Restaurants Canada is urging Parliament to expand federal support programs

Published November 23, 2021

80% of restaurants no longer qualify for wage and rent subsidies and many might have to consider closing without better access to support.

TORONTO — Now that Parliament has returned, Restaurants Canada is eager to get back to work with elected officials to ensure that hard-hit foodservice businesses will have enough federal support to get through the winter.

“Restaurants are key to reviving main streets across Canada and feeding our country’s economic recovery, but first they need to survive,” said Restaurants Canada President and CEO Todd Barclay. “Federal support programs are currently too restrictive and will leave far too many hardworking restaurant operators out in the cold as they continue to cope with the ongoing pandemic. While our government has been on a break, the 90,000+ small and medium-sized businesses that make up our critically important foodservice sector have been fighting to keep their doors open. They deserve federal support programs that will help them continue contributing to the social and economic fabric of their communities.”

Survey results reveal gap between available support and level of need

According to the latest survey data from Restaurants Canada:

  • 90% of foodservice businesses have relied on federal rent and wage subsidies to help them survive the pandemic, but only 20% qualify for the new Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program.
  • The vast majority of restaurants have been operating at a loss or barely breaking even throughout the entire pandemic; eight out of 10 operations have either been consistently losing money ever since the first wave of lockdowns ended last year, or scraping by with a profit margin of 2% or less.

Without better access to financial support, most foodservice businesses will struggle to keep paying their staff, and many will have to consider closing down for good under the weight of crushing debt.

80% of foodservice operations have been losing money or barely breaking even since the first wave of lockdowns ended last year.

Recommendations from Restaurants Canada

Restaurants Canada is calling for the following changes to federal support programs to help foodservice businesses continue contributing to jobs, economic growth and vibrant neighbourhoods across the country:

  • An eligibility threshold starting at 10% (instead of 40%) revenue decline for the new Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program, with a wage subsidy rate that is calculated as 1.2x the percentage decline in sales up to a maximum of 75%, to ensure restaurants can survive the ongoing pandemic.
  • Greater forgiveness for all government-backed business loans and an extension of the repayment deadlines for loans through the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA).
  • Tax credits or other sources of funding to defray the exorbitant costs incurred from pandemic safety expenditures.

For more information on what Canada’s restaurants need to stay in the picture as they continue to navigate the ongoing pandemic, visit:

About Restaurants Canada

Restaurants Canada is a national, not-for-profit association advancing the potential of Canada’s diverse and dynamic foodservice industry through member programs, research, advocacy, resources and events. Before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada’s foodservice sector was a $95 billion industry, directly employing 1.2 million people, providing Canada’s number one source of first jobs and serving 22 million customers across the country every day. The industry has since lost hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions in sales due to the impacts of COVID-19.

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