The Ontario NDP now finds itself on the side of the angels in its support for a common day of rest for all Ontario residents.  The villains are both the Liberal and the Tories who have now caved into the wishes of the big retailers who want wide-open Sundays.


But it is unlikely that the new Bill 115, which was to establish a ‘common pause day’ by regulating Sunday shopping will find its way through the legislative quagmire until early next year.  The bill had its first reading in June of this year.

However, Dean Williams, a spokesman for Premier Bob Rae’s office, insists that it could be going through as early as mid-November.  He describes it as a “strong bill” that will protect a worker’s rights for a pause day with no penalty if he or she chooses not to work Sundays or holidays.

The bill would require most stores to close unless they are in designated tourist areas.

Tourist areas

Municipalities are to be allowed to decide what are tourist areas and therefore what stores are to be allowed to stay open.  An amendment under discussion would allow appeals at the Ontario Municipal Board against decisions by municipalities.  In fact, it would permit any “interested person” to ask the courts to shut down a retail business staying open in contravention of the shopping ban, Solicitor General Allan Pilkey has stated.

Gary Carr of the Progressive Conservatives maintains that amendments envisaged will drown merchants in red tape and clog the province’s courts for years to come.

Liberal MPP Greg Sorbara described the NDP as so divided on the issue that it was unlikely to pass any new law until next year.  With the Christmas season coming up, he claimed that the NDP government has failed to provide the necessary direction to retailers an their customers.


The municipalities must follow provincial guidelines concerning whether the area has natural or historical importance and therefore qualifies as a tourist region.

The danger lies in the legislation not being carefully framed.  The Supreme Court of Ontario struck down the previous Liberal government’s shopping bill, which led to nine months of wide-open Sunday shopping.  Last March the Ontario Court of Appeal reinstated the law so that it remains in force; and most stores have remained closed, except in Windsor, Sarnia and some other smaller communities, which have passed by-laws allowing them to remain open.

Jim Hughes of Campaign Life Coalition urges Ontarians to vote against Sunday shopping where plebiscites are being held in conjunction with November’s municipal elections.  This, he said, is to protect workers against being forced to work Sundays for large retailers like Hudson’s Bay Company.  He felt that they were foolishly putting profit motives above a common pause day for everybody and also the enjoyment of a quiet Sunday.

Mr. Grocer

Terry Nichol, the owner/manager of the most successful Mr. Grocer operation in Canada, says that Sunday shopping is self-defeating. The additional hydro, heating and insurance bills will have to be added to the cost of the groceries and the customers would end up paying more, he stated.

“I believe that Sunday is a day of rest.  I don’t want my store to stay open on Sundays.  It won’t open on Sundays until I am forced to stay open in order to keep my customers.  Than I’ll have to hire additional employees for Sundays but I can’t afford to pay time-and-a-half.  I would be forced to hire some employees who would be willing to work Sundays.  I hope this never happens.”

A large local competing Miracle Mart store stayed open for a few months on Sundays and when visited, although brightly lit, still looked like a ghost town.  It is now closed on Sundays.

“Don’t vote for open Sundays.  Vote to keep Sundays a day of rest,” Jim Hughes advises all pro-family voters.