Get out and vote June 2, 2022
Retail in the largest private sector employer in Ontario.
Find out why #RetailMatters in Ontario
of Ontario workforce works in retail. That’s 714,500 people (631,435 core retail*)
storefronts in Ontario
retailers employ less than 20 employees
in total annual compensation paid to retail workers
Ontario’s average total compensation per hour for retail employees
in annual Retail Sales in Ontario (161,696,171,000 in Core retail Sales)
Source: Statistics Canada
*Core retail excludes gas stations and auto dealer employees
Why Ontario Retail Matters
Retail is Ontario’s largest private-sector employer and holds a critical role in our economy. Although we have weathered numerous supply chain disruptions over the last year, retailers have gone to great lengths to ensure that store shelves remained stocked, and consumers could access the items they need every day.
We are also seeing signs of economic recovery in our sector, but things remain fragile, with inflation rates the highest they’ve been in over 30 years, global disruption of supply chains resulting from domestic and international politics, and the recurring threat of new COVID variants. Further complicating matters, the pandemic has led to major changes in how Ontarians work and how we spend money, with online work and ecommerce transactions higher as a channel for sale than ever before.
Despite all of this, retailers across Canada are continually shifting their operations to meet ever-changing consumer demands, moving forward with commitments made to lower their carbon footprint, all while keeping prices as competitive as possible.
The government has a role in assisting retailers during this time of uncertainty and in providing the necessary conditions required to recover and then to bounce back stronger than before.
Where the Parties Stand
Retailers can learn more about the relevant election issues affecting their businesses through the party platforms linked below. View the different parties platforms:
- Liberal Party platform
- Progressive Conservative Party budget
- New Democratic Party platform
- Green Party platform
Ontario Key Retail Issues
Immigration supporting job vacancies in retail and restaurant labour market
With the bulk of COVID-19 closures in the rearview mirror, retailers and restaurants are looking to staff back up, as customer volume returns to stores and restaurants. The most recent StatCan job vacancy data suggests a vacancy rate of 7.6% in Ontario. This is much more pronounced in some sub-sectors; some of RCC’s members have shared data demonstrating that roughly 1/5th of their workforce is currently vacant, with openings ranging from entry level front counter workers (38% vacancy rate) to supervisors and managers (27% vacancy rate). Further, because of supply chain disruption, some job categories – specifically in trucking, and other supply chain adjacent-fields – have equally high vacancy rates, leaving the systems supporting the movement of products to store shelves in a precarious position.
RCC asks for Ontario to take a strong leadership role as the retail and restaurant sectors seek to staff up by increasing the number of temporary workers from 10% to 20% foreigners in a company, as well as exempting certain areas from the refusal to treat policy labour market impact assessment requests. Further, Ontario can add additional retail and restaurant National Occupation Codes to the simplified processing of Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) as this would help eliminate red tape and fast track the arrival of workers to meet the needs of our members.
Ongoing alcohol reform
Ontario does not have a competitive marketplace for beer. At present, beer companies submit prices to The Beer Store and/or LCBO, who then charge those prices onwards without negotiation.
While there is still some competitive pressure between brewers (e.g., through list price), because there’s no moment where brewers and retailers negotiate, prices are artificially higher than in a purely competitive market. Below, you’ll see some 2019 data based on price information from RCC’s largest grocery members.
|Base Price of Beer||$ 24.56||$ 22.53||8.3%|
|Beer Basic Tax||$ 7.53||$ 5.37|
|Federal Exercise Duty||$ 2.81||$ 2.81||0%|
|Volume Tax||$ 1.50|
|Environmental Tax||$ 2.14|
|Retail Price of Beer||$ 38.54||$ 30.71||20.3%|
|Sales Tax (Federal & Provincial)||$ 5.01||$ 4.60||8.2%|
|Final Price of Beer||$ 43.55||$ 35.31||18.9%|
To see both a lower price for alcohol through competition, as well as greater convenience for all Ontarians, our members would like to see the Ontario government choose not to renew the Master Framework Agreement (which, renews during the next mandate), and begin a consultation process to decide what should be next for retailing alcohol in Ontario. We expect that this will be addressed during the election period.
Whichever party wins the next mandate to govern in Ontario will oversee what could represent the largest change in the way alcohol is retailed in Ontario’s history.
