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For members with operations in Alberta: RCC’s submission on Alberta’s minimum wage

For members with operations in Alberta: RCC’s submission on Alberta’s minimum wage

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June 22, 2016

It is expected that the Alberta government will be announcing the increase to Alberta’s minimum wage for 2016 before the end of June.  This increase will likely take effect on October 1, 2016.

RCC has been extremely active in engaging with Alberta’s Minister of Labour on this issue.  We met with the Minister in May to outline the impact the 2015 minimum wage increase had on retailers, the current state of Alberta’s retail sector, and the impact rising costs and declining sales have had on retail employment.  We have also met with Alberta’s Finance Minister to outline the impact the Notley government’s promise to have a $15/hour minimum wage by 2018 will have on Alberta retailers.

On June 6, RCC attended an all-day stakeholder consultation in Calgary.  We took part in the consultation sessions and roundtables and also had the opportunity to have another brief private discussion with the Minister.  Despite holding consultations in Calgary and Edmonton with stakeholders through the month of June, Premier Notley has publicly stated this month that she fully intends to move forward with implementing a $15/hour minimum wage by 2018 – despite any feedback the government may receive saying to slow down the increases.  The strong consensus, even among minimum wage advocates, at the Calgary consultation was that 2018 was too aggressive a timeframe in light of the current economic situation in Alberta.

RCC has written Minister of Labour Gray and Premier Notley to again stress the need to consider stakeholder feedback on this issue and reconsider the 2018 timeframe.  Click here to read RCC’s letter to the Alberta government.

If the Alberta government is unwilling to reconsider the 2018 implementation timeframe, Alberta retailers should expect the 2016 increase to the minimum wage to be in the range of $1.25-1.30/hour, raising the minimum wage to $12.45-12.50/hour.

Once the official announcement is made, RCC will provide members with an update and will have the revised minimum wage information posted on the RCC website.

For more information contact:

Lanny McInnes
Director, Government Relations (Prairies)
Retail Council of Canada
Toll-free: 888-254-1654
lmcinnes@retailcouncil.org

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Potential Canada Post Service Interruption: Resources for retailers and RCC Action Plan

Potential Canada Post Service Interruption: Resources for retailers and RCC Action Plan

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June 29, 2016

Public Advisory from Canada Post Regarding a Potential Work Disruption

OTTAWA – Labour negotiations between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) continue.  Talks have been ongoing since late 2015, and the parties are now in the final stretch. No legal work disruption can occur until July 2, 2016. Details of the offers are highlighted in the background section below. 

While there is still time to reach new agreements, a legal work disruption could occur as early as July 2, 2016. We understand the impact a work disruption would have on customers and are therefore doing everything possible to reach a negotiated settlement quickly. While a labour disruption remains a possibility, we are asking customers to take precautions.

In the event of a labour disruption, Canada Post will not operate. Mail and parcels will not be delivered, and no new items will be accepted. Any mail and parcels within the postal system during a work disruption will be secured and delivered as quickly as possible once operations resume.

Click here for more background information and negotiation timelines or contact:

Canada Post Media relations
613-734-8888
medias@canadapost.ca

RCC Action Plan

• RCC is communicating with the relevant Federal ministers both with formal written letters and in person to express our concern over the potential of a CPC service disruption. RCC has ensured that our government in Ottawa recognizes the impact potential disruption a strike by Canada Post could have our delivery of regular mail but more important a serious and costly disruption to the delivery of parcels.
• RCC has written the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour and Minister of Public Services and Procurement and called on the government prevent service disruptions by Canada Post, given the essential nature this national service plays for retailers and their customers. Click here to read the letter. 
• RCC has also raised concerns in various meetings with MPs, and has additional meetings scheduled with the Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour and key political staff.

 

For more information contact:

Darryl Julott
Membership Coordinator
djulott@retailcouncil.org
1-888-373-8245 x 224

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For Members with Stores in Manitoba – 2016 Manitoba Budget

For Members with Stores in Manitoba – 2016 Manitoba Budget

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June 1, 2016

Member Update / Impact:

On May 31, 2016 Manitoba’s Finance Minister Cam Friesen introduced the new Progressive Conservative government’s first provincial budget.  The 2016 Budget included no tax increases and will see the province continue to run a significant deficit of $890 million for core government activities.

As expected, the new government announced Manitoba’s person basic exemption and personal income tax brackets will now be indexed to inflation beginning on January 1, 2017.  These changes will increase the spending power of Manitoba consumers and are welcome news for Manitoba retailers.  RCC had called on the Manitoba government to index the province’s tax brackets for over a decade.

Also, the Manitoba government has indicated that they are not contemplating a further increase to Manitoba’s minimum wage in 2016. 

RCC Action:

RCC provided information and updates for Manitoba retailers during the provincial campaign on www.voteretail.ca.  RCC also encouraged merchants to connect with their local candidates to raise issues important to our sector. 

Additionally, RCC asked each political party how they would address the priority issues Manitoba retailers are facing.  We posted those responses on our VoteRetail.ca website as well as each party’s full platform.

To view the 2016 Manitoba budget papers, click here.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: Lanny McInnes, Director –  Government Relations (Prairies) at: lmcinnes@retailcouncil.org or 204-253-1654

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Paying Tribute to Canada’s Best New Grocery Products

June 1, 2016

Canadian Grand Prix winners announced at Retail Council of Canada gala

Metro Brands, G.P. took home a whopping five awards and Laiterie Chalifoux Inc. was crème de la crème at tonight’s Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards, a highlight of Retail Council of Canada’s STORE 2016 conference in Toronto.

Metro Brands G.P. was the most awarded company in this year’s competition. It dominated in Private Label Food with its Irresistibles line, sweeping five categories: Bakery Fresh (Par-Baked) (Artisan deep dish pie, 750g), Beverages (Life-Smart Smoothie), Confectionery & Shelf Stable Desserts (Brownie in the Centre), Deli Meats & Cheeses (Dry Sausage) and Frozen or Refrigerated Prepared Foods & Entrees (Potato Gratin).

Founded in 1920 in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec, family-owned Laiterie Chalifoux took home three awards for its Riviera Petit Pot Set-Style Yogurt. It was the category winner in Dairy (Milk, Yogurt, Cheese & Spreadables) and won a Special Award for Innovative Packaging. It capped off its trophy haul with the coveted All-Canadian Award, which is presented to the product with the highest average score among all products developed, created and manufactured in Canada.

Joining Metro Brands G.P. and Laiterie Chalifoux in the winners’ circle were two other Special Award recipients. Kruger Products LP won the Consumer Acceptance Award for its SpongeTowels Ultra Strong paper towel also winning the Paper, Plastic & Foil category. Emmi Canada was given the Innovation and Originality Award for its namesake Emmi Fondü All-In-One, in addition to winning the Deli Meats & Cheeses category.

“Winning a Canadian Grand Prix award is a milestone achievement that represents Canada’s very best in product innovation and consumer ingenuity,” said Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO of Retail Council of Canada. “Standing out on crowded store shelves is no easy task. It requires a product that ticks off all the boxes, including superior production, design, marketing, sales and distribution. Most importantly, a truly award-winning product must meet the needs – and pocketbooks – of today’s demanding shopper.”

Chef and jury chair Marcus Von Albrecht, President of Mava Foods, oversaw a judging panel comprised of consumers, food journalists, packaging designers and marketing executives who considered 93 eligible products. Of these, 34 went on to win awards.

Other multiple-category winners this year included:

• Canadian Tire Retail – General Merchandise, Household Products
• Federated Co-operatives Limited – Condiments & Sauces, Snack (Sweet)
• S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. – General Merchandise, Household Products

To view the complete list of this year’s winners, visit: www.rccgrandprix.ca/content/winners

Also taking place at tonight’s gala was the inaugural presentation of the Canadian Grand Prix Lifetime Achievement Award to Paul Higgins Jr. and Michael Higgins, the Co-CEOs of Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee. The award, which was previously announced, was given to the brothers in honour of their outstanding and long-standing service and commitment to the Canadian grocery industry and to the broader community.

About the Canadian Grand Prix New Products Awards
Now in its 23rd year, the Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards is an annual program that celebrates new products in food, non-food and private label categories. The program provides a unique opportunity for entrants to showcase new products to a jury of industry experts and to be recognized by their peers.

The program is open to manufacturers, suppliers and distributors. To be eligible, a product must have been introduced to the market between January 1 and December 31, 2015. Products are judged on presentation and packaging; product attributes; innovation and originality; and overall value to the consumer.

This year’s awards sponsors were CHEP Canada, Dairy Farmers of Canada, Interac and TC Transcontinental Printing.

For more information, contact:
Colin Asuncion
Retail Council of Canada
416-467-3782
casuncion@retailcouncil.org

 

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Retail Council of Canada Salutes the Industry’s Top Achievers at STORE 2016

May 31, 2016

Thirteen of Canada’s most innovative retailers took home top prizes tonight at the 2016 Excellence in Retailing Awards (ERA), a highlight of Retail Council of Canada’s STORE 2016 conference in Toronto. In addition to the ERA honorees, three Awards of Distinction were also bestowed at a gala presentation attended by Canada’s retailing elite.

