Today, Restaurants Canada’s Vice President, Federal & Québec Affairs, Olivier Bourbeau will be available on Parliament Hill in Ottawa for comment after the tabling of the federal government’s 2023 Budget to offer the foodservice sector’s reaction to what was and wasn’t in the budget to support the industry.
As Canada’s fourth largest private-sector employer, prior to the pandemic, the foodservice sector was a $95 billion industry, directly employing 1.2 million people and serving 22 million customers across the country every day. However, for the majority of Canada’s foodservice sector, including dine-in and takeout restaurants, caterers and bars etc. the pandemic ushered in a period of unprecedented uncertainty, along with major financial challenges, resulting in the loss of nearly 5,000 restaurants across Canada since January 2021.
Of the foodservice businesses that have survived, nearly half are currently operating at a loss or just breaking even, with one in four independent table-service restaurants not expected to recover. The government’s support is more critical than ever to ensure the foodservice industry can move forward from survival to a full revival, and continue to employ 1.2 million Canadians, keep 98,000 businesses alive, and feed Canada’s recovery.
Restaurants Canada has presented a number of meaningful and impactful recommendations to the federal government including:
- The critical need to extend and restructure the CEBA loans to make repayment palatable;
- Step back on the alcohol excise tax escalator (automatic annual increase); and
- Improve and streamline the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program by:
- Implementing the Trusted Employers’ Program;
- Simplifying the TFWP application process, lowering fees and addressing the backlog;
- Creating a dedicated food service stream (for TFWs); and
- Remodeling the NOC codes (classification C and D): regrouping positions from the same field/expertise, providing more flexibility and training/promoting opportunities.
For a full overview of Restaurants Canada’s federal pre-budget recommendations, read our Federal Pre-Budget Submission 2023: A Strategy for the Foodservice Industry Relaunch.
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