March 27, 2013

VANCOUVER — The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) welcomes the move toward “food tax fairness” on April 1, when meals purchased at restaurants will return to their PST-exempt status.

Impact of the HST on British Columbia’s Restaurant Industry:

  • In the first 12 months of the HST, restaurant sales were $550 million lower than they would have been under the previous sales tax system
  • In the two-and-half years of the HST, restaurant sales were $1.5 billion lower than they would have been under the previous sales tax system
  • Restaurant sales in B.C. grew by 1.4% between July 2010 and Dec. 2012
  • Restaurant sales in the rest of Canada grew by 11.5% during the same period
  • When it took effect in July 2010, the HST added a 7% tax to restaurant meals, bringing the total sales tax to 12%
  • Ready-to-heat meals and other competitive products at grocery stores remained completely tax free.

Key Stats about British Columbia’s Restaurant Industry:

  • Generates $10 billion annually in economic activity, or 4.5% of the provincial GDP
  • Directly employs 166,000 people, or 7.2% of the province’s workforce
  • Provides 1 in 5 youth jobs 
  • Serves 2.7 million customers a day
  • Contributes $43 million a year to charities
  • Consists of 12,300 restaurants, bars and caterers in communities across the province

GRAPH: Restaurant sales growth in British Columbia vs. rest of Canada since the HST was introduced available at


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