Watchdog raids offices of grocery retailers in price-fixing probe


TORONTO — The Competition Bureau says it has raided the offices of certain companies in a criminal investigation tied to alleged price fixing following statements released by some of the countries largest grocery chains.

The bureau says the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Ottawa granted search warrants based on evidence that there are reasonable grounds to believe that certain individuals and companies have engaged in activities contrary to the Competition Act.

Spokeswoman Marie-France Faucher says bureau officers are conducting searches and gathering evidence to determine the facts.

She says there is no conclusion of wrongdoing at this time and no charges have been laid, adding she could not reveal more details as the bureau is required to conduct investigations confidentially.

Loblaw Companies Ltd. (TSX:L) and George Weston Ltd. (TSX:WN) confirmed they are aware of an industry-wide investigation by the Competition Bureau concerning a price-fixing scheme involving certain packaged bread products.

George Weston and Loblaw said in a joint statement that they are co-operating fully but would not offer further comment.

Metro Inc. (TSX:MRU) says the investigation concerns certain suppliers and Canadian retailers and that it fully co-operates with the authorities, but also declined further comment.

The Canadian Press