The ERA program recognizes pinnacle achievements in a variety of in-store, online and omni-channel retail operations. This year saw 87 finalists from 50 retail companies vying for the coveted trophies. KPMG LLP Canada is the presenting sponsor of the Excellence in Retailing Awards program.

“As befitting the name of this competition, the winners of the Excellence in Retailing Awards are true exemplars of the best that Canada has to offer,” said Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO of Retail Council of Canada. “Each of these retail organizations is driven to deliver superior customer service, innovative business solutions and leadership in store operations, and we applaud their many accomplishments.”

Ms. Brisebois added: “I also join the industry in saluting the recipients of this year’s prestigious Awards of Distinction. All of them are game-changers leaving a lasting, positive imprint on their employees, customers, peers and the communities they serve. Quite simply, retailing in Canada is all the better for their vision, passion and business acumen.”

2016 Awards of Distinction recipients: 
2016 Distinguished Canadian Retailer of the Year Award
Presented to Andrew Lutfy, CEO, Groupe Dynamite, in recognition of his exceptional achievement and leadership in retail.
Sponsored by: MasterCard Canada

2016 Lifetime Achievement Award
Presented to Louise Wendling, former Country Manager, Costco Wholesale Canada, for demonstrating outstanding business success and community service throughout her career.

2016 Independent Retail Ambassador of the Year Award
Presented to Cameron Baty and Karina Birch, Co-Owners, Rocky Mountain Soap Company, for embodying the true spirit of entrepreneurship and community service.
Sponsored by: Chase Paymentech

2016 Excellence in Retailing Award Winners:
E-Commerce Experience
SHOES.COM – “Building a Brand for the Young, Engaged Guest”

Health, Safety and Wellness, sponsored by Workplace Safety & Prevention Services
LCBO – “Work Smart Work Safe: LCBO Safety Initiative”

In-Store Experience and Design
Canadian Tire Corporation Ltd. – “Edmonton Showcase Store”
Hudson’s Bay Company – “Hudson’s Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue Together in One Historic Location”

In-Store Merchandising
IKEA Canada Limited Partnership – “Creating Inspiring Kitchen Solutions for the Many Canadians with IKEA’s New SEKTION Kitchen Range”

Loss Prevention
Sears Canada – “Let’s Get Technical: Leveraging Technology to Increase Productivity and Reduce Shrink”

Marketing & Communications, sponsored by KPMG
Reitmans – “Reitmans. Really.”
Walmart Canada – “Discover Another Side of Walmart Canada”

Omni-Channel, sponsored by VISA
Best Buy Canada – “Leadership in Total Retail”

Philanthropic Leadership, sponsored by Chase Paymentech
PetSmart Canada – “PetSmart Charities of Canada: Canada’s Adoption Story”

Supply Chain Innovation
La Maison Simons – “Synchronizing the Supply Chain to Support Growth & Expansion in an Omni-Channel Environment”

Talent Development
H&M Hennese & Mauritz Inc. – “Investing in Our Future Leaders at H&M Canada”
Michael Hill Jeweller – “The Michael Hill Retail Academy”

For more information, contact:
Colin Asuncion
Retail Council of Canada
casuncion@retailcouncil.org

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RETAIL COUNCIL OF CANADA GROCERY MEMBERS VOLUNTARILY COMMIT TO SOURCE CAGE-FREE EGGS BY THE END OF 2025

May 26, 2016

UPDATED

The Retail Council of Canada (RCC) grocery members, including: Loblaw Companies Limited, Longo Brothers Fruit Markets Inc., Metro Inc., the Overwaitea Food Group / Save-On-Foods, Sobeys Inc., and Wal-Mart Canada Corp., announced a step towards improving animal welfare by voluntarily committing to the objective of purchasing cage-free eggs by the end of 2025.

The grocery members of the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) remain committed to taking a leadership role in animal welfare and have been working collaboratively to ensure the animal products they purchase meet stringent food safety standards and are raised in a sustainable and humane manner.

Guided by this approach, RCC and its members have been actively engaged in domestic and international discussions related to egg production. “There have been significant discussions over the last several months among producers, processors, the scientific community and consumers regarding the best approach for raising hens,” said David Wilkes, RCC Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Grocery Division. “These discussions have led to the announcement our members are making today, further demonstrating our commitment to providing Canadians with responsibly sourced food.” Wilkes commented that: “this voluntary commitment is made recognizing the restrictions created by Canada’s supply management system and importantly this objective will have to be managed in the context of availability of supply within the domestic market.”

A key part of RCC’s approach to animal welfare issues is support for the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC). NFACC is the only group in the world that brings together animal welfare groups, retailers, government and farmers under a collective decision-making model for advancing farm animal welfare.

NFACC is currently finalizing recommendations on a Code of Practice for Layer Hens. This code will provide guidance to industry on a number of areas related to the sound management and welfare practices through recommendations and requirements for housing, care, transportation, processing and other animal husbandry practices. Wilkes concluded by saying that: “RCC remains firmly committed to the NFACC process and will work with other participants to not only advance our voluntary commitment to move to cage-free environments by the end of 2025, but also by ensuring suppliers adhere to the Code’s recommendations.” The Code is expected to be finalized later this year.

For further information or comment please contact:
Colin Asuncion
Marketing Communications Specialist
416-467-3782
casuncion@retailcouncil.org

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Retail’s future leaders awarded 2016 Retail as a Career Scholarships

May 19, 2016

Retail Council of Canada to present 16 scholarships at STORE 2016 Conference

Sixteen post-secondary students from across the country will each receive $1,000 as part of Retail Council of Canada’s (RCC) 2016 Retail as a Career Scholarship program. The scholarships are awarded to students working in retail who are entering or currently enrolled in a retail-related program at a Canadian post-secondary institution.

The top scholarship applicant will get a $5,000 award sponsored by Interac Association. An additional $3,000 scholarship will be awarded by RCC to an applicant in honour of retailers who have, over the years, been inducted into the Canadian Retail Hall of Fame.

“Now in its 13th year, the Retail as a Career Scholarship program is an integral part of an ongoing commitment to recognize the importance of the retail industry as both a vibrant and professional career choice, and as the largest private sector employer supporting the Canadian economy,” said Diane J. Brisebois, President & CEO of Retail Council of Canada. 

“We congratulate these scholarship winners for their passion, dedication and commitment to an industry that presents so many opportunities for advancement in a wide variety of job roles and options. Each of the recipients has demonstrated a keen desire to pursue a career in retail, and has carefully considered how they are going to make a positive impact on their industry going forward.”

Ms. Brisebois added: “Retail Council of Canada is proud to partner with industry sponsors to nurture and support this next generation of retail leaders and also thanks Interac Association for its commitment to retail.”

The 2016 sponsors to the Retail as a Career Scholarship fund are: Best Buy Canada Ltd., Canadian Tire Corporation Ltd., Costco Wholesale Canada Ltd., Home Hardware Stores Ltd., IKEA Canada Ltd., Interac Association, JRoss Retail Recruiters, Lowe’s Canada, MySTORE, PetSmart Canada Inc., Pier 1 Imports, Inc., Sears Canada Inc., Staples Canada Inc., The Home Depot Canada, TJX Canada, Toys ‘R’ Us (Canada) Ltd. and Walmart Canada.

To date, the Retail as a Career Scholarship program has awarded about $750,000.00 in scholarships and award benefits. Applicants are judged by retail industry experts in three categories: academic performance, professional references and a personal essay highlighting their experiences and educational pursuits in the retail industry.

In addition to monetary prizes, this year’s recipients receive an all-access pass, travel and accommodation to RCC’s STORE 2016 Conference, Canada’s largest retail industry event. They will be honoured on May 31st at the 2016 Excellence in Retailing Awards Gala, presented as part of STORE 2016.

