Story update: Loblaw and George Weston face multiple lawsuits for bread price-fixing

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

The retailers and bread producers purportedly involved in the Canadian bread price fixing scheme are facing several class action lawsuits. Pic: ©GettyImages/AVNphotolab
The retailers and bread producers purportedly involved in the Canadian bread price fixing scheme are facing several class action lawsuits. Pic: ©GettyImages/AVNphotolab
Late last year, Loblaw Companies Limited and parent company, bread producer George Weston Limited, sent shockwaves throughout the Canadian retail system by admitting to a scheme to increase the price of packaged bread that went on for over 14 years.

As a follow-up goodwill gesture, the retailer then announced it would offer Canadians a $25 gift card.

The company estimated that three to six million people would participate, costing it up to $150m to mitigate both financial and public-relations losses.

Mea culpa

However, the small financial compensation – which can only be used at a Loblaw store for certain items – has caused an outrage among several Canadian consumers and was even called a “deceitful public relations” campaign by one class action complainant.

Perhaps in light of the mounting number of lawsuits, the retailer earlier this week warned customers who take advantage of the payback that any possible legal damages awarded would be minus that $25.

Loblaw and Weston received criminal imunity​ by voluntarily notifying the Competition Bureau of their participation in the scheme that lasted from 2001 to 2015.

Our day in court

However, Canadians are not letting the two companies off the hook, and so far, several potential class-action lawsuits have been launched.

The class actions lawsuits have also been filed against Empire Company Limited, Sobeys Inc., Metro Inc., Walmart Stores, Walmart Canada Corp., Giant Tiger Stores Ltd., Grupo Bimbo S.A.B. de C.V. and Canada Bread, alleging they, too, were involved in a bread price fixing scheme.

Among the suits are:

The multiple suits could lead to a motion for carriage – which would see one firm chosen to proceed – although Winnipeg lawyer Normal Boudreau said it is more likely there will be a consortium of firms that will lead the class action.

No comment

As the Canada’s Competition Bureau is continuing with the inquiry after having executed searches at the offices of Loblaw, George Weston, Metro, Sobeys, Walmart Canada and Canada Bread, a ban is still in effect by the searched parties on disclosing many of the facts surrounding the investigation.

Spokespersons from Giant Tiger and Walmart declined to comment on the cases that are appearing before the courts, while the other companies involved did not respond to requests for comment.

Giant Tiger added the company has “no reason to believe at this time”​ that it or any of its employees was involved with a price-fixing scheme.

Related topics: Grupo Bimbo, Bread, Manufacturers, Markets

Related news

Follow us

Featured Events

View more

Products

View more