Loblaws pocketed $10 million in taxpayer handouts, says inquiry

Loblaws and its subsidiaries received $10,185,243 from the Department of Environment’s Low Carbon Economy Fund. It went to install lower-emission refrigeration systems across 370 stores.

Loblaws pocketed $10 million in taxpayer handouts, says inquiry
The Canadian Press / Justin Tang and The Canadian Press / Ryan Remiorz
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Since 2019, Loblaw Companies Ltd. pocketed taxpayer handouts exceeding $10 million, according to ministry records. Opposition MPs are livid at the figures.

“Liberals are giving Loblaw millions of dollars in handouts,” New Democrat MP Alexandre Boulerice told the Commons. “While ordinary folks are going hungry CEOs are getting the VIP treatment. Enough is enough.”

Taxpayers who can’t afford to shop at Loblaw still have to pay for it, he said.

Loblaws and its subsidiaries received $10,185,243 from the Department of Environment’s Low Carbon Economy Fund, according to the figures requested by Boulerice. It went to install lower-emission refrigeration systems across 370 stores. 

The Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Industry earlier denied the funding in response to a separate but related order question by New Democrat MP Alistair MacGregor.

“Canada’s grocery sector since January 1, 2006, no federal funding has been provided to Loblaws, Metro, Walmart, Sobeys or Costco,” read a reply from the ministry. It gave Loblaws $12 million during that time.

Rebel News first reported the corporate bailout in April. 

The billion-dollar grocer also received $200,035 through Canada Summer Job hire-a-student subsidies, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.

NDP leader’s brother lobbies for Metro

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh targeted Loblaw-affiliated grocers last month following a years-long price-fixing scheme to inflate bread prices from 2001 through 2015.

Loblaw received immunity from prosecution after implicating itself to the Competition Bureau. They offered customers $25 gift cards for the inconvenience.

Singh’s brother, Gurratan Singh, a former NDP MPP for Brampton turned Metro lobbyist, aroused suspicion after Conservative MPs questioned the boycott.

Gurratan Singh is one of two Crestview Strategy executives with ties to Metro, a competitor company of Loblaws.

Parliament rejected calls to investigate any undue influence on the NDP leader’s mandate.

The former MPP denied any link between his professional endeavors and his brother's attacks on Loblaws.

“Multinationals and grocery giants like Metro are making record profits,” MP Singh said in the House of Commons last June.

Loblaw Companies Ltd. recorded a profit of $459 million on revenue totalling $13.6 billion, resulting in a 3.4% profit margin.

MPs blame industry mergers for higher prices

Opposition MPs have grown increasingly discouraged after more than a dozen Canadian grocers became three in the past few decades.

“CEOs are rubbing their hands together because the money is pouring in,” said MP Boulerice. “They are laughing all the way to the bank because they know the Liberals will not make them pay their fair share.”

In 2014, the Bureau approved the takeover of 2,738 Shoppers Drug Mart stores by Loblaw Companies. 

“What were you doing in the 1990s, the 2000s, 2007, 2017 and so on?" Bloc Québécois MP Yves Perron earlier told Parliament. “We had 13 Canadian grocery chains and now there are three.”

Conservative MP Ryan Williams condemned the Bureau for the industry’s massive consolidation from 1986 to 2024. “When we look at the powers your Bureau has … to only have three Canadian companies competing is probably a good reason why prices are up,” he said.
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