Kitchener council wants a shopping cart bylaw

Kitchener council is asking for a bylaw that would ask local retailers to make plans to manage wayward shopping carts. The city dealt with 11 cart complaints in 2016.

Bylaw would ask retailers to make and submit a plan to the city

The city of Kitchener is looking at a bylaw that would ask retailers to deal with wayward shopping carts, but only if the city gets complaints about the carts. (Bert Savard/CBC)

Kitchener city council is asking city staff to draft a bylaw that would ask local retailers to make plans to manage wayward shopping carts – especially if those retailers are the subject of complaints to the city.

On Monday, council approved a recommendation to create a draft bylaw. 

"The biggest key is that there are a lot of retailers out there that are doing a really great job, this bylaw is not intended to impact them in any way," Gloria MacNeil, the head of bylaw enforcement for the city told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo.

"This is just basically giving enforcement staff some teeth to deal with the retailers that are non-responsive when we do contact them and don't have any plan in place when their carts are causing a nuisance."

According to a release from the city, bylaw officials responded to 11 complains about carts in 2016. 


Cart management

A report to council recommended that retailers who struggle to keep carts on their property would have to make a cart management plan and submit it to the bylaw enforcement office. Those plans would include designating a store contact person, an outline of cart management systems – if any exist –  a plan to retrieve carts, and regular cart pickup.

The city is also asking that shops reply within 24 hours to calls from bylaw enforcement officers and that retailers respond immediately for calls about carts that cause unsafe conditions, such as impeding traffic.


MacNeil said Coun. John Gazzola's ward of Fairview-Gateway has had the most complaints about wayward carts. The area includes Fairview Park Mall and several big-box retailers along Fairway Road.

Gazzola told CBC he wanted the bylaw to make it mandatory for retailers to have a cart management plan in place, not just something to be created after the city gets complaints. That did not pass a vote at council, he said.

City staff reached out to local retailers who supply carts as well as their head offices about the bylaw, and got two responses. One retailer was concerned about the cost, while another said they had a "fairly aggressive management plan" that was working for them. 

Guelph, Mississauga and Markham already have bylaws that designate abandoned shopping carts as a public nuisance and a risk to public safety.

Retailers who fail to comply with the Kitchener bylaw could face a fine of up to $10,000. 

Staff are expected to make a report on a draft bylaw before March 31.