Article Date 30/11/2020

Canada's Ag ministers to launch probe into grocery store fees on suppliers

Source Financial Post

Canada's federal, provincial and territorial agriculture ministers on Friday agreed to launch an investigation to find ways to mend tattered relationships between food producers and supermarkets.

During the last day of their annual conference, the agriculture ministers agreed to set up a working group to look at the controversial fees that some of the largest grocery chains have started charging suppliers during the pandemic.

"We all recognize that these fees, recently imposed by some retailers, are really worrying," federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said at a press conference. "We want to study the problem."

Bibeau said the working group will "circumscribe the issue, consult experts and industry, and identify actions that can be taken, both at the federal and provincial level," with a report on recommendations delivered by July 2021.

The decision to start looking into the issue comes amid renewed calls for government intervention to rein in what food producers say are bully tactics from the most powerful players in the consolidated grocery business. Manufacturing industry groups and independent grocers have called for the government to implement a code of conduct, similar to a model used in the United Kingdom.

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