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Plastic bags from Gap store are carried by people shopping on Bloor St., Toronto, in 2008.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion has raised the possibility of banning plastic bags in the city.

She referred the idea to Mississauga city council's environmental committee on Wednesday, one month after a surprise vote by Toronto city council to ban the bags there starting Jan. 1, 2013. Toronto will be the first major Canadian city with such a ban.

Ms. McCallion said that since Toronto's decision, she's had a few questions about whether Mississauga will follow Toronto's lead.

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"I think the environmental committee should deal with it and come back with a recommendation," Ms. McCallion told council after raising the possibility of a ban. She suggested the committee should report back some time in the fall.

Last month, she voiced criticism about how Toronto hastily reached its decision. Mayor Rob Ford had asked city council to scrap Toronto's contentious five-cent levy for plastic shopping bags. Council supported the mayor and voted to scrap the tax – but then also agreed with a last-minute motion to ban bags outright.

"I think there are implications that have to be looked at," Ms. McCallion told reporters last month. " I believe that when you are going to ban something or you're going to put any legislation in, you should do an impact study, and I don't know if Toronto has done one."

She suggested Wednesday that the Mississauga study should include public consultation. "I think that's important," she said, "in order to, you know, do our homework."

Informally speaking to the owner of Highland Farms grocery stores, the mayor said she heard more support for the ban than she anticipated, adding he was "very supportive."

"He says, 'If we truly are concerned about the environment, then we should ban plastic bags.'"

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