Policy, Research, Public Consultation and Events


Holiday Shopping Bylaw Review

The City of Toronto is undertaking a review of the existing Holiday Shopping Bylaw.


The City of Toronto is reviewing the rules that guide holiday shopping in Toronto and the requirement for retail businesses to open or close. The current Holiday Shopping bylaw requires that retail businesses cannot sell or offer any goods or services for sale on a public holiday except for certain exemptions.


Public holidays are:

  • New Year's Day,
  • Family Day,
  • Good Friday,
  • Easter Sunday,
  • Victoria Day,
  • Canada Day,
  • Labour Day,
  • Thanksgiving Day,
  • Christmas Day. 


The current exemptions are:

  • Small retail establishments less than 2,400 square feet;
  • Pharmacies less than 7,500 square feet;
  • Art galleries, nurseries; gas stations; liquor licensed businesses;
  • Retail businesses for education; recreation and amusement;
  • Business in relation to prepared meals; living accommodations; laundromats; vehicle or boat rentals;
  • Businesses located in the following areas are also exempt from the By-law:
    • Queens Quay West;
    • Toronto Eaton Centre and the Hudson's Bay Company (Yonge & Queen location);
    • Downtown Yonge Street Business Improvement Area;
    • Bloor-Yorkville Business Improvement Area; and
    • Distillery Historic District.


The goal of the review is to address a Council directive to review existing holiday shopping rules and exemptions, and report back to Licensing & Standards Committee in the fall of 2016.


Legislation and additional information

Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 510, Holiday Shopping By-law

City of Toronto and Holiday Shopping


Phases of the review

Phase 1: Research and Analysis – January to August 2016

Phase 2: Public and Stakeholder Consultations – January 2016 to January 2017

  • Staff commissioned a telephone survey, conducted by IPSOS Reid Research of 1,001 residents in May 2016 on Holiday Shopping By-law
  • Stakeholder consultations will be completed between January 2016 and January 2017

Phase 3: The Final Report – Spring 2017 

  • The final report will be posted online and stakeholders and the public may depute on the final report at Licensing and Standards Committee.

  • Staff will report to Licensing and Standards Committee in Spring 2017. The report will be made available online.


Decision history and related reports

Report on the Recent Court Decision Dealing with the City's Holiday Shopping By-law, September 15, 2015

Holiday Shopping, October 4. 2012

Recommendations relating to the operation of retail stores on Public Holidays, May 11, 2010

Regulation of Holiday Shopping, March 3, 2008

Regulation of Holiday Shopping Upon Proclamation of the City of Toronto Act, November 25, 2006