Consultation Document Poll

The stakeholder consultation is now closed.

Introduction

On November 27, 2020, the Ministers discussed the concerns of processors, producers, and independent grocers regarding increased retailer fees on suppliers and the need for balance in the supplier-retailer relationship, while also ensuring that Canadians continue to have access to a reliable grocery supply at affordable prices.  Federal, Provincial, and Territorial (FPT) governments agreed that collaborative action was the best approach.

On July 2021, FPT Ministers called for an industry-led process to develop broad consensus around a concrete proposal to improve transparency, predictability, and respect for the principles of fair dealing within the supplier/retailer relationship.

Following the July 2021 announcement, a Steering Committee comprised of individuals from ten key stakeholder associations was convened with the goal of developing terms of reference and a work plan aimed at facilitating the development of a formal Grocery Industry Code of Conduct. Progress updates were presented to the FPT Ministers on December 17, 2021March 31, 2022July 21, 2022November 2022, and January 2023

  • Michael Graydon / Food Health & Consumer Products – Co-Chair
  • Diane J. Brisebois / Retail Council of Canada – Co-Chair
  • Denise Allen / Food Producers of Canada
  • Sylvie Cloutier / CTAQ
  • Mathieu Frigon / Dairy Processors Association of Canada
  • Scott Ross / Canadian Federation of Agriculture
  • Gary Sands / Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers
  • Ron Lemaire / Canadian Produce Marketing Association
  • Rebecca Lee / Fruit & Vegetable Growers of Canada
  • Stephanie Levasseur / UPA

Following the writing of the Terms of Reference and work plan, the Steering Committee established a cross-industry Working Group made up of individuals with greater depth of industry expertise to provide perspectives and practical design advice based on their on-the-ground knowledge of the industry.

The Industry Working Group provided expert perspectives and recommendations related to issues such as defining scope, defining agreements, payments, deductions, fines and fees, reporting directly to the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee and Working Group reached consensus on the objectives and principles for the Code of Conduct.

As Code development continued through the late summer and early fall, it was determined that the Working Group activity would be further supported by a representative sub-group (comprised of eight members from the broader working group) empowered to further refine these provisions in support of full Code development. This group was very effective, collaborative and this process yielded significant, positive results.

  • Serge Boulanger -Metro
  • Errol Cerit – FHCP
  • Patrice Léger Bourgoin – APM Québec
  • Doug Nathanson – Sobeys
  • Luc Prevost – Vegpro
  • Mark Taylor- Lactalis
  • Giancarlo Trimarchi – Vince’s Market
  • James Crosby – Crosby Molasses

The Steering Committee continues to work with legal counsels and many other experts, including the Industry Sub-Committee Working Group, to inform and guide the Committee to arrive at a final version of the Grocery Industry Code of Conduct.

The associations members of the steering committee represent a broad spectrum of the grocery industry supply chain and have worked to ensure the views and interests of our complex grocery system have been considered.

The Steering Committee has two distinct consultation objectives:

The first is to inform the grocery sector at large of the process we have undertaken, the progress made, and the draft Code that has emerged.

Secondly and most importantly, we must determine if we have missed anything significant as we have strived to develop a “Made in Canada” Code to address the critical needs all parties to the Code, while adhering to the current Canadian legislative framework including the Competition Act, and staying true to the principles of transparency and certainty, fair dealing across the value chain, timely dispute resolution, and simplicity.

The Steering Committee is committed to consulting with grocery industry supply chain stakeholders to ensure the Code, in its entirety, sufficiently addresses the concerns noted in the FPT July 2021 report and adequately balances the interests of stakeholders in a complex supply chain.

If you are a large or small processer/ manufacturer, producer/farmer (selling to wholesale or retail), wholesaler, or retailer, we are interested in hearing from you.

A multi-step process:

Step 1: A recording of the steering Committee webinar hosted on May 2, 2023 to present the Code is available here.

Step 2: Presentations at various industry events throughout April

Step 3: Industry stakeholders are invited to respond to the questions found at the end of this consultation document.

Step 4: All input collected will be reviewed and summarized by an impartial third party.

Step 5: The results of the analysis will be presented to the Steering Committee and the Industry Sub-Committee Working Group to determine whether and what changes to the Code are required prior to implementation.

The online consultative process will be open until May 31st, 2023.

The Public consultation period has ended. The information will be analyzed by an independent third party and shared with the Steering and Working Groups. An update on progress will be provided to the Agricultural FPT Ministers in late July.

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Interim Board of the Office of the Grocery Sector Code of Conduct Welcomes Loblaw’s Announcement of Support

Toronto, ON, May 16, 2024 – The Interim Board of the Office of the Grocery Sector Code of Conduct (OGSCC) for the Grocery Code of Conduct welcomes today’s announcement from Loblaw Companies Limited that it has officially committed to participating in the Grocery Code of Conduct.

On behalf of the OGSCC Interim Board, the Chair,  Michael Graydon, stated that:. “We welcome the news that Loblaw has agreed to participate in the Grocery Code of Conduct. Within a very complex food system, the vision for the Code has always been based on a fully inclusive, voluntary Code, developed by the grocery industry and managed by its stakeholders across the supply chain. Today’s announcement by Loblaw brings us one step closer to the implementation of the Code as we continue to work with all industry partners to ensure we have maximum participation.

The series of discussions held between Loblaw and the Code Industry Working Group provided an opportunity to embed additional clarity around some of the Code’s provisions ensuring the Code is applied as intended, supporting simplicity, and fostering a clear understanding of its application. Ultimately, this will lead to better collaboration between all parties involved in the grocery supply chain.

The Code’s development, initiated by the Federal-Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Agriculture, has been a collaborative effort involving retailers, distributors, manufacturers/suppliers and primary producers. This collaborative approach ensures that the Code supports small stakeholders and the industry, recognizing the complexities of the Canadian grocery market.

For more information, please contact the Interim Board of the OGSCC through its website at: https://canadacode.org/contact/

or

Anthony Fuchs,
Food, Health & Consumer Products of Canada
anthony.fuchs@fhcp.ca

Michelle Wasylyshen
Retail Council of Canada
mwasylyshen@retailcouncil.org

Latest Updates on the Canadian Grocery Code of Conduct Initiative

January 2024 – The Interim Board of Directors, representing a newly formed Office of the Adjudicator for the Grocery Code of Conduct, presented a finalized version of the Grocery Code and its governance framework to Federal, Provincial, and Territorial Ministers in late 2023.

This marked a key phase in an ongoing code development effort that began in fall 2021, focusing on promoting fair trading practices within the grocery sector. Originally led by a Steering Committee composed of senior executives from 10 industry associations, this group evolved into the Interim Board of Directors on November 2, 2023, establishing a firm administrative base for the Code.

The Code’s development has been a collaborative journey, heavily influenced by the input of various sub-committees and the Industry Working Group, which came together in July 2022. This group, made up of executives from different segments of the grocery supply chain, has been pivotal in shaping the Code in its entirety. Supported by a competition law specialist, their discussions have ensured that the Code is equitable and attuned to the complexities of the Canadian grocery market. Contributions from a wide range of stakeholders within the grocery supply chain have also been crucial in shaping the Code.

The success of the Grocery Code of Conduct depends on the involvement and support of all major grocery retailers. There have been concerns about potential market imbalances if not all key players participate, a topic that was prominently discussed in recent House of Commons Agriculture Committee hearings.

Addressing these challenges, the Interim Board remains dedicated to engaging in meaningful dialogue to find solutions that respect the interests of all parties involved.

We will continue to provide updates as this initiative progresses.

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