Bread cartel: Green light for Quebec class action law suit against major grocers

Doug Ives / The Canadian Press

A judge from Quebec’s Superior Court gave the green light Thursday, to a class-action request that had been filed in October 2017 in the case surrounding the fixing of bread prices.

The request concerns all persons, companies and associations residing in the province and who would have purchased at least one bread packaged between Jan. 1, 2001 and Dec. 19, 2019 – the day the request was accepted.

Among the companies involved in the suit are Loblaws Companies Limited, George Weston, Metro, Sobeys, Walmart Canada, Canada Bread and Giant Tiger.

READ MORE: 7 Canadian companies committed indictable offences in bread-price fixing scandal: Competition Bureau

The Competition Bureau executed search warrants at the offices of a number of grocers in 2017 as part of its investigation into allegations of bread pricing. Documents allege that the country’s largest grocers and bakery wholesalers conspired to artificially inflate the price of bread and related products by at least $1.50 from 2001 to 2017.

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Loblaws admits to price fixing bread – Dec 20, 2017

George Weston and Loblaws Companies Limited admitted they participated in an agreement to fix prices of bread for over 10 years and to having notified the country’s competition watchdog.

One of the purposes of the class action is that the defendants are ordered to pay an equal amount of generated income to the “portion artificially inflated price of packaged bread sold in Quebec,” said Judge Pierre Gagnon to The Canadian Press.

READ MORE: How to get your $25 Loblaw card after company’s bread price-fixing admission

It is also asking that interest be paid.

Before the court, several questions should be addressed, including whether the defendants had “conspired or entered into an agreement or arrangement” that would have undermined competition for packaged bread.

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— With files from The Canadian Press

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