Regulating Retail Business Holiday Shopping

On June 14, 2018, The Regional Municipality of Peel enacted a Holiday Shopping By-law that does not allow retailers to operate on statutory holidays, although there are some exceptions. This by-law was developed to maintain common rest days for all residents and employees in Peel Region.

The Region of Peel Holiday Shopping By-law 34-2018 specifies when retail businesses in Peel Region must close for holidays during the year:

  • New Year's Day
  • Family Day
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Sunday
  • Victoria Day
  • Canada Day
  • Labour Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

Section 4(1) to 4(8) of the by-law also notes that these retailers may remain open on holidays:

  • Small retail establishments less than 3,000 square feet
  • Businesses where the principal business is the pharmacy
  • Special services for gas stations, nurseries and book stores
  • Art galleries
  • Retail businesses for education, recreation and amusement
  • Liquor licensed businesses
  • Tourist establishments
  • Any business explicitly delineated in a designated tourist area as per the local council approved tourism strategy

By-law Highlights:

  • Exemptions: There is no application process that will consider exemptions. If a business meets the exemption criteria based on the definitions provided, it may open on a statutory holiday.
    Businesses that were granted permission, under the Retail Business Holidays Act, to operate on statutory holidays will be grandfathered until further notice. Council asked staff to report to a future Regional Council meeting with options to phase out the grandfathered clauses, which allow current exemptions.
  • Compliance: Peel Police or Ontario Provincial Police can lay charges and prosecute non-compliance with the by-law's provisions and charge fines.


Council enacted this by-law after staff conducted background research and consultations, which included collecting 3,620 surveys completed from January 15 to February 28, 2018 and conducting seven workshops from February 21 to 27, 2018. The workshops included Peel residents and consumers, Business Improvement Areas, the Chambers of Commerce, Boards of Trade, Retail Council of Canada, large retailers, shopping centres, unions, organized labour groups and non-unionized retail workers.

The Province regulates retail holiday closures through the Retail Business Holidays Act (RBHA). It now permits municipalities to establish their own approach to retail holiday openings. Because it enacted this new bylaw, the Region of Peel is exempt from the RBHA and Ontario Regulation 711/91. Businesses must still adhere to the regulations in the Employment Standards Act.

Additional Information:

By-law and Regional Council Direction

Provincial legislation



If you would like further information on the by-law, please contact Region of Peel Planning

Revised: Thursday August 02 2018

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