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Lest We Forget

November 11, 2021

Many readers of our blog will remember the public uproar in November 2020 when the Whole Foods grocery chain banned employees from wearing poppies at work. The company explained that this decision was made because poppies did not comply with its recently updated uniform policy.

In response to this ban, and the potential for other workplaces to implement similar policies, the Ontario government passed Bill 38, the Remembrance Week Amendment Act, 2021, into law on November 9, 2021. Bill 28 Creates a legal right for employees to wear a poppy in the workplace each year during Remembrance Week (November 5 to 11).[1]

While this is not one of the more impactful recent amendments to Ontario’s employment laws, it will prevent most employers from banning the wearing of poppies in the future. This change will ensure that Ontarians remain able to wear a poppy as a sign of respect for the sacrifices made by our veterans to ensure our freedom.

[1] There is a limited exception in that employees will not be permitted to wear poppies if doing so may pose a danger or hazard to someone’s health, safety or welfare.