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For members with stores in Manitoba: Manitoba Says NO to Carbon Tax – Also Cancels Planned Basic Personal Tax Exemption Increase

For members with stores in Manitoba: Manitoba Says NO to Carbon Tax – Also Cancels Planned Basic Personal Tax Exemption Increase
PrintOctober 4, 2018• In a surprise announcement yesterday, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister announced that the government …

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For members with stores in British Columbia: Food and beverages labelled as “organic” must be certified as of September 1, 2018

For members with stores in British Columbia: Food and beverages labelled as “organic” must be certified as of September 1, 2018
PrintAugust 3, 2018The BC Ministry of Agriculture’s food and beverage regulations will change on September 1, 2018 to requir…

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For members with stores in British Columbia: WorkSafeBC consults on regulatory amendment regarding Mobile Equipment

For members with stores in British Columbia: WorkSafeBC consults on regulatory amendment regarding Mobile Equipment
PrintAugust 1, 2018WorkSafeBC is consulting employers on changes to Part 16, Mobile Equipment, in the Occupational Health and Safety Reg…

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For members with stores in New Brunswick: WorkSafeNB System is Broken – Needs to Be Fixed Immediately

For members with stores in New Brunswick: WorkSafeNB System is Broken – Needs to Be Fixed Immediately
PrintAugust 1, 2018After an average increase of 53 percent in employer premiums between 2016-2018, WorkSafeNB announced that even the most conservativ…

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For members with stores in Vancouver: City of Vancouver releases draft Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy

For members with stores in Vancouver: City of Vancouver releases draft Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy
PrintApril 2, 2018RCC has spent a significant amount of time and effort working with the City of Vancouver, Recycle BC and members to achieve the …

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For members with stores in Saskatchewan: Beverage Handling Fees to Increase Easter Sunday – Surprise!

For members with stores in Saskatchewan: Beverage Handling Fees to Increase Easter Sunday – Surprise!
PrintMarch 26, 2018Without consultation and without notice, the Province of Saskatchewan announced on Friday, March 23, 2018 that Environmental Handli…

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For members with stores in Alberta: Alberta Forecasts Oil Dependent Balanced Budget and $96 Billion Debt by 2023

For members with stores in Alberta: Alberta Forecasts Oil Dependent Balanced Budget and $96 Billion Debt by 2023
PrintMarch 23, 2018On March 22 Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci tabled what is likely the Government’s last full budget before the spring…

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For members with stores in British Columbia: Labour Relations Code review submission urges restraint

For members with stores in British Columbia: Labour Relations Code review submission urges restraint
PrintMarch 20, 2018RCC has provided a joint submission to the B.C. Labour Relations Code review panel along with 12 other business associations.

The…

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For members with stores in Manitoba: Manitoba Introduces Climate and Implementation Act & PST Reduction Strategy

For members with stores in Manitoba: Manitoba Introduces Climate and Implementation Act & PST Reduction Strategy
PrintMarch 19, 2018On March 15, 2018 Manitoba Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires introduced Bill 16, the Climate and Gr…

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Metro Vancouver landfill ban on white expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam™)

Metro Vancouver landfill ban on white expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam™)
PrintMarch 16, 2018Metro Vancouver is instituting a landfill ban effective July 1, 2018 on white expanded polystyrene.  The ban excludes:
• food and beverage containers and packin…

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Manitoba Budget Includes Carbon Tax, Personal and Business Tax Reductions

Manitoba Budget Includes Carbon Tax, Personal and Business Tax Reductions
PrintMarch 14, 2018Manitoba Finance Minister Cameron Friesen introduced the Government’s 2018 budget on March 12, 2018, presenting modest personal and business tax reductions, as…

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Amendments to Energy Efficiency Standards Regulation for select manufactured products

Amendments to Energy Efficiency Standards Regulation for select manufactured products
PrintMarch 15, 2018British Columbia announced changes to the Energy Efficiency Standards Regulation (EESR) under the Energy Efficiency Act, including new and updated…

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For members with stores in Nova Scotia: City of Halifax Votes Against Ban on Single Use Plastic Bags – RCC Working with Nova Scotia Government on Provincial Solution

For members with stores in Nova Scotia: City of Halifax Votes Against Ban on Single Use Plastic Bags – RCC Working with Nova Scotia Government on Provincial Solution
PrintJanuary 23, 2018Last week, Halifax Regional Council voted against a motion to ban…

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For members with stores in Alberta: Used Oil Program Amalgamated into Alberta Recycling

For members with stores in Alberta: Used Oil Program Amalgamated into Alberta Recycling
PrintJanuary 19, 2018The Government of Alberta has determined that the used oil materials recycling program, currently managed by the Alberta Used Oil Management A…

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For members with stores in Victoria: City of Victoria bans plastic bags, regulates paper and reusable bags

For members with stores in Victoria: City of Victoria bans plastic bags, regulates paper and reusable bags
PrintJanuary 12, 2018The City of Victoria has passed a bylaw which, effective July 1, 2018, would:
• ban the distribution of single-use plastic s…

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For members with stores in Alberta: Significant Changes to Workers’ Compensation Act and Occupational Health and Safety Act

For members with stores in Alberta: Significant Changes to Workers’ Compensation Act and Occupational Health and Safety Act

Print

December 1, 2017

Alberta’s NDP Government introduced Bill 30 this week, an Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans.  The legislation proposes amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, as well as Workers’ Compensation Act, and is intended to enhance employee rights, as well as expand compensation and benefits for injured workers.

The government plans to push the legislation through in its entirety within the next couple weeks, limiting debate. If passed, the Minister of Labour anticipates much of the changes to WCB would take effect January 1, 2018, with the majority of OHS changes taking effect June 1, 2018. Some of the more complex aspects would be rolled out later in 2018.

Changes to the WCB system will cost an additional $94.5 million annually, funded using the agency’s Accident Fund, established using surplus employer premiums.  The fund currently contains approximately $10.5 billion and RCC has long advocated for these funds to be rebated to employers.

