Open Letter to Premier Campbell and Finance Minister Hansen

Update on the "No Meal Tax" Campaign

TORONTO, Jan. 28 /CNW/ -

Dear Premier Campbell and Minister Hansen:

Over the past few weeks, nearly 200,000 British Columbians have signed petitions in restaurants and on-line at nomealtax.ca, voicing their strong opposition to a new 7% tax on restaurant meals. Many have also shared their views. Here are three from the thousands of comments received.

    
    -  "We have already cut back on going to restaurants due to the economy
       and if this tax does come into effect then we'll reduce going out yet
       again."

    -  "As a senior with extremely limited income, one of the few pleasures
       is to meet friends for coffee at a restaurant at least once a week.
       Now that will likely be curtailed to once a month if at all."

    -  "This new tax means many of my loyal customers will cut back on their
       spending causing my boss to give me less hours..."
    

Not exempting restaurant food from HST will be devastating to our industry and our employees, just as the implementation of GST was in 1991. The new tax comes at the worst time for the struggling foodservice industry. The drop in sales resulting from a new 7% tax - while competitive food products in grocery stores remain completely tax free - will have an enormous job loss effect. Our low margin foodservice industry will have to reduce work hours or lay off thousands of our 173,000 employees. This includes 80,000 young people, who rely on their jobs to help pay for their education. With a youth unemployment rate of 15.8%, we can't afford to jeopardize the jobs of the largest employer of youth in the province.

Foodservice operators from every community in B.C. have been overwhelmed by the support they have received from their staff and customers. They are looking to your government to mitigate the negative impacts of the HST on our industry as promised in your September 1st budget speech.

    
    Sincerely,

    Garth Whyte
    President
    Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association
    

SOURCE Restaurants Canada

For further information: For further information: Mark von Schellwitz, CRFA Vice President Western Canada, 1-866-300-7675 or mark@crfa.ca; Prasanthi Vasanthakumar, CRFA Communications, 1-800-387-5649, ext. 4254 or pvasanthakumar@crfa.ca


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