February holiday sparks backlash from businesses
Groups plead with government to modify bill
Two groups representing thousands of businesses in the province are pleading with the provincial government to modify the bill that creates a holiday in February.
The proposed law would make the third Monday in February a statutory holiday. But business groups see the holiday as an added expense in an already difficult economic time.
"You're asking the retailer, regardless of their size, to pay their employees to sit home for an extra day," said Jim Cormier, with the Retail Business Council of Canada.
The council represents grocery stores, pharmacy chains as well as small shops.
"It's not the time, in our opinion, to be coming in with an extra expense," said Cormier.
He said he wants the holiday put off until the economy improves.
Kelly Regan, the minister behind the bill, said no.
"We said we were going to do it in 2015 and we're giving more than a year's notice. That's what we're going to do," she said.
Regan is also closing the door on a request by the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association.
Luc Erjavec said bars and restaurants are willing to pay time-and-a-half for those who work on the statutory holiday but don't want the added burden of having to pay regular wages to those who are off as well.
"This is one more cost which probably works to $1,000 to $2,000 per operator that they're going to have to write a check for that. You know it's really, really tough for them to swallow," he said.
Regan said stat holidays are called stats because they are with pay.