Local Businesses to Government of Ontario: Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan is Too Much Too Fast

The Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce hosted an advocacy information session for businesses in the region in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Guelph Chamber of Commerce and other local Chambers, Beyond Rewards Inc. and Nelson Watson LLP. The information session provided the opportunity for local businesses to be fully informed on the Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan and how they could voice their concerns and share with government the challenges that the pace of implementation would have on them. The plan commits to unproven sweeping reforms without ensuring protection against unintended economic consequences, including job losses, rising consumer costs, and economic hardship. Local businesses through the Chamber Network also raised their concern about the extremely fast pace of the implementation of the plan and noted the need to review the pace and intensity of the implementation. Implementing a plan this comprehensive, as quickly as is being proposed, without an economic impact analysis could have significant impacts on local businesses, the local economy and Ontario’s competitiveness.

 
“Rather than rush implementation, the Government of Ontario should spend the coming months conducting the proposed reforms in the final report of the Changing Workplaces Review to an economic impact analysis,” says Roberta Scarrow, Executive Director, Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce. “This analysis should have clear thresholds, and any reforms implemented should be those that pass such thresholds or are being implemented with a commensurate economic offset measure.” continues Scarrow. 
 
“As an economic engine, Guelph plays an important role in Ontario’s future prosperity,” says Kithio Mwanzia, President & CEO, Guelph Chamber of Commerce. “As a leading community in job creation, it is vitally important that we remain at the forefront of issues linked to our capacity to attract and retain top talent and that we advocate for evidence based decision making on issues impacting our collective economic prosperity,” concludes Mwanzia.
 
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 where businesses are disinclined to grow production. Businesses are questioning if they should grow in Ontario or expand offshore. These regulations are also being implemented during a period of decelerating economic growth, the adoption of Donald Trump’s America First policy, lower corporate taxes and costs in the United States of America, and growing uncertainty about the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
 
“Ontario businesses are the backbone of our communities; creating local jobs and increasing economic growth around the province,” says Karl Baldauf, Vice President, Policy & Government Relations, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act will have the perverse effect of discouraging investment and eliminating jobs, thereby diminishing economic opportunities in Ontario. Politics cannot drive decision-making, evidence must.
concludes Baldauf.
 
The key considerations for local businesses include:
  • These reforms are coming at a time when Ontario’s economy continues to show signs of vulnerability.
  • Supporting reform where and when it is needed, but caution against change where it is unclear what the cost or the benefit of said change will be.  
  • There is need for predictability in the setting of minimum wage and the tying future increases to an appropriate economic indicator like CPI. 
 
For more information & interviews, please contact:
 
Kithio Mwanzia,
President & CEO, Guelph Chamber of Commerce    
P:  519.822.8081  
 
Roberta Scarrow,
Executive Director, Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce    
P: 519.843.5140
 
Karl Baldauf,
Vice President Policy & Government Relations, Ontario Chamber of Commerce
 
Lynne Bard,
President & Senior HR , Beyond Rewards Inc.
P: 519-821-7440
 
Cherolyn Knapp,
Partner, Nelson Watson LLP,
P: 519-821-9610

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