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Canada’s Industry Minister Targets Grocery Giants with Antitrust Changes

 |  January 29, 2024

François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Industry Minister, has expressed his anticipation for forthcoming amendments to the country’s antitrust laws aimed at empowering competition-law authorities to address marketplace abuses, particularly within the grocery sector.

In a letter addressed to the head of the Competition Bureau, shared on the social-media platform X (formerly Twitter), Champagne emphasized concerns about the lack of transparency from the country’s major grocers regarding the causes of food inflation. He noted that these grocery giants have failed to provide regular updates on initiatives geared towards stabilizing food prices in the nation.

Read more: Canada Aims to Revise Competition Laws in Response to Escalating Food Costs

Champagne highlighted the robust earnings in Canada’s grocery sector, indicating potential opportunities to alleviate the burden on Canadian consumers. Expressing the need for a discussion with Matthew Boswell, Canada’s competition commissioner, Champagne emphasized the importance of compelling the largest grocers to furnish more comprehensive data on the industry’s financial landscape. This power was granted to the Competition Bureau through amendments to Canada’s antitrust laws approved by parliament last year.

Notably, representatives from Loblaw, Metro, and Empire – Canada’s publicly-traded grocery-store owners – have yet to respond to Champagne’s remarks. Last year, in testimonies before parliamentary committees, senior executives from these grocery giants asserted that the Canadian sector is one of the most competitive globally. They claimed that plans were in place to offer lower prices on essential staples, despite the ongoing concerns raised by the Industry Minister.

Source: Market Watch