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Ont. Bill 148 reforms help restaurants, association says


October 24, 2018
By Canadian Pizza

Toronto – Restaurants Canada applauds the Ontario government for making changes to Bill 148 it says will provide relief for the province’s foodservice sector.

Jim Wilson, Ontario’s Minister Responsible for Red Tape and Regulatory Burden Reduction, Labour Minister Laurie Scott and Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, announced a proposed series of reforms that, if passed by Ontario’s Legislature, will include:
• Keeping the minimum wage at $14 per hour until 2020, then introducing annual increases tied to inflation, so that businesses can have more time to adjust; and
• Repealing planned scheduling provisions, which would have made reallocating resources difficult for foodservice operators when they face unforeseen circumstances.

“Bill 148 forced restaurants to make tough choices that resulted in higher menu prices and fewer hours of work for staff,” said Shanna Munro, Restaurants Canada president and CEO, applauded the Ontario government for hearing the concerns of its members and taking action.

The average pre-tax profit margin for restaurants and other foodservice businesses in Ontario is only 3.1 per cent, the lowest in the country, Restaurants Canada said in a news release. So far this year, menu prices across the province have risen by 6.6 per cent, as foodservice operators have had to adjust to the minimum wage increase in January. This is the largest menu price increase the province has experienced since the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax in 1991.

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“When their costs go up so suddenly, restaurateurs have difficult decisions to make if they want to stay open for business — either pass those costs onto consumers or cut staff hours or positions,” said James Rilett, Restaurants Canada vice-president for Central Canada. “These are mostly small business operators. Their success is critical to the well-being of the people they employ and serve in their communities.”