MPs summon big grocery store CEOs to testify in Ottawa over food inflation

MPs summon big grocery store CEOs to testify in Ottawa over food inflation
People shop in a grocery store in Montreal, Wednesday, November 16, 2022. The CEOs of Canada's largest grocery store chains have been summoned to a House of Commons committee to answer for rising grocery prices.

Members of Parliament have summoned the heads of Canada’s largest grocery store chains to answer for rising grocery prices.

On Monday, a House of Commons committee studying food price inflation called on the CEOs and presidents of Loblaw, Metro and Empire to attend an upcoming meeting.

NDP MP Alistair MacGregor made the request, gaining unanimous support from Liberal, Conservative and Bloc Québécois MPs.

The committee also agreed to extend the length of its food price inflation study by adding more meetings.

Statistics Canada says prices for food purchased from stores rose nearly 10 per cent in 2022, the fastest pace since 1981, with higher prices in every food category except for canned salmon.

MacGregor said he’s looking forward to asking the CEOs direct questions about why grocery bills are going up.

“Canadians are cutting back on their usual grocery lists and stretching their paycheques even further to get less for their families,” said MacGregor, who is the NDP’s food price inflation critic.

“But all the while, these grocery CEOs are making more money than they ever have before. It just doesn’t add up.”

Last year the Liberal government ordered the Competition Bureau to study food prices at grocery chains, saying they want to ensure price fairness.

Many factors are thought to have impacted the price of food, the bureau said. That includes extreme weather, higher input costs, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and supply chain disruptions.

However, the study, which is expected to be released this year, will analyze if grocery store competition is also contributing to higher prices.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 14, 2023.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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