PROVINCE INTRODUCES LEGISLATION THAT WOULD EXPAND RETAILERS' SUNDAY SHOPPING HOURS
– – – Legislation Would Allow More Flexibility for Consumers While Protecting Workers: Howard
New legislation would give retailers more flexibility in opening hours on Sundays and some statutory holidays, while protecting retail workers who would rather not work expanded hours, Family Services and Labour Minister Jennifer Howard said today after introducing the proposals.
“We are responding to consumers and businesses to find ways to make Sunday shopping in Manitoba less restrictive while respecting that some employees may prefer not to work expanded hours,” said Howard. “We have studied what other provinces have done and plan to bring in practical changes.”
The proposed Sunday shopping changes would:
expand the hours retail businesses could be open on Sundays, under a municipal bylaw, by an additional three hours in the morning, widening Sunday shopping hours to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.;
apply expanded hours to Louis Riel Day, Victoria Day and Thanksgiving Day;
affirm that retail workers have the right to refuse work on Sundays, provided they give their employer at least 14 days notice; and
authorize employment standards officers to order an employer compensate or reinstate an employee penalized for exercising their right to refuse work on a Sunday.
The minister said the legislation would recognize the importance of municipalities retaining the ability to determine Sunday shopping hours within their communities. Under the proposed changes, municipalities would not be required to pass a bylaw to establish or expand Sunday shopping hours but would have the right to do so between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Currently, the Retail Businesses Holiday Closing Act does not allow retailers to open on Sundays or certain holidays unless a municipality has passed a bylaw allowing it. If such a bylaw is in place, stores that regularly operate with four or more people can only be open from noon to 6 p.m. Current exemptions, such as those for stores that operate with less than four employees, will remain in place.
The Manitoba government received input on the review of Sunday shopping from over 1,000 individuals, families, small and large business owners, retail workers and other employee sectors, said Howard, adding 55 per cent of those responding were in favour of expanding Sunday shopping hours.
The proposed changes to the Retail Businesses Holiday Closing Act also reflect input from the Labour Management Review Committee, made up of representatives from business and labour. The committee made recommendations to give municipalities more flexibility to establish Sunday shopping hours in their regions. Shopping restrictions on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Canada Day, Labour Day, Remembrance Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s would remain the same.
“I would like to thank all Manitobans who provided us with their input and acknowledge the Labour Management Review Committee for their time and efforts in reaching consensus recommendations,” said Howard.