Restaurants Canada welcomes opportunity to work with federal government on coordinated approach to plastic reduction

Published June 10, 2019

TORONTO, June 10, 2019 – Restaurants Canada welcomes today’s commitments from the federal government to further action on plastic waste reduction as an opportunity to develop a truly national path forward in collaboration with industry.

Speaking today at the Gault Nature Reserve in Mont-St-Hilaire, Quebec, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government will be taking steps to advance progress toward reducing Canada’s plastic waste, supporting innovation, and promoting the use of affordable and safe alternatives.

“Restaurants across the country are working hard to navigate a complex and often contradictory patchwork of regulations around single-use items while balancing the needs of diners seeking increasing convenience and delivery options,” said Shanna Munro, President and CEO of Restaurants Canada. “Foodservice businesses must be able to continue meeting the needs of their customers in a way that is accessible and safe, as well as sustainable for their bottom line.”

Restaurants Canada looks forward to working with the federal government, provinces, territories, businesses and others to:

  • Take a whole-of-society approach to the issue, recognizing the need for consumer education. Ultimately, the pressure for single-use items comes from consumers. Canadians are increasingly turning to delivery and take-out over on-premise dining. Delivery foodservice sales by digital (online and mobile apps) or traditional telephone totalled more than $4.3 billion in 2018, a staggering 44 per cent increase over 2017.

  • Develop evidence-based policies, allowing for reasonable timelines for alternative innovations to enter the market. Environmental sustainability is a growing concern for Canadian restaurateurs. Nine out of 10 foodservice operators responding to a 2018 Restaurants Canada survey said they plan to continue or improve on their current level of environmentally sustainable operations over the next three years. Foodservice businesses recognize that consumer demand is evolving but need appropriate time to adjust. With their average profit margin being less than 5 per cent, environmental policies must encourage choices that help not hurt their operations.

  • Build consensus that facilitates coordinated action across jurisdictions. Businesses are willing to adapt their practices and make investments to support progress toward the implementation of a Canada-wide Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste. But they want to ensure these investments are effective. Consistent standards and waste management practices are needed across all jurisdictions to ensure alternative packaging solutions can be easily recycled or composted and diverted from landfills.

“The Canadian government can continue to count on our participation in any consultations or formal dialog process around environmental issues,” said David Lefebvre, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Federal and Quebec. “Restaurants Canada is proud to be helping our industry embrace changes that will ensure sustainable growth. Foodservice businesses are critical to the economic and social fabric of communities across the country and we must ensure they can continue serving Canadians into the future.”

Restaurants Canada recently developed a Single-Use Items Reduction Strategy Guide for foodservice business operators and was recognized with the 2019 ENERGY STAR® Recruit of the Year Award for raising awareness of opportunities to improve environmental sustainability within the foodservice industry.

About Restaurants Canada

Restaurants Canada represents a growing community of more than 30,000 businesses, advancing their potential through services, research and advocacy. Canada’s foodservice sector is an $89 billion industry, directly employs 1.2 million Canadians, is the number one source of first jobs and serves 22 million customers every day.

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