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Timing and Lack of Consultation on Minimum Wage Hike Disruptive to Business

Posted 6 months ago on · Permalink

November 3, 2021 – Nicole Gibson, Executive Director of the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade and Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce released the following statement in reaction to Ontario’s proposed minimum wage increase announced on November 2, 2021:

“Our business community wholeheartedly supports the fair treatment of workers. However, this sudden departure from the scheduled wage increase may lead to unintended negative consequences for both employees and the business community.

Many businesses and organizations continue to struggle with the increased costs and overall business downturn as a result of the pandemic. The potential negative impacts of the higher labour costs imposed by the proposed legislation are destabilizing across our community, with a potentially severe impact to small business.

For example, under the proposed legislation, liquor servers will receive a 19.5% increase in their minimum hourly wage. The negative impacts to restauranteurs and bar owners, who in the past year have faced mandatory closures and capacity restrictions, are unknown because they have not been reviewed in advance of this announcement.

Our business leaders have been clear about the need for minimum wage increases to be tied to a fair and transparent measure accounting for gradual increases with time.

We ask the Ontario Government to conduct a proper review of the current minimum wage, prior to taking action, which should allow concerns to be addressed and should ensure economic indicators are used to determine fair and reasonable increases.”

Nicole Gibson, Executive Director of the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade

“We are in favour of fair compensation and wage increases that are planned and done in consultation with the business community so that businesses have time to plan and implement the changes. We also recognize that workers have been impacted by the pandemic and higher cost of living.

Many businesses are still grappling with the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, including cashflow constraints and the increased cost of doing business; this is no time to add to their costs. The way the proposed changes are being implemented, leaving employers with less than two months to plan, will have considerable administrative and financial impact amidst a pandemic and after 20 months of duress.

We are disappointed in the lack of consultation on such a significant policy shift and departure from the scheduled wage increases. It is dangerous to bring in major new labour reforms without addressing or protecting against unintended consequences, such as job losses, rising consumer costs, service cuts, and economic hardship for businesses and our greater economy.

We ask the Government of Ontario to work with us and other business organizations to ensure that a sudden and unplanned minimum wage hike does not do more harm than good. The government needs to re-evaluate the timeline and consider debt forgiveness for impacted businesses to support this unanticipated change in policy.

We look forward to working with the government in reviewing the current minimum wage, to ensure any increases are tied to fair and transparent reasons, with sufficient notice to allow business owners to prepare.”

Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce

 

The Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade values the feedback of its members and the business community. Local businesses and organizations are welcomed to share their concerns and recommendations for support by emailing spaterson@apboardoftrade.com with the subject line “Minimum Wage.”

 

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Established in 1955, the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade (APBOT) is the voice of business in Ajax and Pickering, ON. With approximately 550 members, APBOT represents an array of business sectors and small to large organizations. APBOT is part of the nation-wide network of Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade, as well as the Joint Chambers of Durham. For more information regarding the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade, visit: www.apboardoftrade.com.

 

For more information, please contact:
Samantha Paterson, Communications & Policy Specialist, Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade
E: spaterson@apboardoftrade.com