TORONTO, Nov. 7, 2012 /CNW/ - Retail workers from across Toronto will
call on city councillors to scrap a proposal to eliminate statutory
holidays during a committee meeting tomorrow, November 8, at City Hall.
Toronto's Economic Development Committee is scheduled to debate a
proposal tomorrow at approximately 10:30 a.m. that would allow city
retailers to open their doors on Victoria Day. This proposal, brought
forward by the city's Holiday Shopping Sub-Committee, would reduce the
number of recognized statutory holidays for local retail workers from
nine to eight in the calendar year.
CAW Local 414 President Christine Connor said statutory holidays provide
the only guaranteed time off for retail workers, many of whom face
constant fluctuations in shift schedules and other precarious working
"This is time that's best spent with friends and family," Connor said.
"Ratcheting down stat holidays effectively ratchets down the standard
of living from some of the most hard-pressed workers in this city. We
simply can't accept that."
Subsequent to the passing of the City of Toronto Act in 2006, statutory
holiday laws now fall under the City's Municipal Code (Chapter 510) - a
temporary by-law that largely follows the province's Retail Business
In 2010, the City of Toronto undertook an effort to establish a
long-term policy dictating the rules for holiday shopping for local
retailers. The original proposal was to eliminate all 9 statutory
holidays and was billed as a move to improve the competitiveness of
Connor said the issue lit a fire under city retail workers, resulting in
the initial proposal being toned down to only include Victoria Day.
"It's good to know the City has heard the concerns of its 400,000 retail
workers," Connor said. "The city is well within their right to find
ways to improve business conditions, but it can't happen on the backs
of its most vulnerable workers."
Connor said many retail workers earn minimum wage, or just marginally
higher. Retail workplaces are comprised of a disproportionate number of
women, new immigrants and young workers.
The CAW is calling on the Economic Development Committee to maintain all
nine statutory holidays. The union is also willing to issue a joint
call to the Province of Ontario, along with municipal leaders and the
business community, requesting a full review and modernization of
current statutory holiday exemption rules, with an eye to improving the
standard of living for retail workers and a fairer, more competitive
Connor will be available for comment after the Economic Development
Committee vote tomorrow.
SOURCE: Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW)
For further information:
Kellie Scanlan, Local 414 Communications Officer, (905) 409-5007