Electricity and gas prices
As the warmer temperatures of the summer arrive, rising energy costs become more of an issue. Over the last 30 years, successive governments in Ontario—Liberal, Conservative and NDP—neglected investing in energy infrastructure and at the same time, for political expediency, kept prices artificially low, borrowing from general revenue and piling up the debt. The current government has invested in infrastructure, ending the frequent brown and black outs of the past— eliminated coal as a source of energy and grapples with climate change. (A good backgrounder to this issue is available in an article by the Toronto Star that we have posted on our website.) But at the same time, the cost of energy is in a catch up mode and for small business, this carries a disproportionately higher burden. CFIG, the Small Business Matters Coalition and other organizations continue to raise this concern.
Notwithstanding why energy prices are rising, retail grocers need to look at different electricity or gas suppliers. A supplier is a company that sells energy under contract. While the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) licenses these suppliers, they do not regulate the prices they offer. CFIG also does and cannot recommend suppliers.
However, the OEB provides information for business owners that can help you when you select your energy supplier and assess your options. Every member should take a moment to visit the OEB site. As well, a broker company called energyshop offers a free service that can assist you in getting quotes from a number of reputable suppliers for your needs.
To visit the OEB site: http://www.ontarioenergyboard.ca/OEB/Consumers
To obtain information on quotes:
www.Energyshop.com Or you can call 905-737-5041 (Toll free outside of the GTA is +1 877-331-1141) extension 115.
Holiday shopping issue
As members will know, CFIG has been spearheading the push for changes to the City of Toronto Holiday Shopping Act. As a result of recent court decisions, the City is aware that changes are warranted to the Act as well as needing to reflect the changing realities of retail with overlapping and blurred channels. For example, Shoppers Drug Mart enjoys the pharmacy exemptions, yet is owned by Loblaw and is selling more grocery items than previously. Restaurants enjoy exemptions, yet most grocery stores are selling prepared meals.
While the City of Toronto, unlike all other Ontario municipalities, has its own legislative authority in this area, there is no doubt that what transpires in Toronto will be looked at in other Ontario municipalities.
Therefore, we need to begin gathering information for taking this issue forward in other jurisdictions, once Toronto has dealt with the issue. If you are an Ontario member of CFIG, can you confirm that you sell prepared foods in your store? We absolutely need to assemble the numbers on that particular question. E-mail: email@example.com
Wine in grocery stores
Some members have been asking about the status of wine in grocery stores. Discussions between CFIG and the Ontario government are still in progress around this issue. Just a reminder that as we signed the Cabinet Non-Disclosure Agreement, we are unable at this time to provide any information. We hope that the process will soon be concluded and we will be in a position to communicate with our members on this issue.
© 2019 Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers