News Briefs


Business group calls on Ottawa to freeze higher EI, CPP premiums planned for new year

Folders with the label Employees and Salaries

OTTAWA - A small business group is calling on the federal government to freeze upcoming increases to Canada Pension Plan and employment insurance premiums.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says the higher payroll deductions planned for the new year will reduce the take-home pay of Canadians at a time when inflation is already eroding spending power.

The group says few small employers are in a position to increase wages to offset rising premiums.

It says businesses are also facing higher premiums, which could leave many struggling to meet even their existing payroll budgets.

Dan Kelly, president of CFIB, says worker employment insurance and pension contributions could increase by as much as $304.71 next year.

He says that's money Canadians could use for groceries or utilities at a time when the rising cost of living is squeezing household budgets.

- The Canadian Press


Circle K closes two stores in Thunder Bay, Ont.

Circle K illuminated banner

THUNDER BAY, ONT. - The doors were locked and closure signs were posted on two Circle K stores in Thunder Bay's south end last week.

Both the Northern Avenue/May Street and Simpson Street/Pacific Avenue stores were shuttered.

Greg Mitchell, manager of security and loss prevention with Circle K, Central Canada Division, says the move to close the stores was a marketing decision.

"As we continue to refine the Circle K experience for our customers to ensure a consistent experience from store to store, we sometimes make strategic decisions to close or sell stores that no longer fit well with the direction of the brand based on store size, configuration, trade area, local market strategy or other related factors,'' he said.

Mitchell explained they made the business decision to close their two Thunder Bay south side Circle K stores based on an ongoing strategic review of their local operations in Thunder Bay.

"We'll look forward to serving our valued local customers in the area and continue to look for opportunities to bring the Circle K experience to convenient new locations as we continue growing our brand in the area,'' he said.

Meanwhile, there is no talk of any other convenience or variety store business set to open in either location.


SkipTheDishes names Howard Migdal new CEO, Kevin Edwards to retire

Howard Migdal head shot

WINNIPEG - Food delivery app SkipTheDishes has named Howard Migdal as its new chief executive officer.

The Winnipeg-based company says Migdal, who previously served as Skip's chief operating officer, will replace Kevin Edwards.

Edwards led the company for the last five years and is due to retire.

He took over as CEO from Skip's founders in 2018 with a mandate to grow the company, but spent much of his tenure focused on navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and launching Skip Express Lane convenience and grocery stores.

Migdal was one of the co-founders of GrubCanada, a national food delivery platform, and has 16 years of experience in the food business.

He has worked for Skip for four years, starting as its managing director of Canadian operations.

-The Canadian Press


Statistics Canada reports retail sales down 0.5% in September

Sales decline symbol as a group of shrinking shopping carts with a blue arrow going down as a metaphor for commercial retail consumerism on a white background.

OTTAWA - Statistics Canada says retail sales fell 0.5 per cent to $61.1 billion in September led by a drop in sales at gas stations along with food and beverage stores.

However, the agency says its initial estimate for October pointed to a gain of 1.5% for the month, though it cautioned the figure would be revised.

For September, Statistics Canada says sales at gas stations fell 2.4% as prices fell, while sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers were relatively unchanged.

Sales at food and beverage stores dropped 1.3% in September, as supermarkets and grocery store sales fell 1.6 per cent and convenience stores lost 1.5%. Sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers fell 2.0%.

Core retail sales - which exclude sales at gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers - fell 0.4% in September.

In volume terms, retail sales fell 0.1% per cent in September.

-The Canadian Press


CFIA warms not to use, sell, serve or distribute Tim Hortons soup base recalled for containing insects


A Tim Hortons branded chicken noodle soup base was recalled in Alberta and southwestern Ontario because it contained insects.

In an emailed statement, Tim Hortons said Thursday the recall does not impact canned soups sold in grocery stores, only the soup base that was made and sold to a few isolated restaurants. It said there were no reported illnesses.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said the recalled product was available to purchase in those provinces up to and including Oct. 20.

The agency said the soup base, which weighs 3.54 kilograms per unit, was sold to hotels, restaurants and institutions.

Tim Hortons said the incident only impacted a few isolated Tim Hortons restaurants, but the company proactively asked all restaurant owners that received product from the supplier in question to dispose of their product.

The company said the impacted batches were removed from restaurants, destroyed and replaced with new product from another supplier.

Chicken noodle soup base in other provinces, as well as canned Tim Hortons soup sold in grocery stores, are manufactured by another supplier and were therefore not affected, Tim Hortons said.

The recall involves products with best-before dates between March 13, 2023 and April 30, 2023.

The CFIA said not to use, sell, serve or distribute the product.

Tim Hortons said it is investigating the issue and believes relatively few guests were impacted, but added it will only restart production with the manufacturer once it's confident this problem will not happen again.

-The Canadian Press


Metro says it won't accept supplier cost hikes over holidays to keep prices stable

Metro Ontario inc. office in Etobicoke, Toronto, Canada. Metro Inc. is a Canadian food retailer operating in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario.

MONTREAL - Metro Inc. says it will not accept cost increases from its suppliers over a three-month period in order to keep grocery prices stable during the holidays.

The grocer says this is a long-standing practice at Metro to avoid retail price changes during the busiest time of the year.

Marie-Claude Bacon, a spokeswoman for the Montreal-based company, says this applies to Metro's private-label brands and national brand products and runs from Nov. 1 to Feb. 5.

Metro's comments come a day after Loblaw Companies Ltd. said it would freeze prices on all its No Name products until next year as double-digit food inflation sends grocery bills spiralling.

Loblaw said it locked in prices of the popular house brand, which includes more than 1,500 grocery items, until Jan. 31, 2023.

However, Metro's comments suggest it's not without precedent for grocers to hold the line on prices during the holiday shopping season.

-The Canadian Press