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Grocery heads comply with ‘help’ Ottawa’s efforts to ‘stabilize meals costs’ – Nationwide | Globalnews.ca Categorical Occasions

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Canada’s prime grocery executives have pledged to “help” the Liberal authorities’s efforts to maintain costs in verify, Business Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says.

The heads of Canada’s greatest grocery chains attended a summit struck by the Liberals in Ottawa on Monday as Parliament Hill returned to session and the federal government vowed motion on affordability points dogging Canadians.

Champagne informed reporters earlier than query interval Monday afternoon that it was an “historic day” to have the heads of Canada’s greatest grocers in a single place, and mentioned the roughly two-hour assembly between Ottawa and the executives had “tough discussions” however a “constructive tone.”

“The big grocers have accepted to work with the federal government of Canada,” Champagne mentioned.

“This can be a step in the best course. … that is only the start. We’re going to be working to deliver value stability in Canada.”

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mentioned final week that the invitation to the heads of Loblaw, Metro, Empire, Walmart Canada and Costco got here with an ultimatum to craft a plan to deal with meals inflation earlier than Thanksgiving, in any other case “tax measures” can be on the desk.

Click to play video: 'Ottawa summons major grocery CEOs to talk lowering food prices — or else'

Ottawa summons main grocery CEOs to speak decreasing meals costs — or else

What’s going to change on the grocery retailer?

The federal government didn’t present particulars of what formal plans if any got here out of the assembly on Monday.

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Talking in French, Champagne mentioned the businesses will now must develop concrete particular person plans to stabilize costs.

“Now you need to allow them to compete towards one another so Canadians can see the advantages of competitors,” he mentioned.

Empire CEO Michael Medline informed reporters on Monday afternoon the assembly was “very productive” however didn’t reply questions on whether or not it should really result in decrease costs.

Nor would Metro CEO Eric La Fleche.

“We’re all dedicated to discovering options to stabilize costs and produce down the (shopper value index) on the meals aspect,” he mentioned, calling excessive costs an “trade challenge.”

When pressed by reporters about whether or not costs will come down, La Fleche mentioned “costs fluctuate each week in our trade,” and famous that the discussions have been about shopper packaged items relatively than recent meals resembling produce, dairy and meat.

In an announcement to World Information, the Retail Council of Canada mentioned “a whole lot of floor” was lined within the assembly and known as it constructive and informative.

“There was additionally alignment that any discussions on meals costs should embody all members of the complicated provide chain,” spokesperson Michelle Wasylyshen wrote. “That is one thing that we have now known as for persistently, on condition that 70 per cent to 80 per cent of grocery checkout costs come up earlier than meals even will get to Canada’s grocers.”

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Ottawa eyes extra competitors in grocery sector

For Ottawa’s half, Champagne cited plans to reform the Competitors Act as one technique the federal government is utilizing to maintain costs in verify within the meals trade and past.

The proposed new powers for the competitors commissioner introduced final week embody the power to subpoena firms to accumulate paperwork throughout probes — a problem the Competitors Bureau cited as a barrier in its investigation of focus in Canada’s grocery sector.

That report discovered Canada may gain advantage from elevated competitors within the trade from impartial and worldwide grocers to assist restrict meals inflation in the long run.

Meals inflation on the grocery retailer has remained elevated at 8.5 per cent within the newest shopper value index studying, whilst value pressures elsewhere within the economic system present indicators of easing.

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Heading into the assembly with the grocery executives on Monday, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland informed reporters that the grocery summit was one piece of the Liberals’ plan to deal with Canadians’ affordability issues as Parliament begins its fall session.

“Our authorities goes to do every thing in our energy to ensure costs stabilize. This assembly at this time is a part of that effort,” she mentioned.

Some meals economists who spoke to World Information forward of the grocery store summit on Monday mentioned that the Trudeau authorities’s efforts to place the onus for calming meals inflation on the grocery executives have been misguided and “disingenuous.”

The College of Guelph’s Michael von Massow mentioned his “cynical” tackle the assembly was that it’s extra supposed to be a balm for the Liberals’ challenges within the polls as of late than more likely to meaningfully handle value of dwelling issues.

“We’re seeing this authorities get hammered about affordability,” he informed World Information.

“It seems to be one thing to take warmth off of them, relatively than one thing that may actually essentially have an effect on affordability for Canadians.”

Conservative Chief Pierre Poilievre pressed the Liberal authorities repeatedly about whether or not Monday’s assembly would have a tangible affect on the costs of lettuce and different produce staples by Thanksgiving in the course of the first query interval session of the Home’s new sitting.

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Click to play video: 'Poilievre dismisses Trudeau’s summon of grocery CEOs as ‘political theatre’'

Poilievre dismisses Trudeau’s summon of grocery CEOs as ‘political theatre’

NDP Chief Jagmeet Singh, who famous that he was the one head of a federal occasion to query the CEOs of Canada’s grocers throughout committee hearings this spring, known as for the Liberals to raised maintain the executives to account for “company greed.”

“When will the federal government step up and power these CEOs to lastly decrease their costs?” he requested throughout query interval.

The Retail Council of Canada mentioned in an announcement final week that grocer earnings don’t have anything to do with the rising value of meals, pointing as a substitute to increased prices being handed on from meals producers and producers.

Liberal minister Sean Fraser and Karina Gould spoke to reporters Monday forward of Parliament’s return, vowing {that a} invoice to deal with affordability issues shall be launched “imminently” within the new sitting.

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— with information from World Information’ Kyle Benning and Sean Previl, and The Canadian Press

&copy 2023 World Information, a division of Corus Leisure Inc.

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