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Gratuities: More Regulations For Restaurants? “The Protecting Employees’ Tips Act “

NDP MPP Michael Prue has introduced a Bill in the Legislature that would "prohibit employers from taking any portion of an employee's tips or other gratuities".  The bill has been referred to a Standing Committee of the Legislature for public consultation and the ORHMA looks forward to the opportunity to participating in these discussions on behalf of the industry. The ORHMA has has been and continues to be involved in discussions with government and opposition members advocating for not passing this bill.
 
Ontario's foodservice industry is vast and varied, and operational practices are designed to best meet the needs of the specific establishment. This bill  which, if passed, prohibit employers from “taking” a portion of gratuities from staff.   Bill 144 “The Protecting Employees’ Tips Act “ fails to consider the vast array of operational differences throughout the foodservice industry, such as private functions, banquets.  While the intent of the Bill, according to NDP MPP Michael Prue, is to prevent management, owners, or the “House” from keeping a portion of tips the wording of the Bill would ultimately impact all tip pooling practices as well as gratuities for private functions and banquets.  The ORHMA opposes the Bill as it is overly simplistic, does not reflect the variety of operational structures throughout the industry, and is simply another regulation on an extremely highly regulated industry.  The ORHMA believes that the issue of tipping is best left to restaurant owners and their staff.
 
The foodservice industry is highly regulated and new regulations are counter to creating a positive business environment.  The ORHMA has raised concerns with numerous government officials, and will continue to speak out on behalf of its members. 
 
We seem to be living in an environment that calls for implementing a regulation every time we need to please someone. Where does this practice stop? On one end governments are open to the new business thinking of reducing red tape and on the on the other they keep shoving down more red tape. The operator today is seeing an extremely regulated business contributing to shrinkage in margins. Regulations take focus and concentration away from reaching success of an operation.  There is a need for politicians to spend as much time to support growth of small business as they currently do in penalizing them by creating the many regulations. The ORHMA calls for modernization of regulations by reducing these barriers to enable business prosperity where employees are kept employed and new job growth is possible.

Canada Revenue Agency: Understanding Controlled Tips and Direct Tips  Special Article for ORHMA by James Rhodes LLB, BSc Associate with Miller Thomson

Recently the importance of restaurants understanding the difference between controlled tips and direct tips has become crucial.  In the past, the Canada Revenue Agency’s (“CRA”) typical audit of a restaurant did not involve a close look at how tips are paid to its employees.  It was mostly accepted that the T4 slips properly declared what wages were paid to the employees, and the employees were audited for whether they properly declared the tips they received.  However, recent audits by the CRA now indicate that this has changed.  Read the full article by clicking here.

A further Article on Control Tips will appear in an upcoming Insider-For CRA’s Procedure as it appears on their WEB page click here.
 
Legislative Update on Bill 114:  Protecting Employees’ TIPS Act
July 2011 - Following extensive lobbying by the ORHMA and supported by both the liberal government and the PC opposition party Bill 114 “died” when the Legislature prorogued in June 2011. We thank those operators that answered our call to action and contacted their local MPP’s.