250+ businesses and associations join together to urge the Finance Minister to halt planned tax hike amid pandemic

Hon. Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Finance
90 Elgin St, Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0G5

Dear Minister:

On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of businesses of all sizes across the country affected by the COVID-19 health and economic crisis, thank you for your continued engagement with and responsiveness as we continue to try to mitigate the devastating impacts of the pandemic on businesses and their employees.

We are writing on behalf of Canadian restaurants and the hospitality industry, agricultural and other supply chain members, alcohol producers and consumers to ask that Finance Canada repeal the alcohol escalator tax in the government’s upcoming update to Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. The escalator tax is an automatic increase to excise duties that has gone up four times in the last three years and is scheduled to increase again on April 1, 2021 further driving up the price of beverage alcohol for consumers and businesses that are struggling.

Canada has some of the highest alcohol taxes in the world.  On average, 47 per cent of the price of beer in Canada is from federal or provincial taxes. Approximately 65 per cent of the price of wine is due to taxes and on average 80 percent of the price of spirits is taxes. The escalator tax increases that tax burden every single year on April 1.

The pandemic has resulted in a collapse in bar and restaurant sales for all beverage alcohol. Another increase to the escalator tax will increase hospitality industry costs, affecting their ability to attract customers and retain employees while they try to survive and recover from government-imposed shutdowns. As new indoor dining restrictions are implemented in various parts of the country and patio season ends, tens of thousands of restaurants and bars are in danger of closing their doors permanently. An increase in excise duties will also hurt Canadian brewers, wineries and distillers who will lose access to much needed capital that they would otherwise invest in their operations, employees and products as they try to navigate the huge losses of sales to restaurants and bars. 

When the escalator tax was first introduced, we expressed concern that a permanent automatic increase in duties every year was not warranted given Canada’s exceedingly

high alcohol tax rates. We also believe that the escalator shields tax increases from necessary parliamentary scrutiny and approval and that the rigid and automatic nature of the escalator does not allow the government to account for economic circumstances such as those we are experiencing right now.

Now is not the time to increase alcohol taxes on middle-class Canadians, our struggling restaurants and bars and domestic alcohol producers. Our request is that you repeal the escalator tax through the fall update to Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan or the next federal budget. At a minimum to support Canada’s economic recovery, the escalator tax increase should be frozen so it does not increase excise duty rates on April 1, 2021.

Thank you for your continued efforts to support Canadian businesses and their employees.

Sincerely,

Hon. Perrin Beatty, PC, OC
President & CEO
Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Tommy Donnelly
Owner/operator
1336209 Ontario In.

Eric Demoncheaux
President
3 Brasseurs Canada

Dave Auger
General Manager
817 Sports Bar & Grill

Shauna White
Winemaker
Adamo Estate Winery

Manny Botelho
President
Adega Inc.

Ben Swirsky
President
Alchemy Restaurant & Bar Ltd.

Jeff Guignard
Executive Director
Alliance of Beverage Licensees of British Columbia

Michael Pizzitelli
Founder and President
Arbutus Distillery

John Sinopoli & Eric Joyal
Co-Owners
Ascari Hospitality Group

Blair McNeil
VP & General Manager
Bacardi Canada Inc.

Erin Armstrong
Executive Director
Barley Council of Canada

Ryan Keery
Sales Director
Beam Suntory

Luke Chapman
President
Beer Canada

Gerald McConnell
President
Benjamin Bridge Vineyards

Roshan Jainudeen
General Manager
Best Western Premier Toronto Airport Hotel

Kerrie Fraser
VP Strategic Juggling
Birds & Bees Organic Winery, Meadery, Distillery

Vlado Ristovski
Co-owner and Manager
Bistro Ristoro

Tracy Johnson
Bitter Sisters Brewing Co.

Anita & Steve Buehner
Owners/Operators
Bonnieheath Estate Lavender & Winery

Jim Treliving, Chairman
Jordan Holm, President
Boston Pizza International Inc

Ian Tostenson
President
British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Bobbi Woodson
Country Manager Canada
Brown Forman

Anna-Lisa Brewer
General Manager
BSG Canada

Amir Benedikt
Owner
By The Way

Rocco Mastrangelo
President
Cafe Diplomatico and Restaurant Limited

Tom Leger
General Manager
Calabogie Brewing Company Ltd.

