TORONTO, Ont.–The Retail Council of Canada said it has welcomed the findings contained in the C.D. Howe Commentary “Sticker Shock: The Causes of the Canada-US Price Differential.”
“The Institute’s findings echo what retailers in Canada have been experiencing for years,” said Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO of the Retail Council of Canada. “High tariffs and unjustified higher prices charged by suppliers to retailers in Canada are both leading to higher prices for Canadian consumers.”
Brisebois indicated that expert studies, beginning with the 2013 report from the Senate Standing Committee on National Finance (http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/SEN/Committee/411/NFFN/DPK/01Feb13/home-e.htm), have consistently concluded that retailers in Canada are fighting an uphill battle when it comes to competing with retailers south of the border. She indicated that the government has begun to address this issue through tariff cuts and a commitment to address price gouging at the wholesale level and she called on the government to continue these efforts.
RCC offered up one caution in relation to C.D. Howe’s suggestion to increase personal exemptions on goods brought into the country.
“We believe this is premature,” said Brisebois. “Until we level the playing field for retailers in this country, another increase in personal exemptions would turn border towns into ghost towns because retailers are major direct and indirect contributors to the economic livelihood of these communities.”
“Retailers are in the business of competing but cannot do so with one hand tied behind their back,” continued Brisebois. “Similarly it would be premature to change the de minimis rules on postal and courier shipments, indeed to do so now would exacerbate, rather than reduce the price gap.”
“When tariffs and wholesale prices are equal, or close to parity, we are confident that our small and large brick-and-mortar, omni-channel and on-line retailers will all provide Canadian consumers competitive offerings and our customers will have no reason to shop south of the border,” she added.