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Government body sets deadline for grocery code of conduct

Canada's grocers have until the end of the year to develop a concrete proposal
Two individuals looking over a contract, each with a pen in their hands

Canada's agricultural ministers have given the country's grocers until the end of the year to propose measures to regulate the industry, in a move lauded by Canada's second largest grocery retailer to promote fairness in the market.

It comes after the ministers heard a report from a working group created to improve transparency and fair dealings in the grocery industry during a meeting Thursday.

READ: Industry groups come together to develop code of practice

The working group had been established by the government in response to contentious fees being charged to suppliers.

"The set of findings shared today give all Ministers a solid basis of understanding of why an industry-led proposal to improve transparency, predictability, and respect for the principles of fair dealing would be beneficial for the agri-food sector and all supply chain partners," said federal minister of agriculture Marie-Claude Bibeau.

"We are urging industry to continue their constructive dialogue to develop a concrete proposal designed for the Canadian context that will improve fair dealing in retailer relationships with their suppliers."

The ministers are scheduled to meet next in Guelph, Ont., in September.

The chief executive of Sobeys parent company Empire Co. Ltd. lauded the move toward a code for grocery chains. (Loblaw did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Metro declined to comment.)

"We couldn't be happier with the announcement and the leadership from the FPT Agriculture Ministers," Michael Medline said in a statement.

"Empire will continue to be an active voice for an enforceable code. It's time to move with velocity," he said.

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