The holidays are almost upon us, as evidenced by the seasonal songs being played on the radio and in stores, companies' holiday-themed advertising campaigns and the decorations decking the halls of houses and retail establishments alike. At this time of year, the thoughts of many Ontarians working in the retail sector turn to which days they'll be given off work, and when they'll have to request paid time off.
In order to mitigate confusion, Canadian retail legislation
in Ontario lays out the days on which retail businesses are required to close. There are nine days that the province's Retail Business Holidays Act considers to be "holidays," two of which—Christmas Day and New Year's Day—fall during the winter holiday season. The other seven—Family Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day and Thanksgiving Day—are sprinkled throughout the year in order to provide both consumers and employees with a common day of pause.What does "close" actually mean?
On the aforementioned holidays, the owners of retail businesses and their employees are prohibited to sell or offer goods or services for sale, or admit members of the public into their establishments. Both owners and workers have a responsibility to uphold these requirements.Examining the exceptions
As with most Canadian retail compliance
laws—and, indeed, most types of laws in general—there are some notable exceptions. In the case of the Retail Business Holidays Act, certain kinds
of retail outlets are permitted to be open on designated holidays, including:
- Handicraft stores and book or magazine stores, provided they are less than 2,400 square feet and employ a maximum of three workers
- Pharmacies less than 7,500 square feet
- Gardening centres and flower shops
- Gas stations
- Stores in locations established as tourist areas by municipal by-laws
Another notable exception is that the Retail Business Holidays Act does not apply in the province's capital of Toronto, and hasn't since the beginning of 2007. The Stronger City of Toronto for a Stronger Ontario Act bestowed upon the Toronto city council the authority to pass a by-law pertaining to closing requirements for retail businesses.