WINNIPEG — Manitoba has introduced legislation as a first step to ease restrictions on Sunday and holiday shopping.
Under the current law, retailers are only permitted to operate between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Sundays, with similar hours in effect on certain holidays.
“Manitoba is currently the only western province that restricts retail businesses from operating on Sundays and holidays,” said Finance Minister Scott Fielding.
“Many Manitobans support allowing businesses to set their own hours, and we want to give Manitobans more freedom and flexibility on when they buy groceries.”
The Retail Business Hours of Operation Act (Bill 2) would allow individual municipalities to set their own hours, and bring all retailers in line with certain businesses currently exempt from the act, such as pharmacies, liquor stores, casinos and restaurants.
The province would also make changes to the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Control Act, which would allow municipalities flexibility to regulate the hours liquor or cannabis is sold.
The Pallister government will still maintain workers’ provisions on Sundays, something the Manitoba Federation of Labour applauded.
“At a time when work-life balance is an increasing concern to all Manitobans, this is an important right that allows workers to have some time off with their families on weekends,” said Kevin Rebeck, president of the MFL.
The current rules will remain in place until the legislation passes. Remembrance Day closures will remain status quo.