2016 Retail as a Career Scholarship recipients: 

Recipient – Employer – School  -Program

Alana (Jessica) MacIntyre –  Cineplex Entertainment LP  – Cape Breton University – Bachelor of Business Administration
Anne St-Pierre – Metro Richelieu Inc. – HEC Montréal – Maîtrise en gestion des ressources humaines
Benoit Blanchette – Staples Canada, Inc. – Université du Québec à Montréal – Certificat de perfectionnement en gestion
Chloe Tully – Sears Canada Inc. – Wilfrid Laurier University – Bachelor of Business Administration
Christopher Rinaldi Ross  -National Sports  – University of Windsor – Bachelor of Commerce
Emily Meloche – Cineplex Entertainment LP – University of Windsor – Bachelor of Business Administration 
Grace Joseph – Cineplex Entertainment LP – University of Waterloo – Bachelor of Accounting and Finance.
Jessica Privé – Toys ‘R’ Us (Canada), Ltd. – HEC Montréal – Bachelor of Business Administration
Katelin Mowder – Hudson’s Bay Company – McMaster University – Bachelor of Commerce
Lydia Fenton – The Bargain! Shop – University of Guelph – Bachelor of Commerce – Marketing Management
Mikayla Haynes – Starbucks Coffee Canada -Trinity Western University – Bachelor of Business Administration
Nathan Comartin – Canadian Tire Corporation Ltd. – University of Windsor  -Bachelor of Business Administration  – Honors Co-op
Scott Hookings – Sport Chek – Brock University  – Bachelors of Business Administration
Tanisha Kotowich – Frank + Oak – University of Alberta Bachelor of Commerce
Teri Simone – Minor Bros. Country Living – Western University Bachelor of Social Science

For more information on STORE 2016 and the 2016 Excellence in Retailing Awards Gala and to purchase tickets, visit STOREconference.ca.

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WEBINAR: Is the price right? The science behind an effective shipping pricing strategy.

Date: Jun 14, 20162:00 PM ET

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3 Ways to Get the Most out of your Traffic & Conversion Program

Date: Jun 29, 2016http://headcount.com/rccjune30

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Resources for retailers in Fort McMurray

Resources for retailers in Fort McMurray

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May 6, 2016

Our thoughts and support go out to all of those impacted by the Fort McMurray wildfires. Donate to the Alberta Fires Appeal

City of Fort McMurray Wildfire Updates
Province of Alberta
Highway closures
Fort McMurray evacuees: A list of resources available across Alberta

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) in Alberta is available to answer any insurance questions at 1-844-2ask-IBC. Download their tip sheet Fire Damage to Business.

 

 

 

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Rocky Mountain Soap Company co-owners honoured with Retail Council of Canada’s Independent Retail Ambassador of the Year Award

May 5, 2016

Retail Council of Canada (RCC) announced today that Cameron Baty and Karina Birch, co-owners of Rocky Mountain Soap Company will be honoured with the 2016 Independent Retail Ambassador of the Year Award.

The Independent Retail Ambassador of the Year Award, sponsored by Chase Paymentech, recognizes the outstanding contributions of a local independent retailer to his or her community. The recipient is seen as a visionary, an innovator, and an integral part of the community that his or her business serves. Cameron Baty and Karina Birch were selected this year among a number of outstanding independent retailers across Canada and will be recognized for Rocky Mountain Soap’s unique toxin-free product offering, community engagement and business expansion in Western Canada. Learn more about Rocky Mountain Soap Company at www.rockymountainsoap.com.

“Retail Council of Canada is delighted to present the 2016 Independent Retail Ambassador of the Year Award to Cameron Baty and Karina Birch, two retail entrepreneurs who are deeply committed to making a difference in many communities across Western Canada through sustainable product development, job creation, and outstanding customer service.” said Diane J. Brisebois, President & CEO, Retail Council of Canada. Rocky Mountain Soap Co. is involved in several local food banks, shelters and organizations such as Cause Canada, Project Shine, donating both time and tonnes of soap. “Cameron and Karina believe there is an innovation renaissance taking place and that entrepreneurs are uniquely positioned to take advantage. They are true ambassadors for their fellow independent retailers and their customers,” said Brisebois. Rocky Mountain Soap Co. joins a long line of outstanding Independent retailers across Canada, including Reckless Bikes, Amos Pewter, That Pro Look, and Cuckoo’s Nest.

About Cameron Baty, Karina Birch and the Rocky Mountain Soap Company

Cameron Baty and Karina Birch are co-owners of Rocky Mountain Soap Company. They nurtured the company from its days as a 300 square foot shop in Canmore to the now 11 retail stores, over 700 wholesale accounts and 16,000 square foot workshop. It is a company with a strong culture and eclectic, passionate group of individuals. Believing ‘what goes on the body, goes in the body,’ Rocky is on a mission to created small-batch products using simple, natural and fresh ingredients. Rocky Mountain Soap has been included in the Profit 100 and Alberta Ventures ‘Fastest Growing Companies.’

Cameron Baty and Karina Birch will be recognized by the industry at Retail Council of Canada’s annual Excellence in Retailing Awards Gala held on May 31, 2016. For further information and to purchase tickets: www.storeconference.ca/excellence-in-retailing-awards/gala

The Gala, taking place at STORE 2016, Canada’s largest and most important retail conference, will take place at the Toronto Congress Centre from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET.  Media are invited to attend STORE 2016, May 31-June 1, 2016.  For further information: STOREConference.ca
 

For more information:
Colin Asuncion
Retail Council of Canada
casuncion@retailcouncil.org
416.467.3782

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Canada’s most innovative retailers to take centre stage at the 2016 Excellence in Retailing Awards

May 5, 2016

Finalists announced for Retail Council of Canada’s Excellence in Retailing Awards

The spotlight is set to shine on Canada’s most innovative merchants at the 2016 Excellence in Retailing Awards. Retail Council of Canada (RCC) today announced that 87 finalists from 50 retail companies are in the running for the prestigious awards, which recognize the pinnacle achievements of retail organizations in 10 retail categories covering a range of in-store, online and omni-channel operations.
“Over the past 20 years, the Excellence in Retailing Awards program has become the gold standard, recognizing the very best that retailers in Canada have to offer,” said Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO of Retail Council of Canada. “Becoming a Finalist for these awards takes talent, teamwork and ingenuity, and is a testament to the creativity and leadership of an outstanding group of merchants. Together, these organizations have set a high standard for all retailers in Canada to emulate.”

2016 ERA FINALISTS BY COMPANY

Alcool NB Liquor
Bauer (Division of Performance Sports Group)
Best Buy Canada
Bulk Barn Foods Limited
Canada Post
Canadian Tire Corporation Ltd.
Cineplex Entertainment
Costco Canada
David’s Bridal
FGL Sports
Foodland
Frank & Oak
goeasy ltd
Groupe Dynamite
H&M
Holt Renfrew
Home Hardware Stores Limited
Hudson’s Bay Company
IKEA Canada Limited Partnership
Indigo
La Maison Simons
LCBO
Liquor Stores, NA
Loblaw Companies Limited
M&M Food Market
Mac’s Convenience Stores
Manitoba Telecom Services
Mark’s
Metro
Michael Hill Jeweller
Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation
PetSmart Canada
Reitmans
RONA
Sears Canada
Sephora
Shoes.com
Shoppers Drug Mart
Sleep Country Canada
Sobeys
Sobeys Express
Sport Chek
Staples Canada
Surmesur
TELUS Retail Limited
Ten Thousand Villages
The Beer Store
The Source
Walmart Canada

The 2016 winners will be announced at the Excellence in Retailing Awards gala on May 31st. The gala is a highlight of the STORE 2016 Conference, Canada’s largest retail industry event of the year, which runs May 31st and June 1st at the Toronto Congress Centre.  For further information and to buy gala tickets: www.storeconference.ca/excellence-in-retailing-awards/gala.

The gala will also honour Louise Wendling, former Country Manager of Costco Wholesale Canada, recipient of Retail Council of Canada’s 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award; Andrew Lutfy, CEO of Groupe Dynamite, named Retail Council of Canada’s 2016 Distinguished Canadian Retailer of the Year; and Cameron Baty and Karina Birch, co-owners of Rocky Mountain Soap Company, recipients of Retail Council of Canada’s 2016 Independent Retail Ambassador of the Year.

For more information about the Excellence in Retailing Awards and STORE 2016, visit www.storeconference.ca.

For further information:
Colin Asuncion
Retail Council of Canada
416-467-3782
casuncion@retailcouncil.org

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Retail Industry Reacts to Broken Commitment by BC Government over Minimum Wage

May 4, 2016

Only last year, the B.C. Government made a commitment to remove politics from the minimum wage increase and to improve predictability so that business could budget its own payroll expenses to live within its means.  The Government of British Columbia has broken its commitment to the retail community by announcing a rate increase above CPI for this fall and by failing to provide certainty as to the minimum wage rate increase in 2017.

Retailers that will be most impacted are small merchants and those with a disproportionate number of employees who are new to the work force.  This impact will be felt by employees whose hours or positions are cut in an effort by businesses to live within their own budgets.

The retail industry continues to support revisions based upon objective criteria which removes politics from the equation.  Instead, government has made an arbitrary decision based upon the politics of the day.  As government is aware, business requires predictability; it is critical for business to properly forecast expenditures and minimum wage decisions are best announced ahead of the preparation of financial plans for the year.

The retail industry is British Columbia’s largest private sector employer, employing nearly 300,000 British Columbians.  Retail is pleased to be a beneficiary of British Columbia’s strong economy and proud to play its part through its contributions to communities across the province.

