Feb. 26 – Toronto, Ont.: Restaurants Canada remains optimistic that the federal government’s 20182019 budget will include policies and measures that will alleviate financial pressure on small businesses and the nation’s foodservice industry that will encourage growth from coast to coast.
Canada’s restaurant industry is an $84 billion industry, directly employs 1.2 million people, serves 18 million Canadians each day and is the number one source of first jobs for youth and immigrants.

However, foodservice operators and restaurateurs continue to struggle with rising food and alcohol costs, mounting payroll cost pressures at both the provincial and federal levels, increased utility costs, and shrinking profit margins.
Specifically, we would like the budget to include:

 A capping of credit card acceptance fees: Currently Canada’s credit card interchange fees are amongst the highest in the world – five times higher than jurisdictions such as the European Union and Australia where interchange fees are capped. The Ministry of Finance’s yearlong study on the payments system should have concluded that now is the time to act so merchants can receive immediate financial relief.

 Clarity on small business tax rules: Small business owners must receive clear and concise language in this budget for measures that will affect them and their families. We expect to see more details on passive income measures, full recognition of sweat-equity and a commitment from the federal government to ease the rules and regulations for intergenerational business transfers.

 Fulfillment of the election promise for an EI youth hires program, whereby new youth hires would be granted a 12-month holiday on EI contributions. With youth unemployment twice as high compared to workers over 25, it would encourage the hiring of young people.

Restaurants Canada will be available to comment on the budget following its release.

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.

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