Grocery retailer Whole Foods Market is facing sharp criticism for a policy that forbids employees from wearing poppies, prompting Ontario’s premier to promise legislation that would prohibit such a rule.

The policy is a blanket ban on anything other than the retailer’s basic uniform −− a Whole Foods apron, coat or vest, hat, and standard−issue name tag −− and doesn’t single out poppies, a spokeswoman for the Amazon−owned chain said.

"Whole Foods Market honours the men and women who have and continue to bravely serve their country," the spokeswoman said. "With the exception of those items required by law, our dress code policy prohibits any additions to our standard uniform."

The retailer will observe a moment of silence on Remembrance Day and donate to the Royal Canadian Legion’s poppy campaign, she said.

The U.S.−based Whole Foods has 14 locations across Canada.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he would take action to ensure everyone is able to wear a poppy while at work.

"I find it absolutely disgraceful. I find it disgusting," he said during an appearance Friday in Ottawa. "So we’re going to introduce legislation immediately that permits any employee −− any employee, no matter where you work −− to wear a poppy."

Federal Veteran Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay, meanwhile, tweeted that Whole Foods’ policy is "absolutely unacceptable" −− a message the prime minister retweeted.

"This is absolutely unacceptable — the poppy is an important symbol of remembrance, and it’s more important than ever that everyone support the (Royal Canadian Legion’s) Poppy Campaign this year," he wrote.

"I find it absolutely disgraceful. I find it disgusting, so we’re going to introduce legislation immediately that permits any employee −− any employee, no matter where you work −− to wear a poppy," Ford said. #lestweforget #wholefoods

Erin O’Toole, the leader of the federal Conservative party, said that the sacrifices of Canadian veterans in the past "provides the freedom for a U.S. grocery chain to be stupid today."

The leader of the Bloc Quebecois, who was wearing a poppy, said that while he disapproves of Whole Foods rule, he’ll express his disappointment by refusing to shop there, rather than legislating the problem away.

"I would rather have them let their employees wear it, but not to the point where I would make politics about it," he said.

Whole Foods Market is being sued in the United States for preventing its employees from wearing Black Lives Matter face coverings while on the job.

A federal lawsuit filed in Boston on July 20 alleges that the supermarket chain disciplined, intimidated and retaliated against workers who were showing solidarity with the racial justice movement that had a resurgence of support following the May death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

According to that lawsuit, store managers cited the company dress code, which prohibits slogans or logos not affiliated with the company, as the reason for prohibiting Black Lives Matter messages.

— With files from The Associated Press.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 6, 2020.

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