A recent Statistics Canada Report shows Saskatchewan is one of two provinces facing a decline of customers in the food and beverage industry.

The report on wholesale trade for November 2017 says Saskatchewan’s sales in food and beverage dropped by 1.5 per cent.

The NDP says the drop has resulted in a $2.4 million decrease in Saskatchewan’s food and beverage industry compared to last year’s sales. The NDP blames the drop on the Saskatchewan Party’s PST hike.

“This is I think a direct result of the application of PST to restaurant meals in the province,” said NDP MLA, Carla Beck. “It certainly is something we hear from small businesses from around the province. The impact of that increased cost has put a decline in the businesses’ bottom lines and the amount of people who are choosing to go out.”

Craig Perrault, a manager with Crave Kitchen & Wine Bar in Regina, says the restaurant is feeling the pinch. Fewer customers are coming in and eating, forcing the restaurant to scale back some of their staff. Perrault says the change comes from a combination of many factors, including Saskatchewan’s economy shift from being reliant on its resources but also many downtown Crown Corporations staff also scaling back.

“We see changes in how (the Crown corporations) are spending money. I think what this has created is a little bit of caution which you have to do in times when your businesses aren’t bringing in as much. Some of the spontaneity has gone out of after work and the everyday crowd,” said Perrault.

Meanwhile the government disputes what the NDP says. It admits year over year, the numbers are down but the trend over the last six months shows a positive increase by 2.6 per cent.

The report also says Saskatchewan and Manitoba are the only two provinces in the country to see a drop in sales, both down by 2.9 and 1.3 per cent respectively.