Business groups call on government to avoid a recipe for disaster during prolonged food services recovery

(OTTAWA) – July 20, 2020 – Today, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, provincial, territorial, and municipal chambers of commerce, and leaders in the food services industry sent a joint letter to political leaders at all levels across Canada, sounding the alarm of imminent failure of an entire industry.

Pre-COVID, the positive impact of our restaurants on Canadians was deeply felt. The industry directly created one out of every 15 jobs (1.2 million Canadians), served 22 million meals per day to Canadians, operated close to 100,000 establishments, paid Canadians $30 billion of wages and benefits, and contributed $31 billion annually to Canada’s GDP.

Today, the industry is untenable as revenues are off by between 60 and 70 percent amid continued social distancing rules while the industry must continue to pay nearly full pre-COVID level costs. No business can continue to run at a loss indefinitely.

The joint letter, signed by 21 industry and business representatives, underscores the food services industry’s importance across Canada, outlines where government programs responding to COVID-19 have helped, and identifies key policy areas where immediate action is required to prevent irreparable harm to the food services industry.

“Our restaurants are cornerstones in communities of all sizes across Canada. By taking the necessary actions to create the conditions for success, together we can create a win-win for more Canadians to get back to work and prevent the failure of a key industry in the coming year,” said Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Food service locations operate on thin margins when tables are full. The reality now with COVID-19 in our midst for the foreseeable future is that the safety requirements both limit revenue and increase costs. Continued operation for the majority of restaurants is, at best, uncertain. Government programs as they are presently designed are not equipped for the timescale of this ongoing reality for this industry.

Since COVID-19, the industry has lost 800,000 jobs.

“The scale of hardship Canadians in the food services industry have already experienced is significant,” noted Beatty. “Just as our restaurants have always been there for Canadians for important moments in our lives, now we need to be here for them,” he concluded.

Read the joint letter here.

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About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. We do this by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses, decision-makers and peers from across the country, in every sector of the economy and at all levels of government, as well as internationally. We are unapologetic in our support for business and the vital role it plays in building and sustaining our great nation.

For more information, please contact:

Phil Taylor, Canadian Chamber of Commerce
[email protected]