At least 10 Sears Canada stores in Ontario opened their doors to the public yesterday, even though the provincial government warned the company it would be against the law to do so on Victoria Day.
Canada’s second-largest department store chain had said it planned to hold special “private by-invitation-only” charity events, which it believed would be legal as an exemption under the province’s Retail Business Holidays Act. But the provincial government said that wasn’t a valid exemption and the only stores that could open legally were those in designated tourist areas.
Stores in Belleville, Brockville, Cobourg, Cornwall, Sarnia, St. Catharines, Windsor and some in the Toronto area were open for business. Some stores turned away customers that didn’t have special invitations handed out during the week.
Fines for violating the retail act could range between $500 up to $50,000 but Greg Dennis, a spokesman for the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, said it was completely up to the police to act on complaints from the public. He said the government would not get involved in enforcing the legislation.