The Feds Are Finally Investigating Grocery Store Prices in Canada & They Want Your Take

Got any thoughts on how much you're paying for groceries?

A grocery store in Toronto.

A grocery store in Toronto.

With the rising cost of groceries becoming a hot topic in Canada, the government is launching a study into what it's calling "greedflation".

The investigation is going to be conducted by the Competition Bureau, which will look at how the grocery store industry in Canada operates, and whether or not it is appropriately competitive.

What is the Competition Bureau?

The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement body in Canada that "protects and promotes competition for the benefit of Canadian consumers," per their website.

This means they investigate to ensure that businesses in Canada are following proper competition practices, which keep prices low and fuel economic growth.

What does the Competition Bureau do?

Due to the concern over the price of groceries, which is increasing at the fastest pace in over 40 years, the Competition Bureau is launching a study into grocery stores in Canada.

The study will examine various issues and recommend measures to improve competition in the sector.

The goal is to find out if the increase in prices is due to lack of competition or more global factors, such as supply chain disruptions, extreme weather, or the war in Ukraine.

It also has the goal of figuring out what, if anything, needs to be done by the government to make grocery stores more competitive.

As part of this study, the Bureau will be talking to grocery chains, experts, as well as the government at the federal, provincial, territorial and municipal levels.

The study is also asking Canadians to "share their views on grocery store competition in Canada."

These can be sent in via the Competition Bureau website or via email and the deadline is December 16, 2022 with the investigation going until June 2023.

And, if you want things kept confidential, you'll have to let them know as all feedback will eventually be posted to the Bureau's website verbatim.

What will happen to Canada's grocery stores?

The Competition Bureau says it will be studying the issue until June 2023, after which they will publish a report on their findings.

The Bureau is reminding the public that "it is not a law enforcement investigation" and that they are not examining any "allegations of wrongdoing."

All things considered, a study of this magnitude might be difficult to do, the body admits. That's because they do not have the ability to force grocery chains to give them any documents or data on how they make their pricing decisions.

Instead, they're relying on public or voluntarily-provided information.

However, if they do find evidence that something is against the law, they will investigate and "take the appropriate action."

This comes after a recent motion in Canada's parliament that was unanimously approved — there wasn't a single MP who voted against it — to look into "greedflation" in Canada.

On top of this investigation, the government also confirmed that inflation in the cost of food has been greatly affecting the lives of Canadians, and said there are plans in place to investigate ways to make things more affordable for Canadians.

In response to ongoing concerns about the price of food, Loblaws Canada has announced a price freeze on all their No-Name Brand products. However, the move has been criticized as a publicity stunt.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Tristan Wheeler
Tristan Wheeler was a Creator for Narcity Media focused on money and budgets and is based in Toronto, Ontario.