Canada is developing a Grocery Code of Conduct to keep billionaire grocers in check

Jan 16 2023, 2:49 pm

Food prices and the soaring profits of a certain billionaire grocer have Canadians fuming mad, though things could soon improve for your sky-high grocery bills, as the federal government is now one step closer to implementing the country’s first-ever “Grocery Code of Conduct.”

Headlines covering eye-popping prices for everyday groceries — like a $37 package of chicken breast — tell a story of consumers pushed to the limit, some even driven to the point of theft to get by, like modern-day Jean Valjean equivalents.

Those hit hard by runaway grocery prices were given a glimmer of hope on Friday when Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada issued a joint statement on progress toward the new code, which is designed to enhance transparency and fairness in the grocery biz.

“We would like to commend the agri-food industry on the substantial progress they have made in developing Canada’s first-ever Grocery Code of Conduct,” state Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal minister of agriculture and agri-food and André Lamontagne, minister of agriculture, fisheries and food.

“We know there has been a significant amount of time and effort dedicated towards this initiative – and we would like to thank you all as we move towards its implementation,” continues the statement.

The coming code aims to enhance “transparency, predictability and fair dealing” in a broader effort to “make Canada’s food supply chain more resilient.”

Authorities claim that the changes will benefit both the grocery industry and consumers, but acknowledge that the code “will not address all pressures facing the food supply chain.”

“Issues at stake are very complex and need to consider a variety of conditions and perspectives,” cautions the statement.

Adherence to the new code would indeed be mandatory, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s statement “strongly encourage[s] all agri-food organizations to participate in the consultations that industry will be leading in the coming weeks” to get their feedback in before it’s too late.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada “highly encourage widespread voluntary adoption of the Code of Conduct,” for rapid implementation at a time when it is imperative for grocers to “build consumers’ trust.”

Canada is just a bit late to the party on this front, as similar codes have been in place in both the UK and Australia since 2010.

Jack LandauJack Landau

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