A 71-year-old anti-poverty activist has filed a $1-billion class-action lawsuit against several grocers after Loblaw Companies Ltd. and George Weston Ltd. revealed Tuesday that they participated in an industry-wide bread price-fixing arrangement for more than a decade.
Irene Breckon, president of the Anti-Poverty Coalition in Elliot Lake, Ont., regularly bought loaves of Country Harvest bread at a No Frills grocery store.
When she heard that Loblaws was offering their customers a $25 gift card as a gesture of goodwill, Breckon said she was outraged.
“When I first thought about it, I thought a $25 gift card for 14 years . . . is nothing,” Breckon told the Star on Saturday night.
“My biggest concern is that these people have been overcharged for all those years for such a basic necessity in life. Bread is a staple and many people need it. I’m hoping these corporations get punished and I’m hoping that people will receive better reimbursement.”
None of the allegations have been proven in court and the class-action lawsuit would have to be certified by a judge to proceed.
The suit names grocers Canada Bread, Walmart, Sobeys, Giant Tiger and Metro as well as Loblaw Companies Ltd. and George Weston Ltd. as defendants, according to a statement of claim filed by Toronto-based law firm Sotos LLP.
Breckon is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, filed on behalf of all Canadians who purchased bread at their stores starting in January 2001.