Saskatchewan budget falls flat on liquor pricing inequities

REGINA, March 20, 2013 /CNW/ - Not only has Saskatchewan's budget dropped the ball on modernizing an antiquated liquor system, but it has also slammed the province's restaurant industry with a three-per-cent liquor tax hike.

"Saskatchewan has an archaic liquor pricing system, where inequity is the name of the game," says Dwayne Marling, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association's (CRFA's) Vice-President Manitoba-Saskatchewan. "While some classes of licensees receive discounts, restaurants get nothing. There is also no differential liquor pricing for licensees and consumers at retail stores. Government has missed a golden opportunity to bring some balance to its liquor pricing system."

In pre-budget consultations, CRFA had presented government with recommendations that would modernize the province's antiquated liquor regulations and create a more progressive and fair pricing system. CRFA will continue to raise this issue on behalf of our members.

"Simply put, this increase in liquor taxes is nothing but a tax grab directed at the restaurant industry," says Marling. "All it will do is further squeeze one of the province's largest employment sectors."

Saskatchewan's $2-billion restaurant industry is an important economic force, representing 2.6% of the provincial economy. The province's restaurant industry directly employs more than 3,200 people, or 6% of the provincial workforce, in every community.

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 restaurant industry employs more than one million people in communities across the country.

SOURCE: Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

For further information:

CONTACT: Dwayne Marling, 204-688-8557 or dmarling@crfa.ca; Prasanthi Vasanthakumar, 1-800-387-5649, ext. 4254 or pvasanthakumar@crfa.ca.

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Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

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