Our Commitments to Animal Welfare

June, 2021

Animal welfare is a priority at Empire and Sobeys Inc., as well as our valued stakeholders, including our customers, investors and animal rights organizations. Everyone in our industry, at every step of the supply chain, has a role to play in ensuring the animal products we source are sourced respectfully.

In an effort to move the needle forward on the wellbeing of pregnant sows and laying hens, in 2013 and 2016 respectively, major grocery retailers in Canada announced two commitments:

  • To source all fresh pork products from producers using gestation crate-free housing systems by the end of 2022
  • To source only cage-free eggs by the end of 2025

Our industry has learned a lot since we made these public commitments. Retailers and suppliers agree, these are the right goals to work towards. Since the retailers made these commitments, we’ve learned that the supply chain needs more time to adapt and change. We are all committed to continue working to these goals and the complexities they create. We’ve made some progress to date. For our fiscal year 2021 (May 3, 2020 – May 1, 2021), cage-free eggs (free run, free range, organic) made up 17.5% of our total shell egg sales. By partnering with our supplier base, loose housing systems are used by an increasing portion of our Own Brand pork suppliers. For example, for our Own Brand lean ground pork, greater than 30% of the sows from our supplier are housed in loose housing systems*. We will continue to work with our supplier partners to increase these rates within our business.

The Industry is working together, through the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) and the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) to continue to improve the Codes of Practice on these issues and to align on an industry-wide reporting cadence on these metrics. We will participate in these important forums to move the entire industry forward, towards higher animal welfare standards. Further details will be included and reported in our 2021 Corporate Responsibility Report that will be released later this year.

*Loose housing is defined as systems that allow for the housing of sows in group pens during their gestation period. For the safety of the animals and caregivers, sows are housed in stalls during their nursing and breeding stages.

Feed Your Family Instead of the Landfill

October, 2020

On October 19, 2020, in recognition of #WasteReductionWeek in Canada, we launched a National Food Waste consumer-education campaign in many of our grocery banners – Sobeys, Safeway, Thrifty Foods, Foodland, IGA West, FreshCo and Chalo! FreshCo. In an effort to enable and inspire Canadians to reduce food waste in their own homes, we provided tips and tricks to help enjoy more taste and less waste. We covered the following topics:

  • Storage – where to store your food to give it the longest shelf life.
  • Refrigerating – how to properly organize your refrigerator according to temperature zones.
  • Canning – outlining the process for canning foods at home to preserve seasonal flavours to enjoy year-round.
  • Freezing – highlighting many different foods that can be frozen to extend their freshness.
  • Dehydrating – outlining the process for dehydrating produce using your oven to extend its life and enjoy as a tasty treat.
  • Portioning – how to approximate how much food to cook to avoid cooking too much.

This content is currently available on the following banner brand websites and we welcome you to visit to learn how we can all do OurPart™ to reduce Food Waste!



Remaining Atlantic Banners Say Goodbye to Plastic Bags

October, 2020

We support Atlantic Canada’s commitment to sustainability! As of October 1, all Sobeys Inc. banner stores in Atlantic Canada are now free of single-use plastic bags at our checkouts. We have transitioned to recyclable, compostable paper bags. We will also continue to offer a variety of reusable bags for purchase. We owe a huge thank-you to our customers for helping to better our communities and our planet. Together, we can do OurPart™ for future generations.

