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Country pricing studies good for consumers; will illuminate hidden costs to consumers

OTTAWA – The federal government’s introduction today of legislation allowing the Competition Bureau to investigate and report on “country pricing” is good news for Canadian consumers, said the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC).

Under the bill, the Competition Bureau will inquire into differences in markets and pricing between consumer goods available in Canada and those same goods and markets in the United States and abroad. The regulator will have the power to compel companies in Canada to provide confidential pricing and related market information and to request similar information from foreign affiliates of Canadian companies.

“This new law will shine a light on the murky world of retail pricing and why some prices for consumer goods are higher in Canada,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel for PIAC. “It is an elegant and effective measure to bring much needed clarity to endless debates about the source of price differences that irk Canadians,” he added.

The Competition Bureau has experience with “market studies” but previously did not have the capability to compel the industries it studied to provide information. The Competition Bureau will conduct its studies in confidence but report the results publicly so that any problems can be dealt with by the federal government or other responsible agency.

“We expect the transparency of these reviews will convince those in the retail chain to closely examine their pricing with a view to making it fairer to Canadians,” said Mr. Lawford.

For more information:

John Lawford
Executive Director and General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
ONE Nicholas Street, Suite 1204
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 7B7
(613) 562-4002×25

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