David Bish speaks to BNN Bloomberg on HBC challenging non-essential retail store closures

December 18, 2020

Corporate Restructuring and Advisory practice head David Bish told BNN Bloomberg that the Hudson’s Bay Company’s (HBC) legal filing—which challenges retail closures in Toronto and the Peel Region—argues that there is a lack of scientific evidence behind the Ontario government’s decision to close non-essential retail stores.

Speaking on BNN Bloomberg with Amanda Lang, David said that HBC is “seeking declaratory relief and want a court to declare that the government's regulations are unreasonable”.

David said that although it was a challenging case, it raised the question on whether keeping certain stores closed during the second lockdown benefitted public health.

“HBC is highly frustrated, every shopping day before Christmas is critical to their business and many other retailers and there is perhaps some skepticism that the lockdown is in fact going to end on the 21st of December and that it may be extended or there may be further lock downs and this issue isn't just an issue for the next couple of days but maybe an issue that carries well into next year,” David said.

When asked whether retailers needed just one representative claim or if every retailer should “throw their hat in the ring”, David said that one case was enough as judges are aware of the current turmoil in the industry.

“I think one is enough I don't think any judge doubts that this is very harmful to retailers. There's been a number of retail insolvency filings so judges fully understand that this is harmful and I don't think you have to convince courts that this is hurting retailers,” he said. 

To find out more about the impact COVID-19 is having on organizations, listen to the Torys Business Brief podcast “The art of fixing broken businesses” where insolvency lawyers David Bish and Kyle Kashuba discuss how this current financial crisis is different from the 2008 recession, what principal challenges companies are facing, and what management can do to ease the pressure.


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