Skimmin’ $Bread off the Bread
The Fix is In on the Staff of Life
Competition Bureau documents reveal allegations seven companies participated in a scheme that inflated the price of bread by at least $1.50 over a decade and a half.
Court documents made public this week allege Canada Bread Co. Ltd. and Weston Bakeries Ltd. – the country’s top two bread producers – co-operated with major grocery retailers including Loblaw Companies Ltd., Walmart Canada, Empire Company Ltd. unit Sobeys, Metro Inc. and Giant Tiger Stores Ltd. to fix prices on an array of bread products. Loblaw and its parent George Weston were granted immunity from prosecution after tipping the bureau off to what they say was an “industry-wide” scheme.
The dollar cost to consumers through 15 years of price collusion would be in the billions. Indeed, the rise in price of bread exceeds that of all other general indices in the Statistics Canada consumer-price database.