I found this article quite interesting.
Should Christmas Day and New Year's Day in Toronto remain a time when most stores must close?
The city's Holiday Shopping bylaw forces retail businesses to close their doors on nine days each year, including on Christmas and the newest statutory holiday, Family Day.
But residents are being asked to register opinions online at www.toronto.ca/holidayshopping on whether opportunities for holiday shopping should be expanded as Toronto Council reviews the rules in 2012.
"By posting the survey online, we are making it easier for Torontonians to give us their views on this issue," Scarborough Centre Councillor Michael Thompson, who chairs the city's Economic Development Committee, said in a release this week.
I have quite a few issues:
1) By allowing the doors to go wide open 365 days a year, it creates major inconsistency between the City of Toronto and the 905 area, and would create headaches for them as they are forced to go through difficult processes to declare their entire cities tourist areas (even if they really aren't) in order to keep pace with Toronto.
2) There are surely many that want to leave stores closed. By allowing retailers to open, it would basically put those that choose to remain closed behind in the competition for 6 to 8 days a year (assuming almost all stores remain closed on Christmas Day, which is almost certain, but open on most other holidays if allowed to).
3) It would be expensive for small businesses either way. To open on holidays requires them to pay, at a minimum, 1 1/2 times the wages, since the Employment Standards Act would not change for sure. To remain closed no longer creates a level playing field, yet to remain open would be difficult for small businesses.
My personal recommendation:
* Remain closed for now, at least for all statutory holidays through April 30, 2013 (which would cover up to the Easter period in 2013) to give more time to broaden the debate.
* Push the province to make the entire Greater Toronto Area a single unit when it comes to legislation and non-application of the Retail Business Holidays Act, not just the City of Toronto.
* All GTA county-level municipalities (Toronto, York, Peel, Halton, Durham and perhaps peripheral areas) should work together on the issues. If the general view is that they want to remain closed, then no changes should be made and most stores should remain closed.
* Individual lower-tier municipalities or community associations in single-tier municipalities would be allowed to opt out and force stores closed (key is lower tier, not regional level or Toronto as a whole).
* Non-GTA areas should also enter the discussions but would not play a role in the discussion in the GTA itself. However, knowing their regional interests, Northern Ontario at least would likely want to remain closed or even more restrictive (as it is, stores aren't even open on Boxing Day in most of that region).