Neale Graham
Managing Director
Canada & Canadian Brands, Beam Suntory

Emma Breen
Vice President
Canada’s National Brewers

Karen Walters
Owner
Carens Wine and Cheese Rosedale

Adrian Cassini
Owner
Cassini Cellars

Krista Tobias
Owner
Collision

Ross Alger
Founder
Confluence Distilling Ltd.

Miguel Kabantsov
Director
Copper Spirit Distillery Ltd.

Stuart Sands
General Manager
Country Malt Group

Jerod McCrory
Owner Operator
Culaccino Bar & Kitchen

Kristina & Jim Craig
Dark Sky Distillery

Kevin Titcomb
Distiller
deVine Vineyards Inc.

Jonathan Roy
Président
Distillerie Fils du Roy(QC) Inc.

Jean-Pierre Foucault
Domaine Mont Vézeau

Jon French
Regional Vice President & General Manager Americas
E&J Gallo Winery

Oliver Geddes
Owner
Easy & The Fifth Inc

Matthew Orawski
Senior Project Manager Beverage
Eataly Toronto

Miranda Halladay
General Manager
Elephant Island Winery

Justin McKellar
General Manager
Equals Brewing Company

Sean Bayley, Ginalyn Gamboa
FAB Restaurant Concepts

Mike Smith
President
Fellini Koolinis

Kent Epp
General Manager
Firkin on Yonge

Dave Longbottom
Owner and President
Flora Hall Brewing

Heleen Pannekoek
Co-owner & founder
Fort Berens Estate Winery Ltd

Scott Shupeniuk
General Manager
Fort Garry Brewing Company

Simi Kapur
Owner
Future Bistro

Brian Titus
President
Garrison Brewing Co.

Luke Anderson and Keaton Grieve
COO & CFO
Gibson And Company

Steve Kampstra
President
Gordon Food Service Canada

Debra Conlon
Government Relations
Grain Farmers of Ontario

Arjun Gopi
Director of Food & Beverage
Granite Club

Terry Mundell
President & CEO
Greater Toronto Hotel Association

Kristopher Sustrik
Owner/President
Hansen Distillery Ltd.

Martin McSkimming
President
Hemingways Restaurant

Luis Rivero
General Manager
Holiday Inn & Suites Windsor – Ambassador Bridge

Brendon Ainscow
General Manager
Holiday Inn Express Toronto Downtown

Zul Karmali
General Manager
Hotel Metro

Jason Sharpe
General Manager & Partner
Huff Estates Winery & Inn

Ted Latimer
Executive Director
Import Vintners and Spirits Association

Ted Latimer
Executive Director
IVSA Import Vintners & Spirits Association

Jamie Myers
President & Owner
Jake’s Grill & Oyster House

Mike Smith
President
Joe Kools

Jason Alikakos
Owner
Jonathans & J Bistro

Michael Kacaba
Proprietor
Kacaba Vineyards

Davina Ragoonanan
Owner
Kalypso Hut

Paul Meek
Co-Founder
Kichesippi

Nelio Caldeira & Paula Hensley
Owners/Operators
La Dolce Vita

Kyle Norrington
President
Labatt Breweries of Canada

Taras Manzie
President & CEO
Lake of the Woods Brewing Company

Dawn & Doug Lennie
Proprietor
Legend Distilling

Wayne Brown
Owner
Liaison College of Culinary Arts

Mr. Sukhi S. Shetra
Owner
Loch Side – Bar & Lounge

Judie Starchuk
Owner
Lowville Bistro

Geena Luckett
Owner
Luckett Vineyards

Toby Obrien
General Manager
MCO …interesting Wines & Spirits

Daniel MacKinnon
Brewer & Co-Owner
MacKinnon Brothers Brewing Co.

Rossana Di Zio Magnotta
CEO
Magnotta Brewery

Corey Stacinski
General Manager
Manitoulin Hotel & Conference Centre

Eadie Mastronardi
Proprietor
Mastronardi Estate Winery

Sarah Chown
Managing Partner
Metropolitain Brasserie

Brian Watson
President/Director
Molly Bloom’s Irish Pubs

Andrew Oland
President & CEO
Moosehead Breweries Ltd.

