27 Oct Supporting Canada’s hospitality industry
By Kate Boushel
It’s no big secret; this year has been quite the struggle for our fair industry. Since March, as many as 89% of bars and restaurants across Canada have closed or been unable to return to full capacity. As a result, nearly 1.2 million Canadian hospitality professionals have been adversely affected by these closures, suffered reduced hours and exposure to illness.
As lucky as we are to be able to rely on government support through national relief programs, such large-scale initiatives are a ‘one size fits all,’ and well, that rarely fits just right. We’ve all been experiencing this since March with the various Canadian employment relief iterations. As welcome and beneficial as they’ve been, these measures have fallen short when accounting for regional realities. Think about it: 2000$ per month doesn’t nearly go as far in Vancouver as it does in Montreal or Ottawa. However, this is where community initiatives and programs have stepped in to help more than ever.
Amidst the struggle, our industry’s response from coast to coast has been nothing short of inspiring. It has proven once more that we can count on one another to pull out all the stops and step up when our community finds itself in need. We’ve seen the people come together to help and encourage their fellow professionals and provide a bit of respite during these difficult times. Not every organization has the same way of going about helping. Still, financial support has definitely been a priority, be it local initiatives like the Montreal and Toronto Restaurant Workers Relief Funds or national organizations such as the Canadian Professionals Bartenders Association’s Relief Measures Program and the Bartenders Benevolent Fund (BBF).
Over the past 6 months, the BBF has reached over 2500 hospitality professionals, providing more than $435 thousand in financial support through the Emergency Relief Fund, funds which were raised in great part thanks to all of our industry’s wine & spirits partners, like Diageo, Gruppo Campari, Corby, and more.
There is still so much to do, so many more people to help, from continuing to support food programs, developing stronger wellness and mental health programs and increasing fundraising campaigns to ensure funds remain available through the next year. These organizations are counting on our help to reach those most in need so that we can brave this next series of closures as winter rears its head and temperatures drop.
We know our industry and our people are resilient, but sometimes, even those who appear toughest need help from their friends along the way.
You can help support the people that make up this incredible hospitality industry here:
Kate Boushel is the Beverage Director for Milky Way Cocktail Bar and The Atwater Cocktail Club in Montreal.