Price fixing case to be delayed?

The year-old bread price fixing charges leveled against a group of large retailers and bread makers in Ontario is in the news again this week.

The attention comes as the accused companies are asking the Ontario Superior Court to grant a delay in the class-action suit.

The retailers and bread makers are accused of overcharging consumers to the tune of $5 billion over 15 years by collectively raising bread prices. The class-action suit has been brought by two individuals on behalf of all the consumers they allege were overcharged. They say if the delay is granted it could keep the case from going forward for a full year.

The accused companies say the class-action should be held over until the Supreme Court of Canada rules on another case involving alleged price fixing of optical disc drives, reports the Globe and Mail.

The alleged conspiracy first came to light when Loblaw and its parent company George Weston Ltd., which owns bread maker Weston Foods, revealed that they had reached an agreement with the federal Competition Bureau to avoid possible criminal charges over their role in the alleged price fixing conspiracy.

Also named in the case are Canada Bread Co. (along with Maple Leaf Foods and Mexican Grupo Bimbo, who were Canada Bread’s parent companies at different times during the period covered in the case), Sobeys Inc. and Metro Inc., and discounters Walmart and Giant Tiger Stores, the Globe reports.

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