– 30 –

Retail is Canada’s largest employer with over 2 million Canadians working in our industry. In 2015, the sector generated payroll over $59 billion and $340 billion in sales (excluding vehicles and gasoline). Retail Council of Canada (RCC) members’ represent more than two-thirds of retail sales in the country. RCC is a not-for-profit industry-funded association and represents small, medium and large retail business in every community across the country. As the Voice of Canadian retailers we proudly represent more than 45,000 storefronts in all retail formats, including department, grocery, specialty, discount, independent retailers and online merchants.

RetailCouncil.org    @RetailCouncil

For further information:

Greg Wilson
Director, Government Relations (B.C.)
Retail Council of Canada
gwilson@retailcouncil.org
(604) 736-0368

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Groupe Dynamite CEO, Andrew Lutfy, named Distinguished Canadian Retailer of the Year by Retail Council of Canada

May 2, 2016

Retail Council of Canada (RCC) announced today that Mr. Andrew Lutfy, CEO of Groupe Dynamite Inc., will be the recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Canadian Retailer of the Year Award. 

“RCC is thrilled to recognize Andrew Lutfy for his passion, his leadership, and his ability to embrace change in today’s retail landscape,” said Diane J. Brisebois, President & CEO, Retail Council of Canada. . “Under his vision and direction the Groupe Dynamite brands, Garage and Dynamite, have grown from a handful of stores to close to 400 locations in Canada, the US and the Middle East,” added Ms. Brisebois. “Mr. Lutfy’s knowledge of the market and willingness to innovate have empowered the Groupe Dynamite team worldwide to understand their core customer and deliver exceptional service both in-store and online.”

About Andrew Lutfy

Andrew Lutfy joined Groupe Dynamite in 1982 at the age of 18 as a stock clerk. He took an active management role which covered most functional areas of the business and quickly became an equal, ownership interest in the company; in 2002, he became the sole owner. In 2007, Andrew was presented with the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the year award which honors entrepreneurs who have shown outstanding skills and who have excelled in a wide spectrum of activities such as business expansion, risk taking, innovation and personal commitment towards their company and community.

Mr. Lutfy has been heavily involved in community service since the age of 18 when he co-founded the Montreal Youth Foundation. Since 1997, Andrew has raised money for the Cedar’s Cancer Foundation; in 2014 he was recognized with great honor for his generous donation benefiting the new state of the art cancer centre. Today, through its “Make a Difference” program, Groupe Dynamite and its employees actively support a variety of local, national and international charitable initiatives such as the Cure Foundation, the Starlight Foundation, Centraide/United Way,and other local charities. To date, over $2 million has been raised for these organizations.

The Distinguished Retailer of the Year Award, sponsored by MasterCard, recognizes a retail leader who has led his/her company to outstanding business success and who has consistently demonstrated a commitment to the communities they operate within. The recipient is seen as a role model because of his/her exceptional leadership within the corporation, in the retail industry in Canada and in the community at large, through personal and/or corporate philanthropic activities. Groupe Dynamite joins a long line of passionate merchants across Canada receiving the award, including Leon’s, Harry Rosen, Canadian Tire Corporation and Aritzia.

The Distinguished Retailer of the Year Award will be presented to Mr. Lutfy at the Excellence in Retailing Awards Gala on May 31, 2016.  For further information and to purchase tickets: STOREConference.ca

The Gala, taking place at STORE 2016, Canada’s largest and most important retail conference, will take place at the Toronto Congress Centre from 6:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET.  Media are invited to attend STORE 2016, May 31-June 1, 2016.  For further information: STOREconference.ca

For more information:

Colin Asuncion
Retail Council of Canada
casuncion@retailcouncil.org
416.467.3782

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University of Toronto Study Suggests Voluntary Sodium Reduction is Working

April 26, 2016

Interim data shows progress and challenges; more work to be done to meet 2016 benchmarks

Statement from Retail Council of Canada and Food & Consumer Products of Canada

“Close examination of these results reveal an impressive snapshot of the Canadian grocery industry. Clearly, industry has made significant progress towards reducing sodium levels in packaged foods – well in advance of the 2016 guidelines.”  Dave Wilkes, Senior Vice President, Retail Council of Canada.

In 2010, Health Canada issued a variety of sodium benchmark targets, which were set to achieve an overall sodium reduction of 25-30% by 2016.  Today’s results are not the whole picture – the period studied is 2010-2013.

Significant progress has been made in a variety of categories, the research found.  In commonly eaten foods, such as ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, English muffins, pizza, canned vegetables, plain chips, instant hot cereals, canned soups, sausages, granola bars and fresh and frozen meat, there have been significant decreases in sodium levels, ranging from 6.6% to 35.3%.

Industry is firmly committed to the Sodium Reduction Strategy, and has been gradually and responsibly reducing the amount of sodium in the food supply for years, to help Canadians lower their sodium intake.  Reducing sodium is a complex process involving many factors, including food safety, shelf life and consumer acceptance.   While the industry has been striving towards achieving lower sodium levels across all categories of foods, it recognizes there is still room for improvement.

“This report uses interim 2013 data, and therefore reflects interim progress. There is definitely more work to be done, but the report clearly shows that the voluntary approach is working. Industry will continue to innovate and offer new products to consumers to help them make the choices that are right for them and their families.” Joslyn Higginson, Vice President, Food and Consumer Products of Canada.

About RCC
Retail is Canada’s largest employer with 2.2 million Canadians working in our industry. In 2015, the sector generated payroll over $59 billion and $340 billion in sales (excluding vehicles and gasoline). Retail Council of Canada (RCC) members’ represent more than two-thirds of retail sales in the country. RCC is a not-for-profit industry-funded association and represents small, medium and large retail business in every community across the country. As the Voice of Canadian retailers we proudly represent more than 45,000 storefronts in all retail formats, including department, grocery, specialty, discount, independent retailers and online merchants.

About FCPC
Food & Consumer Products of Canada is Canada’s largest industry association representing companies that manufacture and distribute the vast majority of food, beverage and consumer goods found on drug and grocery store shelves across the country. This industry is the largest manufacturing sector in Canada – more than the automotive and aerospace sectors combined – directly employing nearly 300,000 Canadians from coast to coast, contributing nearly $29 billion annually to the country’s economy and providing safe, high quality products that are found in virtually every single home in Canada. FCPC is committed to educating and empowering consumers to make the food choices that are right for them and their families.

For further information or interview requests please contact:

RCC

Colin Asuncion for Dave Wilkes
casuncion@retailcouncil.org
(416) 467-3782

FCPC 

Michelle Kurtz for Joslyn Higginson
michellek@fcpc.ca
(416) 510-1562

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Paul and Michael Higgins, Co-CEOs of Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee, honoured with Retail Council of Canada’s Canadian Grand Prix Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award

April 21, 2016

Retail Council of Canada (RCC) is pleased to announce Paul Higgins Jr. and Michael Higgins, the Co-CEOs of Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee, as the inaugural recipients of the Canadian Grand Prix Lifetime Achievement Award.

RCC’s Canadian Grand Prix Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes senior executive(s) who have demonstrated outstanding service and commitment to the Canadian grocery industry. The recipient(s) of the Award reflect the industry’s spirit of community and trust and demonstrate a strong commitment to innovation, both in the products their company offers to consumers and the leadership they provide within their organization. The recipients are recognized as role models whose passion goes beyond a lifelong dedication to the industry, demonstrating a commitment to greater good through support for charitable and community organizations.

“RCC is honoured to award Paul Higgins Jr. and Michael Higgins with this inaugural award, in recognition of their tremendous contributions to the retail and consumer packaged goods industries,” said Diane J. Brisebois, President & CEO, Retail Council of Canada. “Over the course of their careers Paul and Michael have pushed the envelope to drive sustainable growth, champion innovation and exceed customer expectation, earning the respect of their peers and industry partners every step of the way. Paul and Michael Higgins are true innovators and their willingness to embrace change has cemented Mother Parkers as an internationally recognized industry leader.”

About Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee, Paul Higgins Jr. and Michael Higgins

The family-owned and managed company was founded as a wholesale grocery distributor in 1912 by Stafford Higgins and E. Burke, under the name Higgins & Burke Ltd., selling bulk commodities including tea and coffee. Paul and Michael Higgins are the third generation to successfully steer Mother Parkers to growth and expansion. As Co-CEOs, they have overseen the development and expansion of the company’s brands, as well as the private label tea and coffee brands of many of North America’s largest grocery and restaurant chains. Most recently under the Higgins’ leadership, Mother Parkers introduced breakthrough innovation with the launch of RealCup® single-serve capsules and the EcoCup™ recyclable capsule.  The company’s commitment to service and innovation has been recognized through countless business, industry and customer awards.

Paul Higgins Jr. has worked in nearly every area of the family business, including finance, sales and marketing. He has served on several boards, including chairman of the Food Association of Canada, board member of the National Coffee Association, chairman of Food & Consumer Products of Canada and board member of St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation.

