News release

No Sunday Shopping

Nova Scotia will continue to prohibit shopping on Sundays and designated holidays. Justice Minister Michael Baker today advised that retailers will be required to adhere to the conditions in the Retail Business Uniform Closing Day Act.

"After much debate and discussion, we feel this is the right decision for Nova Scotia," said Mr. Baker. "While there are some individuals across the province who may not agree, in our view there is no clear consensus on year-round Sunday openings."

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business recently encouraged members to make their views known on the issue. The vast majority of their members -- which includes the majority of small and medium business operators -- indicated their desire to maintain the status quo. Many workers in the retail sector have also expressed their opposition to Sunday shopping, and their concerns that there would be inadequate protection for those who choose not to work.

Among those who expressed support for some form of deregulation, opinions differ as to whether stores should remain open year-round, from August to December, or just Sundays prior to Christmas.

The Red Tape Reduction Task Force recommended that municipalities be given the responsibility to regulate Sunday shopping. That recommendation was rejected on several fronts. Many municipalities expressed concerns that an uneven playing field would be created, and there would be a negative impact on rural communities should urban centres remain open. As well, municipalities felt the issue should remain a provincial responsibility. The province has agreed.

"We have made a decision," said Mr. Baker. “We intend to stick by it. That is why we will not consider any legislative changes until 2005. “It’s time the debate was brought to a conclusion."

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Nova Scotia will continue to prohibit shopping on Sundays and holidays. Justice Minister Michael Baker made the announcement today.

Mr. Baker advised that retailers will be required to adhere to the conditions in the Retail Business Uniform Closing Day Act.

He also said the government will not consider any legislative changes until 2005, and it is time the debate was brought to an end.

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Contact:

Michele McKinnon
Department of Justice 902-424-6811 E-mail: