Today the Ontario Government released its 2023 Ontario Economic and Fiscal Review: Building a Strong Ontario Together (the Fall Economic Statement). This was really an update on the government’s progress and a targeted approach to continue building Ontario.
We recognize and welcome some of the measures introduced recently and in today’s update that will provide some relief to businesses on rising expenses. These measures include the recent announcement to hold WSIB premium rates, the extension of the gas and fuel tax rate cuts until June 30, 2024, and further investment into the Skills Development and Training Fund and the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program. The update also included investments into affordable housing and affordable childcare which may impact some of the labour challenges facing our sector. The Fall Economic Statement is part of a long-term vision to build critical infrastructure and stronger communities, which will ultimately benefit the foodservice sector and enable growth.
The Ontario foodservice industry has achieved remarkable growth, reaching almost $40 billion in 2022 with further forecasts for growth in 2023. However, this growth has not translated into financial stability for the majority of foodservice businesses, with over 56% in Ontario operating at a loss or barely breaking even. The industry is rebalancing and adapting in the wake of the pandemic and ever-increasing costs.
Our industry is critical to the province’s economy and as we head into pre-budget season, we urge the government to include a plan for foodservice operators – relief on expenses, access to adequate labour, and relief for the working families and communities who depend on restaurants across Ontario. The economy and our sector continue to face significant headwinds and we are committed to working with government to share data and insights to help them understand the dire situation facing our industry, what we need, and how they can help position restaurants for recovery and growth.