Rights & Money

Buy Canadian Groceries and Avoid Import Tariffs

Many American-made items at the grocery store are now subject to a 10% tariff. Learn what to look out for and check out some local alternatives

By Matt Smith


The ongoing trade dispute between Canada and the United States has lead our government to introduce retaliatory tariffs on a number of American-made products. As of last month, many items on your grocery list are now subject to a 10% tariff. The majority of these are prepared foods, although some produce, such as cucumbers, is affected, as well. In many cases, the tariffs apply not because of the origin of the ingredients, but because of where the final product was made. The CBC compiled a list of the affected products, which include yogourt, coffee, sweets, prepared meals, pickles, spreads, condiments, soups, whiskey, and bottled water. Kitchenware and appliances, toilet paper, and even scouring pads are affected, as well.

Here’s a brief overview of some of the affected products, as well as some suggestions for Canadian alternatives. For a more complete listing of these, you can visit madeinca.ca.

– Regular (not decaf) coffee: Canadians have many options from big names like Tim Hortons and the Loblaws store brands, as well as a number of local roasteries.

– Orange juice: Florida may be famous for it, but that’s not the only option. Many juices are bottled in Canada, including some from Minute Maid.

– Whiskey: If bourbon is your thing, your Jack Daniels is going to cost you more. Now might be the perfect time to discover Canadian ryes, such as Crown Royal or Forty Creek.

– Bottled water: Many big-name companies have bottling plants in Canada, but there are Canadian-sourced options available, such as Naya and Eska.

– Jellies and jams: Crofter’s Foods prepares jam in Canada, and E.D. Smith offers some varieties that are labelled as such.

– Ketchup: Heinz shut down its Canadian plant a few years ago, but French’s is made in Ontario with Canadian tomatoes.

Other foods:
Soups and broths: These can be produced in different places depending on the season, but Campbell’s offers a number of varieties that are marked as having been made in Canada.

– Prepared meals: Many of these are simply labelled as being “manufactured for” a Canadian company, which doesn’t tell you much about their origin. Fully Canadian products will be labelled as such.

Sweets: Most licorice is imported from the United States, so there’s no Canadian option, but you can satisfy your sweet tooth with confectoneries from British Columbia’s Purdy’s and New Brunswick’s Ganong.

Photo: iStock/benedek.