OVERVIEW:

Key proposed changes to the WCB system:

• Remove the cap for maximum insurable earnings, currently set at $98,700 per year, so that injured workers earning above this rate would be able to receive 90% of their annual earnings.
• Create a lump-sum fatality benefit of $90,772.20 for family of workers who die on the job.
• Provide WCB appeals commission two years to launch formal reviews (currently one year).
• Create a fair practices office to help workers navigate the WCB system.
• Extend coverage for psychological injuries, PTSD, for all occupations.

Key proposed changes to the OHS Act:

• Enshrining the right for employees to refuse dangerous work, bringing Alberta into line with other Canadian provinces. Employees would still be paid while their refusal to work is investigated.
• Employers with 20 or more workers will be required to create a joint work site health and safety committee if work lasts 90 days or more. Smaller employers with five to 19 workers will need to have a health and safety representative. Alberta is currently the only province without such committees.
• A serious injury would be reported when a worker is admitted to hospital. Currently, the threshold for reporting a serious injury is a two-day hospitalization.
• Employers will be required to report “near miss” incidents to OHS, referring to a situation that might have caused serious injury but didn’t.
• Definitions for workplace violence and harassment will be expanded to include threats and coercion.
• OHS laws will be reviewed every five years.

NEXT STEPS:

• RCC will actively follow the progress of the legislation over the next couple of weeks.
• RCC will write Labour Minister Christina Gray to outline the retail industry’s concerns with the Government’s use of rebatable employer premiums to fund this program. We will also be highlighting our concerns with the additional red tape and regulation created, and overall impact additional costs have on our sector’s competitiveness.
• RCC will reach out to other business stakeholders to ensure we share our concerns.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact: John Graham, Director, Government Relations (Prairie Region) at 204.926.8624 or jgraham@retailcouncil.org

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For Members with stores in Alberta: Alberta Consumer Protection Legislation Introduced

For Members with stores in Alberta: Alberta Consumer Protection Legislation Introduced

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December 1, 2017

As anticipated, on November 29, 2017 the Alberta Government introduced Bill 31, A Better Deal for Consumers and Businesses Act, designed to level the playing field for Alberta businesses and improve protections for Albertans making buying decisions.

RCC has been actively involved in the consultation process and was successful in addressing all elements of concern, including those that would have potentially seen the regulation of standardized pricing, return, and refund policies.  

Bill 31 introduces a Consumer Bill of Rights intended to better inform and protect consumers making purchasing decisions, including those buying or repairing a car, buying concert tickets, taking out a loan or getting medical care for their pets.  The legislation will also result in the renaming of the Fair Trading Act to the Consumer Protection Act, to focus the purpose of the act more clearly.

Features of Bill 31:

Online Ticket sales: New rules will prohibit the use of software (i.e., bots) for purchasing tickets and require secondary sellers and ticketing platforms to provide a full refund if the event is cancelled or a ticket is counterfeit or invalid.

Car Sales and Repairs: New rules will require sellers to disclose a vehicle’s history and provide a standard bill of sale. Auto repair shops will be expected to provide minimum warranty protections and provide written estimates in advance of the work being completed.

Veterinary services:  New protections for pet owners will be introduced, including requiring the disclosure of all fees before administering any veterinary services or treatments for household pets (excluding emergencies).

High-Cost Credit Products:  Protections for borrowers of high-cost credit products (defined as 32% plus) will be established, including the use of standard contract formats so that consumers can better understand the nature of high cost credit, and the establishment of licensing requirements for high-interest lenders.

Fairness Between Consumers and Businesses:
• New rules will restrict unilateral amendments to contracts without informing the consumer, and provide consumers with the option of cancelling the agreement;
• Disallow clauses that prevent consumers from posting negative business reviews;
• Allow consumers who file a complaint in good faith or issue a negative review to better protect themselves from legal recourse;
• Enable Government to publicly release information about charges, convictions and other enforcement actions taken under the act.

Once the legislation passes, Service Alberta is expected to move forward with the development of regulations during the first half of 2018.  

Next Steps:

• RCC will remain activity involved throughout the draft regulation process.
• RCC will also work with the government to ensure support is made available for members that require guidance in the amendment of there current business practices.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact: John Graham, Director, Government Relations (Prairie Region) at 204.926.8624 or jgraham@retailcouncil.org

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Holiday Shopping brought to you by York Region

Holiday Shopping brought to you by York Region

Print

November 24, 2017

Effective January 1, 2018, retailers will be able to be open for business in York Region on all statutory holidays except Christmas Day.  This is a significant change as previously retailers had to be closed for statutory holidays based on the provincial Retail Business Holiday Act unless a tourist exemption was granted.  York Region is the third largest in Ontario comprised of Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, New Market Richmond Hill Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.

This decision represents an important municipal change in direction as it supports RCC’s approach that retailers should be deciding at their discretion whether to be open on statutory holidays without restrictions imposed by governments.  RCC expects other municipalities to review bylaws that address holiday shopping.
Recently the City of Toronto missed an opportunity to change its Holiday Shopping bylaw and amended only the definition for prepared food.  This was in response to a court case that resulted from a grocery retailer being open on a statutory holiday in the City of Toronto.  RCC tried to get City Council to consider a much broader review of the bylaw without success.

Next Steps:

Peel region, the second largest in the Province, will be conducting consultations on their shopping bylaw in the first half of 2018.  RCC will be participating in those consultations and will pursue the position of letting business decide when to be open as the retail environment is constantly evolving and retailers must adapt to stay relevant in the marketplace.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact: Gary Rygus, Director, Government Relations (Ontario) at (416) 467-3744

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For members with stores in Ontario: Ontario Government Legislates Minimum Wage Changes

For members with stores in Ontario: Ontario Government Legislates Minimum Wage Changes

Print

November 23, 2017

As anticipated, the Ontario Legislature yesterday passed Bill 148, which enacts the January 1, 2018 minimum wage increase to $14/hour, the January 1, 2019 increase to $15/hour and other measures related to the Employment Standards Act and Labour Relations Act.  Given the Liberal majority in the Ontario Legislature, the implementation of the changes contained in Bill 148 has been a foregone conclusion since they were first announced in Spring 2017.

