Ontario | Store Operations

Ontario will be announcing significantly pared-down essential business list

April 3, 2020

Retail Council of Canada has been informed that Premier Ford and the Ontario government will be sharing worrying projections today with Ontarians – estimates, over hospital capacity, over who’ll get sick, and over projected deaths.

In the face of that information, Cabinet has voted to impose some strict measures to ensure that Ontario’s numbers have more in common with South Korea than with Italy.

As part of that government response, RCC has been made aware that Ontario will announce a significantly pared-down essential business list. For many retailers currently on the list this will mean temporary closure of bricks and mortar. For businesses previously and newly classified as being non-essential, e-commerce will be allowed, including pick-up at store. 

By the hour, RCC continues to advocate strongly for retailers – on financial, operational and human resources matters – and has made it very clear to the government that there will be a significant cost to the sector and to its employees. 

Thankfully, our team members are now eligible for far more significant financial supports, either to remain on payroll or to receive benefits, than was the case when we were first discussing these issues with governments in mid-March.

Despite the very serious difficulties that today’s decision will impose, I believe that as an industry we need to be supportive of the government’s efforts to first bring down the pace of new infections and to achieve the next step of a reversal of the curve.  That will be important in human terms, reputationally, and over the medium term, to the re-establishment of something resembling normalcy.

Government has shared with us that these new restrictions are in place for the next two weeks, at which point an assessment will be made – if cases have lessened, businesses will be added back to the list.

More information will be shared later today (AS SOON AS RCC HAS MORE DETAILS, THEY WILL BE SENT TO YOU), including the phrasing of the regulation, as we have exact details.

Diane J. Brisebois
President and CEO
Retail Council of Canada

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