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Walmart Canada

Walmart Canada Corp.
Discount department store
Industry Retail
Predecessor Woolco Canada
Founded 17 March 1994[1]
Headquarters Mississauga, Ontario
Number of locations
395 (282 supercentres and 113 discount stores) [2]
Key people
Dirk Van Den Berghe, President and CEO
Products Discount stores, Supercentres, Optical, Pharmacy, eCommerce
Revenue Undisclosed
Number of employees
95,000 [3]
Parent Walmart
Slogan Save money. Live better.
Website .ca.walmartwww

Walmart Canada Corp. is the Canadian division of Walmart which is headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario. It was founded on March 17, 1994 with the purchase of the Woolco Canada chain from the F. W. Woolworth Company.

Originally consisting of discount stores, Walmart Canada's contemporaries include Zellers (before most of its leases were taken over by Target Corporation) and then Target Canada from 2013–2015, Hart Stores, and Giant Tiger. It also competes in many areas with Canadian Tire and Sears Canada. Walmart Canada's six Sam's Club stores (2006-2009, only in Ontario) competed with warehouse club Costco and hypermarket Real Canadian Superstore. Based on the success of the US format, Walmart Canada has focused on expanding Supercentres from new or converted locations, offering groceries which puts them in the same market as supermarket chains such as Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore, Metro, Sobeys, Thrifty Foods, Safeway, Save-On-Foods, Country Grocer, Fairway Markets, Quality Foods, Co-op and others.

Walmart has more than 395 stores in Canada, including 282 Supercentres and 113 discount stores.


  • History 1
  • Format 2
    • Discount stores in Canada 2.1
    • Supercentres in Canada 2.2
    • Sam's Club (2006-2009) 2.3
  • Corporate 3
    • Community involvement 3.1
    • Marketing 3.2
      • Slogans 3.2.1
  • Controversy 4
    • Labour 4.1
    • Security 4.2
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Walmart Canada was established in 1994 through the acquisition by Walmart Stores Inc. of 122 Canadian leases of Woolco, a troubled subsidiary of Woolworth Canada.[4][5] The same year, these Woolco stores were renovated and converted into the Walmart banner.[4] Wal-Mart did not acquire 22 other Woolco stores that were either unionized or had downtown locations. Some former Woolco stores were sold and re-opened as Zellers stores.[6]

The Walmart store in Estevan, SK in January 2014

All 16,000 former employees of the Woolco stores that Walmart acquired were retained, retrained, and given a five percent raise. Mario Pilozzi, a senior vice-president at Woolco when the deal was signed, eventually became CEO of Walmart Canada. Pilozzi, who retired in 2008, has proclaimed that he and "his management team took a limping chain and turned it into the Wal-Mart powerhouse that became a game-changer on the Canadian business scene. Retailers changed, Canadian manufactures faced demands and volumes they had not seen before, real estate transitioned from enclosed malls to big-box plazas".[7] Reflecting on the 1994 deal in 2013, a Walmart Canada spokesman was quoted as saying "Even though Woolco had seen better days and was struggling, there was still an enormous amount of talent in that company. I think that is one of the reasons Walmart has succeeded in Canada, is because we started with a fantastic team that we re-motivated”.[8]

Exterior of abandoned Kingston, Ontario Wal-Mart store in June 2005.

Beginning in the fall of [11][12][13] This was part of Walmart Canada's decision to shift focus towards Supercenter stores, but some industry observers suggested that the operation was struggling to compete with Costco and the non-membership The Real Canadian Superstore (known as Maxi & Cie in Quebec). Sam's Club also rebranded two unopened locations as new Walmart Superstores.

From originally taking over much of the Woolco chain, Walmart Canada has expanded and opened new stores. It had grown to 260 stores by 2005, making it Canada's second-largest retail chain.[14]

A new Supercentre Walmart in Laval, Quebec, Canada in October 2013

In 2011, Walmart Canada acquired the leases of 39 Zellers stores from Target, originally one of the 189 leaseholds purchased from Hudson's Bay Company and slated for conversion to Target Canada stores.[15] Walmart Canada managed to convert and reopen some of the former Zellers stores before Target Canada's launch.[16] Unlike Walmart's 1994 move into Canada, Walmart Canada this time did not guarantee the jobs of the employees whose stores they were acquiring.[8]

Walmart Canada launched the "Urban 90" format in 2012, a set of smaller Supercentres averaging 90,000 square feet.[17]

In addition to the 11 Walmart Supercentres that opened across Canada in January 2015, Walmart Canada plans to complete another 29 Supercentre projects by the end of this year.

