UFCW Canada against opening Quebec Walmart stores until 11:00 p.m.


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Montreal – February 3, 2016 – All local unions of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW Canada) union in Quebec are opposed to daily opening hours until 11:00 p.m. at Walmart stores for the simple reason that it is a retail business and not a grocery business. To be considered a food business, it must primarily offer food products or alcoholic beverages (51% or more of the total square footage) at all times. The fact is that Walmart does not clearly meet this criteria as set out in the Loi sur les heures et les jours d’admission dans les établissements commerciaux (Act respecting hours and days of operation for commercial establishments) since the vast majority of products it sells are non-food. As such, it is considered a retail business.

Allowing Walmart to remain open until 11:00 p.m. every day would radically upset the balance among retail businesses. As a result, there would be unfair competition from the American giant with Rona, Réno-Dépôt and other hardware stores as well as all retail businesses and even shopping centres. It is therefore contrary to the intent of the Act.

Once again, the American retail giant is attempting to impose its own rules and to change current laws in its favour, without regard for possible consequences on the conditions for fair competition between various businesses. It should be noted that the regulatory changes to the Act, adopted in 2008, were made by consensus between the government, grocery businesses, retail businesses, convenience stores (“dépanneurs”), consumer groups as well as unions. It was important for all concerned parties that the diversity and vigor of Quebec’s commercial structure be maintained.

“There is no question for UFCW Canada in Quebec that the Act respecting hours and days of operation for commercial establishmentsmust not be amended because it still preserves to this day the fragile balance between the interests of retail and grocery retailers, the rights of workers and the needs of consumers. To allow Walmart to operate every day until 11:00 p.m. would sound the death knell for many retailers,” explains Antonio Filato, president of the UFCW Quebec Provincial Council, and president of UFCW Canada Local 500.