TORONTO, July 14, 2014 – Ontario’s re-release of the 2014 budget misses the mark when it comes to youth employment. The budget puts more upward pressure on payroll costs, which means employers will create fewer jobs, particularly for young people looking for summer jobs or first-job experience.

“Our industry lost jobs in June, the same month that the minimum wage jumped,” said James Rilett, Vice President Ontario for Restaurants Canada. “This hits youth job-seekers first. They are the ones who pay for a poor business climate.”

Ontario’s restaurant industry is one of the province’s largest employers, with 440,300 direct jobs, including 185,000 employees under the age of 25. The combined foodservice and accommodation sector in Ontario lost more than 11,000 jobs in June, according to Statistics Canada.

“The new payroll tax on employers and employees that will be created by the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) is a serious concern for our members,” said Rilett. “Ontario is already the toughest business climate in the country for foodservice operators. The ORPP adds to already rising payroll, energy, food and beverage costs, with very little room to pass these costs along to consumers.”

The ORPP also adds to the regulatory burden on small business, as the province duplicates the red tape of the federal CPP system.“We applauded the government’s recent initiatives and legislation to reduce red tape, but unfortunately the ORPP threatens to undermine that effort.”

Restaurants Canada has proposed several ideas to improve the business climate for restaurateurs and other foodservice operators:
– Introduce wholesale pricing on beer, wine and spirits
– Control payroll taxes
– Reduce regulatory burden

“We are part of the solution to Ontario’s high rate of youth unemployment,” said Rilett. “We need the government to join us at the table, not put up more roadblocks to hiring.”

Restaurants Canada is a national association comprising 30,000 businesses in every segment of the foodservice industry, including restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and their suppliers. Through advocacy, research, and member programs and services, Restaurants Canada is dedicated to helping its members in every community grow and prosper.

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