Retail Council of Canada continues to be strongly critical of the pace of the minimum wage change and was the first Ontario business association to appear on the issue on the opening day of the Finance Committee hearings in Thunder Bay.  RCC has worked with the Keep Ontario Working coalition, along with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Franchise Association, Restaurants Canada and 11 other associations in expressing our deep concern about a 30%+ increase to the minimum wage over a mere 18 months.

At the same time, recognizing the inevitability of passage of Bill 148 by a majority government, and the government’s determination to promote the $15/hour message through advertising and in all public pronouncements, RCC developed a three-phased strategy for engagement: seeking concessions in the pre-impact period (i.e., announced prior to January 1, 2018); further mitigation in the run-up to the next provincial budget expected in March or April 2018; and lastly, slowing the pace of adoption of the second increase from $14/hour to $15/hour, following the next election, which will be held on June 7, 2018.
Jointly with Restaurant Canada, RCC met with the senior decision-makers from both Government and Opposition and launched a website campaign, www.protectfirstjobs.com, knowing that younger workers are particularly vulnerable to major changes to the minimum wage and that this is an important socio-economic and political constituency for the Liberal government.  In its Fall Economic Statement, released on November 14, the government announced some modest measures targeted at small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs), including a reduction in the small business tax rate from 4.5% to 3.5% and a $2,000 incentive for hiring and retention of each new young worker hired under age 30.
While RCC will continue to advocate that the incentive should apply more broadly than to new hires and SMEs, RCC notes that a $2,000 incentive covers 40% of the first-year impact of the minimum wage increase on the cost of hiring a young full-time employee (and a greater percentage of the incremental cost of new part-time employees). 

Going forward into 2018, RCC will push for the expansion of this program through the next provincial budget, along with other measures to help mitigate the effects that Bill 148 may have on employment, prices and business earnings.  The opportunity will also exist to raise retail industry concerns in the platform development process leading in to the election.
Our third-phase of activity looks at the longer term and the potential to slow the pace of the second hike from $14/hour to $15/hour.  The Progressive Conservative party has already committed to phase this in at $0.25 a year over four years, see: https://www.ontariopc.ca/fall_economic_statement_shows_ontario_families_deserve_a_more_responsible_approach_to_the_economy_ontario_pcs – a rate roughly comparable to annual indexation at the level of inflation, which was the method used in Ontario prior to the Government’s Spring 2017 announcement.  This would require new legislation if the Progressive Conservative Party forms the next Government of Ontario.

The other measures contained in Bill 148 are too numerous to address in a Member Notice but are well-summarized at the Ministry of Labour website: https://www.ontario.ca/page/plan-fair-workplaces-and-better-jobs-bill-148.  Retail Council will issue further guidance on the new legislation once all implementation details are settled, including the review currently underway of exceptions to certain provisions of the Employment Standards Act.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact: Karl Littler, Vice-President, Public Affairs at 416-467-3783 or klittler@retailcouncil.org

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For members with stores in Ontario: Ontario Government Legislates Minimum Wage Changes

For members with stores in Ontario: Ontario Government Legislates Minimum Wage Changes

Print

November 23, 2017

As anticipated, the Ontario Legislature yesterday passed Bill 148, which enacts the January 1, 2018 minimum wage increase to $14/hour, the January 1, 2019 increase to $15/hour and other measures related to the Employment Standards Act and Labour Relations Act.  Given the Liberal majority in the Ontario Legislature, the implementation of the changes contained in Bill 148 has been a foregone conclusion since they were first announced in Spring 2017.

Retail Council of Canada continues to be strongly critical of the pace of the minimum wage change and was the first Ontario business association to appear on the issue on the opening day of the Finance Committee hearings in Thunder Bay.  RCC has worked with the Keep Ontario Working coalition, along with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Franchise Association, Restaurants Canada and 11 other associations in expressing our deep concern about a 30%+ increase to the minimum wage over a mere 18 months.
At the same time, recognizing the inevitability of passage of Bill 148 by a majority government, and the government’s determination to promote the $15/hour message through advertising and in all public pronouncements, RCC developed a three-phased strategy for engagement: seeking concessions in the pre-impact period (i.e., announced prior to January 1, 2018); further mitigation in the run-up to the next provincial budget expected in March or April 2018; and lastly, slowing the pace of adoption of the second increase from $14/hour to $15/hour, following the next election, which will be held on June 7, 2018.
Jointly with Restaurant Canada, RCC met with the senior decision-makers from both Government and Opposition and launched a website campaign, www.protectfirstjobs.com, knowing that younger workers are particularly vulnerable to major changes to the minimum wage and that this is an important socio-economic and political constituency for the Liberal government.  In its Fall Economic Statement, released on November 14, the government announced some modest measures targeted at small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs), including a reduction in the small business tax rate from 4.5% to 3.5% and a $2,000 incentive for hiring and retention of each new young worker hired under age 30.
While RCC will continue to advocate that the incentive should apply more broadly than to new hires and SMEs, RCC notes that a $2,000 incentive covers 40% of the first-year impact of the minimum wage increase on the cost of hiring a young full-time employee (and a greater percentage of the incremental cost of new part-time employees). 
Going forward into 2018, RCC will push for the expansion of this program through the next provincial budget, along with other measures to help mitigate the effects that Bill 148 may have on employment, prices and business earnings.  The opportunity will also exist to raise retail industry concerns in the platform development process leading in to the election.
Our third-phase of activity looks at the longer term and the potential to slow the pace of the second hike from $14/hour to $15/hour.  The Progressive Conservative party has already committed to phase this in at $0.25 a year over four years, see: https://www.ontariopc.ca/fall_economic_statement_shows_ontario_families_deserve_a_more_responsible_approach_to_the_economy_ontario_pcs – a rate roughly comparable to annual indexation at the level of inflation, which was the method used in Ontario prior to the Government’s Spring 2017 announcement.  This would require new legislation if the Progressive Conservative Party forms the next Government of Ontario.
The other measures contained in Bill 148 are too numerous to address in a Member Notice but are well-summarized at the Ministry of Labour website: https://www.ontario.ca/page/plan-fair-workplaces-and-better-jobs-bill-148.  Retail Council will issue further guidance on the new legislation once all implementation details are settled, including the review currently underway of exceptions to certain provisions of the Employment Standards Act.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact: Karl Littler, Vice-President, Public Affairs at 416-467-3783 or klittler@retailcouncil.org

more...

