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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Chamber Advocacy Results in Win for Niagara’s Wineries

The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce applauds the recent decision by the provincial government to allow Ontarioʼ s wineries to remain open for business over the course of the Easter holiday weekend, for the first time ever.

In its pre-budget submission to the provincial government released in April 2013, the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce specifically recommended amending the Retail Business Holidays Act, 1990 in order to give all on-site and off-site winery retail stores the choice to remain open on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

“This is an important first step in addressing some of the challenges inherent in the Retail Business Holidays Act that currently restrict the ability of Niagaraʼ s businesses to be as competitive as they can be,” explains Kithio Mwanzia, Director of Policy and Government Relations for the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce. “We are encouraged that our ongoing efforts to engage with the relevant ministries and industry stakeholders on behalf of wineries – and the greater retail community – to give businesses the option to remain open on statutory holidays, if they so choose, has yielded this positive result.”

Wine retail is largely considered both a driving and complementary force for tourism in the Niagara region – and as Niagaraʼ s wine industry continues to expand, there is an increasing market demand for access to wineries and access to their product, even on the statutory holidays outlined in the Retail Business Holidays Act.

“Tourists expect services to be open when they travel to the Niagara region” explains Mwanzia. “Ensuring that wineries are able to maximize their output further strengthens Niagaraʼ s economic capacity.”

If market access is restricted by legislation, then consumers and tourists are given little recourse but to take their money to alternative retail sources – either online, or in the case of communities such as the Niagara Region, across the border to places like Western New York, where businesses are less constrained by mandatory holiday closures.

The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce continues its advocacy surrounding this issue and is currently working to allow all of Ontarioʼ s retailers the choice to remain open on seven of the designated statutory holidays per year (Family Day, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday).

To read the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerceʼ s pre-budget submission on the Retail Business Holidays Act in full, click here.


The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce is the champion for the Niagara business community. With over 1,500 members representing more than 45,000 employees, it is the largest business organization in Niagara and the third largest Chamber in Ontario. The Chamber Accreditation Council of Canada has recognized the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce with its highest level of distinction.


For more information and interviews please contact:
Mishka Balsom
CEO, Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce
905-684-2361 ext. 227 or mishka@gncc.ca