Today’s passage of Bill 148 will have severe consequences for the foodservice sector in Ontario according to research and consultation undertaken by Restaurants Canada and other industry organizations.
The estimates of overall impact this will have on the Ontario economy will place more than 185,000 jobs at risk, including at least 17,000 jobs in foodservice. “This should have been rolled out with an appropriate timeline to allow operators time to adjust to the costs and the change.” said Steve Virtue, interim vice president for Restaurants Canada. “In a survey of our members, as many as 25% have suggested they will be forced to close their doors as a result of this legislation.”
This is the most sweeping change to labour relations in Ontario in more than 20 years. Research indicates that costs associated with Bill 148’s implementation will increase the net burden on the sector by roughly $1.8 billion dollars. Restaurants Canada advocated to have the changes implemented over a longer period of time to help restaurateurs adjust to the new rules and costs.
“This has never been about minimum wage. Our members support the thousands of talented staff who help to make this sector as exciting as it is, but the ability of the sector to adjust to these costs in such a short timeframe is going to be extremely difficult,” said Virtue. “Frankly, a $15/hour job in a restaurant that is closed doesn’t do anyone any good.”
Data suggests that, of the total cost burden on restaurateurs, roughly 58% will be attributable to wage adjustments. The other 42% of the costs are associated with labour reforms and changes to employment standards. The total increase of minimum wage alone will be 31.6% for operators in an 18-month period.
“The Wynne government has failed to see the bigger picture on the true costs of implementation and this will have severe implications for the economy,” said Virtue. “Proper consultation may have resulted in some different legislation that our industry could have supported. Ultimately, the result is going to see higher costs for consumers, lost jobs and business closures across the province.”
Restaurants Canada 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 directly employs 1.2 million Canadians and serves 18 million customers every day.