Agriculture ministers from across Canada appeared to cut the grocery business some slack on Wednesday, extending their deadline for industry leaders to come up with a deal that could end years of fighting between food producers and supermarket chains, as reported by the Financial Post.
Ten trade associations representing retailers, farmers and food processors have been in formal talks for months to develop a code of conduct. Ottawa determined it can’t regulate a code of conduct itself, so federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and a group of provincial and territorial ministers asked the industry to come up with one.
Negotiations on a Canadian code started this summer, after agriculture ministers from the federal, provincial and territorial levels—a group known as the FPT—got together and gave the industry an ultimatum: call a truce on your own, or the government will get more involved in designing a solution.
With the end of the year just over a month away, the ministers have given the industry more time. During a three-day conference in Guelph, FPT ministers agreed to give the grocery negotiations until March to present a concrete proposal “for a code of conduct or practice and a dispute resolution framework.” The FPT is also asking for a progress update to be delivered in December.
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