Businesses Sound Alarm on Jobs and Labour Reform at Committee

July 14, 2017

CORNWALL – At a recent meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs collecting feedback on Bill 148, which enacts significant reforms of Ontario’s labour market, business advocates stressed their unease with Ontario’s regulatory burden and increasingly uncompetitive business environment.


“The Kingston Chamber of Commerce stated their members are afraid of what the near future will bring” said MPP Jim McDonell. “This pessimism is unprecedented. Voices as diverse as the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville and the Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce are demanding a full economic impact analysis of the government’s planned minimum wage and labour reform – something this government refuses to do because they have no idea of the costs or economic outcomes. Their own review panel found that a 10% increase in minimum wage reduces youth employment by 6%. What do they expect a 32% hike to achieve?”


The challenges facing existing and prospective businesses in Ontario, especially in manufacturing, were highlighted recently by the Fraser Institute. In their recent report, they stated that “Ontario’s high electricity prices, increases in regulation, high personal income tax and hikes in minimum wages have all conspired to depress Ontario’s manufacturing sector, which has shriveled from 21% of the Ontario economy in 2002 to 12% in 2015.”


“You can’t tax and regulate your way to prosperity” MPP Jim McDonell stated. “Businesses, especially small and family ones, sustain communities. Without them, who will provide the work, income and tax base that lets our communities and public services function? Take the humble rural gas station as an example. With higher operating, tax and compliance costs, many of them are gone. Residents now need to drive further and further to fill up, causing more pollution and incurring greater time and fuel costs than before. This is the exact opposite of what the government intended – they clearly have no appreciation of the unintended consequences of their actions. All they see is the prospect of a short-term electoral gain. When will this government do the right thing and actually govern in the best interest of all Ontarians!”