ndp grocery store

Politicians are finally shaming Canadian grocery stores for screwing over customers

Canadians have been dealing with skyrocketing prices for daily necessities for months now — especially groceries — thanks to record global inflation, but the national economy isn't the only thing contributing to shockingly high bills at the supermarket checkout.

Food prices at our three big chains have been increasing at a higher rate than inflation itself, with one recent Star investigation showing that, though the pandemic and the war in Ukraine did lead to increased labour, supply chain and manufacturing costs, profit margins at Loblaws, Metro and Sobeys have spiked by almost 40 per cent lately, and are in the billions.

The NDP is now calling for a formal investigation into these profits, which are compounding with the inflated price of food to put an untenable strain on residents' wallets in the present environment.

"We know the cost of everything has gone up and now slowly we're seeing some of that go down, but the price of food has not come down; in fact, it continues to rise," NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said during a press conference on Tuesday in which he called for a government probe into current food costs, blaming corporate greed.

"The clear trend is CEO profits are up; grocery store profits are up but workers aren't getting paid more, producers aren't getting paid more, and families are certainly having a hard time affording it."

Singh called this "no surprise" given events like the bread price fixing scandal revealed in 2018, and said he is focused on getting to the bottom of what's going on with food pricing, given that it is one of the only areas where consumer-facing costs have not shown any indication of falling as inflation slowly eases — and the public is really feeling it.

"Some of the major producers of bread and major groceries were involved, and grocery stores were involved in price fixing which was uncovered after years," Singh continued, adding that the NDP is thus worried that something fishy might be happening yet again at these companies behind the scenes.

The party's agriculture critic is now set to table a motion suggesting a parliamentary committee investigation into the matter, with a windfall tax — a tax targeting certain companies or industries that suddenly benefitted from massive profits that were a result of the landscape, and not something they did — among the potential solutions.

While expenses for food, rent, hotels, insurance, some types of alcohol, transportation, and more have increased dramatically since the health crisis, as inflation peaked to more than double the long-term rate this summer, other factors are also impacting costs to customers, whether it be new credit card fees, the plummeting CAD or, apparently, grocery stores profiting off of already increased pricing.

Lead photo by

Grant D

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