May 28, 2012
Honourable Marilyn More
Department of Labour & Advanced Education
5151 Terminal Road, 6th floor
Halifax, NS B3J 2T8
Re: Canada Day 2012
As a Nova Scotia member of Retail Council of Canada (RCC), I am writing in support of RCC’s
advocacy efforts regarding Canada Day 2012.
Canada Day in 2012 will fall on a Sunday, which creates problems for the retail industry. The Nova
ScotiaRetail Business Designated Day Closing Act adheres to the federal Holidays Act, which
states that when Canada Day falls on a Sunday, the employer must provide its employees with a
paid holiday on July 2. This Act is meant to cover businesses where employees only work from
Monday to Friday and the legislation harkens back to a time when retail businesses were not
permitted to open on Sundays.
In Nova Scotia retail is now a seven-day a week business for most retail shop owners. Retailers
want to respect the laws of the land and allow their employees to enjoy holidays but they also want
to provide service to their customers. This balance can be easily achieved through respecting
statutory holidays on the day they fall.
Under the current federal and provincial Acts, the competitive nature of the retail sector will force
retailers to be open on Sunday, July 1, 2012. This means that retail workers will not be able to
participate in Canada Day festivities and retail shop owners will most likely endure a day of slow
sales as most people will be attending Canada Day festivities. Furthermore, the shortcomings of
each Act ensure that those who work on Sunday, July 1 will not collect holiday pay.
Compounding the problem is the fact that these outdated Acts will force retailers to close on
Monday, July 2. As there will likely not be any Canada Day activities on July 2, many Nova Scotia
will conceivably want to use at least part of their day off to shop at retail establishments.
Regrettably, they will be unable to support most of the retail economy as Nova Scotia retailers will
be forced to close on a day that could be very profitable for the retail industry.
Retail Council of Canada (RCC) has been advancing this issue at the federal and provincial levels,
all across Canada. In response to RCC’s advocacy, many provinces have proactively dealt with
this issue through making simple legislative changes that oblige retailers to only be closed on the
day in which the statutory holiday falls. This modernization has been easily achieved through
changing legislative reference of the term “Canada Day” to the more generic “July 1”.
Through legislating that “July 1” is the statutory holiday, workers would receive all of the benefits
stemming from the laws surrounding statutory holidays; while the province could properly honour
our country on July 1. The province would also remain compliant with the federal legislation, which
only makes reference to “Canada Day”. This simple change in legislation would allow the province
to send a pro-business message that it understands the reality for 21st century retailers. In 2012,
retailers should have the choice to open and customers should have the choice to shop on Monday,
I would encourage you to work with Retail Council of Canada to modernize the Retail Business
Designated Day Closing Act and ensure that statutory holidays are observed on the day on which