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Drug stores to stay open this holiday weekend

Friday, April 18, 2014   by: Staff



Easter weekend presents some challenges for consumers and businesses

Retail Business Holidays Act Requires Closures but Offers Some Leeway

Local chamber-member pharmacies, Pharmasave and Shoppers Drug Mart in the Cambrian Mall, will open on Easter Weekend to help alleviate challenges faced by Sault Ste. Marie residents needing to have prescriptions filled during the Good Friday and Easter Sunday statutory holidays.

“The issue first came to our attention in February when the chamber was contacted by city Councillor Susan Myers,” notes Mark Barsanti, chamber president.  “Councillor Myers advised us that she and other various members of city council had been approached by residents regarding challenges in getting prescriptions filled during statutory holidays when most local pharmacies are closed.”

Barsanti explains that the Retail Business Holidays Act identifies nine statutory holidays when retail businesses in Ontario must remain closed.

In addition to Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the act also identifies New Year’s Day, Family Day, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day as well as any other public holiday declared by proclamation of Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services website, businesses found to be in contravention of the act can be fined “$500 for the first offence, $2,000 for a second offence and $5,000 for a third or subsequent offence. Retail outlets may be fined up to $50,000 or the total amount of gross sales for the holiday, whichever is greater.”

Barsanti notes however that there are exemptions to the act.  

He explains that the act does allow certain businesses to remain open such as stores that that sell handicrafts, book or magazine stores that are less than 2,400 square feet with a maximum of three employees, pharmacies under 7,500 square feet, nurseries, flower shops, gardening centres and gas stations.

Stores may also remain open in locations established as tourist areas by specific municipal by-laws.

“In many cases it’s the square footage that provides a challenge” notes Barsanti. “Many pharmacies far exceed the maximum square footage allowed in the act because many pharmacies have moved to a retail format where they provide much more than prescriptions and basic health care goods and services; that presents a challenge because in order to meet the guidelines of the act, large pharmacies would literally have to block or rope-off part of the store in order to ensure that they are operating on a smaller scale within the allowances of the act for the duration of the holiday.”

A letter from the city’s legal department in 2012 confirms that pharmacies in compliance with the square footage requirement by reducing their retail space through closure of aisles would not be fined by city police.

Easter weekend produces added challenges for both retailers and consumers as well.

Because both Good Friday and Easter Sunday are considered statutory holidays under the act, people requiring prescriptions are faced with the reality that pharmacies that close would actually be closed for not one, but two full days within a 72-hour period.

Retailers that choose to open, pharmacy or otherwise, have to budget for paying all staff at statutory holiday rates.

“Combine the square footage limitations and the extra wage costs multiplied by two different stat holidays and it’s easy to see why some businesses might see staying closed as the simpler alterative,” suggests Barsanti. “But that doesn’t address the challenges faced by people in the community needing their prescriptions.”

Earlier this week, the chamber office was advised that Pharmasave would be opening several hours each day over the Easter weekend, in compliance with the guidelines noted in the Retail Business Holidays Act.  

Fellow Chamber of Commerce member pharmacy Shoppers Drug Mart in the Cambrian Mall will also be open.

Pharmasave (658 Second Line W) will be open will be open Good Friday, Saturday April 19 and Easter Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. The Cambrian Mall Shoppers Drug Mart will be open Good Friday, Saturday April 19 and Easter Sunday from 8 a.m. to midnight.

Barsanti notes that it is a good to see that local businesses have stepped up to fill a void in pharmacy service during these days in particular adding that lack of access to medications could be a serious problem and a major inconvenience for so many people.

The chamber would like to remind Sault residents to plan ahead wherever possible and ensure that they have sufficient prescription medications on-hand prior to long weekends and statutory holidays.

Pharmacy set to open on the first holiday in 3 years

A new pharmacy in the city’s west end is set to open Good Friday offering Saultites a place to fill their prescriptions on a holiday.  

West End Pharmasave at 658 Second Line West (the corner of Second Line and Goulais Avenue) will be open from noon-6 p.m.

Currently, patients leaving the Sault Area Hospital on a holiday have to wait until the next day to get their prescriptions filled.

“I’ve been talking to a lot of ER staff and they tell me that there is a huge need for this service,” said Jordan Jack, pharmacist/owner of the pharmacy.

The pharmacy sells a full range of over-the-counter medications and home health care products as well.

“I’m also hoping to take some pressure off the ER by offering an alternative in the case of minor ailments. If you have a sick child and just need some Gravol to stop the vomiting you shouldn’t have to head to the hospital,” said Jordan.

