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Sask. hospitality industry highlights struggles amid carbon tax hike

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Motorists aren’t the only ones feeling the pinch of the recent carbon tax hike. Many operators are hesitant to pass along the added cost to customers for fear of losing business.

Regina’s Atlas Hotel already paid a hefty carbon tax bill and now it’s going even higher.

“200 room conference hotel, 15 meeting rooms, a water park, a restaurant and a pub. Our carbon tax last year was roughly $70,000 is what I pay,” CEO Ryan Urzada told CTV News

The hotel operator says its money that could have been reinvested in the business and its people.

“That’s $70,000 that isn’t going to wage increases,” Urzada added. “It’s $70,000 that didn’t go to reinvestment and expansion.”

On April 1, the federal carbon tax rose from $65 per tonne to $80.

It’s an expense that many businesses will have to pass on to consumers but that’s difficult to do when it comes to hotels and restaurants.

“There’s only so much you can pass along to the consumer before the consumer says ‘You know it’s just too expensive,’” Hospitality Saskatchewan CEO Jim Bence explained.

“I can’t spend $28 on a hamburger platter anymore so it’s a balancing act with operators on how they can keep consumers coming back but then being able to make a little bit of money.”

The provincial government has shielded homeowners through its decision not to collect and remit the carbon tax on home heating fuel.

Businesses are on their own.

The province believes there are better ways to handle emissions reduction.

“We are working with industry to try and reduce those emissions coming specifically from industry,” Environment Minister Christine Tell told reporters.

The hospitality industry was already feeling the pressure of inflation.

Now an increased carbon tax is further eroding profitability and business confidence.

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