A Meal Subsidy For Canada? Restaurants Call For Government Help Amid Pandemic

HALIFAX — Canada’s restaurant industry is bracing for the impact of patio closures as cold weather arrives, with experts saying the loss of open-air seating could be devastating. 

Food service experts say without targeted government aid, the combination of reduced seating capacity and a potential second wave of COVID-19 could cripple the industry. 

David Lefebvre, vice-president of Restaurants Canada, is calling on Ottawa to directly support the industry through meal subsidies.

Watch: CBC study suggests dining at restaurants poses greater COVID-19 risk. Story continues below.


He says while the throne speech extended the federal wage subsidy and a business aid program, subsidizing customer meals would directly help struggling restaurants survive.

Sylvain Charlebois, a professor of food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University, says restaurants are being creative with heaters and blankets to keep patios open longer.

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While he agrees more targeted aid is needed, he calls meal subsidies “food stamps for the rich” and says New Brunswick’s rebate program on food and drink is a better alternative. 


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