The provinces, not the federal government, have the power to legislate against the abusive fees, discounts and allowances the country’s biggest supermarket chains impose on suppliers, the report said.
And if the provincial rules differ, things would be difficult for the food industry, so the report recommends a voluntary code.
Sobeys is so far the only major supermarket chain to voluntarily sign on to a code of practice.
The ministers of agriculture were prompted to look into the issue after Wal-Mart sprung a one per cent invoice discount on suppliers and Loblaws, Canada’s largest food retailer, followed suit.
But suppliers have complained for more than 60 years that they are forced to pay hundreds of different discounts, allowances and fees to retain access to shoppers.
A voluntary code is a complete cop-out. Agriculture ministers will sit back and watch Canadian grocery suppliers and farmers suffer.