Furey To Abolish CafeTO Fees, Create Mayor’s Restaurant And Small Biz Roundtable
Toronto mayoral candidate Anthony Furey announced on Thursday that he would support the restaurant industry and small business in general by scrapping fees and red tape and creating a Mayor’s roundtable to directly hear from small businesses.
The Leafs being in the playoffs will draw the biggest crowds that bars have seen since the pandemic,” Furey said at a Firkin pub on John Street. “Now is a time when we should be providing more options for fans and customers and letting businesses keep more of their money.”
Yet the City is currently planning to transform the previously free CaféTO program into a costly one that will ding restaurants thousands of dollars per year. Earlier this year, Restaurants Canada reported that 50% of restaurants in the country are operating at a loss or just breaking even.
“CaféTO began as a business support program and now it’s turning into just another revenue tool for the City. That’s not right,” said Furey. “We shouldn’t be looking for ways to increase costs on small businesses. We should be decreasing them. That’s why, as Mayor, I will do away with these fees entirely.”
Furey will eliminate the fees associated with the CaféTO program, which allows restaurants to have expanded patios. The City reports that the program generates over $200 million in economic activity. There is no reason to stifle that level of success.
Catherine Swift, President of the Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers & Businesses of Canada and former President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, was on hand to endorse the plan.
“Small businesses have been through enough the past few years,” Swift said. “Furey’s right that City Hall needs to reduce fees and red tape and consult more with business owners.”
Furey will also make permanent temporary zoning by-laws that allow for more creative patios to be constructed on private space — like in parking lots.
“I was amazed to hear that restaurants weren’t consulted in advance on CaféTO changes. As Mayor, I will create a Mayor’s roundtable of restauranteurs and small business owners to get their input from the start. I will listen to them, champion their cause and eliminate the red tape they identify.”
These policy proposals are supported by Firkin Group President Larry Isaacs. Earlier this week, Furey was endorsed by celebrity chef Mark McEwan.