Bill 148 Reforms Bring Relief to Foodservice Sector

Restaurants Canada applauds the Ontario government for making changes to Bill 148 that will provide welcomed relief for the province's foodservice sector.

Jim Wilson, Ontario's Minister Responsible for Red Tape and Regulatory Burden Reduction, today joined Labour Minister Laurie Scott, and Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, to announce 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; andRepealing 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. “Restaurants Canada applauds the new Progressive Conservative government in Ontario for hearing the concerns of our members and taking action before the situation became even harder to bear.”

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. 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.

“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, Central Canada. “These are mostly small business operators. Their success is critical to the wellbeing of the people they employ and serve in their communities.”

Restaurants Canada looks forward to continuing to work with the Ontario government on workplace legislation that supports a thriving foodservice sector