On May 8, 2015, following the bankruptcy of Target Canada, Walmart Canada announced its intent to acquire the properties of thirteen former Target locations, along with its distribution centre in Cornwall, Ontario, subject to court approval. These locations include an unopened location at the Bayshore Shopping Centre in Ottawa.[18]


Discount stores in Canada

Walmart Discount Stores are discount department stores varying in size from 51,000 to 150,000 square feet (4,738.1 to 13,935.5 m2), with the average store covering about 102,000 square feet (9,476.1 m2). They carry general merchandise and a selection of dried goods. Many of these stores also have a garden centre, pharmacy, Axess Law office, Tire & Lube Express, optical centre, one-hour photo processing lab, portrait studio, bank branch, cell phone store and fast food outlet, usually McDonald's (although stores that are in former Zellers locations typically do not contain a McDonald's). Walmart Discount Stores carry limited grocery items.

Former Zellers store in February 2013
Walmart store in Gloucester (Ottawa), Ontario in February 2013

Most stores have been converted into Supercentres in the late 2000s.

Walmart St Catharines, Ontario (Former Woolco) in March 2013

Supercentres in Canada

A Wal-Mart Super Centre in Vaughan, Ontario Canada in January 2008.
Walmart Richmond Hill 1070 Major Mackenzie Drive East, Bayview & Major Mackenzie, Richmond Hill, Ontario in April 2014
Interior of Supercentre Walmart - Laval, Quebec in November 2012
Remodelled Walmart Supercentre in Brockville, Ontario in March 2013

With the success of both Walmart in Canada and Walmart Supercenters in the United States, it was announced in late 2005 that the Supercentre concept would be arriving in Canada. On November 8, 2006, Canada's first three Supercentres opened in Hamilton, London, and Stouffville in Ontario.[19] Alberta became the second province with Supercentres in September 2008.[20] The first Supercentre in Vancouver, British Columbia opened in January 2009 in a former Costco/Price Club location, which moved to a new larger site nearby in Burnaby.[21]

Walmart Supercentres range from 67,000 to 340,000 square feet (4,738.1 to 13,935.5 m2). Walmart Supercentres stock everything a Walmart Discount Store does, but also include a full-service supermarket, including meat and poultry, baked goods, delicatessen, frozen foods, dairy products, garden produce, and fresh seafood. Many Walmart Supercenters also feature a garden centre, pet shop, Axess Law office, pharmacy, Tire & Lube Express, optical centre, one-hour photo processing lab, portrait studio, a clinic and numerous Alcove shops, such as cellular phone stores, hair and nail salons, video rental stores (including Redbox rental kiosks), local bank branches, and fast food outlets, Walmart Canada Bank launched its application for banking licence in 2008 to compete with similar stores in Canada such as Loblaw.[22] On July 24, 2009, Walmart Canada Bank was incorporated under the Bank Act in Canada.[23]

Sam's Club (2006-2009)

Walmart Canada operated Sam's Club warehouse clubs in Ontario from 2006 to 2009.[10] On February 26, 2009, they announced that it would close all six of its Canadian Sam's Club locations.[11][12][13] Sam's Club also rebranded two unopened locations as new Walmart Superstores. This was part of Walmart Canada's decision to shift focus towards supercenter stores. Some industry observers suggested that the Canadian Sam's Club never enjoyed the success of its American counterpart due to competition with Costco and the non-membership The Real Canadian Superstore (known as Maxi & Cie in Quebec), as both chains that had a well-established history in Canada while Sam's Club was a late entrant.


Community involvement

  • Raised and donated $7.6 million to Children's Miracle Network (CMN) to support children's hospitals across Canada.[24]
  • Contributed $2.9 million to more than 1,000 local non-profit organizations through Walmart's Local Matching Grant program.
  • Raised and contributed $2.8 million for the Breakfast for Learning Canada program, a school nutrition program and partnership with a goal to ensure all school children attend class well nourished and ready to learn.
  • Became the top corporate sponsor of the Canadian Red Cross, with $1 million in relief aid related to Hurricane Katrina, the India earthquake and other projects.
  • Donated $300,000 to Evergreen, a Canadian non-profit environmental organization to help community groups create and improve green space in urban areas across the country.[25]
  • Awarded $115,000 in scholarships to Canadian university and college students.
  • Supported 150 Canadian schools through a number of programs including Walmart Canada's Adopt-a School program.



