Industry-led code of conduct for food retailers on horizon

Fees create 'uncertainty' for producers, processors


By D.C. Fraser, GFM Network News

via Canadian Cattlemen - July 19, 2021


A report from a federal-provincial working group says the retail sector has levied an increasing number of fees on suppliers, and is proposing the formation of a code of conduct as a potential solution.


Canada’s agriculture ministers are now calling on industry to lead the process.


They had formed the working group to study the issue in November, following complaints from suppliers that retailers were increasingly charging arbitrary, and costly, fees.


A summary report released Thursday said those fees are “causing tensions” in supply chain relationships, particularly between processors and retailers, as “fees have increased in their form and scale, and they have changed in the manner in which they are imposed.”


To find a regulated or legislated approach, the working group says provincial action would likely be required, but stakeholders operating on a national level contend doing so could lead to “disjointed provincial action, which could lead to inconsistent applications and loopholes if some provinces chose not to take action or do so differently.”


One potential approach being pitched is the development of a voluntary code of conduct with detailed rules to guide commercial relationships, while also providing a dispute resolution process.


Some stakeholders have proposed...