For members with stores in Ontario: Ontario Government Legislates Minimum Wage Changes

For members with stores in Ontario: Ontario Government Legislates Minimum Wage Changes

Print

November 23, 2017

As anticipated, the Ontario Legislature yesterday passed Bill 148, which enacts the January 1, 2018 minimum wage increase to $14/hour, the January 1, 2019 increase to $15/hour and other measures related to the Employment Standards Act and Labour Relations Act.  Given the Liberal majority in the Ontario Legislature, the implementation of the changes contained in Bill 148 has been a foregone conclusion since they were first announced in Spring 2017.

Retail Council of Canada continues to be strongly critical of the pace of the minimum wage change and was the first Ontario business association to appear on the issue on the opening day of the Finance Committee hearings in Thunder Bay.  RCC has worked with the Keep Ontario Working coalition, along with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Franchise Association, Restaurants Canada and 11 other associations in expressing our deep concern about a 30%+ increase to the minimum wage over a mere 18 months.
At the same time, recognizing the inevitability of passage of Bill 148 by a majority government, and the government’s determination to promote the $15/hour message through advertising and in all public pronouncements, RCC developed a three-phased strategy for engagement: seeking concessions in the pre-impact period (i.e., announced prior to January 1, 2018); further mitigation in the run-up to the next provincial budget expected in March or April 2018; and lastly, slowing the pace of adoption of the second increase from $14/hour to $15/hour, following the next election, which will be held on June 7, 2018.
Jointly with Restaurant Canada, RCC met with the senior decision-makers from both Government and Opposition and launched a website campaign, www.protectfirstjobs.com, knowing that younger workers are particularly vulnerable to major changes to the minimum wage and that this is an important socio-economic and political constituency for the Liberal government.  In its Fall Economic Statement, released on November 14, the government announced some modest measures targeted at small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs), including a reduction in the small business tax rate from 4.5% to 3.5% and a $2,000 incentive for hiring and retention of each new young worker hired under age 30.
While RCC will continue to advocate that the incentive should apply more broadly than to new hires and SMEs, RCC notes that a $2,000 incentive covers 40% of the first-year impact of the minimum wage increase on the cost of hiring a young full-time employee (and a greater percentage of the incremental cost of new part-time employees). 
Going forward into 2018, RCC will push for the expansion of this program through the next provincial budget, along with other measures to help mitigate the effects that Bill 148 may have on employment, prices and business earnings.  The opportunity will also exist to raise retail industry concerns in the platform development process leading in to the election.
Our third-phase of activity looks at the longer term and the potential to slow the pace of the second hike from $14/hour to $15/hour.  The Progressive Conservative party has already committed to phase this in at $0.25 a year over four years, see: https://www.ontariopc.ca/fall_economic_statement_shows_ontario_families_deserve_a_more_responsible_approach_to_the_economy_ontario_pcs – a rate roughly comparable to annual indexation at the level of inflation, which was the method used in Ontario prior to the Government’s Spring 2017 announcement.  This would require new legislation if the Progressive Conservative Party forms the next Government of Ontario.
The other measures contained in Bill 148 are too numerous to address in a Member Notice but are well-summarized at the Ministry of Labour website: https://www.ontario.ca/page/plan-fair-workplaces-and-better-jobs-bill-148.  Retail Council will issue further guidance on the new legislation once all implementation details are settled, including the review currently underway of exceptions to certain provisions of the Employment Standards Act.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact: Karl Littler, Vice-President, Public Affairs at 416-467-3783 or klittler@retailcouncil.org

more...

WorkSafeNB Increases Employer Premiums By 15% / Stakeholders Demand Changes to WCAT Policy Making Authority

WorkSafeNB Increases Employer Premiums By 15% / Stakeholders Demand Changes to WCAT Policy Making Authority

Print

November 13, 2017

After an average increase of 33% in employer premiums for 2017, WorkSafeNB announced this fall that rates for 2018 will increase by an average of 15%. Actuarial forecasts pegged the 2018 increase at 60% but WorkSafeNB intervened and artificially lowered the employer rate by dropping WorkSafe’s funding target from 110% to 100% funded. WorkSafeNB Board policy mandates that when the funding level dips below 110%, action must be taken within eight years to bring the funding level back to at least 110%. On its own, this decision will add premium surcharges to employers.

Retail Council of Canada (RCC) continues to work with the Coalition of New Brunswick Employers to not only oppose the increases but to call for legislative change to the province’s Workers’ Compensation Act that would bring balance to the system.

Background:

In 2015, the New Brunswick government created the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal (WCAT). RCC has no issue with a legislated ability for employees to appeal workers’ compensation decisions to an independent WCAT. However, the province’s legislation has not only provided WCAT with the power to overrule WorkSafeNB decisions but with the ability to interpret and nullify WorkSafeNB policy. Further troubling is the fact that there is little in the current legislation to prevent WCAT decisions from being retroactive. WCAT in New Brunswick has more authority than is seen with appeals tribunals anywhere else in Canada. Unlike WorkSafeNB, WCAT does not have a mandate to consider the overall health of the workers’ compensation system and thus, the shortcomings of the current system are being exposed by WCAT decisions. Statistics from the past year show that appeals to WCAT have had a success rate of over 90%. Overruling WorkSafeNB decisions has quickly increased immediate and future costs to the system and thus, to New Brunswick employers.

An example of the impact of WCAT’s policy making decisions is seen in how a compensable injury or disease is determined.  For years, such a determination was based on a preponderance of evidence whereas now, there is a presumption in favour of the worker. Furthermore, the conditions affecting continuation of a loss time claim are now subject to a presumptive standard of evidence. For instance, when employees are on claim, WorkSafeNB is now allowing them to prolong their time off work due to non-compensable intervening conditions (e.g. personal conditions).

