OTTAWA - The federal Opposition is calling on the Harper government to prevent credit card companies from charging businesses higher fees for using premium cards.
The call comes as a federal competition tribunal prepares to rule on whether Visa and MasterCard are engaging in anti-competitive behaviour.
Small business groups have been hoping the tribunal will recommend that Ottawa forbid the major credit card companies from forcing retailers to accept cards that carry higher payment processing fees.
New Democrat consumer protection critic Glenn Thibeault says the high cost of processing credit card payments is hurting Canadian businesses.
Thibeault is launching a cross-country consultation with business and community groups this week to hear their concerns about the fees.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says shopkeepers and others who accept credit and debit cards as payment should be given the right to refuse high-cost cards or to add limited surcharges.