Hudson’s Bay takes Ontario government to court to review retail closures

On Thursday, December 10, Hudson’s Bay Company announced that they are asking an Ontario court to review the Ford provincial government’s decision to shut down non-essential retailers on the behalf of “thousands of large and small retailers in Toronto and Peel”.

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Hudson’s Bay is calling the Ford government’s decision to close non-essential retail businesses “unreasonable and unfair”, and is asking the court to acknowledge the unfairness of the situation, 680 News reports

In a statement issued by Hudson’s Bay Co., the company says “The Ontario Government’s health data shows that retail shoppers are not contributing to COVID-19 spread in any significant way.”

“On behalf of thousands of large and small retailers in Toronto and Peel, we have been left with no choice but to ask the Court to recognize the unfairness of the current situation and the need for a fair and evidence-based solution that puts health and safety first and doesn’t jeopardize the livelihoods of thousands of retail workers, or the future of many businesses.”

The company goes on to say that last week, along with 46 other retailers of ‘various sizes’, the company signed an open letter to the Ontario government advocating for a “25% capacity limit on all retailers across the province as a means to achieving better public health outcomes with less economic fallout and unfairness” instead of an outright closure of retail businesses. 

The company argues that “The decision to close some retailers in these regions has not achieved public health objectives. Rather, it has potentially increased health risks by funneling more shoppers into fewer, increasingly crowded stores. Public health evidence regarding the importance of physical spacing and other health measures supports doing the complete opposite.”

The company calls the Ontario government’s approach “unreasonable and unfair” and “does not support our shared public health objectives”. Adding that the approach by the government causes “undue stress and hardships to thousands of retail employees and businesses across the region.”

The company makes a plea to the Ontario government to undo the harm caused before it becomes permanent. 

“The situation is dire and untenable for thousands of retailers but it’s not too late for the Government to make a better decision for Ontario, the local economy, public health, and the millions of citizens who live or work in Toronto and Peel.”

Read the full statement from Hudson’s Bay here.

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