What we are hearing from our members:
The call will continue for an economic impact analysis around the proposed changes to the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and the Labour Relations Act (LRA). The provincial government is planning to introduce legislation today (Thursday, June 1) to put in motion the changes announced on Tuesday.
That means over the summer months the legislation will make its way through committee. Yes, the proposed changes are the result of a two year review by two special advisors, and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and by extension the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce participated in those discussions, but the challenge is we’ve yet to see or know of an economic impact analysis of the changes. This information is vital to ensuring that the province is moving forward with eyes wide open.
“Minimum wage was explicitly left out of the Changing Workplaces conversation, so we’re not sure what’s guiding today’s announcement,” says Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. To suddenly legislate the most dramatic minimum wage increase in Ontario’s history creates serious concern about unintended consequences.”
In the announcement of the Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs plan, Premier Kathleen Wynne highlighted five main changes to the Employment Standards Act:
As of January 2019 it will rise to $15/hour
After that increases in minimum wage will be tied to inflation (as is currently the case)
Under the Labour Relations Act some of the changes include:
Enforcement and Education
All of these changes will have compounding costs which the government has not yet fully understood. That is why the Chamber Network and the Keep Ontario Working Coalition have called on the government to conduct a comprehensive economic impact analysis. This analysis should have clear acceptability thresholds, and the reforms implemented should be limited to those that pass such thresholds or are being implemented with a commensurate economic offset measure, in order to help businesses transition into any regulatory changes.
We have heard from members who say the impact will be felt throughout their businesses.
“We are really good local employers in the not-for-profit sector, during peak season we have 35 employees. Our staff is well respected in our workplace, we are generous with our current benefit plans, and we offer great summer employment options to university/college students (full time throughout the whole summer). 18 months, and a 30% plus rate increase --- how could any business adapt to that without sacrificing customer service, increasing prices AND reducing overall staff level?”
As the provincial government moves this legislation through the committee process over the summer we urge them to truly understand the economic impact of these changes that have great potential to hurt job creation, consumer costs, and economic growth.
How will this affect your business? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org
Provincial Government Statement
Keep Ontario Working Coalition: Ontario Deserves Evidence-Based Reform
Changes Will Hurt Job Creation, Consumer Costs and Economic Growth
PETERBOROUGH, May 30, 2017 – The Keep Ontario Working coalition, in partnership with the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), today expressed concern that the Government of Ontario’s Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan, commits to unproven sweeping reforms without ensuring protection against unintended consequences, including job losses, rising consumer costs, and economic hardship.
“The Chamber Network has been involved with the Changing Workplaces Review over the past two years,” says Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “Minimum wage was explicitly left out of the conversation, so we’re not sure what’s guiding today’s announcement. To suddenly legislate the most dramatic minimum wage increase in Ontario’s history creates serious concern about unintended consequences.”
The Keep Ontario Working Coalition (KOW) is a broad-spectrum group of business sector representatives concerned with sound public policy to help produce jobs and grow Ontario.
As noted in the Business Prosperity Index of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Ontario Economic Report, despite projections that Ontario will lead Canada in economic growth in the coming years, diminished profitability, lower labour market participation, and sluggish market activity; along with other key factors have resulted in a risk-averse atmosphere that businesses are disinclined to grow production. Businesses are questioning if they should grow in Ontario or expand offshore.
Despite that, Ontario’s private sector is still doing its part to support workers. As the Government pointed out in Budget 2017, 98 per cent of all new jobs since the recession in Ontario have been full time, and 78 per cent in above-average wage industries. This positive economic activity by Ontario’s private sector demonstrates a clear commitment to good jobs throughout our province.
The following is a statement by the Keep Ontario Working Coalition on the Government’s proposed workplace reforms:
“We share in the Government’s desire for broadly inclusive growth. However, in order to achieve this, we need to ensure that we are not risking job losses, rising consumer costs, and economic hardship as a result of over-regulation.
“Government cannot regulate prosperity. To demonstrate true fairness and compassion for workers, we must ensure Ontario has a strong economy to help create jobs and increase economic growth.
“That is why we are urging the government to take time this summer to have an independent third party conduct a comprehensive economic impact analysis on the proposed reforms to consider the unintended consequences to employers. In addition, as the province’s biggest employer, the government must fully understand what these changes will cost in relation to the provincial treasury as well as social services and other government agencies.
“Why is evidence-based policy important? Only three years ago, the Premier’s own Minimum Wage Advisory Panel conducted extensive research and concluded: ‘In the Canadian context, researchers have generally found an adverse employment effect of raising minimum wages especially for young workers…typically those studies find that teen employment would drop by 3 to 6 per cent if the minimum wage is raised by 10 per cent.’
“While the Changing Workplaces Review cautioned that any regulatory change shouldn’t impair the competitiveness of businesses in the province, the reforms outlined in Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan thus far do not provide the balance needed to help ensure a competitive environment for Ontario.
“But we have time. Now we must work cooperatively with government to identify the scale of the economic impact of these changes and help employers transition into any new policy regime. We will continue to be cooperative partners with government to find solutions that will, where possible, inhibit negative impacts on the growth of Ontario’s economy, our people, and our communities.”
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Keep Ontario Working Coalition Members
Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services (ACSESS)
Canadian Franchise Association (CFA)
Food & Consumer Products of Canada
Food and Beverage Ontario (FBO)
National Association of Canada Consulting Businesses (NACCB Canada)
Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA)
Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC)
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA)
Retail Council of Canada (RCC)
Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)
Policy Analyst/Communications Specialist
Peterborough Chamber of Commerce
Small Business Too Big To Ignore makes a difference as the Province releases a Burden Reduction Plan
The provincial government has released an eight point plan to help make the lives of small business easier. The measures which are scheduled to be introduced in the fall can be directly linked to the advocacy work of your Peterborough Chamber of Commerce through the Small Business Too Big To Ignore campaign and the policy resolution process through the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. We thank our members for their participation during this campaign through a survey and roundtable events.
These initiatives do represent a positive change and we are very encouraged by today’s (Friday, May 19, 2017) announcement on burden reduction. Cutting red tape for business has been a key component of our advocacy work and we are pleased to see government make meaningful change to reduce the regulatory burden on small business.
The one-window service concept will help save businesses time and money. The small business procurement policy is also very encouraging, and we ask the government to consider how they can expand this opportunity for small businesses across the province.
We are also pleased to see Ontario adopt the $1 in $1.25 out provision, which will apply to new administrative costs. This is a best practice internationally and will keep the regulatory burden on business in check. We would certainly encourage this government to consider how they can bring costs down for business more broadly, outside of administrative fees.
But to keep Ontario competitive, we need to ensure that any impending changes to the Labour Relations Act and Employment Standards Act are evidence based and fully costed.
More information on the proposed changes around labour laws and employment standards is expected next week.
Proposed measures for small business include:
“Small businesses are critical for vibrant main streets across Ontario. These business owners contribute by creating jobs and strengthening local economies. Supporting these business owners by streamlining their dealings with the province and providing new opportunities for growth will help Ontario prosper.” - Peterborough MPP and Minister Responsible for Small Business Jeff Leal
Read the Ontario Government's press release
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