National Newswatch

Work still needed to complete the Code.

Ottawa—The federal and provincial agriculture ministers have given thumbs up to what has been accomplished thus far in developing a Grocery Code of Conduct and hope it will be wrapped up and implemented swiftly.

The praise came during a recent virtual meeting of the ministers and was welcomed by Michael Graydon, President and CEO of Food, Health and Consumer Products of Canada, who is the industry co-chair of the Steering Committee working to complete the Code.

He said that while significant progress on Code development has been achieved, discussion and development regarding aspects of it remain ongoing. “This includes staffing, structure and budget for a Grocery Code Adjudicator office, agreement regarding scope of what’s included within the Code and legal review of different aspects of the Code prior to completion.

“In addition to the consultations that will continue to take place with the Steering Committee members’ constituents and regional associations, broader consultation will take place throughout the first quarter of 2023 with first webinars taking place at end of January.” The Code “will make a meaningful difference to all stakeholders, including our SME and large manufacturers, independent retailers, ag producers and large retailers,” Graydon said.

In a joint statement, Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and Quebec Agriculture Minister Andre Lamontagne said the Code will be a critical step to furthering greater predictability, transparency and fair dealing in the food supply chain.

“We would like to commend the agrifood industry on the substantial progress they have made in developing Canada’s first-ever Grocery Code of Conduct. We know there has been a significant amount of time and effort dedicated towards this initiative – and we would like to thank you all as we move towards its implementation.”

The Code will help make Canada’s food supply chain more resilient by enhancing transparency, predictability and fair dealing,” the ministers said. The Code will benefit both the industry and consumers as well.

“We strongly encourage all agrifood organizations to participate in the consultations that industry will be leading in the coming weeks so that the Code can benefit the largest number and variety of businesses. It is clear that a Grocery Code of Conduct will be more successful if people see its added value, especially through the accountability its governance structure and its dispute resolution model will bring.”

The Code will not address all pressures facing the food supply chain as some are very complex and must consider a variety of conditions and perspectives.

Click here for more political news headlines