That's the slogan coined by the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA), which today launched a campaign against the Harmonized Sales Tax being charged on restaurant food called No Meal Tax.
The CRFA has clearly given up on persuading the BC Liberal government to back off on the HST despite close ties to Premier Gordon Campbell - it will be very interesting to see how the government reacts to an ally taking it on in public.
The CRFA earlier released a public opinion poll that showed widespread opposition to the HST - both in general and specifically in regard to the new 7% tax that will be imposed on all restaurant food - conducted by former Campbell chief of staff Greg Lyle.
Here's the news release from the CRFA - and be sure to sign up on their petition!
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New meal tax will add 7 per cent to your food order: 'Fed up yet?'
Nomealtax.ca campaign asks B.C. consumers to speak out against impacts of higher dining prices, potential job losses if the HST is added to restaurant meals
VANCOUVER, Dec. 9 - The British Columbia restaurant and foodservice industry today launched its new campaign to educate B.C. consumers and encourage them to speak out against a new meal tax.
The group has set up a website - www.nomealtax.ca - to serve consumers the facts about the effects of the 7 per cent meal tax and links to an online petition addressed directly to the provincial and federal governments. Foodservice workers will also be spreading the word as part of an associated in-restaurant campaign.
"A new 7 per cent meal tax will take a big bite out of customers' wallets, employees' wages and threatens our members' livelihoods," said Mark von Schellwitz, Vice President Western Canada of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA). "We're calling on consumers and industry staff to let their MPs and MLAs know that they are against this unfair tax."
The potential losses for the B.C. restaurant and foodservice industry are very real. Economic analysis indicates that adding a 7 per cent meal tax will lead to a 7.5 per cent drop in overall restaurant sales.
This translates into a $750 million loss in B.C. - nearly $50,000 a year for the average restaurant. Since the majority of operators' costs are fixed, the only way to offset these losses will be to cut staff hours.
In an industry that employs 173,000 people, a new meal tax could have a profound effect on the province's unemployment rates and the economy as a whole.
"Our industry employs more people than the agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, and oil and gas sectors combined," said Ian Tostenson, President and CEO of the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association (BCRFA).
"Our campaign will give a much-needed voice to the thousands of restaurant workers whose jobs could disappear if governments don't start seriously working with us to come up with solutions that meet everyone's needs."
Findings from a recent survey commissioned by the CRFA for the B.C. restaurant and foodservice industry demonstrates that 64 per cent of B.C. consumers agree with the industry and favour exempting food in restaurants from a new meal tax.
Eighty-one per cent think it is not fair to implement a tax that will hurt some workers and businesses without doing something to help those feeling the greatest impact.
About the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association:
CRFA is one of Canada's largest business associations, with a membership of 33,000 representing independent and chain restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and other foodservice providers, including more than 4,000 British Columbia-based members. CRFA's mission is to create an environment to help members in every community grow and prosper. Canada's $60-billion foodservice industry employs more than one million people in communities across the country.
About the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association:
With more than 25 years of leadership, the BCRFA is the foremost advocate and resource for the restaurant and foodservices industry, ensuring long-term dynamic growth within B.C. The Association is a representative body of restaurateurs, foodservice retailers, suppliers and educators. It works to enhance the image and integrity of the industry through positive communications, education and promotion of operating standards that encourage excellence.