Effective January 1, 2018, retailers will be able to be open for business in York Region on all statutory holidays except Christmas Day. This is a significant change as previously retailers had to be closed for statutory holidays based on the provincial Retail Business Holiday Act unless a tourist exemption was granted. York Region is the third largest in Ontario comprised of Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, New Market Richmond Hill Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.
This decision represents an important municipal change in direction as it supports RCC’s approach that retailers should be deciding at their discretion whether to be open on statutory holidays without restrictions imposed by governments. RCC expects other municipalities to review bylaws that address holiday shopping.
Recently the City of Toronto missed an opportunity to change its Holiday Shopping bylaw and amended only the definition for prepared food. This was in response to a court case that resulted from a grocery retailer being open on a statutory holiday in the City of Toronto. RCC tried to get City Council to consider a much broader review of the bylaw without success.
Peel region, the second largest in the Province, will be conducting consultations on their shopping bylaw in the first half of 2018. RCC will be participating in those consultations and will pursue the position of letting business decide when to be open as the retail environment is constantly evolving and retailers must adapt to stay relevant in the marketplace.