Hearings on the future of publisacs on the Island of Montreal will start soon

MONTREAL -- The City of Montreal will hold public hearings at the end of the month to decide what to do about door-to-door advertising flyers such as publisacs.

At an information session Oct. 3, city hall was informed that 800,000-900,000 flyers of all sorts are distributed on the island every week, adding up to nearly 21,000 tonnes of paper per year and 416 tonnes of plastic. The city also pays about $30 million a year to sort and transport the material to recycling centres.

There is now a proposal to cancel home deliveries except to those with a sticker saying home owners want the flyers, an opt-in system instead of the current opt-out one.

Charles Montpetit initiated the hearings by gathering signatures on a petition. He also wants the plastic bags used to transport the flyers banned and better enforcement of the rules of how they are distributed.

"In the 30 blocks around my house, I've spotted, over 38 days, 8,010 infractions to the current system," said Montpetit. "Either people get flyers even if there is a 'no flyer' sticker, or flyers that are thrown around, not according to the rules in which they're supposed to be delivered."

A TC Transcontinental representative did not argue with the numbers but said two surveys showed 87 per cent of people wants they flyers.

"What we'd like to invite people to do is that if they don't want to receive the Publisac with our opt-out model, is to call as at our customer service centre and then we'll give them a pictogram and then we'll be doing reduction at source with them," said TC Transcontinental's Patricia Lemoine.

Mirabel initiated an opt-in system and is the first municipality in the province to do so. Transcontinental is taking Mirabel to court arguing the policy violates freedom of expression and is discriminatory.

Montreal will make a decision on the issue Nov. 20.