The committee continued its special study of Canada-U.S. price discrepancies for the same products. Senators are conducting this special study at the request of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.
In the first portion of the meeting, Martin Lavoie from the group Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters explained possible reasons for the price gap, including retailer profit margins.
Senators then heard from consumer groups in the second part of the meeting. Bruce Cran from the Consumers’ Association of Canada, along with Michael Janigan and Janet Lo, two representatives from the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, testified before the committee. Jean-François Vinet from Option consommateurs also testified via videoconference from Montreal.
The consumer groups called for the Competition Bureau to look further into the high cost of consumer goods on this side of the border. The bureau is mandated to ensure Canadian markets are fair for businesses and consumers.