(Greater Sudbury, August, 2014) During the recent long weekend businesses were prohibited from opening on the Civic Holiday on Monday August 4, 2014 as a result of municipal by-law 2007-143. Although certain exemptions apply, the vast majority of retail businesses in Greater Sudbury were forced to shut their doors on Monday and Sudburians might have looked elsewhere to shop.
This is not a provincial, but a municipal by-law. The Provincial Retail Business Holiday Act which requires retail businesses to close on nine specified days each year excludes the Civic Holiday, Boxing Day as well as Family Day.
“Deregulation is an issue we’ve been talking about for the past twenty plus years in Sudbury,” says John Querney, business owner of Querney’s Office Plus and co-chair of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce (GSCC) deregulation working group. “Government should not be dictating how I run my business. You know what I’ll change if the by-law is repealed? Nothing. I’ll keep my store hours the same because that’s what works best for my business. But this should be my choice.”
The August long weekend is only one example of the restrictions on store hours in Greater Sudbury. A separate by-law prohibits retail businesses from being open between the hours of 10:00 p.m. – 5:00 a.m. Monday through to Saturday and between 6:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. on Sunday.
Greater Sudbury is one of the only larger municipalities in all of Ontario to regulate store hours. Even the small, family oriented neighbour: North Bay—a city less than 10 times the size and with nearly less than a third of the population of Greater Sudbury—has deregulated store hours.
“North Bay has deregulated store hours. This has not ruined the social fabric of the community or caused increased crime,” says André Dumais, co-chair of the GSCC deregulation working group. “It is about choice, and letting businesses run their establishment the way that works best for them. After all, non-retail businesses are free to open and close when they see fit. The same should apply for retail locations.”
Innisfil, a community of less than 35,000 people allows their businesses to open and close as they wish.
The GSCC is a registered lobbyist for the 2014 referendum. The Chamber’s message is clear: businesses should have the choice to open and close as they wish. Store hour restrictions represent another way government interferes with businesses, another layer of regulation in the city and yet another barrier in improving the overall “open for business” environment of Greater Sudbury. Co-chairs of the committee are prepared and willing to engage in a public debate with anyone interested in taking them up on the issue.
A Chamber survey released through Oraclepoll in 2010-2011 indicated that almost two-thirds (66%) of Sudbury residents interviewed support or are in favour of store owners being able to set their own hours of operation. Only 30% indicated opposition and 4% were undecided. It is time for action.
In order to receive a binding result, 50% of eligible voters must vote in the October 27th municipal election. The city received a 49.75% voter turnout in 2010. With voting now easier than ever with the presence of the city’s mobile bus and internet voting, it is the hope of the Chamber that this issue is settled once and for all on October 27.
Visit our website for more information on the Chamber’s deregulation campaign: https://sudburychamber.ca/4779-2/.
Follow us on twitter: https://twitter.com/SudburyStoreHrs and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sudburystorehrs?ref_type=bookmark.
For more information on deregulation, please contact:
Melanie Smith Cacciotti
Marketing and Public Relations Manager
T: (705) 673-7133 e. 217
For media requests, please contact :
Policy and Communication Manager
T : (705) 673-7133 e. 224
The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce represents over 1,000 businesses and through the participation of its member volunteers on committees and task forces, it works ‘as the Voice of Business’ to influence federal, provincial and local legislation affecting business.