Giant Walmart has 8% of the Canadian grocery market, according to 2021 data. (Archives)
Mr. Gebara of Walmart expressed a similar opinion. We want to ensure that the code includes all the provisions and conditions necessary for us to conduct our business to offer low prices every day to our customers across Canada, he said. We believe that the code is not in a position for us to commit to signing.
Before the commission, Monday, the boss of Empire (Sobeys and IGA), Michael Medline, refuted Mr. Weston's claims.
Although we are ready, willing and able to sign the code today, we now have serious doubts as to whether the code will actually come into force due to recent opposition from some retailers. In no way do we believe, nor does the evidence show, that a code of conduct will result in higher food prices or fewer choices for Canadians. On the contrary, he then declared.
Gary Sands, vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, told the committee Monday that the code is necessary to balance power between big players like Loblaw and the 7,000 small grocery stores it represents.
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Gary Sands is the senior vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers. (Archive)
We don't point the finger at our supplier partners, we understand the pressures that are driving up their costs, he told the committee . He said the code eliminates distorted market practices […] and onerous fees imposed by some large retailers.
This code is […] a set of principles of good conduct developed by the industry itself. It won't raise food prices, as Loblaw has claimed – no one in the industry would support a measure that would do that.
Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay and Quebec Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food André Lamontagne said in a joint statement Thursday that they were disappointed to see that the code of conduct of grocery stores is still not in effect.
At a time when Canadian families are facing high food costs, it is essential that major grocers, along with all supply chain partners, adopt and adhere to the code. The code is a tangible way to ensure more fairness, transparency and predictability in the supply chain, the statement read.
We will examine, in the coming days, all the options available to us. We encourage all industry partners to quickly commit to signing the Grocery Sector Code of Conduct so that consumers can benefit.