Business

Walmart, Loblaw and Save-On-Foods hiring to keep up with grocery demand

To keep up with high demand for pick-up and delivery, Walmart Canada, Loblaw and Save-On-Foods say they plan on hiring a lot of new workers at their stores and distribution centres to keep up with demand.

Walmart Canada says employees are working around the clock to replenish shelves

Walmart Canada says even though pick up and delivery demand is high, the company has plenty of food and supplies. (David J. Phillip/Associated Press)

Walmart Canada, Save-On-Foods and Loblaw say they need more workers to keep up with demand, as Canadians stock up on household staples to get through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company says it's immediately hiring 10,000 associates at its stores and distributions centres.

In a tweet, Save-On-Foods says it's hiring temporary workers for its grocery stores in western Canada.

In a video posted online, Save-On-Foods president Darrell Jones, encouraged customers to shop normally and avoid panic-buying to ease demand. 

"It is not business as usual," said Jones. 

Jones says increased use of the company's online delivery service has resulted in intermittent outages on the website.

"I'm urging our customers who are able to shop in-store to do so, and leave the delivery option available for those who aren't able to get to the store," said Jones.

$2 an hour wage hike, too

In addition to new hires, the company is planning on rewarding its existing workers with a raise, too. 

"As an appreciation for the team's dedication and effort during this uncertain time, we have provided our team members with a $2.00 per hour bonus for every hour worked and we will assess continued payment of these bonuses on a weekly basis," Jones told CBC News in an email.

Save-On-Foods stores will stay open, but with reduced hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with an additional one hour of shopping at 7 a.m. available to seniors, people with disabilities and those most vulnerable, to allow for more social distancing.

Save-On-Foods says online delivery service has resulted in intermittent outages on the chain's website. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Walmart also plans to keep all of its stores open, according to the company's CEO in a statement released Friday.

"We're working with all levels of government to ensure grocers and pharmacies will be there for Canadian families," said Horacio Barbeito, President and CEO of Walmart Canada.

Barbeito wants to reassure Canadians that, even though pick up and delivery demand is high, the company has plenty of food and supplies. 

"Our teams are working around the clock to replenish our shelves to deal with demand," said Barbeito in the statement.

Here are other changes Walmart shoppers need to know:

  • The opening hour of stores will be dedicated exclusively to seniors, the disabled and those with vulnerable health conditions
  • Some stores are limiting quantities per customer to ensure there are more products available for more customers
  • Walmart.ca will now allow grocery home deliveries to be left outside a home
'If there are people looking to be employed and paid right now, maybe we can help each other out,' Loblaw said of its hiring plans. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

In Atlantic Canada, Loblaw grocery chain is looking for more workers to help assist the current team and give them a break.

"In order to keep things running smoothly, we need a full team in stores and distribution centres," said Mark Wilson, head of Human Resources for Loblaw and Shoppers Drug Mart.

Wilson said in a statement to CBC News that it's unclear how many more people the grocer needs right now, but wants anyone who's interested to apply.

"If there are people looking to be employed and paid right now, maybe we can help each other out," said Wilson.