The group representing Canada's restaurant owners is calling for an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss the freeze on temporary foreign workers in the restaurant industry. 

"The recent moratorium on temporary foreign workers in the food service industry has turned the labour shortage into a crisis," Restaurants Canada CEO Garth Whyte said during a news conference in Charlottetown today.

Restaurants Canada, which represents restaurants, pubs and caterers, says the program freeze ordered by federal Employment Minister Jason Kenney is already affecting the industry.

Whyte said the moratorium is having "a negative impact" not only on business owners, but on their employees and  customers.

"We need the government to act now."

Restaurants Canada is recommending a three-point action plan to alleviate this crisis:

  • Lift the moratorium on the food service industry immediately.
  • Strengthen the rules of the program "to ensure there is no abuse."
  • Allow restaurants that can't find Canadian workers to hire foreign workers at all skills levels.