Bill 148 Receives Royal Assent – Chamber Concerned

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December 7, 2017 – The passing of Bill 148 will have a significant impact on many businesses throughout the Cornwall region. That’s the assessment of the President of the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, Rory MacLennan.

“When we reviewed the results of a recent member survey, some businesses indicated that, should the legislation be passed, their survival may very well be in jeopardy,” states MacLennan. “And now that Bill 148 is a reality, we’re concerned for both our members and the entire business community.”

The Ontario Government has given royal assent to Bill 148, legislation that will have a significant impact on business, and in particular, the small business sector. On top of the 32% increase in the minimum wage over an 18 month period, there are a number of other provisions in the Bill that will impact the business sector

Todd Lihou, Chamber Director and Chair of its Political Advisory Committee, notes the additional impacts of the Bill. “There is the 10 day personal leave for employees for which the employer must pay the first two days,” he says. “There will be additional increases to benefits such as EI as a result of the increased minimum wage, along with a number of other changes. “All combined, this legislation will have a serious impact on the business sector,” he charges.

The Chamber spoke to a number of local businesses about the impact of Bill 148. Many of them indicated there would be downsized hours and potential staff layoffs. Some indicated they would have no choice but to increase prices in an attempt to offset the costs imposed by the Bill.

“While the Chamber does not disagree with some of the legislation, it has lobbied that the changes be phased in over a longer period to allow businesses to adjust,” says Lihou. “We are planning to hold an information session to highlight the key parts of Bill 148 and to provide guidelines to help businesses plan for the future.”

Businesses can also use this link to download Steering Through Change: A Handbook to Help Ontario Businesses Understand and Manage Bill 148.

Editor’s Note:  As  a response to this story, we received a quote from Kevin Flynn, Minister of labour.

“Ontarians who are working full-time, yet are struggling to pay rent, put food on the table or care for their families, can’t afford to wait years for a raise. That’s why through our plan, we are phasing in the minimum wage increase to $15 an hour over 18 months. More than 50 economists from across Canada, including two former presidents of the Canadian Economics Association, have pointed out that this minimum wage increase makes for better, more productive workplaces, and it will help grow the economy by giving Ontarians more money to spend at local businesses.”

What do you think?  Will this increase help or hurt the Cornwall economy? Comment below.

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