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CRFA gives Ont. budget a C grade


March 30, 2011
By Canadian Pizza

March 30, 2011, Toronto – There is a major flaw in Ontario’s provincial
budget, according to the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices
Association (CRFA). The association claims the budget fails to offer a
plan to help Ontario’s $23 billion restaurant industry grow.

“Over the past decade, Ontario’s restaurant sector created more jobs than the forestry, fisheries, agriculture and finance sectors combined. It created more than four times the jobs created in the auto sector,” says Garth Whyte, president and CEO of the CRFA. “Yet when you look in the 2011 Ontario Budget, there is a plan for the manufacturing, automotive, agriculture, financial services, mining, tourism, forestry and information and technology sectors – but no plan for the restaurant sector.”

“This major oversight downgrades this budget report card from a good grade to a passing grade,” says Ron Reaman, CRFA’s vice-president for Ontario. “The government has missed a golden job-creating opportunity by not outlining a plan for the restaurant sector that is so important to every community in the province.”

The budget gets good grades for focusing on reducing the deficit by finding savings through expenditure reductions and program efficiencies rather than increasing taxes. However the CRFA’s budget report card, which evaluates the budget for fiscal policies that create conditions for the industry’s success and a strong overall provincial economy, is more of a mixed bag.

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Below is the CRFA’s 2011 Ontario Budget Report Card:

 

ISSUE

CRFA RECOMMENDATION

GOVERNMENT ACTION

GRADE

1.     

Restaurant and foodservice jobs
and growth plan

Ontario
Government recognizes the Ontario restaurant industry's significant job
creation and economic contributions

Budget
ignores a "key sector" of the Ontario economy

F

2.     

Labour costs

  • Lower
    government labour costs and maintain the student and liquor server
    differential wage rates
  • Resist
    payroll tax increases for labour intensive businesses
  • Government
    freezes the general minimum wage and maintains the differential wage
    rates, but still the highest of any province
  • Ontario
    Government pushing for CPP premium increases

C+

3.     

Beverage alcohol

Review
and implement recommendations of the Beverage Alcohol System Review Panel and
introduce true wholesale pricing at the LCBO and The Beer Store


No action

F

4.     

Tax burden

Implement
long term tax reduction plan to create conditions for investment, greater
economic activity and growth

Follow
through on commitments to move to a single CIT rate of 10 per cent and PIT
cuts

B+

5.     

Debt/deficit reduction

Implement
strategic debt/deficit reduction plan to create a more favourable long term
business environment

Deficit
reduced through expenditure reductions and program efficiencies rather than
increased taxes

B+

6.     

Environment

Ontario
government renew the 50/50 cost sharing arrangement currently in place
between industry and municipalities for the blue box, which promotes public
and private partnerships to meet recycling goals.


No action

No mark

7.     

Municipal taxes

  • Government
    of Ontario to remove the power of City of Toronto to impose any new
    Municipal Sales Taxes
  • Government
    of Ontario must not extend any new taxation powers to other
    municipalities

Government
has not expanded taxing powers to other municipalities, but has not removed
the threat by repealing the City of Toronto Act

C-

8.     

Labour shortage

Work with
the business community on a long-term, comprehensive labour shortage strategy
to ensure hiring needs are met

Budget
silent on labour shortage strategy

No mark

9.     

Red tape

Government
of Ontario to work with industry to identify opportunities to reduce red tape
and unnecessary paper burden on restaurant owners

Open for
Business initiative is step in the right direction and needs to address
restaurant specific issues

B

 

In a press release, the CRFA awarded the budget a passing grade of C, noting: “While there were some steps in the right direction, the Government of Ontario needs to do more to recognize the critical role of Ontario’s $23 billion restaurant industry. More is needed to instill confidence in the province’s business environment so that the restaurant industry can continue to invest, create jobs and grow in the future.”