Media Releases Sep 18, 2020

More than 1,200 restaurants with more than 100,000 employees band together and ask for 3 things in the Speech from the Throne

(OTTAWA) – September 18, 2020 – With 60% of Canadian restaurants facing possible failure this fall, they are looking for a lifeline in next week’s Throne Speech.

Today, more than 1,200 restaurants are coming together with three specific asks of the federal government in order to help prevent the failure of an entire industry:

  • a commitment that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will be continued into 2021 and its scope will reflect a long-term recovery;
  • a commitment that an new, improved and long-term commercial rent relief program will be introduced addressing the well documented difficulties and sector specific needs; and,
  • our leaders will start encouraging Canadians to safely visit our restaurants.

“The situation is dire for the industry. There is a trifecta of bad news: patios are closing, there is no prospect of office or holiday parties coming in, and government programs are not designed for the unique situation facing restaurants,” says Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “The Throne Speech is an opportunity for the federal government to indicate they will help prevent the failure of this industry.”

According to an analysis by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce of data collected by Statistics Canada through the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions, 60% of restaurants in Canada could be forced to close by November. Moreover, Restaurants Canada data reports that by March 2020 10% of all Canadian restaurants had already permanently closed with thousands more closing their doors since then. Those findings suggest a further 50% expect to operate at an unsustainable loss for at least a year.

This morning, the Save Hospitality CA initiative is joining the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Our Restaurants campaign. Together, Our Restaurants now represents more than 1,200 Canadian restaurants, food and beverage locations, and industry suppliers. The Our Restaurants campaign asks Canadians to support their local restaurants by going out for a meal and for all levels of government to implement policies that reflect the long-term hardship and recovery this industry is facing. A full list of issues can be found here.

“Restaurants are cornerstones in Canadian communities – both economically and culturally,” says Andrew Oliver, President and CEO of Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality and co-founder of the Save Hospitality initiative. “The hospitality industry is in a state of crisis and is in need of immediate and concrete support from all levels of government. Restauranteurs are proud to stand together in this situation and we hope all Canadians will stand with us.”

The food service industry in Canada typically employs 1.2 million Canadians and generates approximately $93 billion in gross revenue. According to Labour Force Survey data from Statistics Canada, the industry remains 260,000 jobs below normal, for full service restaurants alone – far worse than other sectors of the Canadian economy. This does not include job losses sustained in the quick service sector.

“The Canadian restaurant industry needs help now. We need immediate and clear action from the government to support those who own, operate, serve and support restaurants,” says John Sinopoli, Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Ascari Hospitality Group, and co-founder of Save Hospitality.

According to Restaurants Canada data, each $1 spent in restaurants generates $2.26 of output in the broader Canadian economy. In addition, on average, $95 of every $100 generated by a restaurant gets spent directly back into the Canadian economy.

“So many Canadians got their first job, paid for their college tuition, or support their families by working in food services,” according to Erik Joyal, Proprietor and Co-Owner of Ascari Hospitality Group, and co-founder of Save Hospitality. “Keeping the industry afloat is crucial for Canadians everywhere.”

“If each of us does a little right now, it can make a big difference,” concluded Beatty.

Learn more about the Our Restaurants campaign:

About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. We do this by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses, decision-makers and peers from across the country, in every sector of the economy and at all levels of government, as well as internationally. We are unapologetic in our support for business and the vital role it plays in building and sustaining our great nation.


For more information, please contact:

Phil Taylor