Manitoba is introducing legislation that would give retailers more flexibility in opening hours on Sundays and statutory holidays, while protecting retail workers who would rather not work expanded hours.
"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 Family Services and Labour Minister Jennifer 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 retail workers have the right to refuse work on Sundays, provided they give their employer at least 14 days’ notice
•authorize employment standards officers to order an employer to compensate or reinstate employees penalized for exercising their rights to refuse work on a Sunday.
The legislation would recognize municipalities retain the ability to determine Sunday shopping hours within their communities, said Howard. 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 fewer than four employees, will remain in place.
More than 1,000 individuals, families, small and large business owners, retail workers and other employee sectors gave input on the review of Sunday shopping, said Howard, adding 55 per cent of those responding were in favour of expanding Sunday shopping hours.
Shopping restrictions on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Canada Day, Labour Day, Remembrance Day, Christmas Day and New Year's would remain the same. More information on the proposed legislation is at www.manitoba.ca/labour/standards.
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