Hamilton Chamber of Commerce submits testimony on Bill 148 (Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act) to Finance and Economic Affairs Committee

· by Huzaifa Saeed

On June 1st, 2017, Government of Ontario released Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs act for first reading. The bill was partially designed as a culmination of the Changing Workplaces Review.

The proposed changes within the Bill are sweeping in nature, the most prominent being an increase to minimum wage to $15/hr by January 1st, 2019, pay equivalency for part-time and full-time workers, expansion of union certifiable professions. For the full backgrounder CLICK HERE.

Our organization and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce network have received comments from our businesses on the negative impacts this Bill will have on their competitiveness. Some of the major concerns are surrounding the aggressive timeline for the implementation of the legislation, the cumulative financial impact on small and medium businesses and the lack of economic impact analysis released by the Province.

We have been active in advocating our position on this Bill. We formally applied to appear as a witness for the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs during their public consultation visit to Hamilton on July 20th. We were disappointed to hear that our application was rejected by the Committee, In fact, no other regional chambers or Hamilton businesses were approved for the consultation.

As an alternative, we submitted written testimony on July 21st that covers our position on various propositions within the Bill and our call for the Province to recognize the cumulative regulatory burden on businesses.

CLICK HERE to read the full submission.

We also encourage businesses to support the Keep Ontario Working coalition by signing a letter of support and sharing your testimony here

Next Steps

Notwithstanding the current lack of alignment between employers and the proposals set out in Bill 148, we remain committed to working cooperatively with government to ensure that workers in this province can continue to prosper and are protected against job losses, increased costs to consumer goods, and economic hardship.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Keep Ontario Working Coalition have commissioned an independent economic analysis of the proposals. We look forward to sharing these with the Government and the public later in August 2017.

We’ve also engaged with representatives from the Minister Responsible for Small Business on actions their Government can take to reduce the overall burden on businesses, in particular lowering income, corporate and payroll tax rates and providing relief on Energy and Environment costs.

For more information, please contact: Huzaifa Saeed | Policy & Research Analyst | Hamilton Chamber of Commerce | t: 905-522-1151 ext: 230 | e: h.saeed@hamiltonchamber.ca