Michael Higgins has extensive experience in sales and marketing for both the retail and foodservice channels of Mother Parkers’ business. He has also played a pivotal role in overseeing Mother Parkers’ successful business partnerships.  Michael is currently a director of the Tea Association of Canada, a past-president of the Tea & Coffee Association of Canada and a former member of the Board of Governors of St. Andrew’s College.

In honour of their father and to mark Mother Parkers’ 100th Anniversary in 2012, Paul and Michael Higgins successfully launched a campaign that raised $1 million for research into finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

The Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Paul and Michael Higgins at the Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards Gala on June 1, 2016.  For further information and to purchase tickets: RCCGrandPrix.ca.

The Gala, taking place at STORE 2016, Canada’s largest and most important retail conference, will take place at the Toronto Congress Centre from 4:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET.  For further information: STOREconference.ca

 

-30-

For more information:
Devon Pool
Retail Council of Canada
dpool@retailcouncil.org
416-467-3778

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Finalists Revealed for Canada’s Top Prize for Grocery Newcomers

April 13, 2016

Revamped Canadian Grand Prix Awards honours best new brands on the shelves

They are the grocery products that made the biggest impact in 2015. Today, Retail Council of Canada (RCC) announced the finalists for the 23rd annual Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards.

The award program celebrates new products across food and non-food categories, as selected by a 37-member jury. Winners will be announced June 1, 2016 at the Toronto Congress Centre as part of STORE 2016, Canada’s largest and most important retail conference.

Like the new products they highlight, the Canadian Grand Prix is new and improved. This year, the categories have been updated to better represent how retailers merchandise and market their products. Finalists were selected under separate consumer packaged goods and private label categories.

“Individually, each of this year’s finalists sets a new benchmark for delivering excellence in product development, marketing and distribution,” says Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO of RCC. “And taken together, they demonstrate quite brilliantly how adept the industry is in pinpointing and satisfying the wants and desires of today’s demanding grocery shoppers.” 

The expert panel judging the awards comprises consumers, food journalists, packaging designers and marketing executives. Evaluations were conducted in February and March, both in homes and in the test kitchen at the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec in Montreal. Each entry was graded on presentation and packaging, product attributes, innovation and originality overall value to the consumer.

By heralding the new products that are creating the most buzz on supermarket shelves, the Canadian Grand Prix Awards program is also pointing the way to the future of the  grocery sector in Canada. Jury chair and celebrated chef Marcus Von Albrecht notes, for example, the on-trend move among the finalists to products with a “cleaner ingredient list” – reflecting a hunger for more natural formulations.  “We also saw more products that were regional with local ingredients.”

Also strongly in evidence is the desire for convenience, what Von Albrecht described as “more time at home and quality food to enjoy quickly.”

To become a finalist, a product must score of at least 70% in judging. This year, 93 products reached that mark. To view the complete list of finalists, visit: www.RCCGrandPrix.ca.  

Along with the food and non-food category winners, the Canadian Grand Prix will hand out five special awards – the All-Canadian Award, Innovation and Originality Award, Healthy Innovation Award, Packaging Award, and Consumer Acceptance Award (highest score from Nielsen’s Homescan program).

Finalists and winners can use the Canadian Grand Prix logo on their packaging for two years. RCC also supports the awards with extensive consumer and trade marketing.

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NRF Protect Loss Prevention Conference

Date: 
Jun 15, 2016 to Jun 16, 2016

Special discount for RCC members.

 

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Webinar: The Modern Store- The Future is Here

Date: Apr 20, 2016https://info.microsoft.com/CA-MSFT-WBNR-FY16-04Apr-20-The-6-Top-Features-of-The-Modern-Store_Registration.html12:00-1:00 PM EST

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Federal budget: Retail Council of Canada spokespeople available for comment

March 21, 2016Senior representatives from Retail Council of Canada (RCC) are available for comment following the Federal Budget announcement on Tuesday March 22, 2016.
RCC President & CEO Diane J. Brisebois and Karl Littler, Vice President, Public …

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Leaders In Retail

Leaders In Retail
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DTLQC.

http://www.dtlqc.com

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#RetailMatters in the upcoming federal election on October 19!

http://www.voteretail.ca/Your vote matters! Canadians who work in retail represent more than 10% of all eligible voters. Click here to to learn more and speak up.

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Metro Vancouver Transportation/Regional Sales Tax Plebiscite: Voters Turn Down Proposal

Metro Vancouver Transportation/Regional Sales Tax Plebiscite: Voters Turn Down Proposal

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July 2, 2015

In a victory for the position taking by the majority of retailers, voters in Metro Vancouver have defeated a plebiscite question to partially fund transportation infrastructure projects through a regional sales tax.

There are no local or regional sales taxes in Canada.  Metro Vancouver voters have set an important precedent against a third sales tax.  Merchants and consumers alike benefit from lower costs.

RCC favours improvements to transportation infrastructure which bring our goods, customers and employees to our stores.

Local mayors have said that many of the projects will be built despite the defeat of the plebiscite.  This means that there will be critical decisions made with respect to funding new transportation infrastructure for Metro Vancouver.  RCC continues to prefer a model where users of roads and transportation pay for construction and maintenance of those projects.

Next Steps:

RCC will continue to monitor funding proposals and engage with B.C. Government officials with a desire to reduce any burden of proposals on retailers.

Background

The Government of British Columbia made a commitment to voters in 2013 that any new funding sources for the construction of transportation infrastructure would be approved by voters.  The plebiscite concerned only a portion of municipal funding for certain transportation projects in Metro Vancouver.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: Greg Wilson, Director, Government Relations (B.C.) at: gwilson@retailcouncil.org or 604-736-0368.


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Canada Day Retail Hours

Canada Day Retail Hours

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June 19, 2015

Canada Day is a statutory holiday in all provinces and territories.

The following is a brief overview of retail business regulations from across the country, as it relates to Canada Day.  More information on retail closing days can be found on the RCC website at: http://www.retailcouncil.org/quickfacts/storehours

Since there are exceptions to Canada Day retail hours, based on jurisdiction and type of retail store, RCC members are encouraged to check with their local municipality or provincial/territorial government if they have specific questions.

Please note: In provinces where there are no regulations related to Canada Day retail hours (see below), there may still be rules in a retailer’s shopping mall lease agreement pertaining to retail opening hours on that day.

Atlantic Canada:

In New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, and Nova Scotia, Canada Day is a retail closing day for most retailers.

In Prince Edward Island, retailers are allowed to open on Canada Day as long as they pay their employees according to the law. 

Quebec:

In Quebec, Canada Day is a retail closing day for most retailers (except grocers).

Please note, Quebec will also have a statutory holiday on June 24 for Saint-Jean Baptiste Day. Saint-Jean Baptiste Day is a retail closing day for most retailers.

Ontario:

In Ontario, many retailers will be closed on Canada Day; however, there are exceptions based on municipal jurisdiction which can be viewed on RCC’s website at: http://www.retailcouncil.org/quickfacts/storehours.

Manitoba:

In Manitoba, Canada Day is a retail closing day for most retailers.

British Columbia / Alberta / Saskatchewan: 

In British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, retailers are allowed to open on Canada Day as long as they pay their employees according to the law. 

Territories:

In the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon, retailers are allowed to open on Canada Day as long as they pay their employees according to the law.

Again, more information on retail closing days can be found on the RCC website at: http://www.retailcouncil.org/quickfacts/storehours


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Alberta Consults on New Minimum Wage

Alberta Consults on New Minimum Wage
PrintJune 12, 2015
Attention retailers operating in Alberta.
Ensure the Alberta government appreciates the impact of a $15 dollar an hour minimum wage on the retail sector. Use this RCC letter/template to help tell…

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Business Alliance Welcomes Progress on New Internal Trade Deal

Business Alliance Welcomes Progress on New Internal Trade Deal

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June 11, 2015

Toronto, June 9, 2015 — The Business Alliance welcomed the commitment made by federal, provincial and territorial ministers at their meeting Tuesday to have a renegotiated internal trade deal by March 2016. Reducing internal barriers is necessary to reduce costs on business and encourage business activity in Canada.

In their presentation to ministers, the Business Alliance called for an ambitious domestic trade deal that eliminates regulatory barriers to moving all goods, services and labour in Canada, unless there are legitimate reasons not to. Exceptions should be listed publicly.  The agreement should enhance regulatory cooperation among jurisdictions, provide for mutual recognition of goods and services and ensure an effective and efficient dispute resolution mechanism.

Business stakeholders are part of the solution and the Business Alliance is looking forward to continued positive contribution to the reform process.

About us: the Business Alliance is comprised of national organizations representing small, medium-sized and very large businesses in Canada and have been working towards the common goal of strengthening Canada’s economic union. It’s members include the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Council of Chief Executives, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, Dairy Processors Association of Canada and the Retail Council of Canada.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact:
Colin Asuncion,
Marketing Communications Specialist
casuncion@retailcouncil.org or 416-467-3782


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Integrated Pest Management Regulation: British Columbia

Integrated Pest Management Regulation: British Columbia

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June 2, 2015

The B.C. Ministry of Environment has released a long-anticipated policy update regarding the use and sale of pesticides.

