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“I’m delighted. I think it’s a step forward,” said Michael Graydon, chief executive of Food, Health and Consumer Products of Canada, the major trade association for manufacturers, which has been among the loudest critics of supermarket fees and fines.
This summer, Walmart Canada reignited debate over a code of conduct when it started charging its suppliers, as a way to help cover multi-billion-dollar upgrades to its stores and e-commerce operations. Canada’s biggest grocer, Loblaw Cos. Ltd., followed suit last month with a fee to help cover its own upgrades, and a buying group that includes Metro Inc. has asked for similar treatment.
One of the country’s biggest dairy processors is pushing back against the supermarkets. Lactalis Canada Inc., which includes the Beatrice milk, Astro yogurt and Black Diamond cheese brands, told retailers last week that it will no longer pay fines if shipments come up short in the next month, pointing to production challenges caused by the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.
‘Ideal’ that the working group will be led by a federal and a provincial minister
Michael Graydon, Food, Health and Consumer Products of Canada
“What is happening today isn’t conducive to having a strong ag sector,” André Lamontagne, Quebec’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, said in an interview. He will co-chair the working group with Bibeau.