Walmart Canada Introduces Sensory-Friendly Hours in Stores Across Canada to Create a More Inclusive Shopping Experience for Canadians

Walmart Canada is proud to announce the launch of sensory-friendly hours in stores across Canada.

As part of Walmart Canada’s commitment to create a more inclusive shopping experience for all, these dedicated hours aim to make shopping our stores accessible to customers who may experience sensory overload by providing a less stimulating environment.

Approximately 33% of people experience sensory sensitivity or overload, with more than 25 diagnoses or differences contributing to it, according to Sensory Friendly Solutions. This means visual and auditory stimuli can be too intense to process, which can cause discomfort or frustration for customers as they shop.

All 403 Walmart stores in Canada will now offer sensory-friendly hours from store opening until 10 a.m. local time every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, where possible. During these designated hours, the goal is to create a calmer experience by eliminating or reducing potential sensory stimuli. There will be minimal sounds, with no music or radio advertisements and announcements/paging paused except for emergencies. In addition, only static, low-sensory images will be used on TV walls.

“This is such an important step we’re taking to create a more inviting and positive shopping experience for customers who experience sensory overload and their families,” said Joe Schrauder, Head of Store Operations, Walmart Canada. “We want our stores to be a place where all customers and associates feel they belong.”

“Sensory sensitivity and sensory overload are more common than you think. It can be experienced by your family, your friend, your co-workers, your customer and maybe even you,” said Christel Seeberger, Founder and CEO, Sensory Friendly Solutions. “And as a person with lived experience, I know it can stop people from living everyday life. Sensory-friendly environments and experiences make everyday life more accessible, inclusive and invite more people to participate and belong. And that’s why change in a busy, noisy, bright world is needed.”

“When I found out about the sensory-friendly hours at Walmart, I was over the moon that something like that was started,” said Amber Fraser, a Walmart customer who lives with a traumatic brain injury. “We all need to shop, and we all need to go out and do things. I think sensory-friendly hours will be great for not only me but many other people. It might make them feel more comfortable and less anxious going out and I’m happy that Walmart is the start of it.”

“I’ve been in a few car accidents in my life and they left me with concussions. It leaves you very sensitive to noise and it doesn’t go away,” said Mary Lisa Fraser, a Walmart customer. “[Sensory-friendly hours] mean that I could shop longer, be more comfortable and not afraid of something that’s going to give me a jolt. It’s wonderful; I’ve never heard of anything like this, so I think it’s extremely thoughtful.”

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