Fall Economic Statement fails the Ontario foodservice industry

Published November 14, 2017

The Wynne government has failed to understand the toll their policies will have on the foodservice industry in Ontario. The measures outlined today in the Fall Economic Statement will not provide measurable relief for the foodservice industry in Ontario, in the wake of changes to labour legislation that will create onerous new financial burdens and substantial red tape for businesses across the province.

“What Minister Sousa presented today in the Fall Economic Statement offers no meaningful value to our members,” said Steve Virtue, interim Vice President, Ontario for Restaurants Canada. “Our members are trying to figure out how they will afford their hydro bills, make payroll and keep their doors open, not making plans to expand their business or thinking about summer jobs. This demonstrates the government’s lack of understanding of just how burdensome these changes will be on those who have to implement them.”

“This summer Premier Wynne openly discussed working with industry to create offsets for the sector that would have meaningful benefit,” said Virtue. “What we’ve seen here today falls dramatically short of that.  A 1% drop in small business taxation and a handful of boutique initiatives for hiring are not going to provide the kind of support the sector needs now.”

Restaurants Canada is not opposed to the minimum wage increase, however it has expressed concerns to the government numerous times about the unintended consequences of such a rapid increase. The total increase by January 2019 will be 31.6% in just 18 months – a total hit of $1.8 billion to the province’s restaurant industry.  The estimates of overall impact this will have on the Ontario economy will place more than 185,000 jobs at risk, including at least 17,000 jobs in foodservice.

“These aggressive changes to labour legislation will have severe and immediate consequences for the foodservice industry and the customers they serve every day. Prices for consumers will go up. Jobs will be lost, it’s as simple as that,” said Virtue.  “The restaurant industry generates $32 billion a year and employs more than 470,000 people in Ontario. If I was a candidate heading into the spring election, I would be very concerned about the impact this legislation is going to have on my riding.”

Read the government’s statement.

Restaurants Canada is a growing community of 30,000 foodservice businesses, including restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and suppliers. We connect our members from coast to coast, through services, research and advocacy for a strong and vibrant restaurant industry. Canada’s restaurant industry directly employs 1.2 million Canadians and serves 18 million customers every day.

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