The federal NDP is looking for a parliamentary probe of the rising value of meals to find out whether or not main grocery retailer chains are raking in extra earnings.
Whereas Canada’s inflation drawback appears to be easing off, the price of groceries has risen 10.8 per cent previously yr, in accordance with Statistics Canada.
NDP agriculture critic Alistair MacGregor mentioned he plans to desk a movement earlier than Wednesday’s agriculture committee proposing that MPs examine to search out out whether or not grocery shops have been making the most of inflation.
“I believe Canadians deserve solutions and … on this time the place they see the costs of every thing going up, sadly they’ve a Liberal authorities which has not paid a lot consideration to the position that company greed performs within the rising costs they’re seeing,” MacGregor instructed CBC.
Two of Canada’s three main grocery chains posted elevated earnings of their most up-to-date monetary studies. Loblaw reported a quarterly revenue of $387 million — a rise of $12 million, or 3.2 per cent, over the identical quarter final yr.
Metro posted a $275 million quarterly revenue, up from $252.4 million in the identical quarter the yr earlier than. Whereas Empire reported an elevated revenue in June, its newest monetary assertion confirmed a slight decline in earnings over the newest quarter — $187.5 million in comparison with $188.5 million the yr earlier.
Loblaw manufacturers embody Consumers Drug Mart, Superstore and No Frills. Metro owns Meals Fundamentals, Jean Coutu, Metro and different manufacturers, whereas Empire owns Sobeys and FreshCo.
Whereas Loblaw and Metro have attributed their elevated earnings to an increase in pharmaceutical gross sales, MacGregor mentioned it is nonetheless value trying into.
“I do know Canadians try to do every thing they will to stability their budgets, however additionally they need to have parliamentarians have a look at this concern and discover options,” he mentioned.
College of Toronto professor Partha Mohanram, an professional in monetary assertion evaluation, mentioned there’s little proof to counsel main grocers are utilizing inflation as a pretext to spice up their earnings.
“It is extremely troublesome to really make an allegation that these guys are literally profiteering, however there is not any doubt they’re doing fairly nicely,” he mentioned.
A latest report from Dalhousie College seemed into the earnings of Canada’s main grocers over the previous 5 years and located no proof of profiteering off of the latest spike in inflation.
“If ‘greedflation’ exists, the obtainable information suggests grocers usually are not accountable,” the report reads.
“If individuals are accusing grocers of gouging and profiteering we do not know the place they’re getting their information,” mentioned Sylvain Charlebois, one of many report’s authors.
However Charlebois, who can be director of the Agri-Meals Analytics Lab at Dalhousie College, mentioned a examine into the rising value of meals remains to be value doing, so long as it does not focus solely on grocery retailer earnings.
The Retail Council of Canada, which represents the main grocers, mentioned it does not oppose a committee examine however — like Charlebois — argued that it ought to have a look at the impact exterior pressures — such because the conflict in Ukraine — are having on meals costs.
“It might profit any observer to have a look at the problem of rising meals costs from the bottom up, since there are such a lot of international occasions and pressures at play,” council spokesperson Michelle Wasylyshen mentioned in an e-mail.
A spokesperson for Conservative MP John Barlow, vice chair of the agriculture committee, instructed CBC Information Barlow will not touch upon the movement till he sees the textual content.
CBC reached out to Liberal members of the agriculture committee to ask if they might help the examine however didn’t obtain a response by the point of publication.