Ontario premier moves to outlaw Whole Foods poppy policy


Ontario premier moves to outlaw Whole Foods poppy policy-Milenio Stadium-Canada
Ontario Premier Doug Ford, seen here in the Ontario Legislature in Toronto on Nov. 5, 2020, said he’ll introduce legislation prohibiting employers from telling staff they can’t wear a poppy. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)


Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he’ll make it illegal for businesses in the province to prohibit employees from wearing poppies after grocery store chain Whole Foods said it has no plans to reverse the policy, even as Remembrance Day approaches.

“I find it absolutely disgraceful. I find it disgusting,” he told reporters in Ottawa on Friday.

“So we’re going to introduce legislation immediately that permits any employee, any employee no matter where you work … to wear a poppy, and making sure that no employer can force someone not to wear a poppy.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters the chain is making a “silly mistake,” and retweeted this message from Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said in a statement the decision is “stupid” and “shameful.”

“To those of us who have proudly served our country, to those still serving, to the fallen who have paid the ultimate sacrifice — this is not a cause.”

During question period Friday, Ottawa MP Pierre Poilievre called on shoppers to boycott Whole Foods.

MPs also voted unanimously to call on all employers to allow staff to wear poppies Nov. 5-11, and to invite Whole Foods CEO John Mackey to appear before the standing committee on veterans affairs.

Ottawa’s mayor also spoke out against the chain’s poppy policy…

…as did NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who referred to another Whole Foods dress code policy that’s currently the subject of a lawsuit in the United States.

The policy garnered near-unanimous condemnation on Twitter, both toward Whole Foods and its parent company Amazon.

An employee of the sole Whole Foods location in Ottawa told CBC she was told by a supervisor that wearing the poppy would be seen as “supporting a cause.”

Poppies are offered in exchange for donations to the Royal Canadian Legion, then worn as a sign of support and respect for the men and women who have died fighting for Canada. Traditionally, they’re removed after 11 a.m. on Nov. 11.


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