Todd Lewin
President
Muskoka Brewery

Kate Walker
CEO
Nelson Brewing Company

Maureen Thornton
Franchise Owner
New York Fries

Craig de Blois
President
Noble Estates Wine and Spirits

Pat Bell
Partner
Northern Lights Estate Winery

Michael Singer
Area Manager Novotel Hotels
Novotel Hotels

Andrew Oliver
President
Oliver & Bonancini Group

Tony Elenis
President & CEO
Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association

Scott Dargie
Owner/Operator
Paddy Flaherty’s Irish Pub

Sandra Paglione
President / Owner
Paglione Estate Winery

Cher Diller
General Manager
Parlor

Jeff Squires
President
PEI Brewing Company

Walter Schmoranz
President
Pelee Island Winery

Stephen & Natalie Dykie
Owner/Operator
Piermari Hotels Limited / Village Inn Hotel

Connie Slingerland
C.F.O., President of Operations
Pillitteri Estates Winery

Benoit Legault
Directeur général
Producteurs de grains du Québec

John Allen
President
Propeller Brewing Company

Scott Bonikowsky
Owner & Chief Commercial Officer
Pump Hospitality Group Family of Restaurants

Mike Marcolin
Owner / Operator
QB Sports Bar Grill Games

Greg Graham
Operations Manager
Quench Hospitality

Shaun Swayze, General Manager
& Nathan Cameron, Beverage Director
Recipe Unlimited

Adam Grinstead
Owner
Reset Social Cafe

Todd Barclay
President
Restaurants Canada

Stevan George
Owner
Riva Restaurant & Olivea Restaurant

Rebekah Crowley
President
Roots and Wings Distillery

Mike Smith
President
Runt Club

Stuart Sakai
Owner/operator
Sakai Bar

Mike Cappiello
Vice President
Scaddabush Italian Kitchen and Bar

Paul Bognar
President & CEO
SIR Corp (Service Inspired Restaurants)

John Sleeman
Founder & Chairman
Sleeman Breweries Ltd.

Kevin Wood
President
Something Brewing

Jan Westcott
President & CEO
Spirits Canada

Jason Strohan
General Manager/Owner
St. Tropez Bistro

Linda Pruegger
Founder
Stag’s Hollow Winery & Vineyard

Kathy Gutscher
Office Manager
Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm

Dane Adahan
Operations Manager
Stone Gate Inn

David Martin
President/ Owner /GM
Stratford Fellini’s Inc.
Gillian Stohler
Owner & Winemaker
SummerGate Winery Ltd

Mike Bobbitt
Executive Director of Operations
Sunray Group

Randy White
President
Sysco Canada

Claude Bilodeau
General Manager
The Black Velvet Distilling Company

Wayne Cowley
Owner
The Bottomline

Richard Pereira
Owner
The Duke on Sydenham

Robin Ridesic
Founder and CEO
The Exchange Brewery

Ash Farrelly
Owner
The George Street Diner

Justin Lahey & Brittany Hutchison
Owner Operators
The Green Door Cafe

Ed Catley
Owner Operator
The Queens Head Burlington

Christopher Freeman
Owner
The Social Pub

Brandon Stanicak
Owner
The West Town Bar and Grill

Kelti Baird
Co-Owner
Theoretically Brewing Company Ltd.

Andrew Kotsovos
Partner
Tomasso’s Italian Grille

Kevin Schmidt
General Manager
Toronto Airport Marriott Hotel

Meghan Stewart
Owner
True North Distilleries Ltd.

David Nicholls
Partner & General Manager
Vancouver Island Brewing

Allan Merlo
Co-Founder
Village Brewery

Kyle Rawn
Principal
VocalEyes Accessibility Consulting

George Croft
President & CEO
Waterloo Brewing Ltd.

Jim MacDonald
Brewmaster
Western Newfoundland Brewing Co.

Richard Reid
General Manager
Whiteoaks Resort

Christopher Thompson
President & Co-Owner
Whitewater Brewing Company

Sean Lucey
Owner
Windmill Brewery

Roland Kruger
General Manager
Wild Goose Vintner’s Inc.

Haley Brown
Executive Director
Wine Growers Nova Scotia

Robin Singh
Woods Restaurant

John Borsten
President
Zak’s Diner

Franz Roessl
Owner
180 Pub

Nelson Abreu
30.50 Imports Inc.

