Tag: Bill 148

Steering Through Change: A Handbook to Help Ontario Businesses Understand and Manage Bill 148

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce, alongside the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and management-consulting firm, MNP, have released a comprehensive handbook (Steering Through Change) to help Ontario businesses navigate the new costs and regulations associated with Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces Better Jobs Act. The handbook provides a summary of the incoming changes, outlines the potential risks to business, and identifies strategies to help mitigate the impact.

From substantial increases to the minimum wage, new scheduling provisions, reforms to the collective bargaining process and dozens of other changes, Bill 148 will present many challenges for employers.

The handbook includes important insights into the legislation and offers practical solutions and strategies to support businesses through the initial changes. As the implementation dates draw closer, employers will be able to turn to this handbook to understand the legislation and navigate change.

The handbook provides a better understanding of how to manage and plan for Bill 148, should the legislation pass. However, there is still an opportunity to provide

feedback on Bill 148 before it comes to a final vote. To date, the bill has passed the second reading and has now been referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. 

Business owners are strongly encouraged to send requests to deputize in front of the committee and send written submissions to the Standing Committee including your thoughts and concerns regarding Bill 148.

You can e-mail your submission to the following address:

Eric Rennie, Clerk
erennie@ola.org
cc:comm-financeaffairs@ola.org
416-325-3506

On November 2nd, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and MNP LLP hosted a webinar on Bill 148 featuring an overview of Bill 148, what the implications are, and what you can do for next steps. View the presentation slides. Watch the webinar recording


Extending Minimum Wage Implementation Will Slash Job Loss Risk by 74%: Economic Analysis

Final analysis of Bill 148 reveals $12 billion economic problem that the Ontario Government must resolve

Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Keep Ontario Working (KOW) Coalition released two major reports that broadly capture the challenges associated with Bill 148 and the concerns of the employer community. The first report is the final economic impact analysis of Bill 148 by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis’ (CANCEA), which was peer-reviewed by Professor Morley Gunderson of the University of Toronto.

CANCEA’s analysis reveals that if Government were to do nothing other than implement the minimum wage increase over five years instead of in the next 15 months, jobs at risk would decrease by 74 per cent in the first two years. 

The analysis also indicates that while the proposed changes will see $11 billion in wage stimulus flow into the economy in the next two years, a remaining $12 billion problem exists which will lead to jobs lost, added costs, and general damage to the Ontario economy.

“Today’s final report by CANCEA is clear, while the Government is correct to say that there will be a stimulus from Bill 148, it does not cover the $23 billion cost challenge for business in the first two years – a substantial amount that poses great risk to our economy and cannot be resolved through offsets alone,” said Karl Baldauf, Vice President of Policy and Government Relations at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “More must be done. The Ontario Government must resolve the economic challenges presented in Bill 148 through a combination of slowing down the implementation period, amending the legislation, and offsets. Business and Government must work together to avoid unintended consequences and protect our most vulnerable.”

The Keep Ontario Working Coalition and CANCEA released interim findings of this Analysis in August, ahead of final amendments being submitted for first reading of the legislation. To date, CANCEA’s work remains the only peer-reviewed economic analysis of Bill 148. In having been reviewed by Morley Gunderson, the work has benefited from one of the leading economists in Canada, who the Ontario Government has turned to on multiple occasions, such as during the Changing Workplaces Review which became the foundation for Bill 148.

“Our risk assessment of the Act is that there is more risk than reward for Ontarians despite the stated goal of the legislation in helping Ontario’s more vulnerable and the Ontario economy,” Paul Smetanin, President of CANCEA. “Given the risk of consolidating income and wealth inequality, putting about 185,000 people out of work, and the risks of small/medium businesses being exposed to their larger competitors, the unintended consequences are significant.”

In addition, the Keep Ontario Working coalition released a second report, The Flip Side of “Fair”, which showcases testimonials from employers and outline how they will be impacted by the legislation. The report gives a voice to those businesses who have felt excluded from the committee process and policy discussion around this legislation. The testimonials all share a common theme, that the minimum wage increase and labour reforms will have serious consequences for their business and their communities.

“This Bill is forcing businesses to automate where possible, reduce labour/staffing, absorb part of the costs, and pass along a price increase to the customers (consumers) where possible. …The very people that you are purporting to help are the ones who are going to be hurt the most. This will be the inexperienced and/or unskilled in Ontario. As these jobs disappear, they will be pushed onto social assistance… and will remain in poverty.” – Guenther Huettlin, President and Owner at GH Manufacturing, Belleville, Ontario

The KOW Coalition will continue to advocate that the government:

  1. Consider the risks outlined in this economic impact analysis while also conducting their own analysis;
  2. Implement broad amendments to Bill 148; and,
  3. Slow down implementation to avoid unintended consequences and protect Ontario’s jobs, communities and our most vulnerable.

