The Manitoba government introduced legislation Friday removing restrictions for Sunday and holiday shopping hours.
Instead, it would be up to each municipality or city to set restrictions around shopping hours.
“Manitoba is currently the only western province that restricts retail businesses from operating on Sundays and holidays,” said Finance Minister Scott Fielding.
“Many Manitobans support allowing businesses to set their own hours, and we want to give Manitobans more freedom and flexibility on when they buy groceries.”
The rules have recently come under fire when a local grocer opened on holidays despite restrictions. He was hit with a $10,000 fine and went public with his concerns.
“It’s time to modernize our outdated and complicated shopping laws, and remove approximately 40 regulatory requirements to reduce red tape for businesses, said Fielding.
The legislation has not been passed and current rules remain in place for now. Remembrance Day will be an exemption from the new legislation, and workers’ rights to refuse to work on Sundays will also remain.
“We are pleased to see that the Pallister government is listening to the Manitoba labour movement and working families by maintaining the right of retail workers to refuse work on Sundays,” said Kevin Rebeck, president of the Manitoba Federation of Labour in a statement.
At a time when work-life balance is an increasing concern to all Manitobans, this is an important right that allows workers to have some time off with their families on weekends.