These decisions have become the driving force behind the significant increases in benefit costs. Actuarial reports show that without legislative change, significant increases in employer premiums will continue for at least the next two years. Under the current system, New Brunswick could have the second highest benefit costs in Canada by the end of 2018.

Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that must follow strict rules regarding its balance sheet and thus, there is little that can be done without a commitment from government to make legislative change.

Next Steps:

The provincial election in 2018 has regrettably turned the issues with WorkSafeNB into a game of partisan, political rhetoric. The government does not seem interested in introducing legislation that would upset the labour movement in the lead up to next year’s election. Therefore, the prospect of legislative change before 2019 is slim.

The WorkSafeNB Stakeholder Advisory Group has spent much of 2017 examining New Brunswick’s Workers’ Compensation system. The Advisory Group consists of employer and worker representatives. RCC will be appearing before the Advisory Group in November 2017 and will continue to call for legislative change.

RCC will continue to advocate on behalf of members for a workers’ compensation system in New Brunswick that is fair with predictable, affordable and with sustainable costs. Such a system is needed to protect employees, safeguard jobs and improve the business environment.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: Jim Cormier, Director (Atlantic) at:  jcormier@retailcouncil.org or (902) 422-4144

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For members with stores in Manitoba: Government Announces Climate and Green Plan

For members with stores in Manitoba: Government Announces Climate and Green Plan

Print

November 2, 2017

The Manitoba provincial government released its Made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan on October 27, 2017, which is built on the strategic pillars of climate, jobs, water and nature, and includes16 keystones for priority action. 

The province is inviting those interested in providing their feedback to complete a survey. The questionnaire and plan are available at: www.manitobaclimategreenplan.ca

Carbon Pricing:
The plan sets out Manitoba’s approach to carbon pricing, that features a $25 a tonne carbon dioxide levy (five cents for each litre of gasoline), that will remain fixed through 2022.   The levy is expected to go into effect mid-2018.  The rate initially exceeds the Federally established standards ($10 a tonne in 2018 / $20 a tonne in 2019), however will fall short of the national standards in the following three years as the rate grows to $50 a tonne by 2022.  The Federal Environment Minister has expressed her expectations that Manitoba will need to adjust their rate in 2020.

The plan confirms exemptions for agricultural emissions and allows for large industrial emitters to participate in an output based pricing system of performance standards, offsets and credit trading.

Enhanced Waste Diversion Programs
The Climate and Green Plan also calls for expanded organic and non-organic waste diversion efforts.  No timelines have been communicated, however some potentially contentious issues RCC will be addressing, include:

Waste Emissions – Organic
The report indicates that considerations include:
• Implement a landfill disposal ban on organic materials.
• Work with food processors, grocers, hotels, restaurants and other stakeholders to promote best composting practices and provide supports and incentives, research, training and market development.
• Increase the Waste Reduction and Recycling Support landfill levy and use the revenue to support compost facilities.
• Develop a comprehensive food waste reduction and prevention initiative, in partnership with other jurisdictions and key community groups.
• Pursue measures to mitigate methane emissions and enhance methane gas capture at landfills.
• Recycle non-organic materials, especially those containing ozone-depleting substances, is also critical to cutting our carbon footprint and creating sustainable communities.

Waste Emissions – Non-Organic
To enhance diversion of non-organic waste from landfills, considerations include:
• Expand the household hazardous material Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program to include ozone-depleting substances and other halocarbon cylinders, single-use pressurized containers, foam insulation and refillable propane tanks, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, medical sharps and veterinary products.
• Establish new EPR programs for appliances with refrigerants (e.g., fridges, air conditioners, water coolers) and small appliances.
• Implement landfill disposal bans on materials currently managed by product stewardship organizations, starting with electronic waste, batteries, tires, household hazardous waste, beverage containers and cardboard boxes.
• Introduce measures to increase the diversion of construction, renovation and demolition waste such as wood and shingles.

Next Steps:

• RCC has met with Manitoba Sustainable Development and will continue to follow the consultation process.
• RCC will request a meeting Minister Rochelle Squires to outline retail industry viewpoint on waste diversion programs (industry lead, harmonization, results focused).
• RCC will reach out to other business stakeholders to ensure we share our concerns about the broad proposals.

RCC will forward additional materials as they become available.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact: John Graham, Director, Government Relations (Prairie Region) at 204.926.8624 or jgraham@retailcouncil.org

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For members with stores in Alberta: Alberta Consumer Protection Proposals

For members with stores in Alberta: Alberta Consumer Protection Proposals

Print

November 2, 2017

The Alberta NDP Government made a commitment in their March 2, 2017 throne speech to strengthen consumer protection laws and introduce a Consumer Bill of Rights. 

Throughout July, August and September, Service Alberta met with interested stakeholders and consulted Albertans to help inform changes to Alberta’s existing consumer protection laws.  In addition, the Ministry met directly with RCC and other stakeholders to discuss consumer protection issues and possible solutions.
 

Current Status:

Service Alberta is now looking at moving forward with draft legislation that will result in:

1. Renaming the Fair Trading Act to the Consumer Protection Act.

2. Provide the Minister the authority to craft a Consumer Bill of Rights as a policy document intended to bring together all the components in the Consumer Protection Act.  The Consumer Bill of Rights will neither add new nor change existing rights.

3. Give the Minister the authority to require automobile dealerships to disclose key vehicle information to consumers including: requiring a standard bill of sale, the establishment of written estimates, time-dated authorization to proceed and a minimum warranty.

4. New Consumer Protection Act provisions intended to prevent businesses from being able to make unilateral amendments to contracts, providing the customer the ability to terminate the contract and requiring certain measures are undertaken including notice provision.

5. Truth in pricing provisions that would provide government the ability to regulate a standardized pricing, return, and, refund policies.
Government anticipates that the legislation will be introduced in December 2017 with regulations developed during the first half of 2018.

