The City has cleared a hurdle on its way to allowing shopping on statutory holidays, including Christmas and Thanksgiving Day.
After hearing arguments from staff and retail advocacy groups, the economic development committee voted 5-1 in favour of stores having the choice to open year-round.
If City council approves the plan next month, businesses will no longer be fined for opening on the nine holidays in question – New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, Easter Sunday and Family Day.
Some shops in designated tourist areas and outside the city already stay open on these days – an unfair advantage over retailers forced to close, says John Kiru of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas.
Detractors worry employees who don’t want to will be forced to work holidays, despite the provincial Employment Standards Act, which theoretically protects people who demand the days off.
Case Ootes, the only committee member to oppose the motion, argued stores will stay open at the expense of dwindling family time.