Restaurants want exemption from reduced wage subsidy as Ontario keeps dining shut


TORONTO — Restaurant owners say they are concerned about operations as federal subsidies begin to wind down, even as provinces like Ontario extend stay-at-home or lockdown measures.

Restaurants Canada is seeking an exemption from the federal government’s scheduled phase-out of the wage and rent subsidy programs, both of which will gradually be decreased starting in July, as vaccinations become more widespread.

The group says half of restaurants in Canada face the risk of closure if subsidies are scaled back too soon.

The programs currently provide a subsidy of up to 75 per cent of paid wages and up to 65 per cent in rent. On July 4, both will be scaled back to 60 per cent and phased out further later in the summer.

Restaurants Canada says there will likely be additional job losses in the industry as some provinces prolong or increase dining restrictions during the third wave of the pandemic.

On Thursday, Ontario extended until June 2 its stay-at-home order, which restricts in-person service and patio dining at restaurants.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.



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