The principal impact for retailers is to move some pesticides from Schedule 2 to a new Schedule 5. The sale of Schedule 5 pesticides will require a vendor license. (The sale of Schedule 2 pesticides does not and will not require a license.)

Retailers are required to display most pesticides in a manner that restricts direct customer access to the products. This provision also requires that a certified dispenser communicate with the customer prior to purchase. This will now include the new Schedule 5 pesticides. (This does not apply to Schedule 2 pesticides.)

The new regulation will be introduced this summer. There will be a one-year implementation window following the release of the new regulation.

Next Steps:

RCC will meet with Ministry of Environment officials to ensure that new requirements are not burdensome to retailers.

We are concerned that the regulation itself must remain silent on the type of display units used to allow maximum flexibility by retailers.

We are interested in how the new regulations will apply regarding customer sales when the certified staff member is temporarily absent from the sales floor.

Background

The B.C. Ministry of Environment has been consulting with stakeholders concerning integrated pest management since 2011.

RCC is pleased that Government is, following our advice, providing a significant time-window for implementation and that it has moved away from very onerous proposals to provide printed materials in six languages.

The Government’s policy update is found here. The definition of pesticides remaining on Schedule 2 can be found on pages 8 to 10 of the policy update.

The pesticides moving to the new Schedule 5 (listed in the policy update) are:

Bacillus sphaericus
Bacillus subtilis
Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti)
Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki (Btk)
citric acid copper (oxychloride and tribasic)
iron HEDTA ferric sodium EDTA
garlic
lactic acid
Phoma macrostoma
pyriproxyfen
Sclerotinia minor
sodium chloride
spinosad

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: Greg Wilson, Director, Government Relations (B.C.) at: gwilson@retailcouncil.org or 604-736-0368.


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Proposed Amendments to NS Workplace Safety Regulations Under NS OHS Act

Proposed Amendments to NS Workplace Safety Regulations Under NS OHS Act

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December 22, 2014

The Nova Scotia Department of Labour has introduced proposed amendments to the Workplace Health and Safety Regulations under the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act.  The proposed amendments would unnecessarily increase the training hours for members of Joint Occupational Health and Safety (JOHS) Committees; and lower the acceptable threshold limits for hearing and respiratory exposure to levels that are not seen in the majority of Canadian provinces.  Equally troubling is the fact that the government has not engaged in meaningful stakeholder consultation to understand the strengths, weaknesses and possible ramifications stemming from these proposed changes. Some of these proposed amendments would subject retailers to significant new costs and administrative red tape while not achieving a safer and healthier workplace.  Employers were recently told that government was going to compress the consultation period for these changes from the end of February 2015 to the end of December 2014.

Objective:

Government will commit to an improved consultation process and a reinstatement of the February 2015 deadline for submissions. 
Government will lower the proposed training hours for JOHS Committee Members while raising the acceptable threshold limits for hearing and respiratory exposure.  These levels will be harmonized with best practices across Canada.

Current Status / Next Steps:

RCC Members are concerned that the proposed threshold limits for hearing and respiratory exposure are so low that regular noises within a retail establishment could result in an entire staff of retail employees having to have their hearing and breathing frequently tested.  Government will not definitively state the type of testing that would be required, however any such change will result in increased administrative and financial burden for retailers.  For larger retailers, this could result in having to keep an audiologist/audiological technician or a respiratory therapist/respiratory technician on retainer in order to deal with the extensive amount of testing that would have to occur.

RCC has been an active participant in the stakeholder consultation sessions on these proposed amendments. 

RCC has also been informing its members of the proposed regulation changes through its position as a Board Member with the Nova Scotia Office of the Employer Advisor (NSOEA).   The NSOEA is also concerned with the government’s lack of consultation on these proposed changes and has asked Nova Scotia employers to join in its correspondence campaign calling for amendments to the draft regulations and an improved consultation process.  See the attached letters from the NSOEA.  RCC members are encouraged to sign the templated letter from the OEA and return it to the NSOEA offices before December 23, 2014.  RCC has already submitted its letter in solidarity with the NSOEA.

On December 17, 2014, RCC met with Hon. Kelly Regan, Minister of Labour and members of her senior staff to discuss this issue.  The Minister committed to speaking with staff about the importance of gathering the opinions of employers and stated that the government will not rush the consultation process.  She also stated categorically that the consultation process will continue until the end of February 2015.

RCC will continue to point out the need for improved consultation while vigorously opposing the amendments dealing with JOHS Committee training as well as hearing and respiratory exposure.

Background:

Respiratory Protection Program: the definition of ‘respiratory hazard’ is vague.  RCC and the NSOEA have stated that there should be an objective description of the trigger point at which the definition applies for a ‘respiratory hazard’.  This should align with the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienist’s (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Values (TLV).  Under the proposed amendments, a hazard assessment would need to occur and this assessment would include whether a person is able to perform tasks without a risk to health.  Again, RCC and the NSOEA are worried that not enough information has been provided on how government would expect an employer to determine ‘risk to health’.

RCC is concerned that government has yet to list any proposed hazard levels for wood dust.  Depending on the level, there could be significant issues for home improvement retailers.

Noise Protection Program: In every other province in Canada, a noise of 85 decibels (dba) over an eight hour period is the level at which an employer must ensure that employees are wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and posting hazard signs.  The proposed amendments would change the threshold to 82 dbas.  If noise surpasses 82 dbas, the employer would have to institute a hearing conservation program.  At 85dbas, the employer would have to provide training teaching the employees how to use the PPE.

First Aid Regulations: The proposed regulations are already out of date with too many unnecessary requirements.  For instance, retailers do not feel that they need to have cervical collars in every business of over 100 people.  In the case of a serious injury, an employer is not going to attempt to attach a cervical collar to an injured employee.  An employer in Nova Scotia would call Emergency Medical Services (EMS = ambulance) and the injured employee would be dealt with by a medical professional.

JOHS Committees: Part 27: Training Requirements: Committee members would need 21 hours of training and Representatives would need 7 hours of training within 90 days of accepting their JOHS positions.  There would be requirements for recertification after 5 years even though this committee will be active throughout the five year period. RCC and the NSOEA have argued that these proposed training requirements for the JOHS Committee are too lengthy given the responsibilities of the committee.  The training would be administratively burdensome as it could result in an employee receiving a greater amount of training to sit on this committee than for any other purpose, including job training.

RCC and the NSOEA are opposed to the prescriptive nature that government chose for the required training hours.  Some businesses have argued that they can conduct the training programs in a manner that is not only faster but more comprehensive than the prescriptive, study that stated the need for 21 hours of training.  RCC is also opposed to the requirement for JOHS committee meetings to be held in a separate, private room.  This would be extremely difficult for some small businesses to achieve.

RCC has noted that the extra training burden will likely drive people away from participating in the JOHS Committee.  The result will likely be smaller committees with a lesser cross section of employees participating.  This will create a lack of interest in the JOHS committee.

NSOEA, OHS Consult Letter to Minister

NSOEA, OHS Consult Endorsement Letter Template

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: Jim Cormier, Director (Atlantic) at:  jcormier@retailcouncil.org or (902) 422-4144

Retail Council of Canada
www.retailcouncil.org


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RCC Successful in Ending Short Shifting for Saskatchewan Retailers

RCC Successful in Ending Short Shifting for Saskatchewan Retailers

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December 17, 2014

The Saskatchewan government has now confirmed that employers within the retail sector will be allowed to define “day” as a calendar day for the purposes of calculating daily overtime. This is a major victory for Saskatchewan retailers and solves the issues around “short shifting”. This new interpretation will reduce the administrative burden on retailers in Saskatchewan and provide greater flexibility for employee scheduling. This new interpretation is now in effect and retroactive to The Saskatchewan Employment Act’s proclamation on April 29, 2014.

Member Impact:

Overtime hours for retail employees in Saskatchewan can now be calculated similarly to that in other provinces whereby “day” is defined as a calendar day. As long as an employee works no more than 8 hours in a calendar day, no overtime is required.

The previous definition of “day” had a day starting when the employee clocks into the workplace and ending 24 hours later. All hours worked during this 24-hour period counted towards an employee’s daily total.

 

For example:

Date Shift Starts Shift Ends Hours Worked
May 3 3:00 PM 11:00 PM 8
May 4 7:00 AM 3:00 PM 8

In this example, the 24-hour period begins at 3 p.m. on May 3 and ends 3 p.m. on May 4, and the employee worked 16 hours. As a result, the employer was formerly required to pay the employee eight hours regular pay and eight hours overtime pay.

The new interpretation changes “day” so that it is now deemed as a calendar day.  As a result, in the above example, there is no daily overtime as only eight hours were worked each calendar day.

