Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association

Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association

July 19, 2005 14:42 ET

ORHMA URGES CHANGES IN BEVERAGE ALCOHOL SYSTEM

Changes Needed to Sustain Ontario's Hospitality Industry Attention: Food/Beverage Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, ON--(CCNMatthews - July 19, 2005) - The Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association urges the government to act on the general recommendation of the Beverage Alcohol System Review Panel for "a more open, flexible and competitive market" in beverage alcohol to help sustain the province's hospitality industry.

Ontario's hospitality industry has suffered serious setbacks every year since 2001 that have negatively impacted sales both locally and from out-of-province. Beginning with 9/11 in 2001, the industry lost significant business due to SARS, West Nile, Mad Cow, the August 2003 power blackout, the NHL lock-out, a high Canadian dollar, anti-smoking laws and now soaring fuel costs. Ontario's real foodservice sales since 2000 dropped 4.2% compared with a 6.3% increase in the rest of the country. Ever-higher operating costs are squeezing profits to the point that the average margin for the industry is now under 5% while pubs, bars and taverns are around 3.7%.

"We are looking at long-term sustainability for the hospitality industry" said Terry Mundell, President and CEO. "A more competitive, flexible and open marketplace for beverage alcohol without sacrificing social responsibility would go a long way to improving choice, access and pricing of products for our members and their bottom line."

Many of the recommendations that the ORHMA made to the Beverage Alcohol System Review Panel found their way into their final report. These entail taxation on beverage alcohol, all-inclusive travel packages that include beverage alcohol, as well as reforms in the way the industry is regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. Those regulatory reforms mentioned in the report include a review of the current laws dealing with minors, underage drinking and false identification; undue delays in the AGCO hearing process, and a hierarchy of AGCO penalties that have fines other than just licence suspensions.

"We look forward to working with government to find ways of making the present liquor distribution system more open, competitive and flexible for our industry and request it to act immediately to realize the spirit of the System Review Panel's report" said Mundell.

The Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association is Canada's largest, provincial, not-for profit hospitality association and is the effective voice representing the interests of Ontario's foodservice and accommodation sectors. Hospitality in the province accounts for $18 billion in sales and employs 411,000 Ontarians.
IN: FINANCE, FOOD, POLITICS

Contact Information

  • Terry Mundell, President & CEO, Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association
    Primary Phone: 905-361-0268
    Toll-Free: 800-668-8906