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No relief from HST, G20 damage in federal budget


March 23, 2011
By Canadian Pizza

pzcanadianmoneythumbnailMarch 23, 2011, Ottawa – Yesterday’s federal budget is “disappointing” to thousands of restaurant operators hit hard by the HST in British Columbia and G20 damage in Toronto, according to the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA).

“Canada’s restaurant industry creates opportunity, attracts tourists, drives culinary innovation and builds community,” said Garth Whyte, president and CEO of the CRFA. “It’s surprising and disappointing that the federal government has remained silent on the damage done by the B.C. HST and Toronto G20.”

In British Columbia, where restaurant meals were previously exempt from provincial sales tax, the HST raised the cost of eating out by seven per cent when it was introduced on July 1, 2010. This widened the gap between the price of food from grocery stores versus food from restaurants and resulted in a drop in sales for many restaurant owners. In a survey conducted by the CRFA in late July, 72 per cent of members in British Columbia said the HST had a negative impact on their sales.

Also last summer, Toronto lost an estimated $84 million in restaurant sales due to G20 disruptions. According to the CRFA, some restaurant operators have received offers of compensation from Ottawa, but these offers barely cover the cost of submitting a claim. Others have reportedly been denied compensation because they closed their businesses out of concern for the safety of their staff and customers.

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According to the CRFA, yesterday’s federal budget adds up to a big let down for restaurant operators hoping for a reprieve.

“There’s not even an acknowledgement of the significant negative impact that these made-in-Ottawa events have had on our members,” said Whyte.