Ottawa restauranteurs push for province-wide cap on delivery app fees

OTTAWA — Restaurants in Ontario’s COVID-19 hot zones could soon get a break on the fees third-party delivery apps impose on them. Now, Ottawa restaurants are calling on the Ontario Government to introduce a province-wide cap on the fees.

The Progressive Conservative government introduced legislation to temporarily limit delivery app fees charged to restaurants that are forced to close in the lockdown COVID-19 restriction zones.

“The rates, which would be proposed through regulation, would consist of a maximum of 15 per cent charge for delivery in each transaction with an overall cap of 20 per cent, inclusive of all fees,” said Prabmeet Sharkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business.

The legislation would limit the fees charged by companies like Uber Eats, SkipTheDishes, and DoorDash.

“As we continue our work with restaurants, customers, and delivery people, we appreciate the opportunity to engage with the government on this issue,” an Uber Eats spokesperson told CTV News Ottawa.

“We are disappointed that they have decided to regulate private enterprise by enforcing a commission cap on food delivery services operating in the province”” said Kevin Edwards, CEO of SkipTheDishes in an email to CTV News Ottawa.

In an email, a Spokesperson for DoorDash added, “While we remain focused on solutions that best serve restaurants, customers, and Dashers, we are grateful for the opportunity to engage with the Premier.”

“It’s great news, I mean any of us that are on any of those apps their percentages are absorbent, it’s really hard to make any money, at some points they’re so high I’m paying you to eat the food,” said Jordan Holley, owner of Shelby Burger.

While the fee reduction will help restaurants in impacted areas, some Ottawa restaurant owners feel left behind.

“We definitely could of used this back in March, April, through the whole summer, I mean it would probably raise your profits by 15, 20 per cent,” said Holley.

“These are rough times, and given the circumstances restaurants are facing, I see this as a first step, it should not be the only step, regulations of service providers should be across the province and even after COVID,” added Tony Elenis, President of the Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel association.

While advocates say the move is a good start, local restauranteurs are also calling for the measure to be applied across the province.

“Nobody’s really going to the restaurants, it’s a very difficult time, whether you’re mandated to close or not, so lowering these fees definitely would be an incredible help,” said Andre Schad, owner of Jasper Sports Bar.

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