The B.C. government is using its emergency powers to place a cap of 15 per cent on the fees that delivery companies can charge to restaurants.
Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth has made an order under the Emergency Program Act to provide “immediate relief to our local businesses to ensure they can focus on retaining staff and keeping their business running,” according to a news release.
“Local restaurants and businesses play a vital role in our communities, and they have experienced a significant decline in sales and traffic due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Farnworth said.
The order states that the fees charged by third-party delivery services like DoorDash, Uber Eats and SkipTheDishes “create an additional financial burden on restaurants that are already struggling.”
Delivery businesses will no longer be able to charge restaurants more than 15 per cent of the total cost before taxes of a customer’s order for delivery, and no more than five per cent for other fees like online ordering and processing.
The order also says these third-party companies can’t reduce their employees’ pay or keep tips meant for delivery drivers.
The order goes into effect on Dec. 27 and will remain in place for three months after B.C.’s ongoing state of emergency is eventually lifted. Small locally based delivery services will be exempt.
According to the province, the number of jobs in the food and beverage service industry was down 25 per cent in September compared to a year earlier.
The B.C. government has taken other measures to support the industry, such as allowing restaurants to sell and deliver sealed, packaged alcohol with the delivery of a meal.
In some cities, patio season was also extended beyond summer months to allow guests to sit outside and at a safe distance.