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Toronto exercises bylaw exemption to permit 24/7 inventory deliveries in response to COVID-19


In an effort to ensure that essential goods remain in stock, and in the wake of successive waves of panic buying that have left many retailers with significantly depleted inventory levels, the City of Toronto has exempted retail businesses from the usual application of its noise bylaws. In doing so, the City paved the way for retailers to accept deliveries 24-hours a day as of Monday, March 16, and continuing until further notice.

Specifically, Article 2.4 of Chapter 591 of the City of Toronto Municipal Code generally prohibits the emission of sound resulting from activities including loading and unloading, delivering, and handling of containers from 11:00PM to 7:00AM the following day (and until 9:00AM on Saturday, Sundays and statutory holidays). This provision operates to restrict retailers from accepting deliveries within that window. 

In light of the serious inventory shortages that have resulted from concerns relating to the COVID-19 outbreak, the City of Toronto has chosen to exercise its discretion to grant an exemption to the general prohibition in Article 2.4 on the basis that the outbreak constitutes an extraordinary circumstance affecting the immediate health, safety or welfare of the community. The exemption has been made pursuant to a request submitted by the Retail Council of Canada. 

Practically speaking, the ongoing exemption permits retail businesses in the City of Toronto to conduct loading, unloading, delivery, packing, unpacking, and other handling activities on a 24-hours per day basis – thereby facilitating after-hours deliveries that will assist with retailers’ restocking efforts.

The City of Toronto’s press release relating to the implementation of this exemption can be reviewed here. Please see our COVID 19 Hub for more up to date information on responding to the COVID 19 outbreak.

By Carmen Francis

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McCarthy Tétrault LLP

McCarthy Tétrault is a Canadian law firm that delivers integrated business law, litigation services, tax law, real property law, labour and employment law nationally and globally.McCarthy publishes a series of blogs to share information with companies to help them comply and manage their businesses. On the Inside Internal Controls blog we will share some of those blog posts sharing their expertise among others, in the areas of Competition/Anti-trust, Corporate and Commercial Law, Intellectual Property, Privacy, Environmental Law, Technology and Litigation. Read more here
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