Report eyes ‘excessive profits’
The Canadian Press - May 24, 2024 - Business Buzz

Photo: The Canadian Press

The federal government should consider policies to tackle “excessive net profits” in the food industry, said the House of Commons committee studying food prices in its latest report.

The committee recommended the government look into ways to address these profits in “monopolistic and oligopolistic sectors in the food supply chain,” which it says are driving up prices for farmers and consumers.

In a report presented on Thursday, the committee detailed its research into the causes of food inflation and insecurity in Canada, including the high-profile testimonies it drew from grocery executives over the past several months.

The leaders of Loblaw, Metro, Sobeys-owner Empire, Walmart Canada and Costco have all faced questions from MPs over the size of their profits amid high food inflation, which the grocers say they haven’t unduly profited from.

The committee report offered a number of recommendations that range from lowering the barrier to entry for new companies to Canada, to making legislative changes to strengthen competition law regarding mergers.

The committee also recommended that the government discuss with the provinces and territories legislation to make the grocery code of conduct mandatory. It comes on the heels of an announcement from Loblaw that it plans to sign on to the code after months of pressure on the country’s largest grocer to participate. The industry-led code is intended to help level the playing field for smaller companies in the industry.

It’s meant to be voluntary, but in recent months pressure has grown on the government to make it law instead as not all of the major grocers appeared to be willing to sign on.

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