October 17, 2013

Retailers pleased with Throne Speech but remain concerned with high merchant credit card fees

TORONTO -- Retail Council of Canada (RCC) is pleased that yesterday's Speech from the Throne recognized that change needs to take place to ensure Canadian consumers are treated fairly. However, RCC is calling for a continued focus on the reduction of credit card fees and for more clarity on issues surrounding geographic price discrimination against Canadians. Merchants look forward to working with Government to level the playing field.

The Federal Government announced new measures that will benefit retailers in  Canada, including:

  • The One-for-One rule - eliminating a regulation for every new regulation added - will ensure that small, mid and large merchants are not inundated with regulatory burdens.
  • The introduction of balanced-budget legislation signals a commitment to fiscal responsibility beneficial to all businesses.
  • Credential recognition across Canada allowing for the free movement of workers ensures cost efficiencies, especially for retailers operating stores in multiple provinces across the country.
  • Removing interprovincial barriers and working towards common cooperative regulatory systems is also welcomed as a common sense approach to reducing unnecessary costs.

RCC welcomes the Government's recognition of the need to address two key issues facing its members: Canada U.S. price differences and high merchant credit card fees.

With respect to the costs that consumers face directly, RCC was again encouraged that the Government expressed an understanding and recognition that Canadian consumers - and retailers - are tired of hidden fees.

"Today's Speech from the Throne called for the empowerment of consumers by requiring disclosure of the cost of the different payment methods," says Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO of RCC.   "Unfortunately, we do not believe this goes far enough.  RCC's view is that simply telling people how much they are being overcharged for credit card fees does not solve the problem.  We need real action to address this issue."

Brisebois went on to say that RCC welcomes the Government signalling that it understands that the issues around tariffs and country pricing are key factors in price differences between Canada and the U.S.   We look forward to continuing to work with the Federal government to build a level playing field for retailers and their consumers inCanada.







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