Explaining the competition bureau’s investigation of Loblaws and Sobeys

By Analysis by The Big Story podcast

Last week, the competition bureau revealed it was investigating the parent companies of two of the country’s largest grocers in relation to controls they have applied to their lease agreements. The bureau alleges that Loblaws and Sobeys are using them in an unfair and anti-competitive manner, so it’s begun a process that could ultimately see them taken to court.

Jennifer Quaid is an associate professor at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law, specializing in corporate accountability, competition and business regulation. “[The grocery sector] is a very concentrated sector and there are very large players who have behaved badly in the past and there is a lot of attention being focused on affordability. So that makes a powerful combination for attention on these practices,” she said. 

So exactly what is the bureau looking at? How much power does it have in this situation? And how much might Canadians learn about the inner workings of our grocery giants?

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