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