Recent discussions surrounding shopping regulations too often ignore the additional protection brought in for many workers in the retail sector. In July, the government proclaimed amendments to the Labour Standards Code that protected workers in retail businesses that historically have been closed by law on uniform closing days — essentially Sundays and holidays. The most notable effect of that legislation was that grocers operating a retail sales area greater than 4,000 square feet must offer their employees the right to refuse to work on Sundays and holidays. However, it also applies to some other retailers. That has not changed one iota. I know that recently there has been particular concern about Boxing Day. It is widely anticipated that retailers will open this Boxing Day, as they do in most other provinces, and workers fear they will be forced to work on a day they have traditionally spent with their families. The Labour Standards Code and related legislation are complex — because the workplace is complex — but I can say in general that protections are in place for these workers. With very few exceptions, retail workers who have not previously had to work on uniform closing days have a right to refuse to work on those days. If they have already been scheduled to work a uniform closing day, they need only provide seven days’ notice to their employer of their decision to refuse. That includes Boxing Day. Retail workers who have the right to refuse to work are protected against retaliation and can be ordered reinstated with back pay if their employment is terminated or reduced because they refuse. That said, I would add that the Department of Environment and Labour has not received any such complaints to date, although we encourage workers who feel they are being treated unfairly to contact us. With the exception of Remembrance Day, Nova Scotia has moved to a system where the market will decide what stores are open and when. It is important that employees and employers understand the rules. If you have questions or complaints, please contact the Labour Standards Division of the Department of Environment and Labour at 424-4311, or toll-free at 888-315-0110. -30- NOTE TO EDITORS: The following is an op-ed piece by Mark Parent,Minister of Environment and Labour.
“It is a pipe dream,” he said and added that those who make such announcements do so with the intention of creating fear among the bureaucrats and law enforcement officials who are investigating into bribery, corruption and other misdeeds.The President said while it is necessary to punish the corrupt, what is more important is to create conducive socio-political conditions as well as legal and constitutional provisions to ensure that such corruption and malpractices would not take place in the future. When a media correspondent asked about the resolution passed by the Northern Provincial Council calling for a federal solution, the President said anybody could pass any resolution, but the Government will never allow Sri Lanka to be divided or bifurcated or allow any harm to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation. (Colombo Gazette) The President said that he had asked British Prime Minister David Cameron when he met him at the CHOGM in Malta to help us to get the fish import ban lifted and restore GSP Plus concession. “I am glad that we managed to get the ban on fish exports to EU lifted and I have received some positive indications that the call for GSP Plus also be considered favourably”. The President said that the Government enacted the 19th Amendment to the Constitution exactly a year ago on April 27, 2015 to establish the Constitutional Council and eight other independent councils to strengthen democratic practices in the country. He said he was determined to continue these steps to ensure a healthy political culture in Sri Lanka. Addressing the heads of media institutions at the President’s House in Colombo today, President Sirisena said that although some people with vested interests were talking about forming a new Government soon, there is not even a semblance of a chance for a Government change as none of the parties represented in the Parliament could get the majority support. President Maithripala Sirisena said the top most priority of the Government is to create legal, constitutional and political conditions in Sri Lanka to ensure that corrupt, rotten, autocratic regimes will not come to power in the future.He said that such undemocratic regimes of family nepotism was a curse on the nation and the way the state resources and finances were swindled is unthinkable. Recalling the reasons for leaving the Government in November 2014 to be the common candidate at the Presidential Election, he said that the way corruption, family rule, misdeeds and abuse of public property had spread, he thought that he would be committing a major sin against the nation and the people if he had remained a partner in that government.“Although I had only 40 days to campaign, over 6.2 million people voted for me because they looked upon us to form an exemplary democratic, righteous government. Because the people held very high hopes of an exemplary government, they expected quick results. But we have inherited a very rough, broken, dilapidated pathway and, our progress became slow. However, we are courageously forging ahead and our determination to fulfill the promises given to the people remain unchanged,” he said.Answering questions, the President said that the Government is fully committed to media freedom. He urged the media to act freely and impartially and stand on issues in the interest of the nation. He said that there were complaints by two electronic media institutions that another media outlet has abused the guidelines and regulations listed in the licenses issued by the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission and it was necessary to bring these concerns to the notice of the errant party. The TRC will have to ensure that the guidelines and regulations are adhered to, he said.