For Municipal Councillors

Councillors and StaffLegal reports for staff and councillors:

Municipalities can require gasoline retailers to put warning labels on gas pumps similar to those found on cigarette packages. Municipalities in Ontario are able to do this under the authority of their licensing powers and general health and welfare powers found in the Municipal Act. We’re in the process of trying to develop legal reports for other jurisdictions:

>> Download legal report for Ontario municipalities: [Link to PDF]

>> Download legal report for British Columbia municipalities: [Link to PDF]

>> Lidstone & Company legal review for B.C. municipalities: [Link to PDF] Lidstone & Company, a local government law firm based in Vancouver, B.C. conducted review of our legal report for British Columbia municipalities. The report concludes: “In our opinion, a requirement to place labels on gas nozzles could be validly imposed pursuant to a municipality’s power to regulate business.” Please read the full report for further information.

>> Campaign highlights: Where is it being passed? Click here for selected milestones.

Additional Resources:

  • Label Design Template: A best practices document with guidance on label design. A must read for communities implementing the labels locally. [Coming soon]
  • Municipal World article by Rob Shirkey: “Creating a New ‘Normal’: Using air pollution labels on gas pumps as a step in addressing climate challenges” (March 2015) [link to PDF]
  • Municipal World article by Rob Shirkey: Update on Pump Handle Labelling: District of West Vancouver unanimously passes resolution requesting legislation” (April 2015) [link to PDF]
  • Municipal World article by Dianne Saxe: “Can municipalities require climate change warning labels?” (September 2013) [link to PDF]
  • North Vancouver’s Report to Council and Draft By-law: “After discussions with the City’s lawyers, staff has concluded that the best way to proceed with this would be an amendment to the City’s Business Licence Bylaw to require gas stations in the City to post information labels on gas hose nozzles and/or gas pumps in a conspicuous location under the City’s authority to regulate businesses.” [link to PDF]
  • Oakville Council’s Resolution: Council unanimously voted that “the Town of Oakville requests that the federal and provincial governments take action to legislate all vendors of retail petroleum products in Canada to provide warnings labels on all pump handles…”. [link to PDF]

A simple sticker?

The warning label connects behaviour with its consequence right at the point of purchase. The labels will cause some individuals to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions but, more importantly, they will create a shift in our collective demand to facilitate meaningful action on climate change. Politicians will have more popular support to pass climate change legislation and businesses will innovate to meet the needs of a shifting market.

Please see our AVICC lecture, or CIGI lecture to learn more. Rob’s TEDx talk is a brief intro to the concept and can be watched below.

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