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National poll: Government should act to strengthen essential manufacturing and supply chains
Created on 9/15/2021 8:51:38 AM

September 15, 2021 (Mississauga, Ontario) – As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, 82% of Canadians better understand how essential food, health, and consumer goods are made, and 93% want government to prioritize essential manufacturing, investment, and supply chains, according to new national polling conducted by Abacus Data on behalf of Food, Health & Consumer Products of Canada (FHCP). 

The new poll shows that Canadians think the top three most effective actions government could take are: forcing large grocery stores to reduce fines and fees charged to farmers and manufacturers (47%), solving worker shortages (36%), and reducing red tape (35%). 

Cost of living is a top election issue for most Canadians, and the poll details factors Canadians think most impact the price of food and other grocery items include increased transportation costs (69% think increased transportation costs impact prices some or a great deal), labour shortages (67%), the cost of COVID-19 protections in workplaces (64%), the cost of ingredients (64%), large grocery stores’ fines and fees imposed on suppliers and farmers (56%), and government red tape (51%).

FCHP CEO Michael Graydon commented: 

“Canada’s high costs of doing business are bad for consumers, bad for our economy, and getting worse. With COVID-19 continuing to disrupt essential supply chains, Canadians clearly support prioritizing essential food, health, and consumer goods manufacturing, investment, and supply chains with effective government action like implementing a regulated, enforceable Grocery Supply Code of Conduct.”

The polling results reinforce FHCP member data showing that overall costs of production have increased an average of 15% compared to 2020, driven by increased costs associated with purchasing commodities/ingredients, transportation, labour, and fines/fees imposed by grocery retailers.

The poll supports FHCP’s election priorities published August 23, calling for all political parties and candidates to:

  • Strengthen competitiveness and promote innovation, including by reducing unnecessary red tape and addressing labour shortages. Statistics Canada data show labour costs in food processing alone increased 16% from June/July 2019 to June/July 2020. FHCP data indicate 75% of members are experiencing moderate to severe labour shortages, impacting their ability to supply product in Canada.
  • Implement a regulated, enforceable Grocery Supply Code of Conduct that prevents large grocery retailers from imposing unfair, unilateral changes, fines, and fees on farmers and manufacturers.
  • Adopt a National Self-Care Strategy to improve Canadians’ access to information, products, and services necessary to practice self-care as a proven and cost-effective complement to our publicly funded healthcare system. Previous polling found that 96% of Canadians think improving self-care is a good idea and 87% support a National Self-Care Strategy.

FHCP’s 2021 full Election Priorities are available here.