Target Canada PracticeNews broke on January 15, 2015 that all Target stores across Canada would be shutting their doors. This marks the end of a short tumultuous run for the giant retailer in the Canadian marketplace.

Target has 133 stores in this country and employs close to 18,000 people. Sadly everyone will be laid off. To complicate matters from the legal perspective, Target obtained many of their locations by acquiring former Zellers locations along with many of the staff that worked there. Many of these individuals were long time employees of Zellers however Target appears to be standing firm in their position that the commencement of work for Target is to be viewed as new employment as opposed to a continuation of prior employment. As such, Target takes the position that employee severance requirements ought to only take into account their staff’s time with Target and ignore their time with Zellers.

Long term employees that had been at Zellers and remained on at Target will not be satisfied with this as they may be grossly under compensated under Canadian laws. Target acted quickly as, immediately upon announcing their store closures, they filed paperwork in court seeking approval to set up a Canadian Trust to provide set amounts of severance to all of their employees. While this may be ideal for shorter term employees it is likely to come as a misfortune for those who have been there for a lengthy period of time. However, it is yet to be agreed upon by the courts in this extremely unprecedented move.