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October 24th, 2022

After New Democrats forced all MPs to agree to look into sky-high cost of food, Competition Bureau opens investigation

Last Monday, in an Opposition Day Motion in the House of Commons, the NDP called on all parties to ask the Competition Bureau to launch an investigation of grocery chain profits

OTTAWA – Today, after New Democrats forced all Members of Parliament to ask the Competition Bureau of Canada to launch an investigation of grocery chain profits, the Bureau announced that they will be investigating the sky-high cost of food and will provide recommendations to the Liberal government on what they should be doing to help Canadian families cope with the rising costs. For months, New Democrats have been urging the Liberals and Conservatives to stand up to grocery store CEOs making millions of dollars in bonuses while Canadians struggle with higher grocery bills.

“Canadian families have had to stretch their money further just to keep up with their grocery bills. The increase of the price of food has hit a 41-year high – but people’s wages aren’t going up at the same rate. People feel like they’re doing everything right, but just can’t get ahead,” said Canada’s NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. “New Democrats have been calling out the corporate greed that is driving up costs for hardworking people for months now and pushing the Liberals and Conservatives to stop siding with rich CEOs of huge grocery chains making millions of dollars while Canadian families are having to decide what groceries they can buy and what they have to put back. It’s a win for everyday people that the Competition Bureau is listening. More needs to be done and you can count on New Democrats to keep fighting for you and your family.”

Last week, New Democrats successfully forced all Members of Parliament to support a proposal to address the corporate greed that is fueling inflation in the grocery sector. Amidst mounting political pressure from the NDP, last week Loblaws announced that they would be freezing the prices of No Name products – proving that rich CEOs have the power to reduce food cost for families. Singh says today’s announcement from the Competition Bureau shows that his party’s advocacy is paying off for Canadians struggling with the high cost of groceries. But New Democrats are clear that the Liberals must do more to help people make ends meet– especially as the Deputy Prime Minister is warning of difficult financial times ahead.

“While families are making tough choices about what they can afford, grocery store CEOs are making millions of dollars. People rightly want to know why that is and if it's affecting their ability to put food on the table,” said Singh. “Liberals and Conservatives have a duty to Canadians to stand with us in getting to the bottom of this. New Democrats will keep pushing the government to stand up for Canadian families, close the tax loopholes that allow rich CEOs to avoid paying what they owe and act to help lower grocery bills. One this is for sure, New Democrats don't work for rich CEOs, we work for you.”

Full text of the NDP motion can be found here:

That, given that,

(i) big grocery stores have made massive profits in the past year, not long after several were investigated for bread price-fixing,

(ii) workers’ wages and the prices paid to producers in the agricultural sector are not keeping up with those corporate profits, or with inflation,

(iii) Canadian families are struggling with the rising costs of essential purchases,the House call on the government to recognize that corporate greed is a significant driver of inflation, and to take further action to support families during this cost-of-living crisis, including:

(a) forcing CEOs and big corporations to pay what they owe, by closing the loopholes that have allowed them to avoid $30 billion in taxes in 2021 alone, resulting in a corporate tax rate that is effectively lower now than when this government was elected;

(b) launching an affordable and fair food strategy which tackles corporate greed in the grocery sector including by asking the Competition Bureau to launch an investigation of grocery chain profits, increasing penalties for price-fixing and strengthening competition laws to prohibit companies from abusing their dominant positions in a market to exploit purchasers or agricultural producers; and

(c) supporting the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food in investigating high food prices and the role of “greedflation”, including inviting grocery CEOs before the committee.