Building a Canada-wide Circle of Support for Child & Youth Mental Health

August, 2020
  • In August, 2020 Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundations (CCHF), together with the Sobey Foundation and Sobeys Inc., announced A Family of Support Child and Youth Mental Health Initiative — an early intervention mental health initiative that will help kids while they’re still kids, giving them the best possible chance to thrive.
  • The initiative will fund local mental health programs to support specific provincial needs at 13 Canadian children’s hospitals.
  • Over the coming years, our family of 127,000 teammates will continue to step up and advocate for early intervention of child and youth mental health. At the highest level, we hope that by working together, the programs identified to-date will decrease the chronic health burden on children and their families, reduce family stress, lower health care and social costs, and improve quality of life and health outcomes – ultimately allowing more children to navigate their mental health challenges and grow into healthy adults.
  • Between September 17 and October 1, 2020, Canadian grocery shoppers had the opportunity to donate to the A Family of Support: Child and Youth Mental Health Initiative through a fundraising campaign organized by Empire Company Limited, Sobeys Inc. and their associated banner stores (Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Farm Boy, Foodland, FreshCo, Lawton’s Drugs, Thrifty Foods, Co-op, Needs Convenience, Pete’s Fine Foods, Rachelle Béry, and Voisin) across the country. $2.2 million was raised.
Mental Health


When Times Get Tough, We Step Up for Special Olympics

August, 2020
  • Sobeys Inc. is a proud national partner of Special Olympics Canada. This partnership is the first of its kind, addressing the need for increased nutrition education and resources for Canadians with intellectual disabilities.
  • As a Special Olympics Canada partner since 2016, Sobeys Inc. has contributed more than $5.4 million in food and funds. Through this support we see first-hand the difference nutrition education can make in empowering healthy bodies and healthy minds.
  • Due to the COVID-19 crisis, we made the difficult decision to cancel our Special Olympics Canada national checkstand fundraising campaign, scheduled June 18 to July 1, 2020. To ensure that this decision does not negatively impact our national partner, Sobeys has honoured its fundraising target with a $1 million donation to Special Olympics Canada.
  • Sobeys’ Special Olympics partnership is a tremendous source of pride for our family of brands from coast-to-coast. We will continue to promote the important work of Special Olympics and help advance their mission to provide individuals with intellectual disabilities the strength, determination and confidence to take on any challenge in sport and in life.
  • Sobeys’ $1M donation will help ensure re-starting programs as soon as safely possible becomes a reality and will directly impact the 49,600 athletes and 22,000 coaches and volunteers in Canada who rely on them. The $1M donation from Sobeys is equivalent to covering the total cost for 1,440 Special Olympics athletes with an intellectual disability to participate in world-class, transformative community sports, health, youth and leadership programs in Canada year-round.

Brett Kissel: Live at the Drive-In

June, 2020
  • “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.” That was the theme of Brett Kissel: Live at the Drive-In, a one-of-a-kind physically distanced country music concert that took place in Edmonton, Alberta June 13 & 14, 2020.
  • Sponsored by the Safeway Community Action Fund, Brett Kissel: Live at the Drive-In was the first ever physically distanced drive-in country music concert series. With Safeway’s support, 100 per cent of ticket sales from all six shows were directed to Food Banks Alberta, and resulted in $70,000 raised to help Albertan families keep food on the table.


Sobeys Inc., Sobey family, Customers and Partners Rally Behind Nova Scotia Stronger Together Campaign

April, 2020
  • This past April, Nova Scotia was devasted by a tragic shooting which took place in various communities throughout Northern and Central Nova Scotia.
  • With our teammates, loved ones and customers in our home province reeling from the tragedy, Sobeys Inc. and the Sobey family made an initial donation of $425,000 to the Nova Scotia Stronger Together Fund. This fund, established by The Canadian Red Cross and the Government of Nova Scotia, will be used to support the individuals, families and communities affected by the tragedy. The Canadian Red Cross identified four areas of support which include; immediate direct financial payments to victims’ families, scholarships for victims’ children, long-term emotional support and community recovery support.
  • In addition to the initial donation, Sobeys Inc. held an in-store fundraising campaign from April 28 to May 8, which provided customers with an opportunity to donate to the Fund at all Sobeys, Foodland, Co-op, Lawtons Drugs, Needs, Fast Fuel, and Pete’s Fine Foods locations in Nova Scotia. All funds donated by customers will support the long-term objectives of the Canadian Red Cross’ Stronger Together Nova Scotia Fund. Customers were grateful to have a way to give to those affected and the stores raised over $65,000 for the Fund.
  • After hearing of the donations made by Sobeys Inc, the Sobey family and customers across Nova Scotia, Sobeys Inc. partner, EY Canada also wanted to contribute to support members of the affected communities. EY donated an additional $25,000 in partnership with Sobeys Inc. to the Nova Scotia Stronger Together Fund.
  • For more information on the Nova Scotia Together Fund please visit The Canadian Red Cross website at

