The GNCC welcomed Ontario Chamber of Commerce Vice-President Karl Baldauf back to Niagara on September 15 in the latest Niagara Business Leadership Series breakfast. Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act (2017), introduces sweeping legislation that will transform Ontario’s workplaces and employer-employee relationships, including:
- Increases to vacation pay and personal emergency leave
- Card-based union certification
- Union access to employee lists
- Equal pay for temporary workers
- A phased increase to a $15/hr minimum wage by January 1, 2019 – the most contentiously debated change
Karl presented the results of an economic impact analysis which the OCC has commissioned. The report found:
- A $23 billion hit to business, minus an $11 billion stimulative impact from increased consumer spending, would result in a $12 problem for the Ontario economy
- The rate of inflation would increase by 50 per cent
- About 185,000 jobs in the next two years would be put at risk, including 30,000 jobs for under-25s, and 96,000 for women
The sectors facing the highest risks to jobs include:
- Accommodation and food service
- Wholesale trade
Karl also detailed the previous efforts of the Chamber network to head off or ameliorate this legislation for businesses, and their continuing advocacy work.
Businesses who are concerned about this legislation are encouraged to visit the KeepOntarioWorking.ca website, send letters or phone their local MPP to inform them of their thoughts, share the impacts of Bill 148 with their families, friends, co-workers and customers, and to think about offsets which the government could offer that would help them remain competitive and successful, and suggest those to the government.