Plan to regulate abandoned shopping carts proposed

News Release

City staff are recommending a series of measures designed to deal with the abandonment of shopping carts in the community.

“The approach that is being suggested is one that is more proactive to manage the situation and deal with the unsightliness of abandoned carts,” says Blake Laven, the City’s director of development services. “There is an underlying societal issue at play but we have found examples from other communities that show a path forward to improving the situation, without targeting people experiencing homelessness.”

Laven notes the current system of retrieving abandoned carts in the community lacks the proactive measures to stop removal from commercial properties, other than some stores employing coin deposit technology. 

The recommendations going to council, on September 12, which were developed through preliminary consultation with impacted businesses, are:

  • Businesses must label shopping carts with store information and register contact information with the City  
  • Businesses must not permit carts to be removed from their premises, by taking ‘reasonable measures’  to reduce the unauthorized removal of carts, such as utilizing wheel locking technology, GPS chips, hired security or other methods
  • Businesses must retrieve carts belonging to the store within a specified time and accept carts belonging to the business 
  • Appropriate fines to be instituted for violations of the regulations 
  • Minimal storage fee for cart storage at City Yards 

If approved, staff would then develop a regulatory framework for implementation and work with partners, both in the commercial retail sector, and with local social services organizations  to ensure those experiencing homelessness have suitable options for transporting their belongings,

“The city consistently receives concerns about abandoned carts from businesses and the community but also recognizes that carts are almost exclusively used by people who are experiencing homelessness. Our hope is that these recommendations will lead to a framework that balances the interests of all groups including supporting the needs of our vulnerable population,” says Laven.