TORONTO - Hudson's Bay Co. is asking an Ontario court to review the province's decision to temporarily close non-essential retailers in Toronto and Peel and calling the government's approach “unreasonable and unfair.”

The retailer, one of the country's most prominent department stores, filed the request for a judicial review today.

HBC says it is asking the court to recognize the unfairness of the situation and the need for a solution that prioritizes health and safety without jeopardizing the livelihood of thousands of retail workers and the future of many businesses.

The Ontario government ordered all non-essential businesses in Toronto and neighbouring Peel Region closed last month in an effort to curb surging COVID-19 infections.

HBC says in court documents that the province's health data shows shoppers are not contributing to the spread of the novel coronavirus in any significant way.

The court application comes after a coalition of about 50 retailers, including HBC, signed a letter last week that argued the order forces consumers to buy goods at big box and discount stores that are deemed essential, while thousands of retailers that sell many of the same products are forced to close.

(The Canadian Press)