The federal government will summon the heads of Canada’s major grocery store chains to Ottawa this fall to initiate discussions about a plan to reduce food costs for Canadians as inflation continues to impact grocery bills.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated on September 14 that this call to action comes as Canadians continue to grapple with inflation.
Speaking in London, ON after a caucus retreat, Prime Minister Trudeau stated, “The big grocery store chains are making record profits. Those profits should not be made on the backs of people struggling to feed their families.”
According to this, the government will demand the top five largest grocery companies, including Loblaw, Metro, Empire, Walmart, and Costco, to present a plan by Thanksgiving 2023. If grocery stores fail to provide “real relief” for middle and lower-income Canadians, the government will take further actions, including tax measures, to compel companies to do so.
This call comes as grocery prices increased by 8.5% in July, showing a slight slowdown in the rate of price increases but still significantly higher than overall inflation.
Large grocery stores have faced accusations of profiteering amid high inflation, although the CEOs of Loblaw, Metro, and Empire rejected these allegations before a parliamentary committee studying food inflation earlier this year.
On the same day, the Retail Council of Canada argued that food prices and profits are unrelated to food price increases, instead pointing out that higher costs come from food producers and distributors. The council also noted that any discussions about food prices should involve the participation of processors, producers, and other businesses within the supply chain.