What’s been coming out about the report and how the government is going to proceed with some of the recommendations in recent days has the business community concerned. Ahead of the public release of the report and recommendations, the business community has weighed in with its concerns in a letter to Premier Wynne. The letter asks the provincial government to:
- conduct and make public economic impact analysis on any recommendations it will consider bringing forth as legislation
- determine acceptability thresholds for accepting a change
- be prepared to offer a commensurate economic offset measure
The two year Changing Workplaces Review was commissioned by the province to examine and make
recommendations for updates to the Labour Relations Act (LRA) and the Employment Standards Act (ESA). The Labour Minister was expected to discuss his thoughts with the Liberal Cabinet yesterday (Wednesday, May 17) and then the full report will be released this coming Tuesday.
The Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade network, including your Peterborough Chamber, believes it is
imperative to understand the impacts of any proposed changes, especially for small business which makes up 98% of Ontario’s business mix. With more than 400,000 small businesses across all sectors of our economy employing hundreds of thousands of Ontarians, we need evidence that any proposed changes under the LRA and ESA do not hurt the economic viability of small business. Already, many businesses face challenges around electricity pricing, cap and trade, increases in product costs and meeting accessibility requirements.
Earlier this year, Peterborough Chamber members contributed to Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s Business Confidence Index. There was a significant confidence gap between how businesses felt about their own abilities and the confidence they had in government to create a competitive climate for business operation. The index also identified that finding and securing talent was one of the biggest challenges for businesses.
“By rushing ahead with reforms that could discourage investment and eliminate jobs, we believe the concerns revealed in the Business Confidence Index will only be amplified,” says Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “We need to get the message out that proposed changes could diminish economic opportunities in Ontario.”
The OCC, in its letter to Premier Wynne, also states that education and enforcement of current measures
is an important area of common ground for government, employees and employers and that the goals of economic growth and improved employee rights are not mutually exclusive. What supports the competitiveness of Ontario’s economy will help enhance quality of work.
Furthermore, as Richard Koroscil, Interim-President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce says in the letter to the Premier, there is potential for “These sweeping changes to tip our economic balance in a profoundly negative way, therefore, we will continue to urge Premier Wynne to complete an economic impact analysis of the proposed reforms to limit potential consequences that could seriously jeopardize our future growth. Politics cannot drive decision-making, evidence must.”
Ontario Chamber Rapid Policy Update