Small businesses seek changes to Ontario lockdown rules as big box stores remain open

Published November 23, 2020 at 10:18 pm


TORONTO — The country’s largest organization of small businesses is calling on the Ontario government to think twice about its lockdown policies that force most small businesses to shut down while leaving big box retailers open.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says lockdown restrictions imposed on Monday in Toronto and nearby Peel Region allow big box stores like Costco and Walmart to remain open and sell non-essential goods because they also sell essentials like groceries and hardware.

Meanwhile, small companies selling the same non-essential items must close and operate only through delivery and curbside pickup, creating further challenges in a year that has already seen many small businesses go bankrupt.

The national lobby group for small and medium-sized businesses wants the province to allow all non-essential small retailers to open for in-store sales, but with very limited capacity.

When announcing the lockdown last week, Ontario Premier Doug Ford encouraged people to shop at small businesses as much as possible and called on them to avoid U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon.

Ford’s office, Costco and Walmart Canada did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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