After Whole Foods faced significant backlash across Canada for announcing a new rule that would prevent employees from wearing poppies, the grocery chain has opted to reverse course.
Canada’s Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lawrence MacAulay, confirmed the news on Friday in a social media post made on Twitter.
— Lawrence MacAulay (@L_MacAulay) November 6, 2020
“Just spoke to the Chief Operating Officer of Whole Foods. Employees will now be able to wear their poppies at work,” Lawrence MacAulay wrote. “The poppy represents those who’ve served, fought, and died for Canada, and it’s deeply personal to everyone here. Glad to hear they’re changing course.”
It was revealed Thursday that the American-based grocery chain would be banning all employees from wearing a poppy leading up to Remembrance Day on Nov. 11 – a rule Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described as a “silly mistake.”
The House of Commons also adopted a motion by unanimous consent calling on all Canadian employers to allow their staff to wear poppies during Veterans Week, which began Thursday.
The news from Whole Foods also sparked several Canadian politicians to speak out, including B.C. Premier John Horgan.
Horgan tweeted on Friday for Whole Foods to “give their heads a shake,” in regards to their decision.
Whole Foods has released a statement after opting to reverse course, suggesting the original decision was for “consistency” in their unified dress code policy and not out of disrespect.
“Our intention was never to single out the poppy or to suggest a lack of support for Remembrance Day and the heroes who have bravely served their country,” Whole Foods stated.
“We appreciate the thoughtful feedback we have received from our customers. Given the learnings of today, we are welcoming team members to wear the poppy pin in honour of Remembrance Day.”
Whole Foods has also noted that it plans to observe a moment of silence on Remembrance Day and donate to the Royal Canadian Legion’s poppy campaign.