Retail Workers’ Rights

Most retail workers only have the minimum protections guaranteed by law.  Retail workers’ rights vary greatly depending on where they live and work, and it is important to know all your rights.  Labour law and public policy likely exist both provincially/regionally and federally/nationally.  For example, in Ontario, all retail workers are protected by the Employment Standards Act as well as the Canada Labour Code.

Here you will find relevant laws for each Canadian province: Canadian Employment and Labour Standards by Province

Here is a useful resource page about workers’ rights in Canada overall:  Work Rights

Dr. David Doorey is a labour law expert and his web site contains many resources: Law of Work

You can find many employment law resources on this youth focused site: Youth and Work

If you are a member of a union, you will also be protected by a collective agreement negotiated by your co-workers, your union representatives, and your employer.  The agreement will outline rights and benefits above those stipulated in labour law. These could include paid sick days and/or vacations, wage increases, standards for hiring and advancement, and so on. Speak to your steward or a union representative about any questions or concerns.  Even if you are not in a union, you can call one with questions or for confidential advice.  See the list of retail workers’ organizations for help.


2 thoughts on “Retail Workers’ Rights

  1. So I am “meat clerk” by definition but are resopnible for ensuring orders are correct and on time, filing all empty shelves ensuring no shelve spaces are empty while maintaing frozen,deli and fresh and do all this in my 8 -12 hour day. Oh well, just another day to ensure i get paid – who cares if If I was really sick all day yesterday – on my day off – finallay – and today sick but a trooper – had to work!

  2. A fuse that often lights the fire of collective action is a bad store manager. In response, a common employer tactic is to pretend to “fire” the store manager. For a few thousand bucks up front, union-busting law firms (I’m lookin at you Hicks Morley) give this “advice” to employers. Of course, the store manager has actually gone on a mandatory vacation until the organizing campaign blows over or is defeated. For many years, this was a common tactic of HBC union-busters every time Zellers workers chose to fight back. The strategy was used by thift chain Talize a few weeks ago when workers at the Brampton store began organizing. Thankfully, it back-fired for the company. The workers won their union certification vote!

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