checkmark_35_28(Mar. 7/16) With the provincial elections set for April 4, here’s how to make your vote count on election day, and what your responsibilities are as an employer.

BE INFORMED

Elections Saskatchewan: http://vote.elections.sk.ca/
Party websites:
New Democratic Party of Saskatchewan – www.saskndp.ca/team
Saskatchewan Party – www.saskparty.com/our_team

Your obligations to your employees on voting day:
According to The Election Act, 1996, Saskatchewan voters are entitled to three hours off to vote, as follows:Anyone who is:

  1. a Canadian citizen,
  2. 18 years of age or older, and
  3. has lived in Saskatchewan for at least 6 months before the election was called

is eligible to vote on April 4. Eligible voters can cast their ballots any time between 9 am and 8 pm.

Employees who are eligible voters are entitled to three consecutive hours to vote, and time off with pay must be provided to allow this. These three hours may be granted at your convenience.

Full details are available here.

BE ENGAGED

Restaurants Canada is putting four key issues on the table with candidates across the province:

Beverage Alcohol Reform
Saskatchewan received a D+ on Restaurants Canada’s liquor policy report card, Raise the Bar – one of the lowest grades in the country. We’re asking the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority to give you increased selection and the ability to buy from private retailers. We’re also asking them to give you the same wholesale pricing as retailers.

Labour Shortage Solutions
Even with the downturn in the oil industry, many of you struggle with labour shortages. Saskatchewan can help you get the employees you need by introducing policies on skills training, transition to work, youth employment and immigration.

New Approach to Minimum Wage
While Saskatchewan now has a formula to calculate annual changes to its minimum wage, past increases were significantly higher than inflation. We’d like the government to make two more changes to minimum wage policy: a liquor server wage to recognize income earned in tips; and an inexperienced wage to recognize the high cost of training workers.

PST Harmonization
Restaurant meals in Saskatchewan are currently charged GST, but they are exempt from PST. So any move to harmonize GST and PST would double the taxes on the meals you serve. Residents’ disposable income would take a hit, and grocery stores would enjoy an even greater advantage, since similar foods are taxed differently. While the current government has pledged not to harmonize, be sure to remind them how harmonization would hurt your business.

BE AT THE TABLE

In addition to voting on election day, take some time now to meet your candidates. Election campaigns are the best time to get your issues on the radar! Most candidates include contact information on their websites. If you can’t find contact information online, call directory assistance and ask for your candidate’s campaign office.

Meeting your candidates

  • Call or e-mail your candidate’s campaign office and request a 15-minute meeting.
  • Explain that you live in the riding and/or employ people in the riding.
  • If appropriate, invite candidates to meet in your restaurant to see how your business operates.
  • Familiarize yourself with industry information by reading about the key issues, above.
  • Bring a copy of Restaurants Canada’s Infographic about the Saskatchewan restaurant industry, and play the candidate this short “I am a Restaurant” video (or here for the short version).
  • Tell the candidate about your business and the number of people you employ. Explain your business accomplishments with pride.
  • Highlight the size and scope of the restaurant industry in your area, and the important role your business plays in the community.
  • Listen respectfully and thank the candidate for his or her time.

Tips

  • Don’t worry about knowing everything about the industry or the issues. What is most important is that the candidate knows who you are, what you do, and the impact you have on the local economy and employment.
  • Be respectful but try to get a sense of where the candidate stands on the issue(s) that matter most to you and your business.

Follow up

  • Follow up the meeting with a letter, thanking the candidate for his or her time and reiterating any concerns you may have.
  • Contact Dwayne Marling at dmarling@restaurantscanada.org to let us know how your meetings went. By tracking industry contact with candidates, Restaurants Canada can serve you better in the future.

All-Candidates Meetings

  • Attend an all-candidate forum or debate and ask the politicians about issues facing your business.

Good luck! And remember – your vote matters, so make it count!

For more information on the election or other issues, please contact:
Dwayne Marling: 1-800-387-5649 x. 8557 or dmarling@restaurantscanada.org
Paul McKay: 1-800-387-5649 ext. 4225 or pmckay@restaurantscanada.org

WE’RE STRONGER TOGETHER!

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