The global spread of the coronavirus has caused many businesses in Canada and the rest of the world to temporarily close their doors in order to prevent the further spread of the virus.

While it may seem that most businesses are negatively impacted by the coronavirus, there are several that will thrive because of it, so what does that mean for investors looking to harness the potential of Retail properties in Canada? Are there any investment opportunities during these times?

Essential Retail Services 

The government has mandated most businesses to close in order to help prevent the spread of the virus, but some retailers are allowed to continue to work for the time being. 

The retailers that are still operating in Canada fall under the category of “essential retail services.” But what are essential retail services? 

These services include that which are necessary for people’s safety, health, and well-being. They also include the services needed to operate by those essential businesses. These essential businesses give us hope during these times. Let's focus on those and how an investor in today's market can still win by investing in Canadian CRE retail property. 

Essential Retail Services in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan

The “essential” retail services that will still be available in Ontario, Alberta and for Saskatchewan until further notice include:


  • Pharmacies, Dispensaries, Cannabis stores and Liquor stores
  • Food retailers, including pet stores selling food and supplies
  • Retailers selling PPE and other products for safety protection
  • Retailers selling sanitation products
  • Consumer electronics retailers
  • Office supply stores, medical supply stores, and transportation repair centres
  • Postal and courier services
  • Gas stations, warehousing and storage businesses
  • Telecommunications companies, including all their centres
  • Transportation & logistic businesses necessary for the essential retail services


These essential retail businesses are not just open for business; most are thriving due to the increase in demand. As demand continues, so will their need to occupy more CRE space. 

Non-Essential Retail Services 

Almost the same “essential” retail services are available in many of the provinces with a few exceptions, so lets take a look at which businesses are considered “non-essential”.


  • Gift, specialty and jewelry stores
  • Beauty care, bridal, shoes, and clothing wear
  • Toys, hobby, gaming and sporting goods
  • Photo, music and books
  • Art and framing


These are the businesses that are no longer providing 100% of their services from their retail locations. These are also the businesses that are working to find new innovative ways to start providing services online. 


The Government of each Canadian province has imposed restrictions on the type of business that may operate within their provinces. While some retail stores are determined to be non-essential and therefore are prohibited to providing public-facing services, they are able to provide services online, as well as delivery and pick-up services through their retail store or warehouse location.

The retail industry in Canada continues to work well for the right type of business during the coronavirus crisis. For the wise investor that sees demand and wants to take the opportunity contact ReDev Properties today.

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