While Restaurants Canada welcomes the commitments announced today in the federal budget to expand rent and wage subsidies, the hard-hit restaurant industry needs more sector-specific support.
TORONTO, April 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Restaurants Canada welcomes a number of commitments unveiled today in the federal budget – including the pledge to extend rent and wage subsidies until September 25, 2021 – but continues to call for more sector specific support.
“We appreciate that the government has listened to our industry and others and is extending much-needed rent and wage subsidies beyond June,” said Restaurants Canada President and CEO Todd Barclay. “These programs provide a lifeline for restaurants and other small businesses across the country. But our particularly affected industry will need more sector support to continue to revive main streets and help the government deliver on its Speech from the Throne promise to bring one million Canadians back to work.
Main budget promises for restaurants
In addition to extending rent and wage subsidies beyond June, Restaurants Canada commends the federal government for taking the following steps to support restaurants and other hard-hit small businesses:
- A new Canada stimulus hiring program for eligible employers who continue to experience declines in eligible earnings from before the pandemic.
- Reduced credit card transaction fees.
- A new line of credit product to help small businesses maintain cash flow and cover short-term working capital needs.
Additional assistance required
In response to a recent Restaurants Canada survey, nine in ten Canadians agreed that restaurants need help to stay in business and continue paying staff until the pandemic is over.
To help the restaurant industry move from survival to rebirth, Restaurants Canada also advocated an evolution of emergency measures towards a framework that supports business continuity and favorable conditions for long-term economic recovery.
Restaurants Canada looks forward to discussing the following recommendations for additional sector support with key government decision makers at the next meeting of its Restaurant Renaissance Task Force.
- A further extension of rent and salary subsidies until April 2022 and eligibility criteria that continue to reflect the realities of the restaurant business: Eight out of 10 restaurants are still losing money or barely getting by, and those that still operate at a loss expect to take at least a year to return to profitability. Cutting off these vital sources of support as restaurants transition from survival to rebirth would hamper their ability to recover and continue to bring Canadians back to work.
- Federal tax credits to help cover costs associated with COVID-19 security protocols: Employee retention and retraining credit is needed to help hard-hit restaurants and other small businesses cover the costs of unforeseen and extraordinary expenses incurred during the global pandemic.
- Partial cancellation of all government guaranteed loans (including the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program): Distressed foodservice companies need more help to keep them from closing their doors due to overwhelming debt.
- The creation of a national “Dine In and Save Restaurants” rebate program: Similar to the drop-in initiative implemented in Prince Edward Island, saving Canadians 50% when eating out. Under this program, table service restaurants would receive a government reimbursement of $ 15 per person per meal (50% before taxes and tips up to a maximum of $ 30 spent per customer for food and meal purchases. soft drink).
- An expansion of the current “meals and expenses” commercial tax credit: A temporary extension of this existing tax credit from 50% to its original 100% to encourage businesses to increase restaurant spending after more than a year of cutting back on downtown meals.
- A culinary tourism incentive for tax years 2021 and 2022: Similar to the travel incentive implemented in New Brunswick, which included discounts on dining expenses, this would encourage Canadians to travel locally and across the country to help support and celebrate our various restaurants and the role essential that they play by contributing to vibrant communities.
- A freeze on any further increases in excise duties on beer, wine or spirits under the Excise Act and the Excise Act (2001): Including increases scheduled for April 1, 2021, as these ever-increasing beverage duties contribute to the perception that restaurants are chomping customers on their beverage menus.
- Removal of merchant fees from the tax portion of restaurant bills: This currently allows credit card companies to take advantage of taxes collected by business owners on behalf of the government and unnecessarily discourages restaurant spending.
“We are more than a year into the COVID-19 crisis and around 350,000 of the 1.2 million jobs our industry typically provides have yet to be recovered. We need the federal government to help us continue to create the conditions to bring these Canadians back to work, ”said Olivier Bourbeau, Vice-President of Restaurants Canada, Federal and Quebec. “Conservators are resilient and resourceful, but they can’t continue to operate at a loss for months on end. They rely on the government to ensure they can preserve their livelihoods and continue to contribute to vibrant communities across the country.
About Restaurants Canada
Restaurants Canada is a national, non-profit association that advances the potential of Canada’s diverse and vibrant restaurant industry through membership programs, research, advocacy, resources and events. Prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada’s restaurant industry was a $ 95 billion industry, directly employing 1.2 million people, providing the number one source of first jobs in Canada, and serving 22 every day. million customers across the country. The industry has since lost hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions in sales due to the impacts of COVID-19.
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