Restaurants Canada Calls for Cost Relief, Labour Shortage Help, and Liquor Policy Changes from B.C. Government

On Oct. 10, Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Western Canada, presented the association’s 2019 pre-budget consultation recommendations to the B.C. Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services.

Most of the 12 recommendations in the submission from Restaurants Canada focused on ways that the government can mitigate the painful consequences that rising operational costs are creating for foodservice and hospitality businesses due to a number of recent public policy decisions, such as the new Employer Health Tax and increases to the minimum wage.

The committee was also asked to encourage the government to do more to help the industry navigate the province’s growing labour shortage and to call for the implementation of the Mark Hicken liquor report recommendations. Mark Hicken is a respected wine industry lawyer and serves as the Attorney General’s liquor policy advisor. The report and recommendations are the result of the work of the Liquor Business Technical Advisory Panel (that included Restaurants Canada) that Mark Hicken chaired. The report’s 24 recommendations, if implemented would modernize the liquor pricing and distribution system in British Columbia, with changes such as:

• permitting wholesale pricing for hospitality licensees;
• improvements to the licensee special order process; and
• eliminating restrictions against licensee-to-licensee sales to allow hospitality licensees to purchase product directly from private retailers.

Restaurants Canada encourages members in British Columbia to actively support the association’s recommendations to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services on social media, and in any dealings with Members of the Legislative Assembly.

Members should also look for municipal candidates with restaurant-friendly platforms and get out to vote during the province-wide municipal elections taking place on Oct. 20.

Also: Members should remember to mail in their votes for the upcoming proportional representation referendum in November.

For more information on the municipal elections and referendum, visit the Elections BC website:

As recent elections have proven, every vote counts!