Canadian grocery store CEOs to testify on rise of food prices in Parliament

FILE-People shop in a grocery store in Montreal, Wednesday, November 16, 2022. Canada’s annual inflation rate slowed to 5.9 per cent in January, says Statistics Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes


The executive officials of Canada’s biggest grocery stores are meeting with a parliamentary committee in Ottawa today.

The televised meeting with Loblaw Companies Ltd., Metro Inc. and Empire Companies. Ltd., who own major food stores such as FreshCo, Sobeys and Food Basics, is set to take place at 4:30 p.m. with the House of Commons agriculture committee.

The country’s major grocery food chains are in question for allegedly profiting off inflation, as their profit margins continue to rise while many consumers struggle to purchase basic necessities in the cost-of-living crisis.

As part of a study that began in October on food inflation and food insecurity, the timely meeting will address the nation’s questions about soaring food prices.  

READ MORE: Nunavut resident reminds Canadians that soaring food costs is nothing new up north

Loblaw Chairman and President Galen Weston Jr. and Michael Medline, CEO of Empire Cos. Ltd., are expected to meet in-person, while Metro CEO Eric La Flèche is set to join via video conference. 

The proposal to hear from the grocery leaders was issued by NDP MP Alistair MacGregor, and supported by the Liberal, Conservative and Bloc Quebecois MPs on the committee.

In January, food prices (which include both groceries and food from restaurants) rose 10.4 per cent year-over-year and was driven in part by an increase in meat prices (up 7.3 per cent y-o-y), according to Statistics Canada. Grocery prices in January also marked the largest month-over-month increase since June 2004.

To address the rise in food costs, the government launched its first-ever optional Grocery Code of Conduct, urging grocers to participate in the consultations to make “Canada’s food supply chain more resilient,” by “enhancing transparency, predictability and fair dealing.”  



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