COVID-19: Ontarians push back against businesses that deny them access to “non-essential” products

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Ontario residents oppose big box and discount stores cutting access to in-store items the province has deemed “non-essential” under new COVID-19 home-keeping measures .

They argue that many of these items are essential, especially for low-income households who cannot afford to purchase supplies online or at more expensive retailers.

“There are a lot of things that people think are essentials of daily life that are circled and I think this is a mistake the government has overlooked,” said Sarah Colero, a person whose income depends on the government. Ontario Disability Support Program.

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Colero, who uses the pronouns them and them, claimed ODSP only pays them just under $ 1,200 a month and said they depend on stores like Dollarama for supplies.

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They also claimed that Dollarama had closed access to the aisles with many supplies they needed and could not afford to buy elsewhere.

“Cleaning supplies, menstrual products, paper towels, facial tissues, aluminum foil,” Colero told Global News. “I love Dollarama because everything is there for a good price and that’s really what we need, because under ODSP we have to budget so carefully.

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Dollaramas in Toronto has signs outside of stores listing items the province had deemed “non-essential” that it could no longer sell in-store, including supplies related to school, office, hospitality. kitchen, hair accessories, closet and bathroom.

Dollarama also does not allow curbside pickup.

Ulisse Aiello takes care of his autistic brother and said he desperately needed art supplies to take care of his brother.

“He’s got the mentality of a five-year-old so you have to do a lot of things with him to keep him busy,” Aiello said.

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Aiello adds that with their budget, he can only afford art supplies in places like Dollarama and Walmart.

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“It’s not fair that you shut down sections of a store that are absolutely essential for a lot of people,” he said.

Meanwhile, many others have taken to Twitter to criticize Walmart for shutting down areas of their stores, including some who said they were denied access to children’s supplies and diapers.

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Dr Andrew Boozary suggests that government should be more flexible about what is deemed “essential” and “non-essential”, especially for people living in marginalized and low-income communities.

“It’s a really hard line to draw between what’s essential and what’s not,” Boozary said.

“We just need to listen to the community about the things they need, the things that are essential throughout this stage – because we really need to know that there is this solidarity in terms of the types of neighborhoods at risk and to neighborhoods that will have the least access to support and assistance. “

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In response to Global News’ request for a report, the Ontario Ministry of Health said the rules only allow big-box and discount stores to sell certain items.

“These categories are limited to: grocery items, pet care products, household cleaning products, pharmaceuticals, health care items, and personal care items,” the door said. -speak of the Ministry of Health, Alexandra Hilkene.

“Given the large number of item types sold by big box / discount retailers, prescribed categories provide retailers with the flexibility to categorize all items sold.

“If a big box / discount store wishes to sell other items, it must comply with all applicable conditions to which other retailers that sell these items comply. “

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COVID-19: Ontario hospitals suspend elective surgeries

COVID-19: Ontario hospitals suspend elective surgeries

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Dollarama told Global News in a statement, “We are committed to maintaining this vital role while embracing changing orders of government in the face of a persistent virus.

“We acted quickly (Wednesday) following the announcement of effective new emergency measures (Thursday), and we sincerely thank all of our customers for their patience and understanding in what continues to be extremely difficult circumstances for them. Canadians from all walks of life.

“We thank our customers for their patience and understanding in implementing the new guidelines,” said Walmart Canada Media Relations Representative Adam Grachnik.

“In this case, the sale of diapers is authorized in our stores.”

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