Election season is well underway, and there should be no industry more invested in its satisfying outcome than Canada’s largest: retail.
With 2.2 million Canadians working in the field and a payroll of $60 billion (alongside $350 billion in sales), retail’s an incontestable standout when it comes to professional sectors with much to gain and lose at the poll booths.
In recognition of same, and in a bid to get this economic mainstay into every party’s platform, the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) has put together a federal election action plan.
Here, it’s asked each of the major parties to identify and defend their retail policies and strategies.
Specifically, the self-declared “voice of the industry” is keen to have politicians accede to four key points:
• Lowering merchant credit card fees (which are among the highest in the world);
• Eliminating import taxes on consumer goods that drive retail prices higher;
• Maintaining the $20 maximum duty exemption for goods purchased online from abroad;
• Recognizing the importance of retail by supporting Canada’s merchants by developing an industry strategy that supports small, mid-size and large retailers.
So far, however, the RCC isn’t thrilled with the official response. “We are disappointed and troubled by what we’ve heard from the parties so far,” RCC president and CEO Diane J. Brisebois, says. “While there is some support for selected issues, as a whole, the parties just don’t get it.”
In a bid to change that, the RCC has launched a dedicated website — voteretail.ca — and it’s urged its member companies to use it to address their local politicians directly to make sure they understand the impact of retail on their community (the site features an online form with which retailers and their employees can automatically target candidates in their ridings).
The RCC represents more than 45,000 storefronts in all retail formats, including department, grocery, specialty, discount, independent retailers and online merchants.