Bill to Protect Franchisees

One provincial member of parliament is getting involved in this dispute. Sault Ste. Marie’s Tony Martin has been pushing for a bill to protect franchisees from corporate owners. Some of the bill was passed, but Martin is working on new protection for franchisees.

CBC-FM Sudbury
December 7, 2001

Bill to Protect Franchisees
Radio broadcast transcript

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DAN LESSARD: One provincial member of parliament is getting involved in this dispute. Sault Ste. Marie’s Tony Martin has been pushing for a bill to protect franchisees from corporate owners. Some of the bill was passed, but Martin is working on new protection for franchisees. We have Tony Martin on the line. Good afternoon.

TONY MARTIN: Good afternoon.

LESSARD: One of your franchise bills went through. Just tell us about that.

MARTIN: Well, we presented a franchise bill falling out of some difficulties about five years ago, that the Loeb grocery store chain franchisees were having with their parent company, that was described as state of the art, if we wanted to have a fair playing field and construct a regime for franchising, that gave everybody a shot at making a decent living and return on their investment. But the government took quite a while. I tabled the bill at least three times.

LESSARD: Okay, can we just find out what the contents of the bill are, the bill that’s enacted right now?

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MARTIN: Yes, the bill that the government finally passed was a bill that dealt primarily with before the contract is signed, disclosure of information, and it also allowed the franchisees to associate and build in some wording in the case where franchisees would go to court, that calls for fair dealing in a commercially responsible manner. That’s basically the nuts and bolts of the bill that’s in place, now.

LESSARD: All right. What’s the new bill you’re working on?

MARTIN: Well, the new bill moves into an area that is regulating the relationship, which calls for a dispute resolution mechanism, overseen by government, that has some teeth to it, and also some regulation where termination or renewal of contract is concerned, which would fit here, in the Country Style situation.

LESSARD: What kind of support do you have for that bill?

MARTIN: Well, certainly from the Liberal side of the house, I don’t think we would have any difficulty, and there have been at least one member of the government caucus up in the seat, asking the Minister of Consumer and Business Relations to look into another franchise system that’s in difficulty at the moment, are doing the same kind of thing, which is the Grand and Toy operation. Although the Minister, to this point, says you know, this is before the court, so we can’t do anything, we’re still putting pressure on him. I’ve written letters and I’m you know, encouraging my colleagues in all caucuses to so the same, because there are small business people in every one of the ridings, who are in a difficult circumstance, or could potentially be.

LESSARD: When do you hope to have this bill passed, if you get government support.

MARTIN: Well, if we get government support, we could have it done by Christmas. You know, that’s how you know, quickly these things can happen, if everybody is on side. But if the last round is any indication, it will take us years.

LESSARD: Mr. Martin, thanks for staying on the line and joining us today.

MARTIN: Okay, you’re welcome.

LESSARD: Bye, bye.

MARTIN: Bye now.

LESSARD: That’s Tony Martin, he is Sault Ste. Marie’s member of provincial parliament.


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