Restaurants Canada’s response to Federal Budget 2024

Ottawa, Canada, April 16, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Restaurants Canada was pleased to see some positive measures in the 2024 federal budget to support Canada’s foodservice sector. Confirming a 2% cap on the alcohol excise tax as Restaurants Canada advocated for along with other associations and our ask that government address the lack of movement on small business rebate program. The carbon tax rebate that will be directly returned to small and medium sized business will be well received by the restaurant industry. Items in the budget related to housing and rental support will also be well received by operators and supportive to our employees. We look forward to more details to come on these policies.

Foodservice in Canada is a $114 billion-dollar industry and the 4th largest private employer in the country with $0.96 cents of every dollar spent in a restaurant, going back into the community and the economy. As an industry that has traditionally operated on slim margins to ensure value for Canadians, these last few years of inflationary pressures and labour challenges have significantly increased the cost of operating a restaurant – leading to 62% of restaurant operating at a loss or barely breaking even compared to 12% pre-pandemic.

“It is imperative that our government’s labour market and workforce strategies work for the unique needs and challenges of small businesses,” said Kelly Higginson, President and CEO of Restaurants Canada.

Policies that are good for restaurants are good for Canadian communities. Each and everyday across Canada, restaurants nourish our communities by feeding us, providing thousands of jobs, and serving as a place to gather and bond with our friends, family and colleagues.  While the announcements made today in the federal budget are a starting place, the lack of serious labour strategies is concerning. The reality is that when new Canadians start working in the foodservice industry, many choose to make it their career with over 50% of restaurants in our country owned and operated by entrepreneurs who came here as immigrants. The entrepreneurial spirit of immigrants in the restaurant industry further emphasizes the long-term benefits of immigration for both the economy and bringing vibrancy to local communities.

"Immigration is essential to Canada's growth and prosperity.  As an industry with 78,000 job vacancies, we need to see policies that are tailored to the industry that support connecting newcomers who want an opportunity to find employment in the restaurant sector,” said Higginson.

Creating immigration programs to match unemployed newcomers with job vacancies in the restaurant will increase opportunities for newcomers to build a valuable career in foodservice. Not only will it create economic opportunities for newcomers to this country, but it will help keep our favourite restaurants open and thriving for many years to come.

The economy and our sector continue to face significant headwinds and we are committed to working with governments at all levels to share data and insights to help them understand the dire situation facing our industry, what we need, and how they can help position restaurants for recovery and growth in the future.



Contact Data