04/10/2015 11:35 EDT | Updated 06/10/2015 09:59 EDT

Ontario wants to determine economic impact of move to more online retailing

TORONTO - Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid wants to meet retailers to determine the impact on Ontario's economy from the growing switch to more online sales.

Duguid says retail is obviously going through a transition, but it's one led by technological changes, not necessarily by economic forces.

He says online retailing is now growing at five times the rate of traditional stores, and he'd like retailers to also tell him what the impact might be on jobs.

Duguid says most people got their first jobs in retail, and he worries students in particular may have a tougher time finding those same opportunities.

The minister says he'll set up a meeting with leading retailers in the next few weeks to talk about the technology the sector is adopting and what challenges they face.

Several major chains, including Target and Future Shop, recently closed their stores, throwing thousands of people out of work in Ontario.