OCC Statement on Minimum Wage

February 2, 2018

There has been much discussion in recent weeks about the unintended consequences of Bill 148, the legislation that introduced a higher minimum wage in Ontario and extended numerous labour and employment standards provisions.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and its members understand the intent of the legislation. But it also understands that evidence-based public policy must be fundamental in a properly functioning democracy.

For months, the OCC has forewarned that every objective analysis has indicated that these changes will lead to significant job loss, a 50% increase in inflation over and above what would otherwise be expected in the next few years, and an acceleration toward automation.

Now we are seeing these consequences come to fruition as businesses take extra-ordinary actions. The implementation was too much too fast. It is clear that the Government of Ontario must take further action to mitigate the unintended consequences of Bill 148.

We will continue to call on government to provide offsets in the upcoming budget that will help employers manage this drastic increase in labour costs. We must ensure that we are doing all we can so that Ontario remains competitive.

 Private Sector Not Prepared for Post-NAFTA World

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has just released a survey from its membership about a post-NAFTA environment. Results indicate that Ontario businesses are not well-prepared for the impact of these renegotiations and want their governments and industry associations to more aggressively advocate on their behalf.

Key sectors most susceptible to the impact of NAFTA renegotiations include manufacturing, agricultural, and the professional services industries. Cross-border trade in services and customs procedures are by far the most important issues for Ontario businesses followed by the impacts on tariffs, equipment price and availability, cost of healthcare goods, temporary entry for businesses persons, and the impact of renegotiation on software purchases.

“With only 15 percent of respondents having contingency planning started, Ontario companies are not prepared for how NAFTA renegotiations may impact their organization,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Our members have made it clear—governments and industry organizations must work together to ensure their concerns are being represented in the negotiations.”

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