Blake Anderson
Chief Operating Office
Ace Hill Beer Company Inc

Dave Bishop
Chair
Alberta Barley

Kent Kirkland
General Manager
Alley Kat Brewing Company

Jessica Schacht, Stephen Schacht, Jeremy Schacht, Ramona Froehle-Schacht, Co-owners
Ampersand Distilling Company

Del Rollo
Vice President, Government & Industry Relations
Arterra Wines Canada

Kal Merkley
President
Babylon Lounge, Thunder Bay, ON

Brent VanderVeen
Co-Owner
BarChef

Ken Beattie
Executive Director
BC Craft Brewers Guild

Brett Ireland
CEO
Bearhill Brewing Co.

Harry Brar
President
Best Western Owen Sound

Peter Mammas
President & CEO
Big Rig Kitchen & Brewery

Giovanni Venditti
Brewing Science Coordinator
Bishop’s Arches Brewery,
Bishops University

Ken Woods
President
Black Oak Brewing

Eloi Deit
Head Brewer
Brasserie Dunham

Miles Prodan
President and CEO
British Columbia Wine Institute

Sean Fleming
President & CEO
Brunswick Bierworks

Margaret Hobbs
Partner
Buyers+Cellars Wine Purveyors

Joseph Moore
Director Food and Beverage
Caesars Windsor

Cristina Ionescu
Owner
Cafe Oro di Napoli

Melanie Batchelor
Managing Director
Campari Canada

Armand Parisien
President
Canada Malting Co. LTD

Yannick Bigourdan
Owner
Carbon Bar, Union Chicken, Ray’s BBQ

Mario Bourgeois
Owner
Cassel Brewery Company

Gary Lohin
Brewmaster
Central City Brewers and Distillers Ltd

Manny Tsouvallas
Owner
Colossus Fine Greek Foods

Bob Crecouzos
CEO
Cool Beer Brewing Co.

Nicolas Krantz
President & CEO
Corby Spirits and Wine Limited

Tyler Dyck, President
Craft Distiller’s Guild of BC & CEO
& Head of Operations,
Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery

Jacob Mancini
AVP, Restaurants and Breweries
CWB Franchise Finance

Felix Irnich
COO
DaVinci & T-Rex Distillery

Jodi Rumble
General Manager
Diageo Canada

Trevor Doege & Marie Eriksson
Owners
Doege Company Ltd.

George Assaf
Owner
East Side Mario’s Orleans

Barry Chaim
CEO
EDO Group of Restaurants

Ron Morrish
Director of National Accounts
Eska Inc

Shawn Dawson
Owner
Fatboys Southern Smokehouse – Ottawa

Mauro Rosati
General Manager – Partner
Fionn MacCool’s Woodbridge

Vito Rizzuto
Owner
Five Doors North

Peter Chiodo
Founder
Flying Monkeys Brewery

Mike Makhlouf
President
Freddy’s

Kevin Parker
General Manager
Gahan House Hub City

Ted Kindos
President
Gatorteds tap n grill

Angela Murphy
Owner/Director
Grace Restaurant London

Mark Boogemans
President
Grand Bend’s Bluewater Motel

Michael Brennan
President & CEO
Great Western Brewing Company Ltd.

Krista Tobias
Owner
Hanks Liquor

Angelo Nitsopoulos
Owner
Hart of Niagara Hotels

Barry Wilde
President & CEO
Highwood Distillers

Doug Loucks
General Manager
Holiday Inn Express Sarnia – Point Edward

Vanessa Stevenson
General Manager
Homewood Suites by Hilton Cambridge/Waterloo

John Watts
President
HOTHOUSE

James Vosburgh
President
Imago Restaurants Inc.

Jason Fisher
CEO
Indie Alehouse

Dan Etcher
Vice President of Operations
Jack Astor’s

Jack Valianes
President
Jake’s on Main Pub &Grille

Brian Dillon
Vice President Operations
JOEY Restaurant Group

Shirley Spralja
Owner / Operator
Joso’s Restaurant

John Rufa
Owner
Kawartha Country Wines

Marla Funkenhauser-Wiper
Dining Room Supervisor
Kingsville Golf and Country Club

Sarah Noonan
Owner
La Place Rendez-Vous

Sumit Kapur
Owner
Labryinth Lounge

Sandra Kane
Owner
Le Papillon on Front/Savoury Investments Inc.

