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Mitzie Hunter issues plan to rejuvenate Toronto’s restaurant industry

Fees and permits for outdoor patios, sidewalk cafes to be cancelled, refunded

Toronto – Mitzie Hunter, mayoral candidate, has issued a plan to rejuvenate Toronto’s restaurant industry thereby supporting thousands of jobs, generating millions of dollars in economic activity, and bringing a buzz and vibrancy to our streets and neighbourhoods across the city.
Under Hunter’s plan, application and permit fees for outdoor patios and sidewalk cafes will be cancelled and those amounts already paid will be refunded.
The economic impact is in excess of $200 million, supporting jobs and bringing vibrancy  to our neighbourhoods.
“A thriving Toronto is only possible with an exciting, lively restaurant scene,” says Hunter.
“Restaurants, bars and cafes were asked to sacrifice so much during the pandemic, and many have still not fully recovered. My plan will set them further on the path to recovery and renewed success.”
Here is how the plan works:
•       Applications for patios and sidewalk cafes under an existing CafeTO program are already down from last year due to an onerous application process and high fees.
•       Hunter will cancel and refund all of the 2023 application and permit fees for CafeTO and eliminate the application fee going forward. 
•       This plan will cost an estimated $3 million in 2023 and $400,000 ongoing. However the economic benefits the program generates, estimated to be $203 million in 2022, far outweigh the relatively modest costs of operations, estimated to be $4.4 million in 2023.
“This is no time for the City to undermine the initiative just as restaurants are getting back on their feet with onerous fees, We need more patios and sidewalk cafes” says Hunter. 
Across the city, many restaurants still have not been able to reach the pre-pandemic level of sales because many people are still working from home. They are also dealing with high inflation and high-interest rates both of which further reduce their sales, along with the debt they accrued during the pandemic. 
There is a significant labor shortage and due to high inflation, the cost of recruiting and training workers has also increased. 
“Restaurants and bars that create many jobs, make the city vibrant and attract tourists to the city should be kept busy in doing things that they do best and not drowned in layers of fees, taxes, levies, and administrative burden while trying to recover from their covid losses” says Hunter.