Next Steps:

• RCC will activity follow the progress on the legislation.
• RCC will work with Service Alberta to ensure any concerns are addressed (conflicts with retail scanner accuracy policy, harmonization and flexibility).
• RCC will write Minister Stephanie McLean to outline outstanding retail industry issues once the legislation is introduced.
• RCC will reach out to other business stakeholders to ensure we share our concerns about the proposals.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact: John Graham, Director, Government Relations (Prairie Region) at 204.926.8624 or jgraham@retailcouncil.org
 

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For members with stores in Ontario: 2018 WSIB rate reduction for Ontario retailers- on average a 3% WSIB lower premium

For members with stores in Ontario: 2018 WSIB rate reduction for Ontario retailers- on average a 3% WSIB lower premium

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September 21, 2017

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) announced good news for retailers.  Effective January 1, 2018, an average three percent premium rate reduction for businesses operating in Ontario. This builds on the 6.2 per cent reduction to the average premium rate in 2017. It is expected this will save businesses in Ontario an additional $140 million on an annual basis. This saving will allow businesses to re-invest in their Ontario operations.

Furthermore, the WSIB announced that it has reduced its unfunded liability (UFL) to $2.6 billion and it is expected the UFL will be paid down long before the 2027 timeframe. 

Examples of various rate group changes are below. 

Rate Group 2018 Rate Percentage change over 2017
604 Food, Sales 2.34 -3.0%
606 Grocery & Convenience Stores 2.09 -2.4%
607 Specialty Food Stores 3.21 -7.5%
608 Beer Store 3.59 -7.5%
636 Other Sales 1.32 -6.8%
638 Pharmacies 0.65 -6.2%
641 Clothing Stores 1.37 -7.3%
668 Computer Electronic Sales 0.45 -4.4%

Next Steps:

Retail Council of Canada will continue to work with WSIB to ensure future premium rates are reduced for Ontario retailers.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact: Gary Rygus, Director, Government Relations at 416-467-3744 or grygus@retailcouncil.org

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For members with stores in British Columbia: Vancouver considers strategies to achieve single-use item (shopping bag) reduction

For members with stores in British Columbia: Vancouver considers strategies to achieve single-use item (shopping bag) reduction

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September 14, 2017

The City of Vancouver has released a consultation paper working with the aim of introducing changes to achieve a reduction in the distribution of single-use items including: shopping bags (paper and plastic); take-out containers (including trays for meat and vegetables); and disposable beverage cups.

The proposed actions are found on pages 12 to 14 (in tables 1 to 3).  For shopping bags, these include:

• fees at point of sale (voluntary or regulated)
• shopping bags provided only upon request (voluntary or regulated)
• consumer education (behavior change) programs
• extended producer responsibility (for commercial, institutional and industrial waste – residential waste is already obligated)
• mandatory in-store recycling
• requiring minimum recycled content

Longer term proposals include use restrictions and targeting other single-use bags (including those used for produce, bulk food, dry cleaning, or, umbrellas).

There is a proposal to prohibit the use and sale of polystyrene foam containers for food and beverages as well as a proposal to introduce fees, or deposits, for reusable beverage cups.

Background:

RCC has worked with the City of Vancouver to inform the process and work toward better outcomes for the City, residents and retail businesses.

[The City of Victoria has proposed a ban on all plastic shopping bags (single-use and reusable) and a fee on paper shopping bags to be effective on January 1, 2018.  The City of Victoria is holding a public consultation meeting on September 20 in Victoria.]

Next Steps:

RCC has organized a meeting between the City of Vancouver and retail industry representatives in Montreal on September 27.  Our aim is for the retail industry and the City to work together to build a solution that works for retail and the City.

The City of Vancouver is holding two consultation sessions targeted to the retail industry on October 3 and November 8 as well as many sessions targeted to other stakeholders.  RCC will attend the retail-specific sessions and encourages retailers to attend so that the City understands the impacts upon retail and our customers.  Information can be found on the City’s consultation process here.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact: Greg Wilson, Director, Government Relations (B.C.) at 604-730-5254 or gwilson@retailcouncil.org.

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For members with stores in British Columbia: New BC government updates 2017 budget

For members with stores in British Columbia: New BC government updates 2017 budget

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September 12, 2017

1. The general corporate income tax rate will rise from 11% to 12% on January 1, 2018.  [The budget maintains the small business corporate income tax rate reduced from 2.5% to 2% effective April 1, 2017 (announced in the February 2017 budget).]

2. The carbon tax will rise $5/tonne of CO2e annually for four years beginning April 1, 2018.  [The rate will be $50 per tonne in 2021.]  The requirement for absolute revenue neutrality for the carbon tax is being removed to permit the government to use carbon tax revenue for green initiatives.

3. There is a significant change to Medical Services Plan (MSP) premium reduction.  Now while threshold will rise, there will be a uniform cut of 50% on all MSP premiums on January 1, 2018.  This will improve the operational complexity for employers who pay MSP premiums on behalf of employees.

4. The government will maintain the commitment to phase-out the application of the provincial sales tax on electricity purchases by business.  The PST rate on electricity will be reduced from 7% to 3.5% on a (fall 2017) date to be specified by regulation; the PST on electricity will be eliminated effective April 1, 2019.  [Residential electricity is already provincial sales tax-exempt.]

British Columbia’s minimum wage rises to $11.35/hour on September 15, 2017.  Future increases will be based upon recommendations from the Fair Wages Commission (to be appointed Fall 2017).

Other significant budget updates include: (a) increasing the individual income tax rate on income over $150K from 14.7% to 16.8% on January 1, 2018; (b) initiatives to increase the construction of social housing, increase the number of child care spaces, increase K-12 public education spending, and increase social assistance rates; (c) the elimination of tolling on two highway bridges in Metro Vancouver; increase in spending related to fentanyl and wildfire emergencies; and, (d) initial funding to develop a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy (including a basic income pilot in a local indigenous community).

Background:

The new B.C. government has updated the 2017 provincial budget (which was initially introduced by the previous government in February 2017 but was not passed by the legislature).  The government maintained an operating budget where there is a surplus of revenues over expenditures.  The provincial debt and debt-to-GDP numbers continue to rise when capital expenditures are taken into account.  Total debt will rise to $66.8B at the close of the 2017/18 fiscal year and $69.8B at the close of 2018/19.

