Volunteers at a legion in Elmsdale, N.S., are up in arms with the local Dollarama for refusing to display poppy trays inside its store.
Last Friday morning, several volunteers with the Elmsdale Legion Branch 48 set out to drop off poppy trays to different businesses in the community. That afternoon, an unexpected visitor came by the legion.
“She explained that she was working at the Dollarama when the poppies were delivered and that when one of the supervisors came in, the supervisor got upset and said that they weren't allowed to do the poppy campaign,” says Ann Creamer, president of the Elmsdale Legion Branch 48.
A Dollarama employee returned them, which is when Creamer sat down with her.
“(The employee) was upset because relatives of hers were veterans and her husband is in the military and she totally supported the poppy campaign. “
CTV News spoke with Dollarama officials, who say this is part of a long-standing, nationwide policy.
“Dollarama does not allow the placement of unattended donation boxes from any third party at the cash or elsewhere in store ... Check-out areas are high-traffic zones for associates to manage, with limited space, and unfortunately, a high risk for theft," said Dollarama media relations officer Lyla Radmanovich in a statement.
But Radmanovich also said distributing poppies in front of the store is fine as long as it’s outside, adding that Dollarama also donates $10,000 annually at this time of year to the Royal Canadian Legion’s Dominion Command Poppy Trust Fund on behalf of its employees.
But that’s not sitting well with poppy volunteer and legion member Marion Manning, who says it wasn’t a problem last year.
“Two years ago we brought them up and they said no. It was company policy that they didn't take them, so we said thank you and we brought them back,” says Manning. “Last year we received a phone call from them asking us to bring up trays. They wanted to put them on their counters.”
Manning says she’s confused and hurt by the policy, as her husband is a vet. She’s writing a letter of complaint to Dollarama.
“It's disrespectful to Gary, putting his life on the line, and the other vets. It just shouldn't be happening,” says Manning.
In the meantime, the trays will remain off the checkout counters at the Elmsdale Dollarama.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown.