Restaurants Canada was pleased to see some positive measures in the 2023 federal budget to support Canada’s foodservice sector. The budget addressed the federal alcohol excise duty, which will now only increase to 2 per cent on April 1, rather than the initially planned 6.3 per cent. The federal government also highlighted an agreement with major credit card companies to reduce interchange fees, a big win for our sector, as it leaves more dollars in the hands of business owners – we look forward to more details to come on this initiative.
The Canadian Government also took Restaurants Canada’s recommendations to invest in the hospitality and tourism industry through its Canadian Tourism Growth Strategy, which has the potential to bring back economic benefits to our sector.
Though today’s announcement brought some positives, the government missed an opportunity to implement sector-specific support for the restaurant industry, which was the hardest hit by the pandemic. “By leaving several of our recommendations on the table, such as extending the CEBA loans by 36 months and implementing a scale-down model on the forgivable portion, as we proposed in our Federal Pre-Budget Submission 2023, the Canadian Government missed the opportunity to save struggling small businesses from an uncertain fate,” said, Olivier Bourbeau, Vice President of Federal & Québec Affairs. “In a recent Restaurants Canada survey, we found nearly 20 per cent of the restaurants that have yet to reimburse CEBA will not be able to repay it in part or at all” added Bourbeau.
Despite effective measures proposed by Restaurants Canada to address the foodservice sector’s labour shortage, the budget also failed to improve and streamline the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program by;
- Implementing the Trusted Employers’ Program;
- Simplifying the TFWP application process, lowering fees and addressing the backlog;
- Creating a dedicated food service stream (for TFWs); and
- Remodeling the NOC codes (classification C and D): regrouping positions from the same field/expertise, providing more flexibility and training/promoting opportunities.
We are encouraged to see the creation of a committee to work on regulatory frameworks in order to explore the opportunities to address cost of goods led by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities. To explore mutual recognition of regulatory standards, which will ensure goods and services are able to move more freely addressing some of the regulatory burdens. We look forward to working with the government to ensure this work delivers reduced costs for our sector.
Restaurants Canada will continue to work in collaboration with the Government of Canada to ensure it continues to move forward with recommendations that render additional gains for foodservice from coast to coast to coast.
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