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Manitoba’s mediocre budget offers little for restaurateurs


April 18, 2012
By CRFA

April 18, 2012, Winnipeg – Manitoba’s budget lived up to the restaurant
industry’s low expectations, offering no visionary changes for the
business community.

April 18, 2012, Winnipeg – Manitoba’s budget lived up to the restaurant
industry’s low expectations, offering no visionary changes for the
business community. To add insult to injury, it slapped on a 2.5 per
cent increase in minimum wage – which directly hurts the province’s
labour-intensive restaurant industry.

“We asked for a minimum wage freeze, and instead, we get another minimum
wage hike,” says Dwayne Marling, Manitoba-Saskatchewan vice-president
for the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA). “Since
2001, the minimum wage has jumped by more than three times the rate of
inflation. How does this live up to the government’s pre-election
promise to keep minimum wage increases sustainable – especially for an
industry where labour makes up more than one-third of all costs?”

The 25-cent hike in the minimum wage scheduled for October will cost the
average restaurant operator an additional $3,400 per year. Between 2001
and 2012, Manitoba’s minimum wage has skyrocketed by 64 per cent,
compared to a 20 per cent increase in the overall Consumer Price Index
(CPI).

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“We’re frustrated,” says Marling. “This announcement comes without any meaningful consultation with the business community.”

Today’s budget also included an announcement to merge Manitoba Liquor
Control Commission and Manitoba Lotteries Corporation, which could
impact restaurateurs.

“We’re hoping government took our calls for a comprehensive review of
the liquor system seriously – and that this merger will result in
reduced red tape and streamlined operations that create a better
business climate for restaurateurs,” says Marling.

Manitoba’s $1.8-billion restaurant and foodservice industry is the
fourth-largest private sector employer in the province. More than 42,000
people are directly employed in foodservice and half of these employees
are young people under the age of 25.


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