(The Canadian Press)

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains on Friday defended their decision to end temporary wage increases for grocery store workers during COVID-19 on the same day, even though the companies had exchanged “courtesy” calls and emails.

The House of Commons standing committee on industry, science and technology grilled executives from Loblaw Companies Ltd., Empire Co. Ltd. and Metro Inc. about why they stopped paying a temporary wage bump to employees as of June 13.

All three executives say the companies reached their decisions independently based on numerous factors that for some included knowing a competitor’s plan.

Loblaw president Sarah Davis says she sent what she called a “courtesy email” to some competitors when Loblaw decided to initiate their pandemic pay program, and again on June 11 when it chose to end the program.

READ MORE: Unions tell MPs that grocery workers should still have pandemic pay

Metro CEO Eric La Fleche says his company was aware of Loblaw’s decision when the company decided to end its premium pay program, but that it was one of several influencing factors.

Empire CEO Michael Medline says he had not received Davis’s email when his company, which owns the Sobeys and Safeway brands, made its decision to terminate the extra wages, but had heard through the grapevine that the company was considering doing so.

Those who sent emails and made phone calls say they consulted with company counsel before doing so and lawyers were present during at least one phone discussion.

Davis says she received a reply to the June 11 email, and would provide copies of the original and all answers to the committee.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rose Valley Dam wildfire ‘under control’

B.C. Wildfire anticipates no further growth from the three-hectare fire

Central Okanagan residents invited to give input on regional transport plan

The plan will help Central Okanagan governments work together to connect people and places across the region

Okanagan set for thunderstorms before sunny weekend

Thunderstorms are predicted to give way to a hot, sunny weekend around Kelowna

Body of 21-year-old man found in Okanagan Lake

BC Coroners Service is investigating the circumstances of the man’s death

UBC Okanagan caps digital fees per course amid COVID-19

The UBCO student senate capped fees at $65 per class for the first winter term in 2020

Airlines dispute Dr. Henry’s claim they ‘very rarely’ give accurate COVID contact tracing info

Air Canada, WestJet say they provide names and contact information

‘We all have anxieties’: B.C.’s top doctor addresses return-to-school fears amid COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry promises school restart plan safe for B.C. kids

Abbotsford mom worried about her two kids in Beirut following explosion

Shelley Beyak’s children were abducted by their dad in 2018

Young Canadians, hospitality workers bear the brunt of mental strain in 2020: report

A study by Morneau Shepell points to economic uncertainty in the pandemic as the cause for angst

Dry Lake wildfire now classified as held

Wildfire was burning out of control north of Princeton for three days

Health Canada recalling more than 50 hand sanitizers in evolving list

Organization says to stop using products listed, and to consult a health-care professional

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen pays nearly $8 million in wages

Figures included in latest Statement of Financial Information

Democracy costs Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen more than $500,000

Remuneration and expenses paid to chair, directors and alternate directors comes to $542,588

Workplace design: Are you grown up enough to work from home?

Columnist Jules Galloway is the founder/owner of Evolve Design| Build

Most Read