Sask. opposition wants to cap fees for food delivery companies in effort to support local businesses

·2 min read
Services like Uber Eats and Skip the Dishes can take up to 30 per cent of an order's value, which can eat into the restaurant's profit margins.  (Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters - image credit)
Services like Uber Eats and Skip the Dishes can take up to 30 per cent of an order's value, which can eat into the restaurant's profit margins. (Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters - image credit)

The Saskatchewan opposition is pushing the provincial government to cap fees for food delivery services during the pandemic, a move that has been done in other provinces.

Services like Uber Eats and Skip the Dishes can take up to 30 per cent of an order's value, which can eat into the restaurant's profit margins.

"The food and beverage industry has been particularly hard-hit by COVID, despite the fact they are open," NDP jobs and economy critic Aleana Young said.

"Margins are incredibly thin at the best of times, and when you're operating with basically a quarter of your business open, every dollar counts, and we're seeing businesses essentially gouged by these delivery fees."

Other provinces like Ontario and B.C. have placed similar caps on the largest food delivery apps during the pandemic to alleviate pressure on businesses who had to reduce dine-in services.

"You can imagine my consternation being a New Democrat and sitting here saying 'Hey Doug Ford is on my team.' What the heck is happening in Saskatchewan that the NDP and Doug Ford agree and the Sask Party is digging in their heels," Young said. "It's strange times made for strange bedfellows."

Saskatchewan NDP MLA Aleana Young is proposing a cap on fees from food delivery services.
Saskatchewan NDP MLA Aleana Young is proposing a cap on fees from food delivery services.

Young said she would like the cap to be immediate and to stay in place three months after the province's state of emergency is lifted.

She is also calling on the government to introduce a five per cent cap on processing fees to prevent any revenue losses incurred by the third-party delivery platforms from being downloaded onto drivers.

Young said this should not be a partisan issue.

"Aside from the fact we want businesses to stay open, these are real people who are lying awake at night stressed and anxious, worrying how they're going to keep their doors open and keep their employees on the payroll," Young said.

Most recently, Güd Eats announced it is closing its downtown Regina location later this month, citing high delivery fees and loss of foot traffic.

"Yes, it's about business. Yes, it's about the economy. But it's also about people," Young said.

Province reviewing caps in other jurisdictions

The province said it has heard concerns about the ongoing costs of delivery services and is are monitoring the caps made in other provinces.

"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," the government said in a statement.

These supports include 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.