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The grocery chain Loblaw's has landed in hot water again after the House of Commons Industry Committee voted to summon them over a recent pay deduction.
At the start of the pandemic, Loblaw's granted their employees and extra $2 to their paycheck as a way to thank them for their role as essential workers. A few days ago, this bonus was repealed, according to Blacklock's Reporter.
As a result of this, some MPs are wondering whether Loblaw Companies Ltd. still remain in compliance with recent government legislation.
"They can explain to this committee and the Canadian public how that decision is consistent with competition laws," said an Ontario-based Liberal MP.
This reason why MPs are examining whether this breaks competition laws is that Loblaw Companies Ltd., Metro Inc. and Empire Company Ltd. all decided to cancel this bonus on the same day.
The motion, then, asks "senior representatives from Loblaw Companies Ltd., Metro Inc. and Empire Company Ltd. to explain their decisions to cancel, on the same day, the modest increase in wages for front-line grocery store workers during the pandemic, including how those decisions are consistent with competition laws."
Sarah Davis, president of Loblaw Companies said that the $2 bonus was "never about safety."
"The premium was about recognizing your extraordinary effort during the early, complicated phases of the pandemic. So to refer to the pay premium as hazard pay is inaccurate," she added.
In 2019, the Trudeau government granted Loblaw's $12 million so that they could install new refrigerators. The then Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said that this decision was made so that the supermarket giant could install energy efficient refrigerators.
Even with this explanation, this taxpayer-funded package revived a great deal of criticism.