03/21/2020 12:54 EDT | Updated 03/21/2020 18:24 EDT

Loblaws Raises Wages, Walmart Speeds Up Bonuses In Race To Hire

Retailers are moving fast to keep up with the changes brought by COVID-19.

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In this file photo, the front and parking lot of a Walmart is seen is Mississauga, Ont., Oct. 9, 2011:

Some big-box retailers who are seeing demand surge for pickup and delivery services are becoming a little more generous with pay amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

Loblaw Co. announced on Saturday that it would be raising wages by $2 per hour for its existing employees across Canada, and the change will be retroactive to March 8.

Meanwhile, Walmart says it will accelerate its annual bonuses for employees. It says it will hire 10,000 more employees to work in its stores and distribution centres as it deals with issues related to COVID-19.

Watch: U.S. Walmart will pay employees $550 million in bonuses. Story continues below.


The company has not yet said where the jobs would be or whether they would be temporary. Walmart also said is doling out live online physician care to its more than 90,000 employees.

In a statement Saturday, Loblaw also announced increased safety measures for its employees, including Plexiglas screens at checkouts and pharmacy windows, and limits to the number of customers allowed in stores, in order to improve social distancing.

Loblaw and Walmart are among the retailers saying they need more workers as consumers rush to buy staples in anticipation of possible shortages, and as shoppers switch to delivery and pickup options, and away from in-store shopping. 

Walmart said it has decided to now allow home grocery deliveries to be left at a customer’s door to minimize contact. The company says it will remain open, but implement shopping hours exclusively for seniors, the disabled and those with vulnerable health conditions.

The company says some of its stores will limit quantities of products that shoppers can buy to ensure there are more items available for more customers.

With files from The Canadian Press