March 26th, 2022
Petition: Corporate Grocery Stores Must Decrease the Price of Groceries and Raise the Wages of Workers in Milton-Parc
To: The Management of Provigo, 3421 Parc Ave
The Management of Metro, 3575 Parc Ave
The Head Offices of Metro, Marie-Claude Bacon, Public Affairs and Communications
The Head Offices of Loblaws, Kevin Groh, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Communication
COVID-19 has provoked a historic increase in the price of food. The Canadian Food Price Report 2022 predicts an increase of as much as 7% in the cost of groceries in 2022. The typical grocery bill for Canadians has risen approximately 170% over the last two decades.
The pandemic has already pushed many people in Milton-Parc into a situation of further poverty and has lowered many people in the Middle class’ income.
Average monthly rents increased in the Plateau by 30% between 2010 to 2019, reaching an average of $1,100. However, January 2022 listings were an average of $1,908/month, nearly double this price for just a single-bedroom. With the last wave, a new set of workers were once again been laid off.
Before the pandemic it was estimated that more than one in ten Montrealers were suffering from food insecurity. This includes children who go to school without breakfast, affecting their long-term intellectual and physical development.
Milton-Parc has a large share of low-income people. Roughly half of the Plateau’s residents above the age of 15 make less than $30,000 a year and four in ten people pay more than 30% of their income into rent, a 2016 estimate that has surely grown.
Meanwhile, Milton-Parc’s big corporations have been performing exceedingly well. Loblaws, which owns Provigo, had a 122% profit increase from 2019 to 2020. Metro increased their profits by 8.6% in the final quarter of 2021. This allowed Metro to increase their dividend payout to shareholders by 10%. Both Metro and Loblaws rank within Canada’s 50 wealthiest corporations.
Neither grocery stores have restored the “Hero pay” given at the beginning of the pandemic to their workers. Both companies have been accused of coordinating to cut this pay when both companies slashed the increase the same day in June 2020. A large part of the savings from these reduced wages and increased grocery prices have simply been going to increasing payouts to shareholders, executives, and board members.
It is already the case that no business model in Milton-Parc – which is a neighbourhood that is famous for its explicit refusal of private property when it built its web of housing co-ops – should be based on corporate profits. Our community prefers a model based on local business that is, preferably, a worker or solidarity cooperative.
In view of all of the above, we are asking the following of Milton-Parc’s Metro and Provigo:
For the Appendix, visit: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Eg1uvkmqrodphn1ODk7C-IF8OFBse3ys7vAe3hsm1mQ/edit?usp=sharing