SkipTheDishes restaurant
Photo from SkipTheDishes

The B.C. Government is putting a cap on the fees food delivery services can charge restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of December 27, 2020, an Emergency Program Act order will come into effect that limits fees to 15 per cent of the total cost of a customer’s order, before taxes.

Delivery companies can also charge up to an additional 5 per cent for related fees, such as online order processing.

Drivers were also given enhanced protections under the order, prohibiting reductions to their compensation and instructing that they must retain tips and gratuities.

The emergency order was issued on Tuesday and will stay in effect for three months after B.C.’s state of emergency is lifted.

“The state of emergency is being renewed, and I fully expect the state of emergency is going to be in place for quite some time to come yet,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, at a press conference on Tuesday.

The government says the order was issued in response to significant economic impacts on the restaurant industry stemming from the pandemic.

Caps were set based on similar actions taken in other jurisdictions, according to the province. The order was issued after consultation with stakeholders, including three major delivery companies in Canada.

“This is a direct request from [the restaurant industry], to put this cap in place,” said Farnworth.

“We’ve heard all kinds of complaints in terms of the kinds of fees that are being charged, in some cases upwards of 30 per cent or more.”

There are no rules in the order prohibiting companies from increasing fees on customers. However, Farnworth says that the industry is competitive and with smaller companies joining in, consumer costs should remain low.

“We expect the companies will be very mindful of the competition that they will be facing from each other, but also new entrants into the marketplace,” the Minister said.

“Consumers are not going to stand by and pay more than they feel is fair.”

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