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Harper Government introduces legislation to tackle geographic price discrimination

December 9, 2014 – Etobicoke, Ontario – Industry Canada

The unexplained and often significant gap between Canadian and U.S. prices for the same products is a frustrating and all-too-familiar reality for any Canadian who has ever shopped online or travelled to the United States.

Today, Industry Minister James Moore announced new legislation to help ensure Canadians are not charged higher prices than Americans simply because of where they live.

The Price Transparency Act will help tackle the practice of geographic price discrimination, one of the key contributors to the Canada–U.S. price gap. Today's announcement provides the Commissioner of Competition with the tools necessary to investigate alleged cases of price discrimination and to publicly report situations where consumers are unfairly targeted with higher prices. The Commissioner will be authorized to seek court orders to compel the production of evidence to expose discriminatory pricing practices that are not justified by higher costs in Canada and to publicly report to consumers on the findings.

Quick facts

  • Studies have shown that the prices of goods in Canada are, on average, 10- to 25-percent higher than they are in the United States.
  • In 2013 the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance found that country pricing by manufacturers is one of the key causes of the Canada–U.S. price gap.
  • A recent study published by the American Economic Review, which reviewed 4,000 separate products, in both Canada and the United States, concluded that distributors or wholesalers are engaging in country pricing strategies.

Quotes

"Our government believes that hardworking Canadians and their families shouldn't be charged higher prices than Americans simply because of where they live. The intentional manipulation of prices on identical goods for sale in Canada and the U.S. places an unfair burden on Canadians and is simply wrong. The Harper Government is standing up for Canadian consumers with legislation to help address price discrimination."

– James Moore, Minister of Industry

"The Retail Council of Canada and its 45,000 merchants have been strong and consistent advocates for addressing the root causes of unjustified consumer price discrepancies between Canada and the U.S. We support today's announcement by Minister Moore and believe that the Price Transparency Act goes a long way in shedding light on geographical price discrimination and on the true costs of doing business in Canada. This bill is an important step toward enabling Canadian retailers to compete on a level playing field and offer their consumers the best possible prices."

– Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada

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Contacts

Jake Enwright
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Industry
343-291-2500

Media Relations
Industry Canada
343-291-1777
media-relations@ic.gc.ca


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