April 3, 2013

ST. JOHN’S – Newfoundland and Labrador has secretly imposed close to a million dollars in costs on restaurant and bar owners by introducing new liquor licence fees. Unbeknownst to the industry, the new fees for restaurateurs were included in the recent provincial budget.

These new fees will add up to thousands of dollars for each liquor-licensed establishment, which will make it more difficult for the hospitality industry to attract customers and provide competitively priced products.

“This tax grab is an attack on small businesses across the province,” says Luc Erjavec, Vice President Atlantic Canada with the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA).  “We’ve gone from a province with no liquor licence fees to one with some of the highest fees in the country. To add insult to injury, the province has yet to notify the industry and plans to charge licensees a $100 late penalty if fees are not paid by the end of the month.”

The new fees include:

  • up to $1,700 for a liquor licence;
  • $100 to serve alcohol on a patio;
  • $100 for a catering endorsement;
  • $200 for a special event licence:
  • $50 for permission to sample; and
  • up to $200 per licence in application fees.

“Similar fees were eliminated under previous governments to reduce red tape and barriers to small businesses,” says Erjavec. “It’s unfortunate that government can ignore the plight of restaurant and bar owners across the province and try to solve their spending problems by reaching deep into the pockets of small business owners.”

The average full-service restaurant in Newfoundland and Labrador has a razor-thin pre-tax profit margin of just 3.6% of sales. The province’s 1,073 restaurants and bars are the fourth-largest private sector employer with over 13,000 Newfoundlanders employed in the industry.


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