(Mar. 07/16) With the provincial elections set for April 19, here’s how to make your vote count on election day, and what your responsibilities are as an employer.

For general election information:
Elections Manitoba: http://www.electionsmanitoba.ca/en/Voting/VotingInfo
Party websites:
Manitoba Liberal Party – www.manitobaliberals.ca/candidates New Democratic Party of Manitoba – www.todaysndp.ca/team Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba – www.pcmanitoba.com/team 

Your obligations to your employees on voting day:

The Elections Manitoba website advises employees are entitled to time off to vote, as follows:

  • Every employee is entitled to three consecutive hours to vote at the discretion of the employer (i.e. not any three hours the employee requests). If the employee is off work at 5 pm, they automatically have three hours (5 pm to 8 pm).
  • Any employee working an 8 am to 8 pm shift has the right to take time to vote during the workday.
  • The phrase “the discretion of the employer” means you may adjust work hours to accommodate time off for voting (e.g. change an employee’s hours from 9 am – 6 pm to 8 am – 5 pm).

Restaurants Canada is putting four key issues on the table with candidates across the province:

PST Rollback
The government increased PST without a referendum, breaking a promise they made in the last election. While Saskatchewan and Alberta exempt restaurant meals from PST, Manitoba doesn’t – and it’s even worse now with an 8% PST. This reduces your customers’ disposable income and gives grocery stores an edge, since similar foods are taxed differently.
Fair and Balanced Minimum Wage 
The minimum wage in Manitoba has grown faster than inflation for over a decade. It’s time to discuss a fair, balanced and predictable minimum wage formula. We’d also like the government to consider two changes to minimum wage policy – a liquor server wage to recognize income earned in tips, and an inexperienced wage to recognize the high cost of training workers.
Beverage Alcohol Reform
Manitoba received a grade of C on Restaurants Canada’s liquor policy report card, Raise the Bar. On the plus side, we have a good working relationship with the Liquor and Gaming Authority, and the province has improved regulations for anyone selling liquor. But you still need wholesale pricing and a better selection.
Labour Shortage Solutions
Many of you already face labour shortages, and that’s likely to continue.  Manitoba needs policies on skills training, transition to work, youth employment, and immigration for all skill levels, so you can hire the employees you need.
In addition to voting on election day, take some time now to meet your candidates. Election campaigns are the best time to get your issues on the radar! Most candidates include contact information on their websites. If you can’t find contact information online, call directory assistance and ask for your candidate’s campaign office.
Meeting your candidates

  • Call or e-mail your candidate’s campaign office and request a 15-minute meeting.
  • Explain that you live in the riding and/or employ people in the riding.
  • If appropriate, invite candidates to meet in your restaurant to see how your business operates.
  • Familiarize yourself with industry information by reading about the key issues, above.
  • Bring a copy of Restaurants Canada’s Infographic about the Manitoba restaurant industry, and play the candidate this short  “I am a Restaurant” video (or here for the short version).
  • Tell the candidate about your business and the number of people you employ. Explain your business accomplishments with pride.
  • Highlight the size and scope of the restaurant industry in your area, and the important role your business plays in the community.
  • Listen respectfully and thank the candidate for his or her time.


  • Don’t worry about knowing everything about the industry or the issues. What is most important is that the candidate knows who you are, what you do, and the impact you have on the local economy and employment.
  • Be respectful but try to get a sense of where the candidate stands on the issue(s) that matter most to you and your business.

Follow up

  • Follow up the meeting with a letter, thanking the candidate for his or her time and reiterating any concerns you may have.
  • Contact Dwayne Marling at dmarling@restaurantscanada.org to let us know how your meetings went. By tracking industry contact with candidates, Restaurants Canada can serve you better in the future.

All-Candidates Meetings

  • Attend an all-candidate forum or debate and ask the politicians about issues facing your business.

Good luck! And remember – your vote matters, so make it count!
For more information or to get involved, please contact:
Dwayne Marling: 1-800-387-5649 x. 8557 or dmarling@restaurantscanada.org 
Paul McKay: 1-800-387-5649 ext. 4225 or pmckay@restaurantscanada.org 

We’re stronger together!


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