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Province looking to give restaurants and breweries dog friendly option

DAN CEARNS The Standard

UXBRIDGE: Multiple provincial dignitaries were at The Second Wedge Brewing Company in Uxbridge on Saturday, November 2nd, to announce new proposed legislation to help restaurants and breweries be pet friendly.

“Ontario is proposing to permit restaurants the option to allow dogs on patios and in areas where low-risk foods like pre-packaged foods, fresh fruit and most snacks are sold alongside beer, wine and spirits,” read a press release from the Ministry of Health. Earlier this year, Second Wedge was told they could no longer allow dogs in their establishment following an anonymous complaint that was made to Durham Region’s Health Department.

“Immediately I said to myself that this did not make sense,” MPP Peter Bethlenfalvy said, in regards to what he thought when he was contacted by the Second Wedge owners. “You sometimes have regulations that don’t make sense, and that’s why we jumped into action right away. We talked to the community, the community was very in favour of it, and as it turns out many in Ontario are very in favour of this change for breweries and caterers who want to have a pet friendly environment, while health and safety is preserved, but allows restaurants choice. It made a lot of sense.”

If this proposed change passes, it will come into effect as of January 1st, 2020.

“We’re taking a thoughtful and targeted approach to eliminating unnecessary regulations, and with the new bill that we introduced this week, Ontario’s regulations will be more targeted, focused and supportive of small businesses like Second Wedge across the province,” Prabmeet Sarkaria, Ontario’s Associate Minister for Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, told those in attendance. Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott also was in attendance and spoke at the announ-cement. “In other parts of the country, like New Brunswick and British Columbia, these rules are much more relaxed, and it was time to do the same here in Ontario,” she said. “Certain rules create unnecessary barriers for businesses to truly meet the needs of their customers, and also limits choice for consumers.”

MPP Bethlenfalvy spoke about his thoughts on making this announcement in Uxbridge. “I’m just thrilled that we could help Rob [Garrard] and Joanne [Richter] of Second Wedge,” he said. “Not allowing pets [on] the patio and where they have pre-packaged food didn’t make much sense to me.”

He added his thoughts on a small community like Uxbridge being the necessary example to bring about change. “Uxbridge is representative of many communities in this great province,” he said. “98 percent of jobs in this province are created by small businesses with 100 employees or less. It’s the engine of this economy, so we have to find ways to be supportive, set the conditions in place for small businesses, such as Second Wedge, to prosper.”

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