The Ontario government has announced Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act set to be implemented later this year. The plan is proposing widespread changes to Ontario workplaces. In doing so, Brampton businesses warn of unintended consequences that could have negative economic effects. The Brampton Board of Trade is warning local MPPs of unintended consequences that will hurt consumers, workers and local businesses.
Proposed reforms include a 32% increase in the minimum wage within the next 18 months; card-based union certification and a variety of other changes that will impact job creation, workplace harmony and business investment in Ontario. Read the full policy update on the impending changes here.
“I meet with business owners every day. They feel under attack by the provincial government. Changes are too drastic and the proposed implementation is too fast. They want the Bill killed and are scrambling to make contingency plans that keep customers, market share and competitive advantage”, says Todd Letts, CEO of the Brampton Board of Trade, “Some have stated clearly that these changes will impact their business survival.”
“My plan is to increase fees by 14-18% in the next 6 months. I will definitely cut back on employee positions and employee benefits to offset costs”, says one Brampton business owner.
According to visits, calls and meetings local businesses have had recently with the Brampton Board of Trade, major concerns have been raised across all sectors regarding the impending changes. Local businesses tell the Board of Trade that:
In the words of one small business owner: “As a small business owner with high staff: revenue ratio, I am concerned about the increase to minimum wage and related changes….the speed of the proposed implementation will be very difficult to bear. I believe a 5-year tiered-increase would achieve the same effect and be much less disruptive to Ontario businesses. Although an election is imminent I would really like to see decisions made by the Ontario government transcend the political horizon; this is a transparent vote-grab without thought for long-term consequences.”
Another business wrote the Board to say: “My concern is that the consequences of driving through changes at this speed will result in decreased new job creation and potential failure of existing businesses due to the need to significantly raise pricing to accommodate increased employee expenses (unrealistic in our increasingly globalized business environment), leading to decreased competitiveness of Ontario businesses and, ironically, a negative effect on Ontario employees.”
Businesses want a full economic impact analysis before the plan is implemented. The Brampton Board of Trade is active on a number of lobbying strategies to help local MPPs and cabinet Ministers understand local business concerns. Through a coalition of businesses across the province, the Brampton Board is share concerns with all political parties and will continue to advocate for the current government to re-think, reverse and revise the impending changes in Bill 148. Please join this advocacy effort by sharing your thoughts on these changes and the impact you foresee at your business. Click here to participate in the survey.