HBC calls shutdowns ‘unfair’
Firm asks court to review current retail business restrictions in Toronto and Peel
Hudson’s Bay Co. has filed an application for judicial review of the Ontario government’s current restrictions concerning retail businesses in Toronto and Peel.
In a statement issued Thursday morning, the retailer called the provincial government’s approach to the second lockdown “unreasonable and unfair,” arguing that by closing down certain retailers but not other big-box stores that carry essential and non-essential items, shoppers are being funnelled into those stores and causing increased public health risk.
“On behalf of thousands of large and small retailers in Toronto and Peel, we have been left with no choice but to ask the court to recognize the unfairness of the current situation and the need for a fair and evidence-based solution that puts health and safety first and doesn’t jeopardize the livelihoods of thousands of retail workers, or the future of many businesses,” the statement reads.
Last week, HBC was one of almost 50 retailers, including Canadian Tire, Birks and Ikea, that signed an open letter to the province making this same argument. They asked the government to open all retailers in the province with a 25-per-cent capacity limit for non-essential businesses in regions under lockdown like Toronto and Peel.
This frustration is shared among small-business owners in the area, who have repeatedly pointed out that alongside essential items like food, many bigbox stores sell the non-essential items that small businesses currently can’t