Bread price fixing class action commenced on behalf of Canadian consumers

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TORONTO – Irene Brockton, a resident of Elliot Lake, Ont., and an anti-poverty activist, has started a proposed class action in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice seeking $1 billion in damages on behalf of all Canadian purchasers of bread and other packaged baked goods.

On December 19, 2017, George Weston Ltd. and Loblaw Companies Ltd. revealed in a joint statement that they participated in an industry-wide bread price-fixing arrangement that lasted at least 14 years, beginning in late 2001. The Canadian Competition Bureau is conducting a criminal investigation into the allegations.

In addition to Loblaws, the following retailers are under investigation by the Competition Bureau: Metro, Sobeys, Wal-Mart, Giant Tiger.

In addition to George Weston Ltd. (which bakes bread under various labels including Wonder, Weston, Country Harvest) the class action targets Canada Bread (which includes the Dempster’s, Sunshine and Villaggio brands).

“There are millions of people who struggle to put food on the table every week. Illegally inflating the price of bread literally takes food out of people’s mouths,” explains Sotos partner Louis Sokolov. “Courts have likened price-fixing to theft and fraud. The 14-year scheme described by Weston and Loblaws amounts to a massive fraud on Canadian consumers.”

Brockton added that “people living on fixed incomes or otherwise living hand to mouth can least afford to pay inflated prices. It is unconscionable for big and wealthy corporations to manipulate the price of bread.” She further stated, “I started this lawsuit to make sure this money is returned to consumers.”

The proposed class action includes all residents of Canada who purchased bread or other packaged baked goods from any food retailer, beginning January 1, 2001.

The statement of claim alleges that the defendant grocery retailers and suppliers conspired with each other to raise, maintain, fix and/or stabilize the price of bread and other packaged baked goods contrary to Part VI of the Competition Act, RSC 1985, c C-34.

Sotos LLP represents the plaintiff.

A copy of the Statement of Claim issued December 21, 2017 can be found on the Sotos LLP website.

About Sotos LLP

Sotos LLP is a top-tier nationally-recognized class action law firm based in Toronto. Sotos is involved in many of Canada’s largest competition class actions.




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