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RC requests rent relief for food industry

The association asked all provincial governments to take evictions 'off the table' until funding solutions are in place.


March 23, 2020
By Bakers Journal


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Shanna Munro, president and CEO of Restaurants Canada (Image courtesy of Restaurants Canada) Image courtesy of Restaurants Canada

Restaurants Canada is calling on all provincial governments to take evictions and property seizures off the table until solutions are developed to help businesses impacted by COVID-19 meet rent obligations.

In a statement, president and CEO of Restaurants Canada Shanna Munro said, “for most foodservice operators, the single biggest fixed cost is rent. With the majority of establishments across the country temporarily shut down or restricted to takeout and delivery, many will struggle to have the cash flow necessary to meet fast-approaching rent deadlines. Once the COVID-19 crisis is over, re-opening their doors will also be difficult without solutions in place to keep them from owing many months of missed rent at once.

“Most restaurants are small-to-medium sized businesses operating on razor thin margins in the best of times. With little-to-no sales revenue coming in anymore, many have already depleted their reserve funds, or soon will, and won’t be able to keep paying rent and other bills,” added Munro. “We need governments to give them immediate assurances that they won’t face eviction notices while everyone comes to the table to figure out solutions. Arrangements are needed that will not only help foodservice operators survive the crisis we’re currently facing, but be able to re-open for business once we all get through this together.”

The association stated that takeout and delivery sales alone will not cover food industries’ expenses.

Restaurants need evictions off the table until solutions are in place. An injunction on evictions would allow time for governments to bring stakeholders to the table to develop immediate and long-term solutions that will work for all parties involved.

Further relief still needed in a number of key areas

Restaurants Canada’s statement underscored how it is continuing to recommend strengthening support in the following areas, including rent relief, so that restaurants can survive the unprecedented challenges they’re facing:

  • Loans and mortgages: Further coordination with the banking sector is needed to make more flexible arrangements readily available, including payment-free periods.
  • Rent: Flexible arrangements are needed from landlords to allow for payment-free periods. Foodservice operators are looking for a coordinated effort led by government, coupled with no-eviction orders to relieve pressure.
  • Taxes: More flexibility as well as a certain level of relief on sales tax payments are needed, as deferrals may contribute to long-term challenges. Flexibility and relief are also critically needed on property taxes at the municipal level.
  • Labour: Increased assistance is needed from government to avoid laying off staff during periods of little-to-no revenue. More information and support is also needed to help staff who are temporarily out of work access benefits.