City councillor wants new flyer delivery regulations in HRM

Matt Whitman wants residents to opt in, not have to opt out.

No fly zone. - THE COAST
The Coast
No fly zone.

“The system now is broken,” says Matt Whitman, about flyer delivery in the municipality.

The Hammonds Plains-St. Margarets councillor is looking to regulate the city's flyer delivery rules; changing the current system from opt-out to opt-in. Whitman will be asking for a staff report on options at HRM’s next Regional Council meeting.

“I think it’s litter. When you throw something on my driveway that I haven’t requested—it’s litter. I should have to request to get it.”

click to enlarge Hammonds Plains-St. Margarets' councillor Matt Whitman. - VIA FACEBOOK
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Hammonds Plains-St. Margarets' councillor Matt Whitman.

It’s not a new topic for city hall.


In 2011, council passed a motion to try and outright eliminate flyer delivery to residential properties. Legal services came back the next year to advice the city that banning flyers was “not legally possible” under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


“HRM can enact a bylaw to control unwanted flyers but we cannot outlaw them,” the report reads. “HRM cannot ban a form of expression. HRM can, however, place a reasonable limit on that expression.”

Council instead voted to continue liaising with the province on unwanted flyer distribution.

Nova Scotia’s Environment department and the Resource Recovery Fund Board had been working with members of the newspaper industry on a stewardship agreement, which included better flyer-delivery standards.

Just like the complaints HRM received back in 2012, Whitman says he hears from residents today upset about the unwanted materials, flyers being left at the side the road or in ditches and those pink plastic bags accumulating while residents are away.

Whitman know this pain, personally. He says it was “an uphill battle” of phone calls and emails to opt-out of flyer delivery to his own home.

An opt-in system, however, would have the side-effect of dealing a financial blow to distributors like the Chronicle Herald—which already isn’t doing so hot right now.

“This is not aimed at anyone in particular; any advertiser or newspaper company,” counters Whitman. “I just think the majority of people never crack open that pink bag.”

Residents who don’t want to receive any unaddressed admail can put a note on or inside their mailboxes stating as such. The Ecology Action Centre also gives out “no flyers” stickers of their own. Homeowners can complain to Canada Post about flyer delivery here, or contact the Herald at...

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