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Industry NewsGovernment tells Loblaw, Walmart sign a grocery code or risk legislation

Government tells Loblaw, Walmart sign a grocery code or risk legislation

The House of Commons committee looking into food prices has told Loblaw and Walmart they should sign the Grocery Code of Conduct or risk it becoming law, according to a Canadian Press story.

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food stated in a letter Friday to the executives of Loblaw and Walmart Canada that implementation of the Code is essential to tackle the issues facing the food industry.

Loblaw and Walmart have said they will not sign the code as it’s drafted and warned that it could increase food prices. Other grocery organizations and associations, including Metro and Sobeys, the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, Food, Health and Consumer Products of Canada, the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, and the Retail Council of Canada have been in support of a non-legislated Grocery Code of Conduct.

Both Walmart and Loblaw have said they will not sign the code as currently drafted, warning it could lead to higher prices for Canadians.

As reported in The Globe and Mail, Loblaw spokeswoman Catherine Thomas said the grocer’s goal is to ensure the code is “in the best interest of everyone, particularly consumers.”

“We have been and remain committed to working with the industry on a code that is reciprocal, fair and based on good faith dealings across the supply chain,” she said in an e-mail.

Walmart Canada spokeswoman Sarah Kennedy said the company supports initiatives that promote fairness and that are in the best interests of consumers.

“While we have significant concerns about the code in its current form, we will continue to work constructively with the industry on this topic,” she said in an e-mail.

In the same Globe and Mail article, Michael Graydon, CEO of Food, Health and Consumer Products of Canada and chairman of the interim board that’s overseeing the code, states “I think we’ve come a long way, but if it’s required to go the regulatory route to create a mandatory environment, so be it.”

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