RCC members and staff visited Parliament Hill on Oct 2 to raise two things: the price difference between Canada and the US; and rising credit card processing fees. The event also provided retailers with the opportunity to reinforce the importance of the retail industry as Canada’s largest employer.
Canada-US Price Gap
Import tariffs are a component of the price gap between Canada and the US. Where domestic production is limited, they serve no useful purpose and should be eliminated. RCC delegates discussed this with key Parliamentarians who are responsible for fiscal decisions, calling on the government to eliminate tariffs in the next Federal Budget on high tariff categories including footwear, linen, children’s clothing and gloves/mitts. By eliminating tariffs in these categories and building on previous tariff eliminations in the 2013 Federal Budget, the government could play a significant role in leveling the playing field between Canada and the US.
Merchant Credit Card Fees
With the increasing frequency of premium credit cards being used for low value, combined with consumers using credit cards for low value purchases, retailers have seen a dramatic rise in the cost of processing fees – totaling annually $5 billion. This is a historic high. International precedent suggests that Canadian merchants pay among the highest credit card processing fees in the world.
On Oct 2, RCC delegates applauded the government for their commitment to lower merchant fees and pressed key decision makers to act quickly on this commitment.
In total RCC delegates attended 34 meetings with targeted decision-makers, including Minister of State for Finance, the Hon. Kevin Sorenson, Minister of Industry, the Hon. James Moore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Andrew Saxton, Chair of the Finance Committee, James Rajotte, and Chair of the Industry Committee, David Sweet.
RCC will be building on the traction garnered through our Parliament Hill Day into the Fall and through the government’s pre-budget consultation process to ensure that tariffs are considered for elimination. RCC staff will also be working closely with Finance officials to see the credit card commitment to fruition.