  • Where Everyday Costs Less 1994-1995
  • Always Low Prices. Always Wal-Mart. 1995-1998
  • We Sell For Less Everyday 1998-2009.
  • Save Money. Live Better. 2009–Present


Wal-Mart location in Mapleton Shopping Area in October 2008

Walmart Canada has been criticized for using low prices to drive out rivals and local businesses. Within ten years of Walmart's entry into Canada, well-established retailer chains such as Zellers, The Bay, and Sears Canada have struggled, with Kmart Canada being sold to Zellers while Eaton's (whom Walmart Canada overtook to become Canada's largest retailer[26]) filed for bankruptcy. The continued difficulties of competing against Walmart Canada eventually led to HBC selling the leases of most Zellers stores to Target Canada, who also went out of business.

In June 2005, Vancouver city council voted 8-3 to reject Wal-Mart's proposal to build its first store in the city, a 143,000-square-foot store on Southeast Marine Drive. All eight COPE councillors against the project, while Mayor Larry Campbell and NPA councillors Sam Sullivan and Peter Ladner were in favour. Wal-Mart's proposed store was designed by local architect Peter Busby for sustainable development, with windmills generating power and underground wells heating and cooling the building which would consume 1/3 the energy of a normal store, and it was endorsed by city planners and staffers. Councillor Anne Roberts stated that her opposition was due to potential traffic and congestion that the store would bring to South Vancouver, although she later remarked "I'm not a fan of Wal-Mart, and I've always been concerned about their labour practices, about getting goods from sweatshops".[27][28]


Like its American parent, Walmart Canada has been the subject of criticism that it has engaged in practices that discourage associates from exercising their right to join a union and negotiate a collective bargaining agreement.

Walmart Canada has been accused of undermining internet rights and freedom of speech, as a result of its June 2009 decision to seek an injunction against the Walmart Workers Canada campaign and its longstanding Walmart Workers Canada website[29] in particular, a labour rights website sponsored by United Food and Commercial Workers Union Canada (UFCW Canada).

In Saskatchewan, Walmart fought unionization drivers at stores in Weyburn and North Battleford. The company's tactics eventually resulted in the Labour Relations Board imposing a fine and ordering them to hand over relevant documents, including the anti-union handbook for managers.[30]

A Walmart store in Windsor, Ontario, was unionized in 1997, but workers dissolved the union three years later after it failed to sign contract with management.[26]

Entrance of Walmart (formerly Zellers from late 1970s-2012) thru mall of Centre Domaine photographed in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in October 2012.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), which had long been unsuccessful in unionizing Walmarts in the United States and much of Canada, was able to take advantage of Quebec's union-friendly laws to make some progress. These laws permit card-check organizing, which gives unions more power than secret ballot organizing used in the rest of Canada, and mandates arbitration if the two sides fail to reach a contract.[31] The UFCW argued that union card-signing was more democratic than secret votes because "when there is a vote Wal-Mart uses intimidation tactics".[26] In addition, Quebec's labour relations board had ordered Wal-Mart Canada to stop "intimidating and harassing" cashiers at a store in Ste. Foy, near Quebec City in the midst of an organizing drive.[32] Walmart has responded, mostly by shutting down unionized stores or stalling labour contract negotiations. For instance they closed their Saguenay, Quebec store, in April 2005 after workers unionized and just days before contract settlement by binding arbitration, putting 190 employees out of work. Walmart argued that the store wasn’t profitable and the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed 6-3 on November 27, 2009 that the company had the legal right to close the store.[33] Walmart also closed its automotive centre in Gatineau, Quebec, after employees unionized and an arbitrator imposed a 33 per cent wage increase.

