Housing, food prices top of mind as MPs return to Ottawa following summer break

Feds meet grocery execs

UPDATE: 8:50 a.m.

Top executives from Canada's major grocery chains are in Ottawa this morning to meet with two federal cabinet ministers and discuss measures to stabilize grocery prices.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne are set to meet with executives from Loblaw, Metro, Empire, Walmart and Costco this morning.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced last week that the federal government is asking major Canadian grocers to come up with a plan by Thanksgiving to stabilize prices.

Trudeau warned that if the plan is not good enough, Ottawa will take further action — and the government is not ruling anything out, including tax measures.

The call comes as grocery prices rose 8.5 per cent year-over-year in July, showing a slight easing of price growth but still running much hotter than overall inflation at 3.3 per cent.

The Retail Council of Canada said in a statement last week that grocer prices profits have nothing to do with the rising cost of food, pointing instead to higher costs being passed on from food manufacturers and producers.

ORIGINAL: 6:30 a.m.

MPs are returning to the House of Commons today determined to find relief for Canadians feeling the pinch of inflation.

While some of the most heated debates this fall will surround bail reform, gun restrictions and climate change, it is housing costs and grocery bills that will likely dominate the agenda.

Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne will get things moving this morning when he meets with the heads of Canada's biggest grocery chains, seeking a plan to curb the growing cost of food.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the heads of Loblaws, Sobeys, Metro, Costco and Walmart Canada have until Thanksgiving to show a plan to lower prices or the government may step in to force the issue.

Recent Canada food price reports from Dalhousie University show the average family is expected to pay another $1,065 for food this year.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre says the meeting is nothing more than a photo op that will do nothing to lower food prices.

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