Canadian Pizza Magazine

News
Sask. beer discount brews discontent


March 28, 2011
By Canadian Pizza

March 28, 2011, Regina – An otherwise positive provincial budget for
Saskatchewan has been tarnished by a decision to give beverage room
operators a discount on beer at the expense of licensed restaurant
operators, says the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association
(CRFA).

“The beer discount is patently unfair and mars an otherwise positive
budget for restaurant operators,” says Joyce Reynolds, CRFA’s executive
vice president of government affairs. “There is no rationale for
favouring one category of licensee over another. No operator should be
given a competitive advantage because of a political whim.”

CRFA has long argued for an overhaul of the licensing system so that all
hospitality operators have an equal opportunity to compete.

The positives in the budget are a reduction in small business corporate
taxes; an increase to the basic personal income tax exemption, putting
more money in the hands of lower income workers; and reduced commercial
property taxes.

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“The government should also be recognized for maintaining food tax
fairness in Saskatchewan’s sales tax system and for its steadfast
refusal to harmonize the provincial sales tax with the GST,” says
Reynolds. “Restaurant operators are disappointed and discouraged,
however, by their discriminatory treatment in the provision of beer
discounts.”

Saskatchewan’s $1.8 billion restaurant and foodservice industry is one
of the largest employers in the province. More than 32,000 people are
directly employed in foodservice, including 15,300 young people under
the age of 25.