Retail council hopes this Canada Day weekend will be last for quirky holiday hours in Manitoba

Retail council hopes this Canada Day weekend will be last for quirky holiday hours in Manitoba

Manitoba stores will have wonky hours this long weekend due to a unique feature of Manitoba law, but the Retail Council of Canada is hopeful that won’t be the case 11 years from now — the next time Canada Day lands on a Sunday.

According to Manitoba law, most retail centres can be open on Sunday, July 1 — the actual holiday — but must close on July 2, the observance date for Canada Day this year.

It’s a unique quirk created by overlapping Manitoba and federal laws — only New Brunswick is in a similar situation — and it only happens when the holiday lands on a Sunday. Because of leap years, that won’t happen again until 2029.

The Retail Council of Canada has expressed concerns to the province about how it might impact businesses this year, but Prairie region representative John Graham said he’s hoping the situation will be resolved soon, following a meeting with Manitoba Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen.

“It’s great to see the province is going to make the change we’ve been seeking for a number of years now,” he said.

“It’s great to look forward to 2029 but our focus is just getting through this weekend and serving our customers as best we can.”

Overlapping laws

According to the federal Holiday Act, when Canada Day is on a Sunday, it is no longer a statutory holiday. Instead, Monday, July 2, becomes a stat holiday. That rule was put in place to guarantee Monday-to-Friday workers would get a day off.

But Manitoba’s Retail Businesses Holiday Closing Act also states that when there is a stat holiday, most retail stores must close to give their employees the holiday. The hospitality industry is excepted, as are smaller stores with few employees.

Graham said it’s a “quite unique” situation that hurts businesses and shoppers alike.

“The reality is that this is an unfortunate rule that’s in place that impacts negatively employees and employers who would love to be celebrating Canada Day on July 1,” he said.

“For our customers, it’s a lost opportunity to serve them when they’re looking for accessing our stores on Monday, July 2 — whether it’s home renovations or grocery shopping or whatever else they may require to carry on with their lives once they have to go to work.”

If you’re planning your holiday weekend shopping, most major Winnipeg malls will be open regular hours this Canada Day — but they’ll be closed on Monday. The same is true of Winnipeg’s Outlet Collection, IKEA and Costco.

Published at Fri, 29 Jun 2018 06:00:00 -0400