A Montreal organization is finally saying out loud what many other stakeholders are thinking. The Government of Quebec must regulate the price of certain foods before it gets out of control.
"Food is a need for survival, but we leave that to the market, while for other essential needs such as electricity and housing or education and health, we intervene", says Jean-Paul Faniel, Director General of the Table de concertation sur la Faim et le développement social du Montréal Métropolitain.
The Table, which brings together 60 front-line organizations like Moisson Montreal, held its annual meeting yesterday.
Worse and worse
The members decided to act because the situation is exceptional and the price increases for food at the grocery store will only get worse and worse "for at least two more years".
They adopted a statement titled "Stapal Food Prices, a State Responsibility".
“We want a public debate to create the wave of change. It is never the state that creates the wave, it follows it. It's up to us to create it and make it strong enough for him to follow, ”pleads the general manager.
It's time, he says, for the supermarkets to open their books so that we can set up a system to regulate the prices of basic foodstuffs — "only a few of the 40,000 we find at grocery ".
The declaration refers to root vegetables and certain products under supply management, such as dairy products, poultry and eggs. There is also mention of vegetables produced in greenhouses in Quebec.
A food crisis
Because if the price of food has officially jumped 9.7% in 12 months, "the experts are a little in the field".
"It's been more like 40% for a year. We talk to enough families every week to find out,” Faniel said.
And it's not just people on welfare who can no longer feed their families, but also "poor workers," the lower middle class.
In one year, prices for pasta, onions and tomatoes have all jumped 24%, for example, according to Statistics Canada data compiled by Dalhousie University's Agri-Food Analytical Sciences Laboratory.
The increase is 28% for grapes and oranges, and 31% for beef, all cuts combined except ground meat.
Grocery chain profits follow the same curve. "Grocery stores, profits, they eat it," wrote colleague Pierre-Olivier Zappa on Saturday.
Profits are up 40% at Loblaws, the parent company of Provigo and Maxi. They are up 5% at Metro and Empire, which owns IGA.
“We are in the middle of a food crisis while the shareholders look every three months to see if the profits are good. We can't go on like this, ”believes the DG of the Table.
Source: Statistics Canada