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.

Additional Resources:

  • 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]

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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