Sweda Farms, owned by Svante Lind of Blackstock, has filed a second lawsuit against Burnbrae Farms, Grayridge and the Egg Farmers of Ontario marketing board, alleging they have conspired to keep Sweda out of the egg-grading market in Ontario.
The original lawsuit, now years old and yet to go to trial, alleges they conspired to drive Sweda out of the market.
Sweda filed the second lawsuit after the egg board refused its request to use its marketing mandate and power to direct the production from 200,000 hens (5.3 million eggs per year) to Sweda.
Failing to direct eggs from farmers deprives Sweda of its right to participate in the market, says the lawsuit. It also notes that senior executives of the two companies are directors of the Ontario egg board.
The lawsuit argues that Burnbrae and Grayride hold a dominating market share. That restricts farmers’ choice of a grading station to which they can direct their eggs and limits supplier choice for wholesale buyers and retail chains and their customers.
Now Burnbrae has made a deal with the Nutri Group to buy its egg-grading stations in Kitchener and Monkton, exaggerating concentration in the market.
Sweda’s lawsuit says “the Gray Defendants and the Burnbrae Defendants, who were and are Ontario’s largest egg producers and graders, unlawfully conspired to raise, maintain, fix, and/or stabilize prices, and reduce rebates, at which eggs were sold in Ontario to wholesale customers, retail customers and breaking stations, by eliminating Sweda as a competitor from the egg grading market.”
It says “they conspired, agreed, and arranged to allocate sales, territories, customers or markets for the production or supply of producers eggs in Ontario in a manner that benefitted themselves.”
And it says they used the egg board in their conspiracy.
It also alleges they violated the federal competition act.
The accused have denied any wrongdoing. No date has yet been set for a trial.