New business-friendly policies now in effect in Ontario

Published January 10, 2020

Jan. 1, 2020 ushered in the following regulatory changes that the Ontario government introduced in the fall.

  • 24-hour liquor service in airports. Under the new Better For People, Smarter For Business Act, 2019, airport bars and restaurants beyond airport security are now permitted to increase their liquor service hours by seven hours from the current 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. allowance. This brings Ontario in line with rules elsewhere in Canada, and globally.
  • Pooches on patios. Under new amendments to the Health Protection and Promotion Act, 1990, restrictions have been eased so that restaurants and breweries can decide whether to allow dogs in outdoor eating areas, like patios, and inside food premises where only beverages, prepackaged and/or low risk foods are served.
  • Calorie labelling exemption for in-store advertisements without prices. Under the Healthy Menu Choices Act, 2015, foodservice premises with 20 or more locations in Ontario, including chains of grocery stores, are currently required to post calories for all standard food items sold or offered for sale. A new exemption has been added to provide clarity so that inspectors are no longer able to expand the definition of this requirement in a way that would compel calorie information accompany any picture of a menu item displayed within a restaurant, including wall murals.
  • Calorie labelling exemption for catering menus. Another new exemption added to the Healthy Menu Choices Act, 2015 clarifies that the requirements do not apply to catering menus.

The new year also brought about a reduction to the small business Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rate from 3.5 per cent to 3.2 per cent . This reduction could save small businesses up to $1,500 annually.

If you have any questions or would like more information, you can get in touch with James Rilett, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Central Canada, at jrilett@restaurantscanada.org.

Marlee Wasser

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