Credit card fees: What’s in your wallet? 3 Hands
CFIG and the Small Business Matters Coalition have led the fight over the past year in maintaining pressure on the government and the credit card companies, banks and processors—the 3 hands that are in your wallet– over excessive swipe fees–beyond the reduction to 1.5% that was promised last year. These efforts resulted in the recent decision by Visa to lower only their grocery rate to an overall average of 1.26%. This will save each member thousands of dollars and is only one area where the ROI on your membership dues is demonstrated. Our fight on reducing fees continues, with the objective of having a rate of 0.3%, equivalent to that in other international jurisdictions.
Consolidation and Competition: The Squeeze Play
Retail and supplier consolidation has distorted normal fair competitive practices in the food industry. If left unchecked, these practices could result in many independents being pushed off what is already an uneven playing field. As a result of our efforts, this issue is now a top priority for the Competition Bureau and we continue our push for an industry wide solution.
Cheese Quota: Time for Us to Get a Fair Slice
The implementation of the Canada-EU Trade agreement, known as CETA, is expected sometime in 2017. This will result in approximately 16,000 tonnes of imported cheese coming into Canada with no tariff. As well, at least 30% of the quota has to be given to “new entrants” in the market. CFIG is advocating for independents to have fair and equitable access to this additional supply and urging the government to use this opportunity to shake up the current system—one that allows current cheese quota suppliers to hold retailers at ransom, particularly at certain times of the year.
Beer and Wine: Thirsty for More
In B.C. and Ontario, both governments made changes to the method of distribution of these products. While CFIG continues to believe that beer and wine should be available in all grocery stores, our role in the meantime has been to advocate for independents to receive a fair shake. In Ontario, these efforts resulted in the government establishing a separate ‘bidding pool’ for independents as well as a guarantee that 20% of the beer licences would go to independents and 25% of the wine licences will be allocated for independents.
Energy Prices: Rising Temperatures and Costs
Across most of the country it’s been a hot summer. But the rising costs of energy is always going way up and has been an issue for businesses in all sectors. Particularly in Ontario, where that province rebuilds a crumbling infrastructure and implements new clean energy targets, they have ratcheted up rates that are putting many retail grocers in an untenable position for the long term. While CFIG and many other trade associations and businesses are raising the alarm with government, CFIG is also facilitating the provision of information about suppliers and options to help them manage this issue. Along with special updates on accessing suppliers, this fall a ‘CFIG members only’ session is being set up in co-operation with the Ministry of Energy and the IESO to review options and answer questions from members.
© 2017 Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers