Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers

Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers

October 18, 2013 09:13 ET

Canadian Independent Petroleum Marketers Association, Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers and Canadian Convenience Stores Association call on Government to Regulate Credit Card Fees

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 18, 2013) - The Canadian Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (CIPMA), the Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA) and the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG) are calling upon the Government of Canada to address the issue of rising credit card 'swipe fees' following yesterday's Speech from the Throne.

On July 23rd, 2013, the federal Competition Tribunal dismissed a complaint that Visa and MasterCard violated the Competition Act by forcing merchants to accept credit cards carrying higher fees citing that a regulatory solution was the appropriate way forward to address Canada's egregiously high merchant swipe fees. In light of the Competition Bureau's decision not to appeal the ruling and indications yesterday that the Government will be focusing on improving transparency and not on lowering fees, the three associations are committed to bringing this issue to the forefront of government attention.

"As advocates for retailers and small businesses across Canada, we were encouraged to hear the Government acknowledge the issue of excessive credit card swipe fees in Canada in its Speech from the Throne by announcing measures to ensure consumers are informed of the costs retailers incur in accepting credit cards. However, we look forward to receiving more information from the Government on how these measures will actually benefit retailers in Canada," said Alex Scholten, President, CCSA. "The issue of an anti-competitive credit card industry is a serious concern, and one that has had great impact not only on small and medium sized businesses, but everyday Canadians and the sustainability of our economy. We are hopeful that the new measures will actually assist in addressing these concerns."

VISA and MasterCard currently control over 90% of the electronic payment market. Canadian retailers pay an estimated $5 billion each year in credit card swipe fees (at rates which are amongst the highest in the world), which in turn drives up the cost of everyday products regardless of how Canadians choose to pay for them, according to the group.

"Small to medium sized businesses are the lifeline of Canada's economy, yet they are significant victims of this unregulated and anti-competitive marketplace," said Tricia Anderson, President and CEO, CIPMA.

Petroleum marketers, convenience store retailers and independent grocers all incur onerous and unreasonable credit card processing costs, while struggling to maintain fair and competitive consumer pricing. With slim operating margins, credit card swipe fees are seriously affecting the operations of these important contributors to Canadians.

"As advocates for small and medium sized businesses in Canada, we are united in our support for the development of a regulatory solution to this growing and troubling concern," said Gary Sands, Vice President, CFIG. "Our members believe that this issue merits as much or more focus as the concentration in the wireless industry, which continues to garner significant government attention."

About CIPMA

The Canadian Independent Petroleum Marketers Association is a national not-for-profit trade association representing the unique interests of its members.

CIPMA members are the backbone of Canada's fuel distribution and marketing industry. They distribute heating oil, gasoline, diesel, propane, aviation fuel and renewable fuels across a vast geography, to diverse industries, and to millions of Canadian consumers.

About CCSA

The Canadian Convenience Stores Association is a national not-for-profit trade association that represents the interests of over 23,000 convenience store retailers operating in Canada. Our mission is to foster the success of the convenience store industry in Canada by representing the best interests of our members, and the communities they serve.

We accomplish our mission through government relations and advocacy, promoting the professionalization of the industry and creating industry recognition and awareness.

About CFIG

The Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers is a non-profit trade association founded in 1962, which continues to be a collaborative community, equipping and enabling independent, franchised and specialty grocers for sustainable success. We act as a strong and united voice for over 4000 independent grocery retailers, across Canada, providing programs for operational excellence and fostering solid relationships among retailers and suppliers.

Contact Information

  • CFIG
    Gary Sands
    416-492-2311 ext.230