In Ontario there are only 9 statutory holidays a year. Meaning 9 paid days off that Ontario workers can use to relax, spend time with their families, or catch up on a missed season of GoT. No matter how you use the time - it's a well deserved break from the other 356 days of the year that are open to be worked.
However, York Region, the Municipality between Toronto and Lake Simcoe, has recently made a change to their by-laws to take these paid stats holidays away from retail and grocery store workers.
This past Thursday, the York Regional Council passed a very low-key by-law allowing all grocers and retailers in any of the region's municipalities to remain open 364 days a year – with the exception of Christmas, where these locations would have to close.
This means that staff opting to spend time away from the workplace won't be entitled to the day off - unlike many other employees in the province. They could also lose their eligibility to stats pay since in Ontario the requirement is that you must work the shift before and after the holiday to qualify for statutory holiday pay. Finally, this could also mean that staff will be forced to work holidays that their family, friends, and kids are allowed off.
A petition signed by thousands of retail workers was submitted to the York Region Council protesting the by-law, however York Region's policy makers decided to move forward with the change without consultation from the public and the workers.
Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, told the Toronto Star, "I am extremely disappointed council members chose not to listen to the concerns of the tens of thousands of retail employees impacted by this bylaw and have closed the door on public consultation. York Region Council was given a sober second chance, a chance to step back and think of how we could have approached this differently.”
Adding that, “We should have embraced public consultation. There are thousands of retail workers who do not know this bylaw has been passed. They are going to find out in the new year. Why are we treating retail workers differently from the rest of the society?”
While many are unhappy about the change to their work schedules, others are excited for the opportunity to earn more during the holidays. In Ontario those who work statutory days are entitled to time and a half pay, thus generating more while working less.
Regardless of how workers feel about the change, the new by-law will be taking effect on January 1st. To date, 64,000 retail workers will be affected by the this law.