Dollarama maintains it's an essential service, in light of shutdowns and fines

Elianna Lev
·4 min read
A Dollarama discount store in London, Ont, on May 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Mark Spowart
A Dollarama discount store in London, Ont, on May 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Mark Spowart

With strict lockdown and curfew restrictions in place in some provinces, there’s been a lot of demand for common household items. No better example of this are the line-ups that have started forming around Dollarama stores throughout the province. The retail chain store sells a wide range of products, from kitchenware and bathroom accessories, to pantry items, pet food and cleaning supplies. But the discount retailer, which is a staple shopping destination to many, recently made headlines for failing to meet adequate standards of hygiene in certain stores in a few provinces.

In Quebec, the province’s workplace safety board, CNESST, fined nine store locations for not following proper sanitary guidelines. The nature of the violations were not specified. The stores fined were in the regions of Gaspésie, Valleyfield, Saint-Jean-sur-le-Richelieu, Saguenay, Quebec City and Yamaska. Since the start of the pandemic in March, Dollarama has received 124 “correction notices” from CNESST.

In New Brunswick, Public Health officials shut down nine stores temporarily, after one employee tested positive for the virus. The stores affected were located between Oromocto and Edmundston, and were closed for 48 hours between January 13 - 15.

The move came “out of an abundance of caution,” according to a tweet from the Government of New Brunswick. The stores affected were reopened after a deep cleaning.

The news has created dialogue on social media about what makes Dollarama an essential service.

Lyla Radmanovich, a spokeswoman with Dollarama, says the retail chain has been recognized as an essential business since early on in the pandemic.

“We offer proximity, and accessibility to a wide range of affordable products similar to those sold in pharmacies and groceries stores and which remain in high demand across all retailers, thereby helping to alleviate the pressure on supply chains for certain goods,” she tells Yahoo Canada.

Radmanovich ensures that preventative measures are in place in accordance with the directives of public health officials, including frequent in-store cleaning and disinfecting procedures, hygiene and respiratory practices, the use of PPE and a broad variety of physical distancing measures.

“We have continued to adapt to evolving government-mandated measures such as restricting the sale of non-essential goods in our stores in Manitoba and Quebec since late 2020, and also ensuring strict in-store capacity limits as required in various jurisdictions,” she says.