Restaurants Canada applauds the Quebec government for introducing measures in its new budget that will help alleviate labour shortages that have been starving the province’s small and medium-sized businesses.
The improved tax benefits being introduced for workers between the ages of 60 and 64 will provide immediate relief across the foodservice sector. Restaurants Canada has been calling for policies to incentivize greater retention of experienced workers and is pleased to see the government take leadership in this area.
The national association also commends the continuation of the previous provincial government’s commitment to maintain a balanced budget. Sustainable growth of Quebec’s economy and the success of its small and medium-sized businesses will rely on sound management of the province’s finances.
A budget that serves the foodservice sector
In addition to incentives for experienced workers, four other key asks from Restaurants Canada have been answered in Quebec’s new budget.
First, an additional $146 million will be spent annually to support the integration of immigrants into the workforce. Incentives to improve recruitment and retention of disabled workers have also been introduced.
Second, the budget will significantly increase disposable income for Quebec’s middle-class households. Through measures such as additional tax breaks for families, increases to alimony for children, and the school board flat-tax, about $5.2 billion is projected to be returned back to Quebeckers over the next five years.
Maintaining the tax credit on employer contributions to pension funds (RRQ) will also keep more money in foodservice operators’ pockets, allowing them to hire more people.
Third, Restaurants Canada welcomes the extension of the tax credit for tip declarations to include credits when employers pay tips to employees who miss work for family obligations or health reasons. This will save foodservice operators about $3.2 million per year.
Fourth, Restaurants Canada has long hoped that Quebec would do something to offset the detrimental impacts of the federal escalator excise tax on alcohol, which unfairly targets foodservice. Quebec’s new budget will keep the current provincial alcohol tax freeze in place over the next five years. While this is a welcome relief for foodservice operators, Restaurants Canada continues to call for a volume discount for licensed establishments.
Overall, this budget is a step in the right direction for Quebec’s foodservice and hospitality sector. Going forward, Restaurants Canada will continue to call for additional payroll tax reductions, funding for culinary tourism and a lower small- and medium-size business tax rate to help restaurants contribute more to the communities they serve.
Click here to learn more about the Quebec budget for 2019-20.
If you have any questions or would like more information, you can get in touch with David Lefebvre, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Federal and Quebec, at DLefebvre@restaurantscanada.org.