Statement from Restaurants Canada on Ontario Budget

Statement from Restaurants Canada on Ontario Budget

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Some welcomed initiatives, but nothing specific for Restaurants

Toronto, March 26, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — While there were some initiatives welcomed by Restaurants Canada, today’s Budget does not include any additional specific supports for our struggling restaurants sector.  The Ontario Budget includes initiatives that target housing affordability, labour and training funding, transportation, and energy costs.  These measures add value for business owners, the people they employ and or seek to hire. 

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“While the above initiatives are welcomed, the restaurant sector continues to hurt and is in urgent need of additional specific measures to help struggling restaurants keep their doors open for their employees and patrons,” said Kris Barnier, VP Central Ontario.

Restaurants have struggled in recent years with the piling on of expenses that are rising faster than revenues.  This includes rising rents and mortgage costs, interest on debt, insurance, food costs, delivery, and transportation costs, as well as energy, and costs associated with the movement away from single use plastics. 

Canadians are struggling with affordability and restaurants are as well. Our data shows 62% of restaurants are losing money or barely breaking even – compared to 12% pre-pandemic.

“Restaurants need additional cost relief to cope with the rising cost of doing business – in Ontario and across the country. Our team will continue to advocate on behalf of operators as we seek targeted policy changes that will reduce operating costs for the industry, “said Kelly Higginson, President and CEO, Restaurants Canada.

We have seen this government act in the past to support our sector.  This includes the recent freezing of alcohol taxes, and past action on wholesale pricing for alcohol purchased from the LCBO by bars and restaurants. The government has also taken measures to cut small business and payroll taxes. 

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The sector is hurting and needs additional support to protect jobs, community defining meeting places, and taxpaying businesses.  Restaurants Canada welcomes initiatives announced today but will continue to call on the Ford Government to take additional specific actions to help our sector. 


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