One year into the coronavirus pandemic, and Quebec seems to finally be one step closer to capping the predatory fees delivery juggernauts like Uber Eats and DoorDash have been imposing on restaurants.
At the National Assembly this morning, Quebec minister of agriculture, fisheries, and food (MAPAQ) André Lamontagne tabled Bill 87, which, if adopted, would temporarily cap commission fees from third-party delivery services to 20 percent (with a maximum of 15 percent going to delivery). The cap would only apply for as long as restaurant dining rooms remain closed due to government-mandated coronavirus restrictions. With most of Quebec now in the orange zone, where restaurants are allowed to reopen at limited capacity, it would seem that only those in the Greater Montreal region — still in the red zone, largely due to the threat of variants — may benefit from the change.
If passed in its current form, Bill 87 would prohibit delivery companies from scaling back the remuneration of delivery personnel in an effort to make up for any financial losses brought on by the cap. Lamontagne also explained to parliamentary members that under the law, restaurants that see the cap being violated will be able to directly raise their concerns with the ministry via an online platform. Delivery companies that do not comply with the new rules risk being fined up to $1.5 million, depending on the infringement.
At the end of January, Lamontagne’s office confirmed with Eater that it was considering drafting a bill to enforce a cap, after direct appeals to Uber Eats and DoorDash to independently lower the fees charged to businesses from roughly 30 percent to 20 percent went unheeded.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante has been among the vocal proponents of a fee cap, which has been achieved elsewhere in Canada, such as in Ontario and British Columbia. On January 9, the same day that Quebec’s nightly curfew went into effect, thereby restricting restaurants to delivery as of 7:30 p.m., Plante took to Twitter, saying, “#COVID19 is forcing restaurateurs to turn to home delivery. But the fees that delivery companies charge are very high.”
In a press release announcing Bill 87, Lamontagne refers to the “virtual monopoly” that big-wig companies hold in the food delivery space. Though Uber Eats’s and DoorDash’s services are widely adopted in Quebec, local alternatives do exist and are becoming increasingly prominent among the Montreal restaurant community. This is especially true for contactless payment platform CHK PLZ, through which ride-sharing cooperative EVA offers delivery without commission. To a much lesser extent, some Montreal restaurants are handling delivery themselves, with several adopting this model during the pandemic since it allows them to redistribute labour and, in some cases, preserve staff jobs.
After hearing from Lamontagne and others in support of the bill, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, Quebec Solidaire house leader, said he welcomed the proposed legislation, but that his party would “take time to analyze and read the bill before giving our answer as to the pace at which we can adopt it.”
- Quebec Is Considering Drafting Legislation to Cap Restaurant Delivery Fees [EMTL]
- First Weekend of Month-Long Curfew Brings Renewed Calls for Food Delivery Fee Caps [EMTL]
- A Guide to Montreal’s Home-Grown Restaurant Delivery Service Alternatives [EMTL]
- A Côte St-Luc Deli Targets the ‘Exorbitant and Abusive’ Fees of Delivery Apps in a Newly Filed Class Action [EMTL]