Earlier this week, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) and 20 other business organizations
including the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), sent a letter to the federal government detailing the challenges of the restaurant industry in Canada.
In the letter, the CCC highlights how pre-COVID the restaurant industry provided positive economic returns and how revenues have fallen significantly.
Here in Peterborough, as stated on Peterborough.ca, the City has issued 22 permits for new or
expanded patios under the fast-track process for using the flexible-use area that has been created through the Downtown Public Space Plan. We are also seeing restaurants in the county that are creating or
enhancing patio spaces. One example is Chamber member Canoe & Paddle in Lakefield creating a larger patio space behind their restaurant lined with AstroTurf from the former Skydome when the Toronto
Blue Jays won back-to-back World Series.
Locally, along with implementation of patios, restaurants have modified hours, added curbside pickup, relied on delivery, added grocery items and under a provincial directive were allowed to sell alcohol with their takeout meals. While keeping businesses going, it’s nowhere near the amount of business that would be seen in a normal year.
Here is a segment from the letter to government:
“Our restaurants are cornerstones of communities of all sizes across Canada. They’re meeting places for business and pleasure; they’re where we celebrate; they’re where we gather to mourn a loss.
Pre-COVID, the economic 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.
When the pandemic hit, our restaurants were among the first and the hardest hit. Notwithstanding their own losses, which includes 800,000 jobs lost, the food services industry stepped up to serve their communities, their customers, and continued to bring Canadians together – just in new and innovative ways. But despite their best intentions and best efforts, the food services industry will be among the last to resume normal operations, on a timescale stretching at least into the next 12-18 months.
The urgency of action cannot be overstated. Indeed, if action is not taken now, businesses will close and communities will be among the hardest hit since a loss of business means loss of jobs throughout the entire food services supply chain."