Ontario budget provides no relief for restaurants or small businesses

Published March 28, 2018

Restaurants Canada expressed disappointment that the Ontario budget provides no relief for restaurants and other small businesses who are struggling to pay for the massive increase in labour costs imposed by the Wynne government.

“The Premier promised to help businesses handle the massive increases caused by Bill 148,” said James Rilett, Vice President, Central Canada. “This budget is confirmation that the Ontario government has no intention of keeping this promise.”

The government’s decision to make massive labour changes in a short timeframe will cost the foodservice industry almost $2 billion per year.  We are already seeing the effects; menu prices have increased by nearly 7% and restaurants are closing their doors.

“The Ontario government has shown today that they have no qualms about running deficits.  Restaurants and small businesses do not have that luxury.  If they are losing money, they close and employees lose their jobs.”

Restaurants Canada had proposed the government implement a program to protect youth and first-time jobs from the effects of the higher labour costs, but once again we have seen no action on this front.

While the government did announce that it intends to establish an Ontario Training Bank, there is no indication whether the foodservice industry will qualify for training support under the program.

Restaurants Canada (formerly CRFA) is a growing community of 30,000 foodservice businesses, including restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and suppliers. We connect our members from coast to coast, through services, research and advocacy for a strong and vibrant restaurant industry. Canada’s restaurant industry serves 18 million customers every day, and directly employs 1.2 million Canadians.

Shiori Mine

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