Ontario judge rejects appliance store’s attempt to stay open during lockdown
Many retail store owners in regions of Ontario that are currently on lockdown are outraged that they have been forced to close for personal purchases while large stores have been allowed to stay open, and some have even tried to fight it – with little success so far.
A judge in Ontario ruled this week that the Canadian Appliance Source business, like everyone else, must continue to obey the rules after the company claimed it should qualify as a hardware store, and therefore an essential service.
Under the provincial lockdown restrictions, only certain “essential” retail stores can remain open for personal purchases, including supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, hardware stores, other grocery stores, beer / wine and liquor stores, pharmacies, and security supplies stores, and pet stores .
Big box stores like Home Depot, which sell hardware products as well as appliances similar to Canadian Appliance Source’s, are therefore allowed to serve customers personally, and many have called this unfair, stating that it enables big companies that sell this – essentials Products referred to as an advantage.
The Canadian Appliance Store now operates five retail stores in Toronto and the Peel Region, both of which are currently closed. Three of those five locations were recently closed by statute officials.
The company then challenged the orders, claiming they had actually sold hardware items and should be allowed to remain open as an essential service. However, Judge Paul Perell has ruled that the Canadian Appliance Store tried to imprecisely expand the definition of a hardware store.
In rejecting the lockdown challenge, the court rules that Canadian Appliance Source is not a hardware store, citing Mark Twain and Lewis Carrol. I was not aware of the Alice in Wonderland theory of legal interpretation! Https://t.co/R8MrSstYSW
– Richard Sinclair (@Rdsinclair) December 17, 2020
“Cdn Appliance sells refrigerators, freezers, stoves, hobs, ovens, microwaves, kitchen ventilation equipment, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, air conditioners, grills and other household appliances,” the decision said.
“Canadian Appliance does not sell building materials (lumber, masonry), building materials (nails, screws, etc.), fasteners, hand tools, power tools, plumbing supplies, electrical accessories, cleaning supplies, small housewares, utensils and plumbing supplies.”
And at the end of the day, the judge said Ontario did not provide a mandatory definition of home improvement store, implying that “the legislation meant a retail store that a person through collective experience and observation would recognize as a hardware store.”
Perell said this does not include the Canadian appliance source.
“Legislators intended to read the words hardware store, that is, to understand it in the ordinary sense,” Perell wrote.
“Legislation has given no particular meaning to the words ‘hardware store’ and has only used these words in their conventional everyday sense.”
According to the ruling, Canadian Appliance Source operates 29 locations in six provinces and gets 80 percent of its business from walk-in customers, with an average of 30 customers visiting each showroom per day.
Pedestrian traffic is also typically busier in the months of November and December when the company does its sales on Black Friday and before Christmas. This means the lockdown will have a significant impact on Canadian Appliance Source sales this year.
“If I criticize the Cdn Appliance arguments, it does not mean that I agree with the Ontario and Toronto arguments that a hardware store and supply chain store should have narrow and limited meaning because of the serious threat to public health,” Perells said Decision.
“The intention of the legislature was simply to give the words of the regulation their conventional and natural and expected meaning.”
That decision comes after Hudson’s Bay recently announced plans to tackle lockdown restrictions by asking provincial courts to formally review current measures banning in-person shopping in stores and malls.