GATINEAU, Que. — Canada’s competition watchdog released its much awaited study into the country’s retail grocery market on Tuesday.
Here are the Competition Bureau’s recommendations for the sector, in its own words:
Canada needs a Grocery Innovation Strategy aimed at supporting the emergence of new types of grocery businesses and expanding consumer choice.
There are new businesses that want to disrupt how the industry works, including by selling groceries to Canadians online.
Governments at all levels should work together to encourage the emergence of new types of grocery businesses that are willing to take risks to shake things up.
Federal, provincial and territorial support for the Canadian grocery industry should encourage the growth of independent grocers and the entry of international grocers into the Canadian market.
There are a number of important independent grocers across Canada who already compete against Canada’s grocery giants. However, given their relative scale, they face real challenges growing into national competitors.
To encourage more competition in the industry, governments should implement policies that support the growth of independents, as well as the entry of international and discount grocers.
The entry of new competitors and growth of existing independents would increase competition, empower consumers and drive businesses to lower prices, improve product quality and innovate.
Provincial and territorial governments should consider introducing accessible and harmonized unit pricing requirements. It is difficult to compare prices on even a few items between different grocery stores.
Canadians need tools to help them compare grocery prices and empower them to make informed purchasing decisions. This information is key to shop better and shop smarter, and to encourage more competition in the industry.
To achieve these goals, provincial and territorial governments should consider working together to develop and implement accessible and harmonized unit pricing requirements.
Provincial and territorial governments should take measures to limit property controls in the grocery industry, which could include banning their use.
Property controls limit how real estate can be used by competing grocers. They make it difficult, or even impossible, for new grocery stores to open, which reduces competition in communities.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 27, 2023.
The Canadian Press