RCC has long been asking for the Saskatchewan government to change the definition of “day” in regards to how overtime is calculated for the retail sector. While many of RCC’s recommended changes to Saskatchewan’s labour legislation were reflected in Saskatchewan’s new Employment Act, the clear interpretation of “day” was still required. RCC worked with Ministry officials to ensure that this issue was properly addressed and a suitable interpretation was developed that provided ample protection to employees but solved the issue of “short shifting” for employers.

Background:

The Saskatchewan Employment Act, which consolidated Saskatchewan’s numerous labour laws and made significant changes to modernize and update the province’s employment standards and labour relations laws took effect in April 2014.

Prior to the 2011 provincial election, RCC released “Retail’s Election Agenda” outlining the key priorities retailers wanted the Government of Saskatchewan to address. A key component of “Retail’s Election Agenda” was reviewing and modernizing the province’s Labour Standards Act.

In 2012, the Saskatchewan government announced that it would be reviewing, consolidating, and modernizing the province’s labour legislation. RCC provided a response to the Government’s consultation paper, outlining retailers concerns and recommendations on changes that should be included in the new legislation and also provided a submission outlining our views on Bill 85.

As the associated regulations were being reviewed and developed, RCC provided the government with another formal submission and met with the Minister of Labour and Ministry officials regularly throughout this process to provide input on behalf of Saskatchewan retailers.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: Lanny McInnes, Director, Prairies at: lmcinnes@retailcouncil.org or (204) 253-1654.


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A Letter to the Media from our President and CEO

A Letter to the Media from our President and CEO

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December 17, 2014

On Price, Who’s Naughty? Who’s Nice?

Ask Canadians whether retail prices are lower in the United States than they are here in Canada and you are likely to hear a resounding yes. Many people would tell you that’s just how it is.

But it doesn’t have to be.

Earlier this month, the Government of Canada introduced proposed legislation aimed squarely at the root of the problem. The Price Transparency Act will help identify those situations where some manufacturers and wholesalers charge significantly more for their goods sold in Canada simply because we live north of the border.

There can of course be legitimate reasons for price differences, whether at the wholesale or retail levels. Higher transportation, distribution and labour costs can be important factors. Customs duties aren’t uniform between the two countries and those differences show up in the price on the shelf.
In some cases, there are valid regulatory differences on matters like product safety and language that can mean additional production costs for goods sold into Canada.

Those who seem to want to give the manufacturers a free pass point to the fluctuating level of the dollar. But this isn’t about exchange rates. If it were, we would see price reductions whenever the Canadian dollar appreciates in value against the US dollar.
Even correcting for the exchange rate, there are manufacturers who engage in what is called “country pricing”, that is the practice of charging Canadians simply because they believe that we are willing to pay more, or that because of typical sole-supplier arrangements, we have little choice but to do so.

Well, Canadians do have a choice. We can choose to purchase brands that treat Canadians fairly over those that engage in price-gouging.
But we are only going to be able to do so if we have all of the information in front of us. That’s where the Price Transparency Act comes in. The Act empowers the Competition Bureau to closely examine and report on those situations where there is no good reason for the gap between Canadian and US prices on the same items.

Some of the early commentary on the Price Transparency Act has mis-characterized it as being a price-regulation regime. It is very far from being that. This is about identifying the factors which contribute to price differences and calling out those parties who are engaging in unjustifiable country pricing. It also provides government and businesses with an important tool of moral suasion when dealing with manufacturers who are engaging in this practice.

Those who have called this legislation an overreach miss the point of the Competition Act and the purpose of the Competition Bureau. Whether it be on price-maintenance, anti-dumping or other competition concerns, the goal of the Competition Act is to address unacceptable business practices that make prices higher than they otherwise would be. Seen in this light, the new powers of investigation proposed by the Price Transparency Act are a logical extension of competition policy in Canada.

Canadians will continue to make their own spending decisions and that’s as it should be. Let’s make sure that those are well-informed decisions, so that next holiday season, you’ll know exactly who is being naughty and nice when it comes to treating Canadians fairly.

– Diane J. Brisebois
President and Chief Executive Officer
Retail Council of Canada


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Details of Visa’s Interchange Rate Revisions

Details of Visa’s Interchange Rate Revisions

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December 10, 2014
Member Update / Impact:
Summary

In order to meet its November 4, 2014 commitment to reduce its average interchange rate to 1.50%, Visa Canada is reducing rates on all consumer credit cards in all merchant categories. The new rates will come into effect on April 18, 2015 and can be expected to be in effect for a period of five years, absent further reductions.

Reductions are fairly minor in categories already enjoying preferred rates, i.e., Visa’s Tier 1, Tier 2, Grocery and Gas categories. These reductions range from 3 basis points (bps) to 5bps (representing a reduction of less than 3% from current rates).
The largest reductions are made to the Electronic (i.e., card-present) and Standard (i.e., card not present) categories, with reductions of between 12bps and 20bps (7% off current rate levels). Merchants benefiting from these changes would have net Visa sales under $850 million.

While Visa has also announced the April 18, 2015 introduction of reduced rates for corporate and purchasing cards in certain circumstances (i.e., enhanced data and large-ticket purchases), these were, in fact, previously announced changes, first communicated on July 14, 2014.

Background

On November 4, 2014, agreements were announced by each of Visa and MasterCard to reduce their respective interchange rates on consumer credit cards from current levels to an average of 1.50%. These reductions will initially be for a period of five years, commencing April 2015.

For Visa, this means a 7% reduction in its current average rate (down from 1.61%). For MasterCard, this means a 14% reduction in its current average rate (down from 1.74%).

The government has announced these two agreements, taken together, as being a 10% reduction, whereas RCC calculates its overall impact as a 9.3% reduction from current levels. Over five years, merchant savings will amount to approximately $1 billion on Visa and a further $1 billion on MasterCard.

New Rates

On April 18, 2015, the following rate reductions will take effect.

Performance Tier 1 (Visa spend >$2 billion)
Classic Infinite Infinite Privelege
Current to April 17, 2015 Tier 1 >$2 billion Visa spend 1.40% 1.60% 2.00%
April 18, 2015 Tier 1 >$2 billion Visa spend 1.37% 1.56% 1.95%
Reduction in basis points 3bps 4bps 5bps
Reduction % of current rate 2.14% 2.50% 2.50%
Performance Tier 2 (Visa spend >$850 million)
Classic Infinite Infinite Privelege
Current to April 17, 2015 Tier 1 >$850 million Visa spend 1.45% 1.65% 2.00%
April 18, 2015 Tier 1 >$850 million Visa spend 1.41% 1.61% 1.95%
Reduction in basis points 4bps 4bps 5bps
Reduction % of current rate 2.76% 2.42% 2.50%
Consumer Electronic (a.k.a. card-present transactions)
Classic Infinite Infinite Privelege
Current to April 17, 2015 Consumer Electronic 1.54% 1.74% 2.25%
April 18, 2015 Consumer Electronic 1.42% 1.61% 2.08%
Reduction in basis points 12bps 13bps 17bps
Reduction % of current rate 7.79% 7.47% 2.50%
Consumer Standard (a.k.a. card not present transactions, including online)
Classic Infinite Infinite Privelege
Current to April 17, 2015 Consumer Standard 1.65% 1.85% 2.65%
April 18, 2015 Consumer Standard 1.52% 1.71% 2.45%
Reduction in basis points 13bps 14bps 20bps
Reduction % of current rate 7.88% 7.57% 7.56%

New Rates for Supermarket and Petroleum

Rates have been lowered for grocers and petroleum merchants. The rate reductions are comparable to those in Visa’s Tier 1 and Tier 2 categories.

Grocery
Classic Infinite Infinite Privelege
Current to April 17, 2015 Industry Program Grocery 1.36% 1.56% 2.00%
April 18, 2015 Industry Program Grocery 1.33% 1.52% 1.95%
Reduction in basis points 3bps 4bps 5bps
Reduction % of current rate 2.21% 2.56% 7.55%
Gas
Classic Infinite Infinite Privelege
Current to April 17, 2015 Industry Program Gas 1.21% 1.41% 2.00%
April 18, 2015 Industry Program Gas 1.18% 1.37% 1.95%
Reduction in basis points 3bps 4bps 5bps
Reduction % of current rate 2.48% 2.56% 2.50%

New rates have also been introduced for Recurring Payments (Classic 1.37%, Infinite 1.56% and Infinite Privilege 1.95%) and for Emerging Segments, e.g., charities, the MUSH sector and utility payments (Classic 0.98%, Infinite 1.17% and Infinite Privilege 1.95%).

Other Issues

An independent auditor will ensure that each network complies with the new 1.5% benchmark rate. The government has made it clear that non-compliance by the networks will likely lead to regulation.

The government will take the steps necessary to ensure that acquirers pass on these fee reductions, whether by mandating that network rules must require processors to pass on the fee reductions and/or allowing merchants to cancel acquirer contracts without penalty where said acquirer does not pass on the full fee reduction.

