In 2023, a shocking one out of every five people in Canada were food insecure — defined as having a lack of access to food, or concern over lack of food access. Severe food insecurity — when people miss meals and sometimes go days without food — rose by 50 per cent.

The Globe and Mail reported that Per Bank, the new CEO of Loblaw Companies Ltd., made $22 million from two months of work in 2023 — including an $18 million signing bonus. That’s 500 times more than the yearly median income in Canada.

Galen Weston Jr., Loblaw’s president, blamed suppliers, who forced “unjustified” price increases on the company. Others, like the Conservatives, blame the carbon tax for raising prices. In a report, the Centre for Future Work found that there is an infinitesimally small correlation between carbon pricing and inflation — just 0.15 per cent.

When prices spike, corporations take advantage. According to Statistics Canada, food prices were twice as high as the overall inflation rate — which was at its highest level in almost 40 years. Meanwhile, since 2020, Canadian food retailers have nearly tripled profit margins and doubled profits — making $6 billion per year. It’s not difficult to do the math. This is called “greedflation” — companies taking advantage of inflation to raise prices even higher.

Meanwhile, Canada’s top three food retailers (Loblaw, Sobey’s and Metro) control 57 per cent of food sales. Loblaw alone takes home 27 per cent. Costco and Walmart are next in line at 11 per cent and 7.5 per cent respectively, according to 2022 statistics.

The boycott has focused the country on the affordability crisis and the role of corporate profiteering. However, the responsibility for change does not fall on the consumer, but rather those in government, who are ultimately the ones with the tools to curtail corporate greed. Reigning in corporate profiteering, curtailing oligopolies, building holistic approaches to food provisioning and supporting incomes to match the cost of living are the real changes we need. On May 30 at 1 p.m. EST, Food Secure Canada is hosting a webinar titled “Greedflation: The role of large corporations in food price inflation and what can be done about it.” You can register here.

  • Swordgeek
    link
    fedilink
    arrow-up
    37
    ·
    1 month ago

    What can we do?

    • Tax the rich
    • Establish basic income
    • Throw the oligopolists in jail
    • Break up any company found to be colluding illegally with another
    • Bar private equity from owning any essential holdings (food, shelter, healthcare, basic transportation, etc.)
    • Severely restrict the use of multiple brands from a single company
    • Nik282000
      link
      fedilink
      arrow-up
      10
      ·
      1 month ago

      Which of Canada’s two and a half parties actually will DO these things?

      • rekabis
        link
        fedilink
        arrow-up
        2
        ·
        1 month ago

        NDP

        They have always been in the corner of the average Canadian, which is why they are so poorly funded - millionaires and billionaires don’t control them, and so won’t donate to them.

        The Liberals, in contrast, are strongly influenced by them, which is why they are small-c conservative and only moderately to the right. The CPC and their racist little brother the PPC are all about suckling at the teat of millionaires and billionaires, which is why all their policies pay only vapour-thin lip service to the average Canadian, and so much of their rhetoric is spin and alternative facts to distract their non-wealthy electorate away from the fact that they are voting very much against their own best interests.

    • Kichae
      link
      fedilink
      English
      arrow-up
      6
      ·
      1 month ago

      There’s no reason to get to the point of collusion.

      Break up any company that achieves a dominant market position, and make the geographic threshold much smaller than national.

      Antitrust laws exist for a reason, and that reason is independent from impropriety.

    • rekabis
      link
      fedilink
      arrow-up
      3
      ·
      1 month ago

      Exactly. Nationalized industries care nothing about profit margins, only with serving the public good to the maximum of their abilities.

      It’s why nationalized institutions - such as Canada Post and the CBC - could actually break even if they were just free of conservative defunding and leg-breaking. But they continue to exist because they serve a public need that would otherwise be far too expensive for the average Canadian.

  • namingthingsiseasy@programming.dev
    link
    fedilink
    arrow-up
    13
    ·
    1 month ago

    What can we do?

    It’s so funny that people are even asking this question. Go back a few decades (pre-Thatcher/Regan/Mulroney) and the answer would be obvious.

    Every time we see people acting as moronically helpless as this, it’s a true testament to how utterly slaughtered our psychologies have become that we don’t even think of using the tools at our disposal (namely government regulation and anti-trust law) to take action against it. It is so unfathomably out of reach for people to think this way, and this is how utterly destroyed our image of economics and society have become thanks to the devastating policies that they pushed and adopted.

    As overwhelming as it may seem, the most important thing that we can do these days is to make these kinds of conversation normal again. Sure, there are things we can do today, and we should do them, but it’s even more important to win back the public mindset. Once we do that, it will become much, much easier to fix the problem.

    • FireRetardant@lemmy.world
      link
      fedilink
      arrow-up
      5
      ·
      1 month ago

      They really have done a great job playing policies and media against us to believe this is the only option, its just the way the world works and we are helpless to restrict our corporate overlords from exploiting us.