February 22nd, 2024

Champagne says he’s working phones to court new players for Canadian grocery market

By The Canadian Press on January 30, 2024.

Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne arrives to a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024. Champagne says he spoke to a foreign grocer just this morning as part of his efforts to court new players to enter Canada's grocery sector. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA – Industry Minister Fran├žois-Philippe Champagne is once again insisting that he is reaching out to international grocers in the hopes they will open up shop in Canada.

The minister says he spoke to one foreign grocer just this morning as part of his efforts to court new players to join the Canadian grocery sector – but he’s not naming any names.

Champagne met with Canadian grocers in the fall about food inflation and demanded they create plans to stabilize grocery prices or face consequences including potential tax measures.

He recently expressed disappointment that the grocers have not been more transparent about their plans, but has stayed mum on whether the federal government plans to punish them for it.

The minister sent a letter to the commissioner of the Competition Bureau on Monday asking to discuss a follow-up study on the grocery sector, now that the bureau has new powers to subpoena companies for information.

The Competition Bureau published the findings of its previous study in June, saying that grocers’ co-operation varied and was not fulsome.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 30, 2024.

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