FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2013

Vancouver – British Columbia’s restaurant industry and the province’s consumers welcome today’s return to provincial food tax fairness. For the first time since July 2010, British Columbia will once again tax all food equally.

“Effective today, the 2.7 million guests who visit British Columbia restaurants every day will pay less for restaurant meals,” said Mark von Schellwitz, CRFA’s Vice President, Western Canada. British Columbians will soon see newspaper advertisements from CRFA reminding them that meals are now 7% cheaper and encouraging them to visit the 12,000 restaurants in the province.

Restaurant sales in BC fell dramatically when HST was introduced, as CRFA predicted. “HST cost BC’s foodservice industry a total of $1.5 billion in lost sales,” said von Schellwitz. In fact, British Columbia’s cumulative restaurant industry sales grew at an anaemic 1.4% since HST was introduced, compared to sales growth of 11.5% for the rest of Canada during the same period.

The 7% tax savings on restaurant meals, combined with more disposable income for consumers, will boost BC restaurant sales growth this year. Liquor mark-ups have also been reduced to fully offset the additional 3% tax on alcohol. “CRFA forecasts that B.C.’s restaurant industry will grow a healthy 5.1% in 2013. That’s good news for British Columbia’s third largest private sector employer,” added von Schellwitz.

B.C.’s restaurant industry is an important economic force, contributing $10 billion to the province’s economy, and directly employing more than 166,000 people in every B.C. community.

CRFA is one of Canada’s largest business associations, with more than 30,000 members representing restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and other foodservice providers. Canada’s restaurant industry generates $65 billion annually in economic activity and employs more than one million people in communities across the country.

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