VICTORIA, Sept. 1 /CNW/ - Today's budget leaves the province's restaurant
and foodservice industry hungry for answers on how the government will offset
the negative impact of the 12% HST on restaurant sales.
"As it stands, there is nothing in this budget to offset the significant
negative impacts of the HST on the restaurant industry. Even Finance Minister
Hansen recognizes that the restaurant industry will be hurt by the HST," says
Garth Whyte, President and CEO of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices
Association (CRFA). "We are encouraged that the government has publicly stated
that it is open to working with us to mitigate the impacts."
CRFA estimates that the new 12% HST will cause more than a 7% drop in
restaurant sales. When the GST was introduced, restaurant sales in B.C.
experienced their single greatest annual decline.
"The HST will deliver a huge hit to restaurant operators. The government
is plucking $750 million from the restaurant industry and it needs to find a
way to give it back," says Whyte.
The HST adds up to "three strikes against the restaurant industry," he
says. "It's going to eat into our sales, most of our costs aren't eligible for
input tax credits, and there's a five-year delay in the tax credits for
B.C.'s restaurant and foodservice industry is one of the top
private-sector employers in the province, with 173,000 direct jobs,
representing 7.5% of the provincial workforce.
CRFA is one of Canada's largest business associations, with 33,000
members representing independent and chain restaurants, bars, caterers,
institutions and other foodservice providers. Canada's $60-billion foodservice
industry employs more than one million people in communities across the
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