Following last week’s Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) meeting of Canada’s Ministers of Agriculture, the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) expresses its support for the establishment of a Grocer Code of Conduct in Canada, which aims to bring greater fairness to food retail practices. The need for such a document was reaffirmed during last week’s meeting, as well as plans for the framework to move forward.
“On behalf of Canada’s fruit and vegetable growers, we are greatly appreciative of Canada’s Agriculture Ministers for acknowledging the importance of this issue to our sector,” said Rebecca Lee, CHC Executive Director. “The lack of established practices in this area creates many challenges for our growers and pose complexities to primary producers, and having a government-outlined path forward is a productive step.”
The findings of the FPT Working Group on Retail Fees confirm that many growers are experiencing uncertain conditions in the marketplace. Specifically, the report highlighted:
“Retail fees are payments made by suppliers to many retailers in exchange for the stocking of products on shelves and associated costs. While some fees are generally accepted, an increasing number of others are seen as contentious (such as retroactive or unilateral fees).”
“The lack of predictability and transparency creates uncertainty which can affect producers’ interest in investing and increase costs on suppliers from fees and associated administrative costs, and for which there is a lack of avenues for recourse. This dynamic can have other effects on the food supply chain, including adding obstacles to market access for small processors and producers, slowing down innovation, and creating supply and pricing challenges for independent retailers.”
CHC looks forward to continued engagement with industry partners to develop the framework of what potential solutions can look like. Throughout this process, the voices and priorities of primary producers – many of whom are small and medium-sized businesses – must actively be at the table to ensure fair representation.