FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 23, 2011
REGINA – An otherwise positive provincial budget 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.
“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.
CRFA is one of Canada’s largest business associations, with more than 30,000 members representing restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and other foodservice providers. Canada’s $60-billion foodservice industry employs more than one million people in communities across the country.
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