In the September (BC NDP) budget, expenses are $1.7B higher than in the February (BC Liberal) budget (at $51.9B versus $50.2B).  [Revenues are $1.6B higher (at $52.4B versus $50.8B).]

The Ministry forecasts that B.C. retail sales will grow 5.9% in 2017, 4% in 2018 and 3.6% annually over the medium term.

Next Steps:

RCC will make a presentation to the B.C. legislature’s standing committee on finance in relation to the spring 2018 provincial budget.  As always, members are invited to provide contributions to the content of the presentation.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact: Greg Wilson, Director, Government Relations (B.C.) at 604-730-5254 or gwilson@retailcouncil.org.

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Municipal bylaws on shopping bags in Quebec: Effective dates

Municipal bylaws on shopping bags in Quebec: Effective dates

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June 29, 2017

Montreal’s Bylaw prohibiting the distribution of certain shopping bags in retail stores will come into effect on January 1st 2018. Many municipalities of the Montreal Metropolitan Community have adopted similar bylaws. 

To facilitate your understanding of the various requirements, RCC has put together a summary of the municipal bylaws on shopping bags that are in effect in the province of Quebec or will be in the next few months.  You will find a list of municipalities, type of bags that are banned and entry into force dates here.

The Quebec government has indicated that it has no intention of imposing a province-wide regulation.  RCC continues to advocate that consumers should be able to choose. If municipalities decide to go ahead with a ban, RCC is asking that they harmonize their regulation with the Montreal bylaw in order to limit confusion amongst consumers and lessen administrative burden for retailers.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: Jean-Luc Benoît, Directeur, Relations gouvernementales (Québec) à jlbenoit@cccd-rcc.org or at (514) 316-8913

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For members with stores in Manitoba: Minimum wage to increase on October 1, 2017, to be indexed to the Consumer Price Index

For members with stores in Manitoba: Minimum wage to increase on October 1, 2017, to be indexed to the Consumer Price Index
PrintMay 17, 2017The Government of Manitoba announced on May 15 that the minimum wage will increase as of October 1, 2017, and w…

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For members with stores in B.C.: WorkSafeBC regulates storage racking

For members with stores in B.C.: WorkSafeBC regulates storage racking

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May 10, 2017

On May 9, WorkSafe BC announced amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation which will take effect on January 1, 2018.

The revised amendment includes all steel shelving over 8 feet or those under 8 feet loaded/unloaded by mechanical means.  It excludes shelving and display fixtures used for retail purposes but will include shelving in non-customer-facing areas, warehouses and distribution centres.

WorkSafe BC’s amendment can be found here: https://www.worksafebc.com/en/resources/law-policy/board-of-directors-decisions/bod-2017-03-30-02?lang=en

Next Steps

RCC will be in contact with both WorkSafeBC and the Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training to outline our concern regarding the wide array of impacted fixtures and the very tight implementation timeline.

Background

WorkSafeBC had published a proposed amendment in early 2017.  RCC and retailers made submissions during consultations which have resulted in the exclusions in the approved regulation.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact: Greg Wilson, Director, Government Relations (B.C.), Retail Council of Canada at +1 (604) 736-0368/1-800-663-5135 or gwilson@retailcouncil.org.

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PEI Balances Budget – Provides Low Income Tax Relief

PEI Balances Budget – Provides Low Income Tax Relief

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April 10, 2017

On April 7, 2017, the Prince Edward Island (PEI) government tabled a provincial budget with a small surplus. This is PEI’s first balanced budget in a decade.

The only tax relief offered in the budget was a small increase in the Basic Personal Income Tax Exemption threshold for 2017.

Retail Council of Canada (RCC) is pleased that the PEI government was finally able to balance its budget. Given the improving financial numbers, retailers are hopeful that future budgets will provide meaningful tax relief to the business sector. In recent years, PEI has lost its regional tax advantage through increases in both corporate and consumption taxes.

The budget noted that PEI’s population is growing at 1.3%, which is the fastest in Atlantic Canada. Average weekly wages grew by 2.3% in 2016, which was the second fastest growth among the provinces. Tourist overnight stays increased 10.2% in 2016 to reach an all-time high for PEI. These statistics bode well for retailers searching for customers.

Background:

Measures bearing on consumer spending or on retail goods and employment include:

Deficit / Debt: The deficit for the 2016-17 fiscal year is $17.9 million. For 2017-18, the government is projecting a $600 thousand surplus on a budget of $1.8 billion. The debt for 2016-17 is almost $2.2 billion for a population of only 148 thousand people.

Taxes: The budget also featured an increase of two percent in the personal tax exemption. The threshold moved from $8,000 to $8,160, which is still the lowest in the country. The spouse and equivalent to spouse amounts will also be adjusted by two percent.

RCC welcomes the balanced budget but remains concerned that Departmental spending exceeded budgetary estimates by an average of almost two percent.

Real GDP: growth is expected to be 1.4% for 2016 and at 1.3% for 2017.

Health: $600,000 to implement a Universal Influenza Immunization Program. This builds on the current program, which is only for children.

Next Steps:

RCC will congratulate the government for eliminating the deficit but will remind the government of the need to keep Departmental expenditures in check. RCC will continue to push the government on the need to provide corporate and HST tax relief to the retail community.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: Jim Cormier, Director (Atlantic) at:  jcormier@retailcouncil.org or (902) 422-4144

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Urgent notice for members with stores in Saskatchewan – Saskatchewan PST raised to 6% at midnight tonight.

Urgent notice for members with stores in Saskatchewan – Saskatchewan PST raised to 6% at midnight tonight.

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March 22, 2017

Today’s Saskatchewan provincial budget raises the PST to 6% at midnight tonight. 

http://www.finance.gov.sk.ca/budget17-18/BG-FinanceRevenueTax2017-18.pdf

Also, tobacco taxes are being raised effective midnight tonight.

RCC was not consulted or informed of this tax increase or implementation timing in advance of today’s budget.

