointing out that 800,000 flyers end up in City recycling centers every week.

“It’s 40 million a year!” she says. “We cannot support a distribution model based on waste. It’s irresponsible.

Montreal has set itself the goal of becoming zero waste by 2030.

Acting opposition leader Aref Salem voiced support for the measure.

“Of course in 2022 we cannot continue to accept 40 million plastic bags being sent to the recycling centre,” he said.

However, he raised concerns about the future of the local weekly papers that come in the Publisac flyer bag.

He also expressed concern about how the ban on universal door-to-door distribution would affect low-income residents who depend on flyers to buy food, especially in the current inflationary environment.

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The opposition from Ensemble Montréal insisted on a last-minute amendment reducing the delegation of power to the City to enforce the measure from five years to two and a half years. It also requires the city to submit a report to council on the impact of the bylaw by September 2024.

Plante promised measures to help local newspapers survive the loss of their current mode of circulation.

Currently, the flyers are distributed under an opt-out system, where residents who don’t want them can put a sign on their door refusing them.

However, critics claim that unwanted advertisements are often distributed even in homes with “no flyers” stickers.

The new system will be an opt-in system, where people who want flyers will have to request them. It will also no longer be allowed to enclose the flyers in a plastic bag.

TC Transcontinental, which publishes and distributes the Publisac, said the opt-in model is not viable for door-to-door distribution.

On Monday, it announced it would stop distributing the Publisac to homes in Mirabel, northwest of Montreal, after the Superior Court of Quebec denied a motion by the publisher to overturn a settlement imposing opt-in distribution. in that the City had adopted in 2019.

TC Transcontinental said it would turn to Canada Post to deliver flyers to customers who need them, resulting in the loss of 16 jobs.

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