There was the successful unionization by the UFCW of a Walmart store in

  • Official website

External links

  1. ^ "Walmart celebrates 20 years in Canada".  
  2. ^ Walmart Corporate
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Walmart Canada signs deal with Target Canada for 39 Zellers locations
  5. ^ Plus grande offensive de Wal-Mart au Canada en 13 ans
  6. ^ "no-union-please-were-wal-mart". February 12, 2006. 
  7. ^ [6]
  8. ^ a b Zellers employees walk away empty-handed in $1.825-billion deal Zellers employees walk away empty-handed in $1.825-billion deal.
  9. ^ Walmart Canada bets big on supercenters
  10. ^ a b Wal-Mart Canada closing all 6 Sam's Club locations
  11. ^ a b Georgiades, Andy (February 26, 2009). "Walmart Canada to Close Sam's Club Division".  
  12. ^ a b "Walmart Canada to close six Ontario Sam's Club locations to focus on supercenter expansion" (Press release). Walmart Canada. February 26, 2009. 
  13. ^ a b Flavelle, Dana (February 26, 2009). "Walmart to close all Canadian Sam's Club stores".  
  14. ^ a b Bianco, Anthony. "No Union Please, We're Walmart." Business Week. February 13, 2006. Retrieved on July 26, 2006.
  15. ^  
  16. ^ "Walmart beats Target to the punch in Canada". The Star (Toronto). 
  17. ^ Walmart goes small with “Urban 90″ Supercentre
  18. ^ "Walmart to buy 13 former Target Canada stores and a distribution centre". Canadian Press. Retrieved 8 May 2015. 
  19. ^ Wal-Mart unveils plans to open up to 14 supercentres in 2010
  20. ^ Walmart shifts to Supercenters in Alberta
  21. ^ Wal-Mart finally finds a home in Vancouver
  22. ^ Wal-Mart files for Canadian banking licence
  23. ^ Canada Gazette – GOVERNMENT NOTICES
  24. ^ Walmart Canada Fact Sheet
  25. ^ Walmart Canada and Evergreen Continue Green Grants Partnership
  26. ^ a b c Krauss, Clifford (March 10, 2005). "For Labor, a Wal-Mart Store Closing in Canada Is a Call to Arms". The New York Times. 
  27. ^ "No Wal-Mart for Vancouver". CBC News. 
  28. ^ [7]
  29. ^ Walmart Workers Canada
  30. ^ [8]
  31. ^ a b [9]
  32. ^ a b Krauss, Clifford (2005-03-10). "For Labor, a Wal-Mart Store Closing in Canada Is a Call to Arms". The New York Times.  
  33. ^ Walmart allowed to close unionized Saguenay store: SCOC | CTV Montreal News
  34. ^ Staff Writer. "Walmart faces Canadian labour clash." MSNBC. April 30, 2006. Retrieved on July 26, 2006.
  35. ^ Austen, Ian. "Quebec panel rejects Walmart store closing." International Herald Tribune. September 20, 2005. Retrieved on March 2, 2007.
  36. ^ "Unionized Quebec Walmart workers get 1st contract - Ottawa - CBC News". 
  37. ^ "Wal-Mart workers in Weyburn, Sask., vote to dump union". CBC News. 
  38. ^ "Wal-Mart workers hope to show their union the door". The Star (Toronto). 
  39. ^ [10]
  40. ^ Wal-Mart workers in Weyburn, Sask., vote to dump union, CBC News, August 16, 2013


See also

On July 14, 2015 Walmart Canada disabled their online photo site, blaming a third party vendor, believed to be PNI Digital Media. Walmart's shutdown was followed shortly after by other companies suspending their photo site whilst an investigation took place. In common with other potential victims there was no confirmation or denial about whether hackers had stolen customer photographs as well as data and payment information. At time of writing, the website had been offline for over two weeks with no ETA on return.


On August 15, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada cleared the way for Walmart employees in Weyburn, Saskatchewan who voted 51-5 to decertify United Food and Commercial Workers as their representative union. This left no unionized Wal-Mart stores in the whole of Canada.[40]

Wal-Mart employees in Gatineau, Quebec joined the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) in 2008. This was followed by two years of stalled negotiations before an arbitrator imposed a collective agreement. In November 2011, after one year with their first collective agreement, the 150 Wal-Mart employees voted to decertify.[39]

At the Saint-Hyacinthe Walmart, the 200 employees had organized successfully in January 2005 but contract negotiations stalled and an arbitrator was called in, finally reaching a two-year deal on April 9, 2009.[36] However the Saint-Hyacinthe contract was seen largely as a Pyrrhic victory for the UFCW, as the arbitrator portrayed "Wal-Mart as at least as good an employer-even a superior employer- compared with other retailers", noting that Walmart workers were paid more than their counterparts at Zellers. The union's calls for wage and benefit increases were all rejected, particularly their demand for an automatic-progression annual wage scales, as that would have conflicted with the company-wide annual performance evaluation, a key component of Walmart's business model. The arbitrator awarded existing workers (but not new hires) a small wage gain of 30¢ an hour to prevent them from being "impoverished" by dues paid to a union that failed to justify wages increases to the arbitrator.[31] In 2011, the Saint-Hyacinthe Walmart employees voted (147 out of 250) to decertify United Food and Commercial Workers as their representative union; it has been suggested that employees were disappointed in their union whose 2009 contract was tilted strongly in favor of their employer.[37][38]


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