Trade minister urges Competitors Bureau to conduct followup examine of grocery costs

Innovation, Science and Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne is asking on the Competitors Bureau to make use of its new powers to take one other take a look at the price of groceries in Canada.

Final June, the bureau launched a report that stated Canada’s grocery sector lacks competitors. The business is dominated by three home giants — Loblaw, Metro and Sobeys proprietor Empire — together with overseas gamers like Walmart and Costco.

On Monday, Champagne despatched a letter to Matthew Boswell, the competitors commissioner, to complain about what he referred to as the grocery corporations’ lack of co-operation with the bureau’s examine, which led to final summer season’s report.

“I used to be dissatisfied to study that the Bureau’s examine didn’t profit from the complete co-operation of enormous grocers. Massive grocers haven’t, to this point, been sufficiently clear in regards to the causes of meals inflation,” Champagne wrote.

In his letter, Champagne factors out that the federal government not too long ago overhauled the Competitors Act to offer the Competitors Bureau extra powers — together with the facility to subpoena data from corporations when conducting market research.

“The federal government put in place these new authorities as we imagine this can give rise to significant enforcement actions as you carry your work ahead,” Champagne wrote.

The rising value of meals has outpaced total inflation up to now few years. (CBC)

The Competitors Bureau is an unbiased authorities physique accountable for making certain wholesome competitors between corporations in Canada. 

Whereas a minister can’t direct the bureau to take a particular motion, Champagne advised reporters on Monday he believes the bureau will use its new powers.

“I’m assured that the bureau will take full benefit of the brand new powers granted to them to additional deal with the considerations of Canadian customers in the case of the worth of meals,” he stated.

The rising value of meals has outpaced total inflation up to now few years. Earlier this month, Statistics Canada stated the nation’s annual inflation charge was 3.4 per cent in December, whereas meals inflation stood at 4.7 per cent.

Champagne convened a gathering within the fall with the heads of the 5 massive grocery chains and later stated that they had agreed to work on stabilizing grocery costs.

However his letter to the Competitors Bureau suggests that plan hasn’t labored out as the federal government hoped.

“[The grocery companies] have failed, for essentially the most half, to supply common updates on initiatives geared toward stabilizing meals costs within the nation,” the minister wrote.

Champagne wrote that he hopes to debate the potential of a follow-up examine with the competitors commissioner.

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