For further detail, please contact Karl Littler at Retail Council of Canada:
Office: 416-467-3783 | Mobile:416-906-0040 | Email: klittler@retailcouncil.org


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Reducing Credit Card Fees

Reducing Credit Card Fees

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November 21, 2014
  • The Exchange with Amanda Lang – Karl Littler
    [view]


  • Karl Littler with BNN

    BNN – Karl Littler – Canadian merchants await lower fees on credit card swipes
    [view]

 

 

The cost of credit card fees has increased dramatically since 2008. Aggressive advertising campaigns to market premium credit cards by banks and credit card companies have seen consumers significantly increase their use of credit cards, even for smaller purchases.

Retail Council of Canada anticipates the Government of Canada’s announcement on credit card fees imminently.

Media, please contact: Sharon Armstrong, at sarmstrong@retailcouncil.org or 416 574 2552 to arrange an interview with Diane J. Brisebois, CEO and President, Retail Council of Canada, David Wilkes, Senior Vice-President or Karl Littler, Vice-President, Government Relations.

Credit card fees now cost merchants – and ultimately consumers – more than $5 billion annually. Interchange – the amount paid to banks – accounts for 80% or $4 billion dollars of this fee.

Retail Council of Canada is the largest entity of retailers across the country, representing 75% of retail sales by volume (non-automotive). Learn how the payments process works and how it increases costs for retailers. Read about the history of credit card fees in Canada and around the world. See what RCC is doing on your behalf to fight higher credit card fees and finally what you can do to help! Join us in our point of sale campaign to help reduce prices for everyone!


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Retail Council of Canada – Ebola

Retail Council of Canada – Ebola

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November 21, 2014

Over the past few months, the spread of Ebola in Western Africa has been widely reported in the news.

Retail Council of Canada (RCC) is in regular contact with the Public Health Agency of Canada and their Centre for Emergency Response to ensure that there are no particular preparations or precautions that need to be taken from a retail industry perspective. RCC will immediately advise members and organize a member call should the situation change.

We have been assured that there are no special measures required from retailers. The World Health Organization and the U.S. Center for Disease Control have both stated that Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with a person who is sick with Ebola, not through casual contact.

RCC remains in regular contact with the Public Health Agency of Canada and their Centre for Emergency Response on this and other issues.

For additional information, please visit the following link:

http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/id-mi/vhf-fvh/ebola-response-reponse-eng.php

Or contact:

Jason McLinton
Senior Director, Federal Government Relations
Retail Council of Canada
110 Clarence Street, Suite 302
Ottawa, ON   K1N 5P6
Tel: 613.656.7903
Cel: 613.293.4790
Fax: 613.656.7904
www.retailcouncil.org


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Reducing Credit Card Fees

Reducing Credit Card Fees

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November 3, 2014

The cost of credit card fees has increased dramatically since 2008. Aggressive advertising campaigns to market premium credit cards by banks and credit card companies have seen consumers significantly increase their use of credit cards, even for smaller purchases.

Retail Council of Canada anticipates the Government of Canada’s announcement on credit card fees imminently.

Credit card fees now cost merchants – and ultimately consumers – more than $5 billion annually. Interchange – the amount paid to banks – accounts for 80% or $4 billion dollars of this fee.

Retail Council of Canada is the largest entity of retailers across the country, representing 75% of retail sales by volume (non-automotive). Learn how the payments process works and how it increases costs for retailers. Read about the history of credit card fees in Canada and around the world. See what RCC is doing on your behalf to fight higher credit card fees and finally what you can do to help! Join us in our point of sale campaign to help reduce prices for everyone!

Media, please contact: Sharon Armstrong, at sarmstrong@retailcouncil.org or 416 574 2552 to arrange an interview with Diane J. Brisebois, CEO and President, Retail Council of Canada, David Wilkes, Senior Vice-President or Karl Littler, Vice-President, Government Relations.


more...

Reducing Credit Card Fees

Reducing Credit Card Fees

Print

November 3, 2014

The cost of credit card fees has increased dramatically since 2008. Aggressive advertising campaigns to market premium credit cards by banks and credit card companies have seen consumers significantly increase their use of credit cards, even for smaller purchases.

Retail Council of Canada anticipates the Government of Canada’s announcement on credit card fees imminently.

Media, please contact: Sharon Armstrong, at sarmstrong@retailcouncil.org or 416 574 2552 to arrange an interview with Diane J. Brisebois, CEO and President, Retail Council of Canada, David Wilkes, Senior Vice-President or Karl Littler, Vice-President, Government Relations.

Credit card fees now cost merchants – and ultimately consumers – more than $5 billion annually. Interchange – the amount paid to banks – accounts for 80% or $4 billion dollars of this fee.

Retail Council of Canada is the largest entity of retailers across the country, representing 75% of retail sales by volume (non-automotive). Learn how the payments process works and how it increases costs for retailers. Read about the history of credit card fees in Canada and around the world. See what RCC is doing on your behalf to fight higher credit card fees and finally what you can do to help! Join us in our point of sale campaign to help reduce prices for everyone!


more...

Reducing Credit Card Fees

Reducing Credit Card Fees

Print

October 31, 2014

<p>The cost of credit card fees has increased dramatically since 2008.  Aggressive advertising campaigns to market premium credit cards by banks and credit card companies have seen consumers significantly increase their use of credit cards, even for smaller purchases.</p>
<p>Credit card fees now cost merchants – and ultimately consumers – more than $5 billion annually.  Interchange – the amount paid to banks – accounts for 80% or $4 billion dollars of this fee.</p>
<p><b>Retail Council of Canada is the largest entity of retailers across the country, representing 75% of retail sales by volume (non-automotive).</b> Learn how the payments process works and how it increases costs for retailers. Read about the history of credit card feeds in Canada and around the world.  See what RCC is doing on your behalf to fight higher credit card fees and finally what you can do to help!  Join us in our point of sale campaign to help reduce prices for everyone!</p>
<div style=”margin: auto;padding:0px 20px 20px 20px;clear: both; text-align: center; overflow:hidden;”>
        <div style=”display: inline-block;margin: 0 10px;min-width:25%;border:1px solid; max-width:40%;”>
            <a href=”/advocacy/credit-card-landing-page/payments101″ target=”_blank” style=”display: block;max-width:100%;”><img src=”/sites/default/files/images/DollarSign.jpg” style=”margin:0;” /></a>
                <p style=”background-color:#00559f;margin-bottom:0;padding:5px 0;”><a href=”/advocacy/credit-card-landing-page/payments101″ target=”_blank” style=”color:white;”><strong>Payments 101</strong><br />
                <span style=”font-size:0.8em;color:white;”><br />The Cost of Credit Cards</span></a></p>
        </div>
        <div style=”display: inline-block;margin: 0 10px;min-width:25%;border:1px solid; max-width:40%;”>
        <a href=”/advocacy/credit-card-landing-page/history” target=”_blank” style=”display: block;max-width:100%;”><img src=”/sites/default/files/images/CCTimeline3.jpg” style=”margin:0;” /></a>
            <p style=”background-color:#00559f;margin-bottom:0;padding:5px 0;”><a href=”/advocacy/credit-card-landing-page/history” target=”_blank” style=”color:white;”><strong>History of Credit Card Fees<br />in Canada and <br />Around the World</strong>
            <span style=”font-size:0.8em;color:white;”>&nbsp;</span></a></p>
        </div>   
                  
</div>
<div style=”margin: auto;padding:0px 20px 20px 20px;clear: both; text-align: center; overflow:hidden;”>
        <div style=”display: inline-block;margin: 0 10px;min-width:25%;border:1px solid; max-width:40%;”>
            <a href=”/advocacy/credit-card-landing-page/q-a” target=”_blank” style=”display: block;max-width:100%;”><img src=”/sites/default/files/images/box31.jpg” style=”margin:0;” /></a>
               <p style=”background-color:#00559f;margin-bottom:0;padding:5px 0;”><a href=”/advocacy/credit-card-landing-page/q-a” target=”_blank” style=”color:white;”><br /><strong>Fast Facts and Q&As</strong><br />
               <span style=”font-size:0.8em;color:white;”>&nbsp;</span></a></p>
        </div>
        <div style=”display: inline-block;margin: 0 10px; min-width:25%;border:1px solid; max-width:40%;”>
        <a href=”/advocacy/credit-card-landing-page/announcement” target=”_blank” style=”display: block;max-width:100%;”><img src=”/sites/default/files/images/Box41.jpg” style=”margin:0;” /></a>
            <p style=”background-color:#00559f;margin-bottom:0;padding:5px 0;”><a href=”/advocacy/credit-card-landing-page/announcement” target=”_blank” style=”color:white;”><br /><strong>How Can I Help?</strong><br />
            <span style=”font-size:0.8em;color:white;”>&nbsp;</span></a></p>
        </div>
</div>
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