shoppers drug mart toronto

Toronto Shoppers Drug Mart ad for unpaid volunteer position has people baffled

A new job posting for a role at a Toronto Shoppers Drug Mart location is causing a stir this week due to the fact that it boldly seeks a worker to perform what many feel should be paid duties, but for free.

The part-time volunteer position, which popped up on LinkedIn on Wednesday, states that the chosen candidate would be "responsible for assisting with various tasks and providing support to the staff," which could consist of tasks such as "helping customers find products, restocking shelves, organizing inventory and maintaining a clean and organized store environment."

Though the listing had been up for less than a day at the time of publication, it has already been marked as "no longer accepting applications" — not because of a flurry of people interested in the title, but because of a deluge of backlash.

Those who have come across the ad are confused and outraged, wondering if it's even legal to ask someone to work such a job for free (it's not).

shoppers drug mart toronto

The listing, which the pharmacy owner says he has been unable to delete off of LinkedIn, was looking for a part-time volunteer to work at the Shoppers Drug Mart at King and Peter streets in Toronto.

"Unbelievable. An incredibly wealthy corporation with a monopoly in Canada... that saw record profits this year... thinks they also deserve volunteer labour," one person wrote while sharing the post on Facebook.

"Are corporations not greedy enough already? Now Shoppers Drug Mart is asking for 'volunteers' and expecting people to work in their stores for free?!" another asked.

"I think it speaks to the complete disconnect between the ever growing chasm of the haves and the have-nots that in the midst of an affordability crisis in this city," still another wrote, also referencing the boycott that some Canadian shoppers are partaking in against all Loblaws-owned stores — including Shoppers Drug Mart — during the month of May.

"That the owner of a Shoppers Drug Mart would have the audacity and the unmitigated gall to post this....This is clearly a job meant to be performed by a paid employee."

But, the owner who posted the position for his downtown pharmacy tells blogTO that he did so in error, and that he certainly never meant to cause any harm or drum up so much outrage.

shoppers drug mart toronto

The best that the pharmacist could do was set the role to "no longer accepting applications" after he was told that Shoppers Drug Mart does not offer volunteer positions.

"That post was a mistake, as we don't hire volunteers at Shoppers Drug Mart. All my employees are getting paid, and a good rate," pharmacist Emil Harba said. He further explained that he had been considering a way to address the many inquiries he receives from people looking to gain invaluable experience on a volunteer basis.

"I receive alot of emails and LinkedIn messages asking for volunteer opportunities, but I don't respond. However, I saw that volunteer is an option on LinkedIn when you post for a job, and I just wanted to try it to see if I can help anyone gain Canadian experience (as other kinds of jobs do usually) knowing that I have full staff now," he says.

"I then received a note that we don't do volunteering and I quickly closed the position. However, I couldn't delete the post."

Loblaw Companies Inc. confirmed to blogTO that the opening was listed in error and was closed almost immediately after it was posted. "Shoppers Drug Mart doesn't have volunteers in their stores and it's against company policy," a spokesperson said.

Lead photo by

Eli Unger/Shutterstock

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