TORONTO, Oct. 2, 2015 /CNW/ - Retail Council of Canada (RCC) is ramping up its Federal Election action plan to ensure the retail industry – the mainstay of Canada's economy – becomes a key part of every party's platform. To help get the message across, RCC is urging retailers across the country to contact their local candidates directly, and has launched a dedicated website (voteretail.ca) to guide them.
RCC asked the major parties to outline their retail policies and strategies, and their submissions have been posted on the new website. Overall, the responses received to date only rate a grade of D.
"We are disappointed and troubled by what we've heard from the parties so far," said Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO of Retail Council of Canada. "While there is some support for selected issues, as a whole the parties just don't get it. Canada's retail industry is a key economic driver, responsible for 2.2 million jobs in malls and main streets in every community across the country. But it is also an industry that is going through a period of unprecedented change with the rise of e-commerce, mobile shopping and regulatory policies that continue to challenge our competitiveness."
David Wilkes, Senior Vice-President of Government Relations for Retail Council of Canada adds: "Whoever forms the next government must have a comprehensive agenda in place to foster a strong and buoyant retail industry." Wilkes went on to say that " As always a key focus for Retail Council of Canada is ensuring that government policies do not have the effect of driving Canadian prices higher. Higher prices often result in fewer products being available to consumers and ultimately drive consumers to retail options that do not benefit the Canadian economy".
While RCC has advocated strongly on the industry's behalf with each party, its members can play a crucial part by making sure their local candidates understand the impact of retail on their community and how, if elected, they can support the sector by delivering on 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
The voteretail.ca site includes an online form that retailers and their employees can use to automatically target candidates in their riding. There is also a helpful Election Toolkit to refer to when meeting candidates on their doorstep or approaching candidates directly, including background material about the size, scope and key issues impacting the retail industry.
Retail is Canada's largest employer with 2.2 million Canadians working in our industry. The sector annually generates payroll of $60 billion and $350 billion in sales (excluding vehicles and gasoline) as of 2014. 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 @RCCMySTORE
SOURCE Retail Council of Canada
For further information: Colin Asuncion, Retail Council of Canada, [email protected], 416-467-3782