MANITOBA GOVERNMENT PURSUES WAGE INFLATION, NOT JOB CREATION

WINNIPEG, May 26, 2011 /CNW/ - The Manitoba government's decision to raise the minimum wage to $10.00/hour in October will once again hit small businesses and youth job creation across the province.

"Restaurants provide more first-time jobs than any other industry in Canada, and are a stepping stone to the broader labour force including thousands of opportunities within foodservice in Manitoba," says Dwayne Marling, Manitoba-Saskatchewan Vice President for the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA). "Unfortunately the Manitoba government seems determined to pursue a policy of wage inflation, rather than job creation."

"Restaurant operators are already struggling with escalating food, energy and beverage alcohol costs," says Marling. "Another increase in the minimum wage, the twelfth in 11 years, hits an industry which is already operating on tight margins."

Last year's 50-cent minimum wage hike hit Manitoba's restaurant operators with an estimated $16 million - or $7,000 per restaurant - in increased labour costs. This year's increase is expected to have a similar impact.

"The province holds up the elimination of the small business tax and cuts to the general corporate capital tax as solutions to every business owner's challenges," adds Marling. "But this is only helpful when businesses are actually making money. And in Manitoba, not only are margins tight, we have the lowest per capita foodservice sales in the country. Real sales in the province's restaurants were flat in 2010, compared to an increase of 1.4% nationally."

Manitoba's $1.7-billion restaurant and foodservice industry is one of the largest employers in the province. More than 41,000 people are directly employed in foodservice, making it the third-largest private-sector employer in Manitoba. More than half of these employees are 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.

SOURCE Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

For further information:

Dwayne Marling, Vice President, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, 204-926-8557 or dmarling@crfa.ca; Prasanthi Vasanthakumar, Communications Specialist, 1-800-387-5649, ext. 4254 or pvasanthakumar@crfa.ca.

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Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

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