Saskatchewan NDP calls on government to reduce fees by third-party delivery platforms

The NDP’s critic for jobs and the economy wants to see the provincial government cap delivery fees by third-party delivery platforms at 15 per cent.

Aleana Young, who serves as MLA for Regina University, pointed to many third-party delivery platforms currently charging local restaurants between 25 to 30 per cent. Young believes if the government caps these fees at 15 per cent, it can help local restaurant owners keep more money in their pockets during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Restaurants are already operating at 25 per cent capacity thanks to the Sask. Party’s mismanagement of COVID-19,” she said on Tuesday. “I’ve spoken to many restaurant owners who feel captive to these high fees.”

Young suggested the cap should be in place until three months after the end of the provincial state of emergency is lifted.  She also would like to see the government bring in a five per cent cap on processing fees to prevent any revenue losses incurred by third-party delivery platforms from being downloaded onto drivers.

In conversations she has had with owners of restaurants and bars in the province, Young mentioned how some businesses are unable to consider doing deliveries or using these platforms because the fees are “disproportionately high.” She said it results in more business owners losing out on those dollars.

Young also said she doesn’t understand why Saskatchewan hasn’t jumped to provide that support when other provinces like Ontario and B.C. have capped fees in recognition of the impact of delivery fees on local restaurants.

“The small business owners that I am hearing from including restaurant owners, bar owners and operators feel like they have not been heard and are not supported,” added Young.

In response to Young’s call, the government said it is monitoring what other provinces have done on this front.

“In discussions with the hospitality sector, we have heard concerns about the on-going costs of moving to take-out and delivery services using external delivery options, and the provincial government is monitoring the changes in other provinces to limit such fees,” stated the government in their response.

“While we continue to monitor the different approaches taken by other provinces in regulating such commission charges, we have introduced and extended a number of the business support programs in our province to assist the sector through the pandemic. This includes the Strong Recovery Adaptation Rebate, which allows businesses who have recently pivoted to using third-party delivery apps to apply for reimbursement of 50 per cent of their first six months of costs up to $5,000.”

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