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Sunday Shopping

Some of you may be aware that Nova Scotia is the only province in Canada which does not offer Sunday shopping. This may come as a surprise to most of you but for those of us who live in Nova Scotia it has become a way of life.

Shalini Richards
MQ Editor
Last year the Municipality decided to hold a plebiscite to determine if Sunday shopping should be permitted or not. The results of the plebiscite were close, however the decision NOT to have Sunday shopping won out.

This summer a provincial election was held in Nova Scotia and low and behold the issue of Sunday shopping has reared its head again. Some of the major grocery chains in Nova Scotia have decided to “work around” the plebiscite by offering a few of their services on Sunday. The ever vigilant NS government has dispatched our municipal police force to ensure these chains are abiding by the requirements of the law.

Now you may be wondering why I am brining this topic up. Well besides the fact that I agree with Sunday shopping, and feel that Nova Scotia needs to catch up with the rest of Canada, I was thinking about the whole issue and how it really is a Human Resources issue we are dealing with.

For example, lets look at the Sunday shopping issue from a few of the different HR disciplines:

Recruitment: Well, retailers may have to hire more people to work those Sunday shifts the regular staff may not be willing to work.

Health & Safety: May be a bit of a stretch…but take a look at the fact that our local police force are patrolling those retailers to ensure they are abiding by the law…this means they are not out there catching criminals or protecting and serving.

Human Rights: Now here’s an interesting one. Those who refuse to work on Sunday’s due to religious reasons don’t have to work and employers cannot force them to do so or penalize them for refusing.

Labor Relations: As it stands right now we do not have any provincial labor standards in place to address the issue. So at this point employees have no legal recourse should they be forced to work Sunday’s. Come to think of it, neither do employers.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

So maybe the next time government decides to address issues, they may want to talk to professionals like us to see how it affects the resources of humans. Just a thought.


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