We feel very strongly about it. I don't think there's an issue that's more important for all small and medium-sized businesses in Canada.
I do want to start off by saying that the government has brought about a new agreement, which was to go into place in April and has been delayed. That was definitely an improvement over the agreement that was in place with the previous government, but there's still much more to be done. The gap that exists between what the main street small businesses in this country pay and what a company such as Walmart pays is indefensible. It's inexcusable.
I want to go back to the grocery sector and have members understand the context of this. These independent grocers—I'm going to have to pick my sector, but I know that I'm speaking for all small and medium-sized businesses—are at margins of 1.5%. The new agreement that is supposed to come into effect is to provide an overall rate of 1.5%. That's an overall rate, and that's disingenuous, because the rates for premium cards actually drive that higher.
How do you make money? How does a small and medium-sized business in this country make any money when your margins are so tight? On the interchange fees, if Walmart can get 0.89%, why can't other small and medium-sized businesses in this country get the same? We've never had a clear, concise answer given. It's almost a deafening silence.
The amount of money we're talking about is billions of dollars, and I'm saying to this committee that we need to take another look at this, because in the post-COVID landscape there are going to be a lot of potholes on that road to recovery, and we don't need the credit card companies putting up any more roadblocks. That's what exists now. They have to be part of the solution. If they're not, they're part of the problem.