Retail & Wholesale Trade

Technology is reshaping the retail and wholesale sector, with the growth of online shopping impacting various operations—from warehousing and staffing to logistics. Employers in this sector face a number of unique human resources challenges because of their geographical reach and the direct relationship they have with their customers.

Whether companies operate online, through brick-and-mortar locations, or both, they must contend with an increasingly competitive and changing landscape. This can lead to a number of changes, from shifts in store locations and restructuring to developing new business lines and adjustments in business strategies. Companies are also experiencing changes in composition and demographics of their workforce, which can give rise to accommodation and harassment issues and the need for additional supervisory training.

Our lawyers have experience in both the unionized and non-unionized sectors of the industry and understand the challenges these employers face. We bring our depth of experience in the human resources area to help guide employers through these challenging times; we also advise on the day-to-day operations of your business.


Our clients in this sector include:

  • food and clothing retailers
  • department stores
  • furniture stores
  • travel agents
  • wholesalers


Drawing upon the breadth of our human resources expertise, our services to retailers and wholesalers include advice and representation on matters relating to:

  • change management issues arising out of restructuring or sale of a business
  • negotiating collective agreements and managing union relationships
  • employment standards compliance including wages, benefits, vacation thresholds and severance arrangements
  • key workplace issues such as part-time employment, hours of work, Sunday and holiday scheduling, attendance and performance management and loss prevention
  • human rights issues including claims filed by employees, customers or third parties alleging harassment or discrimination, drug testing, accommodation and workplace investigation training
  • occupational health and safety policies including those under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997
  • privacy issues including video surveillance and the use of social media by employees

We appear before administrative tribunals on matters such as human rights, occupational health and safety, rights and interest arbitrations, labour board issues and workers’ compensation. We also act on behalf of clients at all levels of court, including wrongful dismissal and disability claims matters.

Union representation is also a key issue in this sector. We advise our clients on union organizing issues and, where a workplace is unionized, provide advice and representation during the collective bargaining process.