Advancing Essential Education and Awareness Across our Retail Network

September, 2020
  • Sobeys Inc. launched the Retail Council of Canada’s Serving all in Canada – Course for Retailers on Preventing Consumer Racial Profiling across its retail network. This important course was launched to educate teammates on issues of anti-Black racism, and to provide tools to address and prevent all consumer racial profiling.
  • We will continue to partner with external organizations to bring important learning opportunities to teammates across our retail network.
Employee Partners


Creating Awareness and Connections Through Company-wide Unconscious Bias Training

October, 2020
  • Sobeys Inc. launched Conscious Inclusion training to all People Leaders. These live and interactive learning sessions foster a greater understanding of unconscious bias and support our continued efforts to build inclusive leadership capability.
  • This program will see continued roll-out across Sobeys Inc. national office and retail networks through fiscal 2021.

Keynote Speaker Events Bring Greater Understanding of Systemic Racism

November, 2020
  • To bring greater understanding of issues of systemic racism faced by members of Black and Indigenous communities to teammates across the country, Sobeys Inc. launched a series of keynote speaker events. Guest Speakers included Dr. Hadiya Roderique, Diversity and Inclusion Advocate, Journalist, Lawyer and Consultant; Fabrice Vil, Lawyer, Coach and Columnist, Founder of Pour 3 Points, Contributor at La Presse; and Tim Fox, Vice President, Indigenous Relations & Racial Equity at Calgary Foundation.
  • Building on its partnerships with members of Black and Indigenous communities, Sobeys will continue to engage its teammates in sharing their perspectives to support new and ongoing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives.


Indigenous Sharing Circles Deepen Awareness and Understanding of Lived Experiences

November, 2020
  • In order to better understand the unique barriers to inclusion faced by our Indigenous teammates, Sobeys Inc. organized 4 Indigenous Sharing Circles in both French and English and engaged the expertise of Indigenous community leaders Shannon Monk of Sakatay Global and Pytor Hodgson of Three Things Consulting, to facilitate learning and sharing of lived experiences with teammates across the country.
  • Sharing circles will continue to support and inform ongoing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives.

Who You Are Counts!

November, 2020
  • Who you are counts! Sobeys Inc. launched a refreshed diversity Self-Identification program for all teammates across its corporate and retail networks to better understand the diversity of its workforce.
  • This effort will support the journey to building a more inclusive culture and will continue to be refreshed to reflect the diverse and changing needs of our teammates.
Who you are count

Women making waves

Sobeys’ Women’s Inclusion Network (WIN) Celebrates Women Making Waves

November, 2020
  • Celebrating our seven Canadian Grocer Star Women in Grocery Awards recipients, Sobeys hosted Women Making Waves, a panel event featuring Sobeys Star Women grocery industry leaders sharing their unique career journeys. This event saw strong participation from office and retail teammates, including members of Sobeys’ Women’s Inclusion Network(s) (WIN).
  • We have expanded our Women’s Inclusion Network (WIN) chapters to include all provinces we operate in to support opportunities for advancement through mentorship and events for women across the organization.
  • Sobeys will continue to seek opportunities to amplify and celebrate the outstanding contributions of its women leaders.

Engaging With Diversity and Inclusion Partners to Review Bias in Our Systems and Processes

December, 2020
  • Sobeys Inc. has partnered with the Canadian Centre of Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI) to review key areas of potential bias in Human Resources & Talent Acquisition programs and processes.
Sobeys Inc Partners

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