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Hi there,

The critical needs of foodservice businesses impacted by COVID-19 are being heard loud and clear.
 
"We're thinking about that family-owned restaurant that's been around for years," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Canadians today, after announcing new relief measures related to key recommendations from Restaurants Canada.
 
The announcement to support businesses comes in response to our joint proposal with the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) and specifically includes key foodservice recommendations, with slight variances and some limitations.
 
High-level the most important measures include deferred GST/HST payments until June, increased liquidity access and a 75% wage subsidy.

Here are the relevant measures for the foodservice industry:
 
Deferred GST & HST payments, duties and taxes on imports until June 2020
  • This measure is the equivalent of providing up to $30 billion in interest-free loans to Canadian businesses.
  • Deferred payments will allow restaurant owners and foodservice operators to have more liquidity on hand to survive the financial impact of COVID-19.
  • While we were looking for relief, this is step in the right direction.
Canada Emergency Business Account
  • Banks will offer $40,000 loans, guaranteed by the Government to qualifying small businesses and loans will be interest free for the first year. The qualify businesses must have payrolls of less than $1 million.
  • Full loan repayment by December 31, 2022 will see a 25% loan forgiveness up to $10,000.
  • Loans will be available through eligible financial institutions and will be fully guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada.
Increased Wage Subsidy to 75% for qualifying businesses
  • The Governments previously announced wage subsidy of 10% will be replaced by a wage subsidy of 75%, helping restauranteurs and foodservice operators keep employees on payroll and position our industry for recovery once this health crisis is over.
  • Eligibility criteria will start with the impact of COVID-19 on sales, and further details regarding eligibility will shared by the government shortly.
  • This subsidy will be available to small and medium businesses for up to three months and retroactive until March 15, 2020, allowing restaurant owners and foodservice operators to potentially re-hire laid off staff.  
 
New Access to Credit through Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program
  • The Government announced $12.5 billion of additional support and access to credit through EDC and BDC to help small and medium-sized enterprises with cash flow requirements through the new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program.
  • Restaurant owners and foodservice operators can apply for a guaranteed loan through their banking institution to access this additional financial support. 
  • Loans of up to $6.25 million will be made available to small and medium sized businesses in Canada directly through their financial institutions.
This is an encouraging step in the right direction, signalling that our recommendations are being taken seriously.
 
But given the devastating losses that most restaurants have already experienced and are continuing to anticipate, more details are needed to assess whether these measures will go far enough, quickly enough.
 
Restaurants Canada continues to be at the table, collaborating with all levels of government toward solutions that will ensure foodservice businesses can survive and recover from the unprecedented challenges they are facing.
 
Read the statement we released last week to learn more about our recommended areas for relief.
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Shanna Munro
Restaurants Canada
President & CEO | Présidente et cheffe de la direction

SMunro@restaurantscanada.org