MPs summon large grocery retailer CEOs to testify in Ottawa over meals inflation February 14, 2023
Members of Parliament have summoned the heads of Canada’s largest grocery retailer chains to reply for rising meals costs.
On Monday, a Home of Commons committee finding out meals value inflation known as on the CEOs and presidents of Loblaw Firms, Metro and Empire Firm Restricted – which operates chains together with Sobeys, Safeway and FreshCo – to attend an upcoming assembly.
The listening to has not but been scheduled.
The proposal to listen to from the trade leaders got here from NDP MP Alistair MacGregor, and it acquired unanimous assist from Liberal, Conservative and Bloc Québécois MPs on the committee.
Executives from all three firms, in addition to Save-On-Meals, have testified at previous committee conferences targeted on the rising price of meals – however not their CEOs.
“These on the heads of those firms, the place the buck stops … ought to a minimum of must reply questions round why their earnings are so excessive and why their costs are so excessive,” stated NDP Chief Jagmeet Singh on Tuesday. “And why are they profiting off the backs of Canadians?”
The committee started the examine in October, initially setting apart six conferences to debate the topic. MPs have now determined so as to add extra conferences and witnesses, except for the CEOs.
The Retail Council of Canada, which advocates for grocers, stated it needs the committee to name upon world manufacturers, producers, processors and wholesalers.
“Grocers are meals distributors – they purchase items from suppliers after which promote them to clients. Which means they’re largely depending on what suppliers ask them to pay for his or her merchandise,” stated Michelle Wasylyshen, a spokesperson for the council, in an announcement Tuesday.
“What Canadians want is for political leaders to start out trying on the meals value inflation drawback in all its complexities and this has not but occurred.”
Metro declined to remark, whereas Loblaw and Empire Firm Restricted didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Costs for meals bought from shops rose practically 10 per cent in 2022, the quickest tempo since 1981, with greater costs in each meals class apart from canned salmon, in keeping with Statistics Canada.
“Canadians are slicing again on their standard grocery lists and stretching their paycheques even additional to get much less for his or her households,” stated MacGregor, who’s the NDP’s meals value inflation critic.
“However all of the whereas, these grocery CEOs are making more cash than they ever have earlier than. It simply doesn’t add up.”
Final yr, the Liberal authorities ordered the Competitors Bureau to check meals costs at grocery chains and whether or not competitors between firms is contributing to greater costs.
The bureau has stated that many elements could have affected the worth of meals, together with excessive climate, greater enter prices, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and supply-chain disruptions. Its examine is predicted to be launched someday this yr.
Pierre St-Laurent, the chief working officer for Empire Firm Restricted, instructed the committee in December that world challenges are rising the prices of meals manufacturing.
“Sadly, current circumstances are such that our suppliers don’t have any selection however to ask retailers for important value will increase if they’re to stay worthwhile,” St-Laurent stated.