QUEBEC, June 4, 2014 – Bar and restaurant owners are applauding today’s budget announcement that standardizes the specific tax on alcohol as of Aug. 1, 2014. Restaurants Canada (formerly the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association) has long been calling for equal treatment when it comes to this tax.
Currently the specific tax on beer, wine and spirits varies with where the product is consumed: at home via the convenience store, grocery or SAQ; or in restaurants and bars. For beer at home, the specific tax is 50 cents a litre, compared to 82 cents a litre if consumed at a restaurant or bar. For wine and spirits at home, the specific tax is $1.12 a litre, compared to $2.47 at a restaurant or bar.
The new, standardized tax is 63 cents a litre for beer and $1.40 a litre for wine and spirits, creating a level playing field for all.
“Restaurants Canada is very happy with this long-awaited decision, especially after five months of work on the committee to review alcohol practices,” said Jean Lefebvre, the association’s Quebec Vice President. “Grocers and convenience stores have become in recent years competitors to restaurants, with ready-to-eat meals and their own lines of wines. It was more than time that taxes related to beer, wine and spirits were the same for all in the market.”
The budget also promises to create a committee to review government programs and another to look into the fiscal situation of citizens as well as companies. For Restaurants Canada, reviewing the fiscal situation will enable an analysis of payroll taxes, which are 30% higher for restaurant operators in Quebec, compared to the rest of Canada. The association is also pleased that the government will follow the recommendations of the group on red tape, which should help small businesses.
The first part of the budget is focused on controlling finances and spending, but there is also a focus on helping the economy. “Our industry wants to take part in such an effort. We are a major economic partner with revenues exceeding $10 billion a year and more than 200,000 jobs in communities across Quebec,” said Lefebvre.
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.
Canada’s restaurant industry directly employs more than 1.1 million Canadians, contributes $68 billion a year to the Canadian economy, and serves more than 18 million customers every day.