Michael Ash
Vice President
Leo’s Hospitality Group

Stefani Choy
Director of Finance
Liberty Hospitality Corporation

Mark Findlay
CEO
Lone Star Texas Grilll

Dan Clarke
Owner
Loyaloarsman Pub

Eleonora Caldato
President
M&B Hospitality Inc. –
Mangia & Bevi resto-bar

Chris Hasslett
Director of Food and Beverage
Madison Avenue Pub

Sarah Dewar
Owner
Maiden Lane Wine & Spirits

Cindi Vanden Heuvel
VP & General Manager
Mariposa Cruises by Hornblower

Philippe Jaar
Président
McAuslan Brewing Inc

Lidia Caschera
Owner
Mi Taco Taqueria Inc.

Frederic Landtmeters
CEO
Molson Coors Canada

Nikolaos Giannakouras
Owner
Moroni‘s Restaurant

Court Desautels
President & CEO
Neighbourhood Group of Companies

Pat Bell
Chair
New Wave Wine Society

Steve Gill
General Manager
Niagara College Teaching Brewery

Sean Dunbar
Owner
Northampton Brewing Co.

Alan Howie
President
Northland Restaurant Group

Jan Iftikhar
General Manager
Novotel Toronto Vaughan Centre

Keith Currie
President
Ontario Federation of Agriculture

Brad Fennell
Director
Overflow Brewing Co.

Adam Slight
Operations Manager
Pauper’s Pub

Matt Phillips
Founder
Phillips Brewing & Malting Co.

Mathan Rajaratnam
Owner
Pizzeria Oro di Napoli

Scott Bellhouse
Owner & Founder
Profile Hospitality Group

Peter Hottman
General Manager
Proximo Canada

Shaun Fraser
President
Pump House Brewery

Charn Lalli
General Manager
Quality Inn – Sarnia

Trent Leggett
President
RASAS Group

Daelyn Hamill
President
Red Shed Malting

Rob Gregorini, CEO/Founder/Head Chef of Respect is Burning Kitchen and Bar, Red Fang tavern, Durham Hall, The Sirloin Cellar, Durham Social

Alan Hudson
President
Richibucto River Wine Estate

Carlam Holland
Director
Royce Distilleries Inc

Trent Leggett
Director
Rural Agency Store Advisory Society of BC

Elizabeth Wise
SVP – Government Affairs
Sazerac

Jacob Wiebe
Shelter Point Distillery

Faye Warrington
Owner
Skunkworks Distillery

John Ciampini
Owner
Smokeshow BBQ & Brew

Kimberley & Bartholomew Nadherny
Owners
Son of a Peach Pizzeria

Brent Poulton
President & CEO
St. Louis Bar & Grill

Cliff, Colin, and Dorothy Stanners; Mary Macdonald
Owners
Stanners Vineyard

William Redelmeier
Owner
Southbrook Vineyards

Matt Scrimes
General Manager
State & Main Etobicoke

Michael McBride
President
Storm Brewing Company

Newman D. Smith
Chairman
Strewn Estate Winery

Herman Chan
Owner
Swiss Chalet Courtice

Ted Moroz
President
The Beer Store

Marcos Yu
General Manager
The Bond Hotel

Doris Weiler
Owner
The Copper Mug Restaurant and Pub

Amber Thom
Owner/Operator
The Everly Restaurant Kingston, ON

Larry Isaacs
President
The Firkin Group of Pubs

David Mangano
Owner
The Grand Pizzeria & Bar

Perry Meeker
Owner
The Hatter Gastrobpub

Bruce Roberts
Owner
The Rebel House Toronto

Kimberley & Bartholomew Nadherny
Owners
The Sunshine Doughnut Co.

Mike St Denis
Co-Owner
The Windsor Tavern

Mike Smith
President
Toboggan Brewery

Bailey Hoefels
Director
Trench Brewing & Distilling Inc

Mark Freeland BA
Managing Partner
Two Rivers Distillery

Alise Matos
Sommelier/Manager
Veloute

Mark Hicken
Partner
Vintage Law Group

Chris Mlinaric
Chief Financial Officer
Vrancor Group Inc.

Bruce Van Leeuwen
WD Distillery

Jeremey J. MacRae
Chief Operating Officer
Weston Golf and Country Club

Kent Donaldson
President & Co-Owner
Whitetooth Brewing Co. Ltd.

Matt Widmer & Keith Robinson
Co-founder
Wild life Distillery Inc

Dan Paszkowski
President & CEO
Wine Growers Canada

Aaron Dobbin
President and CEO
Wine Growers Ontario

Bob Baxter
Co-Owner & President
Yukon Brewing

Loretta Zanatta
President
Zanatta Winery