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Canada - Shopping

One of the shopping trends in Canada which is growing in popularity is online shopping. As more than three quarters of the population has access to the internet many are taking advantage of this to save time and money by shopping online. This increase has been put down to a number of factors including increased security when shopping online and the massive increase in online services. Expats do have items sent from abroad but this is not a major trend as there is so much already available within Canada. There are online shopping stores which will send items which are not available in Canada, such as particular brands, although this can prove to be expensive.

Supermarkets vary across the country. Supermarkets such as Safeways or Sobeys have one brand name right across all of their branches, but there are other supermarkets which have a regional identity. In Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick have a small supermarket chain known as Atlantic Superstore. The same chain in Western Canada is known as Real Canadian Super Store. Safeway is considered to be one of the more expensive shops while the Real Canadian Superstore is ideal for those who buy in bulk and Sobeys is considered to be for those who want something in between. Most supermarkets offer their own brand on different products and many will have ethnic food sections that will suit different cultures. Canadians are in the habit of doing one large shop every week or so and those who are moving from the UK will find that Canada has les in the way of smaller local shops. The supermarket shopping experience in Canada is considered to be a less stressful one than can be experienced in a UK supermarket occasionally. It is rare to encounter a queue at the checkout and most shops have staff that can help you to take your shopping out to the car.

When shopping there are a variety of payment methods that you can use. Most shops accept cash and in rural areas this is often the favoured method of payment. Debit and credit cards are widely used and there are some shops that will take a cheque if you have a guarantee card to back it up.

Shopping hours in Canada are different everywhere you go and these are overseen by each provincial government, although in practice there is little regulation. In some provinces such as British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Alberta and all the territories, there are no restrictions on the hours that a shop can open, but you will rarely find a shop that opens on a 24 hour basis as you might in the UK or the US. In Nova Scotia a shop cannot open on Remembrance Day, but there are no restrictions at any other time. In all other areas shops are required to close on the major public holidays. Manitoba and New Brunswick only allow Sunday openings with official approval. Some areas will restrict the hours of opening on a Sunday to 12 noon to 5 pm. In Quebec all shopping hours are regulated. Shops are only allowed to trade between 8 am and 9 pm on weekdays and from 8 am to 5 pm at weekends. Holiday opening hours are different.

Sales are held regularly as they are in the UK and the US, with the big sales being at the start of the year and in the summer. The quality of goods available all year round is very good, with most well known brands of household items available across the country. Living in a remote or rural area might see you having to order in particular items and waiting for a delivery. Auction sites such as eBay are becoming popular and the main site is the one used by Canadians.

Consumers have rights in Canada when shopping and the CAC is the organisation which oversees this. Customers have the right to a choice, the right to safety of the items that they purchase, the right to be heard if they have an issue, the right to have any problems corrected and the right to a sustainable environment. Customers who are not able to have their problems adequately solved by the supplier or the manufacturer can ask for the help of the CAC. If you need to make a complaint you should supply as much information about the faulty item or the incident in writing.

Useful Resources

CAC National Office
436 Gilmour Street, 3rd Floor
Ottawa, ON
K2P 0R8
Phone: (613) 238-2533
Fax: (613) 238-2538

Post Office Box:
P.O. Box 9300
Ottawa ON
K1G 3T9

Read more about this country

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