Retail Council of Canada will be asking political parties to make commitments during the election that alcohol modernization includes a competitive retail marketplace for alcohol, with no monopoly for beer. Our members look forward to participating in this move to modernization.
Shaping the conversation around IC&I recycling programs
Unlike the Blue Box system, retailers already have mature recycling programs in place and are actively reporting their landfill diversion figures in their sustainability reports. For years, our retail members have been aggressively tackling their Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (IC&I) tonnage, reducing waste, and increasing reuse across a range of materials. Many members have strong, public-facing, corporate targets to drive a circular economy including the incorporation of low-carbon recycled content into products and packaging or more broadly further reducing emissions from operational activities and company supply chains (of which, reducing waste can play a role).
With the Ontario Government sharing its intention to start developing consulting on regulations aimed at IC&I recycling, RCC is interested in shaping the conversation, focused on recognizing existing forms of reporting, and more data collection prior to any targets.
Continue to develop new methods of Class B, non-RPP ratepayers for the Global Adjustment
Currently, Ontario’s energy system allocates grid infrastructure costs evenly, based on total consumption.The flat fee that a company is charged is the same whether they consume power at 6pm on a hot summer day, or at 3am.
This flat fee – called the Global Adjustment – represents a large percentage of a company’s energy bill, resulting in a very flat energy pricing. Because of price flatness, market pricing signals are muted, resulting in business contributing to peak consumption. In addition, this method of pricing Global Adjustment lengthens payback periods for new technologies that more efficiently consume power, have a greater ability to load shift., or generate power in a clean way. Finally, because Ontario’s grid uses natural gas to cover off peak energy consumption, businesses over contributing to peak load also means higher Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from the grid and higher prices for residential consumers (because paying for additional generation during peaks is expensive).
Early research from the Ontario Energy Board suggests that a more dynamic approach to charging Global Adjustment costs, grounded in charging more for power when demand is high, and less when its low, can have a positive impact – lowering prices for both residential and business consumers of power.
RCC us encouraged political parties to continue to support this process, including approving funding for the pilot as needed.
Reinstate the Ontario Carbon Trust
In 2018, the Ontario government announced a new plan to develop an Ontario Carbon Trust – committing $400 million over four years to work with the private sector on developing clean technologies to reduce emissions. That fund never came to fruition and was removed from the most recent update to the Made-in-Ontario Environmental Plan.
As businesses seek to meet increasing consumer expectations around having a low environmental impact, government supports could greatly expedite adoption. For retailers, we understand that more than 90% of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions are generated within global supply chains, as Scope 3 emissions. Technologies like the electrification of fleets can be costly transitions for a business, requiring new vehicles, charging stations, as well as additional training for the teams servicing the equipment.
While only 10% of retail emissions are in Scope 1 and Scope 2, increasing the energy efficiency of stores or changing the types of refrigerants used, etc., can still have a great individual emissions impact for a retailer.
RCC and its members continue to push for the return of the Ontario Carbon Trust. Put simply, supporting business investment could greatly decrease the emissions generated in Ontario through business and through the retail supply chains.
Use these tools to contact your local candidates and make your voice heard.
1. Find your candidates
Use the Elections Nova Scotia tool to find candidates and their contact info for your electoral district.
Learn about your local candidates by visiting the party websites:
2. Print your sign
Show your pride in retail by posting a photo of your retail staff holding a #RetailMatters sign or a photo of your store.
Contributing to political parties – what you need to know
Contributing to a campaign can be an effective way to build relationships with candidates in your riding.
Make sure that you understand the rules before lending your support to a provincial political party and its campaign. Here is a quick summary:
Who can contribute?
Contributions to political parties, constituency associations, candidates, leadership and nomination contestants may only be made by individuals normally resident in Ontario using their own funds.
Contributions to third parties may be made by:
- individuals normally resident in Ontario using their own funds;
- corporations carrying on business in Ontario that are not registered charities; or
- trade unions.
Anonymous contributions are not allowed.
For more detailed information, refer to the CFO Handbooks
What is the contribution limit?
In the 2022 calendar year, a person can contribute up to a limit of $3,325 to each registered political party.
How can a contribution be made?
Contributions can be made through each party’s official website.
Who can receive contributions?
Political parties, constituency associations, candidates, leadership and nomination contestants.
What are the restrictions?
For information on limitations, please consult the Elections Ontario page regarding Political Financing.
Information from Elections Ontario