On March 11, the Bay, Simpson’s and Zellers in Ontario announced that they would open on Good Friday.  “Good Friday is a big shopping day in other provinces,” said a spokesman for the stores, “so we decided to open that day and close Easter Sunday.’
The announcement indicated the growing contempt of large businesses such as the above for the religious sensibilities of Ontario people.
“We’re very disappointed that this holy day isn’t being respected,” said Les Kingdon, executive director of the People for Sunday Association of Canada – the former Lord’s Day alliance group, 70,000 strong across Canada.
Duncan MacDonald of the Ontario Federation of Labour was equally critical, but for a different reason: “The concept of a common pause day is under increasing attack.  Ultimately, the business community – given a free hand – will have its stores open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.’
The Ontario New Democratic government is committed to bringing legislation some time this year to keep stores closed on Sundays and holidays, but so far it has not done so.
Anglican, Roman Catholic and United Church leaders have condemned the Good Friday opening, and called on Christians to register their opposition.
“For Christians,” said Toronto’s Catholic Archbishop Aloysius Ambrozic, “the opening of stores on Good Friday would mean that retail workers and retailers would be unable to do what they have done for two millennia, meet for prayer on the most solemn day of their year.
“The almighty dollar is being proposed as the new idol,” he added.
The three stores, together with four large chains of supermarkets under the general leadership of Simpson’s Barry Agnew, were responsible for bringing down the Sunday Laws in Ontario in 1990.
On March 20, Ontario Appeal Court judges slammed the door closed on Sunday and holiday shopping.  In a judgment of 5-0 they ruled that the (Ontario) Retail Business Holidays Act is constitutional.  The Act had been challenged by four major grocery chains (A&P, Loblaws, Steinberg, and the Oshawa Group Ltd.), which claimed that it violated the religious rights of non-Christians.  The court did not agree.
The Interim hails the decision.