Tuesday, July 18, 2017—The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce has taken a “too much, too fast” stance on the Ontario Government’s Bill 148 in a written submission to the Standing Committee on Finance Economic Affairs as part of consultations on the bill.
The proposed legislation—formally known as the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs At, 2017—will “have profound negative consequences for Ontario, including job losses, inflation, and business closures,” said the letter, which was sent to the Standing Committee following a consultative session held in London, the location nearest to Sarnia-Lambton, on Monday, July 17.
The local Chamber will host its own Town Hall Meeting to discuss Bill 148 on Tuesday, July 25 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion, 286 Front Street N., Sarnia.
The Town Hall Meeting will feature Susan Houston, a labour lawyer and partner with Matthew Dinsdale Clark LLP in Sarnia; Jason McMichael, president of the Sarnia and District Labour Council; and Karl Baldauf, Vice President of Government Relations with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
It is free to attend, open to the public, and coffee will be provided. Those wishing to attend are asked to pre-register online at www.slchamber.ca.
In particular, the Chamber cites a 23 per cent increase in the provincial minimum wage, with a total of 32 per cent increase in 18 months.
“By comparison, Seattle has allowed 4 years for a 36 per cent wage increase,” the Chamber letter says. “How are small businesses expected to offset such a rapid increase in costs?”
Chamber officials say many businesses have said they will be forced to increase prices and cut costs, including jobs.
“Some fear the reforms will force them to close their businesses entirely if they can’t adjust quickly enough,” said the letter.
The letter points out that other changes proposed, including equal pay for temporary and part time workers and scheduling, “will carry significant new costs for employers.”
The Chamber is urging the Government to commission an independent economic impact analysis before third reading of the bill, referencing the fact that the “Keep Ontario Working” coalition of business sector associations is commissioning its own analysis.
“We strongly urge you to review (that analysis) when it is completed in August,” the Chamber letter said.
The letter in full, including comments from local business owners, can be seen HERE.
For more details, read “Your Guide to Bill 148“