If you find yourself in need this weekend feel free to call the pharmacy at 705-450-2622.


Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
Stugatzu 4/18/2014 9:47:56 AM Report

Great.... pharmacies are open.

How about the PUC? Most of us working class folk only get the Friday off as a stat holiday, and have to go back to work on Monday. The PUC takes both Friday AND Monday off, and their business hours are a joke. Their business hours are the same as the working class folk -- who otherwise need to take time off their work schedule to go to the PUC office.

Most of the time.. us working class people forfeit our lunch breaks to do this, and only to find that the receptionist has behind the counter at the office is eating hers....ignoring the customer.
Sam C 4/18/2014 9:57:34 AM Report

Stugatz... so, because you don't get both holidays, no one should get both?
MYPOINT 4/18/2014 10:24:58 AM Report

is as follows ...

@ Sam C , I do not believe that public institutions such as the PUC should operate with the hours they now have because as the other poster mentioned, it really IS difficult to take time off of work to go and pay your damned hydro bill. This means that you have no alternative but to do so on your breaks and many times, the receptionists there IS eating his or her lunch and they consider it an inconvenience to have to accept your payment or handle whatever other business you are there to get settled. Since I am currently retired, I do not have those restrictions on my time but I know of many others who do sir.
James O'Brien 4/18/2014 10:54:50 AM Report

Please enlighten me. Why do people actually go to the PUC office to pay bills?
fiddlestixs 4/18/2014 10:57:02 AM Report

Does anyone know for certain if there will be any mail delivery on Monday?
CTgasman 4/18/2014 11:04:20 AM Report

I am not sure why anyone goes to the PUC office. I can honestly say that I was there once, years ago on Queen Street to sign some papers when I bought my house.
Frio 4/18/2014 12:10:23 PM Report

I think the only times I was ever in the PUC office on Queen St. was apply and to sign for service. Bills I paid at the bank or now on line. Life can be difficult, but some can make it so much more difficult than necessary just so they can have something to bitch about?
Justin_time 4/18/2014 12:13:51 PM Report

First, I agree Pharmacies should be open on holidays. Not because people are clueless and can't plan ahead for the holiday, like we did in the old days, but because it should be considered a vital service. Agreed that they have become more of a retail aspect over the years but that's to do with greed for money and want to share the pie with other bigger outlets. I don't blame them. But as said, they also have to pay the wages for the staff at higher rates. Can they do this by blocking off aisles to survive on drugs alone? I know some people do! Pharmacies should be able to be fully open to support expenses and still offer vital service to those who really need it. Of course others take advantage of shopping too...they can't plan ahead and stay home with family like the holiday was meant to be for.

As for the PUC being open Monday, I agree with other readers. It is a public service and are already closed for the weekend as it is. Should the staff get Friday off? sure, the entire city is pretty much shut down. But Monday it isn't. And neither should the City Hall be. We seem to have a two tier system for holidays. They call them statutory for a reason but do we all get them equally? NO! What's up with that? It's statutory for the rich, the executives, the politicians, the banks (ripping us off as it is) and the unionized who were fortunate to bargin the extra day off. Most of us get one off at most. Some don't get any and have to negotiate with their boss when they take a day off in lieu.

Happy Holidays to those most fortunate!

edz 4/18/2014 12:25:09 PM Report

I dont see a challenge about the square footage of the pharmacy. The bigger, more retaily it is the more expensive my prescriptions are. Central's prices are half and the dispensing fees are $2 less.
brittz 4/18/2014 3:27:39 PM Report

They also are staying open because of the fact that some pharmacies administer methadone, and drinks cannot be given ahead of time to some users, so the holidays were causing some people to become very sick and end up in the hospital with symptoms of withdrawal.
Jamie333 4/18/2014 6:07:18 PM Report

@ mail until Tuesday
anonmom 4/18/2014 8:16:25 PM Report

Good to have a pharmacy available if you need one...but the aisles were closed off so for those thinking they could was a surprise.
Mr. Poster 4/18/2014 11:19:01 PM Report

Soo Michigan was full of Canadian shoppers this good Friday .Should our stores be open on good Friday too?
Wicked 4/20/2014 8:19:18 AM Report

Working in the health care sector-no days off and only Friday as the holiday.
Tag33&1/3rd 4/21/2014 11:03:58 AM Report

A 24 Hour drug store would be nice in this city!
Frio 4/21/2014 11:29:46 AM Report

Shopper's Drug at Cambrian Mall tried being open 24 hours a day maybe 15-20 years ago for a short period of time and had more robbers interested in attempting to steal narcotics than paying customers.
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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