RCC Action:

RCC will be providing members with a full analysis of 2017 budget tomorrow.

To view the 2017 Saskatchewan budget papers, click here: http://www.finance.gov.sk.ca/Default.aspx?DN=698300f9-2726-4ae3-bb59-87a193b78090

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: Lanny McInnes, Director –  Government Relations (Prairies) at: lmcinnes@retailcouncil.org or 204-253-1654

 

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Norovirus outbreak continues: Public Health Agency of Canada updates advisory on consumption of raw or lightly-cooked oysters

Norovirus outbreak continues: Public Health Agency of Canada updates advisory on consumption of raw or lightly-cooked oysters

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March 10, 2017

On January 13, the BC Centre for Disease Control issued an advisory regarding a norovirus outbreak connected with the consumption of raw or lightly-cooked oysters harvested from British Columbia waters.

The norovirus outbreak is still ongoing, and the Public Health Agency of Canada has assumed responsibility for this file, as the outbreak has now spread to Alberta and Ontario.

No health authority has issued a ban on the sale or consumption of oysters at this date.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) notice and information on the outbreak can be found here: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/phn-asp/2017/outbreak-norovirus-eclosion-eng.php

Although there are media stories on the issue, RCC has still not received any media inquiries on this topic. Members are welcome to forward any inquiries to RCC.

Next Steps:

RCC will continue to monitor the outbreak.  We will update members as required.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: Greg Wilson, Director, Government Relations (B.C.) at: gwilson@retailcouncil.org or 604-736-0368.

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For members with stores in B.C.: Proposed WorkSafeBC regulation regarding steel fixtures, shelving and storage racking

For members with stores in B.C.: Proposed WorkSafeBC regulation regarding steel fixtures, shelving and storage racking

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February 23, 2017

WorkSafeBC announced decisions regarding proposed amendments but did not proceed with proposed amendments on steel storage racking at this time.  RCC has been advised that WorkSafeBC will hold further consultations to better define what fixtures would be impacted by such a regulation.

Next Steps

RCC will continue to work with WorkSafeBC towards the creation of a sound regulatory proposal.  We will continue both to update members on this file.  We are grateful to members for their continuing assistance as members have significant appropriate subject-matter expertise.

Background

In early 2016, WorkSafeBC circulated proposed amendments to B.C.’s Occupational Health and Safety regulation which would have impacted all steel fixtures in workplaces across B.C.  The proposed change would have impacted all steel fixtures in stores including those in customer-facing areas. 

RCC and our members are very supportive of measures to protect the safety of employees in the retail industry.  The implications of the proposed regulation were considerable and no research had been undertaken regarding the impact of the proposals.  RCC asked WorkSafeBC to exclude steel fixtures in retail stores from the proposed regulation until those impacts could be fully understood.

Essentially, stores would have been required to ensure that all fixtures were assembled, installed, regularly maintained and used in accordance with good engineering practice.  This could have resulted in the replacement, not only of non-compliant fixtures, but also of a very significant number where there was no, or insufficient, documentation regarding the assembly, installation, maintenance and capacity of the fixtures.

In late spring 2016, WorkSafeBC amended their proposal to specifically exclude shelving and display fixtures used for retail purposes but specifically include storage racking in warehouse stores.  RCC expressed the concern to WorkSafeBC that the revised proposal would include storage shelving not only in warehouses, distribution centres and warehouse stores, but also in non-customer-facing areas of every retail store in B.C.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact: Greg Wilson, Director, Government Relations (B.C.), Retail Council of Canada at +1 (604) 736-0368/1-800-663-5135 or gwilson@retailcouncil.org.

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Do you sell child safety gates? Baby gate recall underway

Do you sell child safety gates? Baby gate recall underway

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October 17, 2016

Member Update / Impact:

Toronto, October 18, 2016 – RCC has received notice that “KidCo Angle Mount Wood Safeway” safety gates and “Madison Mill Foldaway Gates” have been recalled by the manufacturers for not meeting Canadian safety requirements. The products were available at various retailers and online since January of 2012. 

RCC has also received advance notice that additional recalls are likely to be issued later this week.

All affected products should be withdrawn.

Health Canada is not aware of any reports of incidents or injuries related to the use of these gates in Canada.

For further information on what products are affected, please refer to Health Canada’s website:

http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/recall-alert-rappel-avis/hc-sc/2016/60556r-eng.php

http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/recall-alert-rappel-avis/hc-sc/2016/60578r-eng.php

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: Jason McLinton, Senior Director, Federal Government Relations at: jmclinton@retailcouncil.org or 613-656-7903

Pour les informations en français, cliquez ici + ici

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For grocery retailers in Quebec: Government intends to reintroduce mandatory identification of fruits and vegetables from Quebec

For grocery retailers in Quebec: Government intends to reintroduce mandatory identification of fruits and vegetables from Quebec

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August 11, 2016

Following the revoking of the Regulation respecting fresh fruits and vegetables, effective since August 4th, certain producers from Quebec voiced their displeasure at the disappearance of the mandatory identification of fruits and vegetables coming from Quebec.

On Wednesday August 10th, Mr. Pierre Paradis, minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ) announced that he intends to reintroduce the measure (in French only). For now, he has not specified when it would be reintroduced and what would be the exact nature of the measure.

The minister will use the Sommet sur l’alimentation this fall to establish a consensus aligned with the concerns of every actor in the food industry regarding origin of products identification, as well as issues regarding labeling, transparency and consumers trust.

Our sources in MAPAQ told us that the disappearance of the obligation to identify the country of origin of fruits and vegetables that are not similar to those grown in Quebec would remain (for example, pineapples).

Please note that the revoking of the Regulation respecting fresh fruits and vegetables is maintained. To learn more about the regulation applied until the measure of the mandatory identification of fruits and vegetables coming from Quebec is reintroduced, please see the analysis prepared by Carole Fortin, Director of government relations and public affairs, Grocery division.

Next steps:
• Follow closely further developments on the issue
• Respond to all questions asked during the transition period
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact Carole Fortin, Director of government relations and public affairs, Grocery division at cfortin@cccd-rcc.org or 514-316-7813

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