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The Keep Ontario Working Coalition (KOW) is a broad-spectrum group of business sector representatives concerned with sound public policy to help produce jobs and grow Ontario. For more information please visit www.keepontarioworking.ca.

Members include:

Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services (ACSESS)

Canadian Franchise Association (CFA)

Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers

Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC)

Food and Beverage Ontario (FBO)

National Association of Canada Consulting Businesses (NACCB Canada)

Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA)

Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC)

Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA)

Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA)

Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA)

Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA)

Restaurants Canada

Retail Council of Canada (RCC)

Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)


185,000 Ontario Jobs at Risk from Bill 148: Independent Economic Impact Analysis

Bill 148 will increase the cost of consumer goods and services by $1,300 per household starting in 2018, according to new analysis by leading economics firm

Today the Keep Ontario Working Coalition (KOW), in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Oakville Chamber of Commerce, released the first and only independent economic impact analysis of Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces Better Jobs Act. Conducted by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA), the study revealed that if the legislation is implemented as currently drafted, there will be significant, sudden and sizable uncertainty for Ontario jobs, economy and communities.

The study concludes that these vast, unprecedented reforms will put about 185,000 jobs at risk in the first two years, greatly impacting Ontario’s most vulnerable workers.

“The changes presented in Bill 148 will have dramatic unintended consequences that include putting close to two hundred thousand jobs at risk and seeing everyday consumer goods and services increase by thousands of dollars for each jobs at risk and seeing everyday consumer goods and services increase by thousands of dollars for each and every family in Ontario,” said Karl Baldauf, Vice President of Policy and Government Relations at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and spokesperson for the Keep Ontario Working Coalition. “We’ve run the numbers and it’s clear that this is too much, too soon. If the Ontario government chooses to proceed with these sweeping reforms too quickly, all of us will be affected, and the most vulnerable in our society chief among them.”

“Since the announcement of Bill 148, we have heard an overwhelming number of concerns raised by Oakville Chamber members over the size, and in particular, the timing of these proposed changes. They expressed their concerns over the unintended consequences of job losses due to rising costs, the inability to remain competitive, increased costs to consumers and the unfortunate reality of shutting down their business” stated John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “Working with the Keep Ontario Working Coalition, our goal is to address elements of the legislation where we think there is still room for negotiation, while bringing forth the evidence from this economic analysis to show the impact this will have on business and consumers.”

CANCEA was commissioned by the KOW coalition to measure the potential impacts of six key areas of change in Bill 148, including changes to minimum wages, “equal pay” provisions, vacation, scheduling, personal emergency leave (PEL) and unionization.

Data from the economic impact analysis shows:

  • $23 billion hit to business over the next two years alone
  • 185,000 Ontario jobs will be at immediate risk over the next two years
    • 30,000 of the jobs at risk are youth under 25
    • 96,000 employees at risk are expected to be women
  • 50 per cent increase to inflation for this year and the foreseeable future. The cost of everyday consumer goods and services will go up by $1,300 per household on average each and every year
  • The Ontario government would need to borrow $440 million more to cover the increases in new costs from this legislation. If the government were to provide offsets to businesses, as they have indicated, the province’s treasury will take a bigger hit
  • Municipalities will be forced to increase employee wages by $500 million without additional offsetting revenues

“Simple accounting reveals that the Act creates a $23 billion challenge for Ontario businesses over two years. Annualized, this is 21 per cent of what Ontario businesses invest in capital,” Paul Smetanin, President, CANCEA. “Given the significant, sudden and sizable changes it would be remiss to expect that unintended consequences would not follow.”

In the coming weeks and months, the KOW coalition will release additional components to the economic impact analysis.

“Given the scale of impact and pace of change, it will be impossible for the provincial government to make businesses, even small businesses, whole through offsets,” added Baldauf. “With amendments to the first reading of Bill 148 due this Wednesday, the legislation will need to see serious change including an adjusted timeline for implementation.”

Since Bill 149 was introduced in June, the KOW coalition has called on the government to conduct an economic impact analysis to fully understand how the legislation will change Ontario’s economy. With the government unwilling to do so, the report released today represents the first and only independent economic analysis of this legislation.

Read the analysis.

For more details on the economic analysis, click visit keepontarioworking.ca

 


Labour Relations and Employment Standards Changes: Too Much, Too Fast

The Keep Ontario Working coalition calls for Ontario Government to give employers more time to adjust to sweeping reforms

 Today, the Keep Ontario Working group, a coalition of Ontario’s leading industry and sector associations, sent an open letter to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne which urges the Government of Ontario to slow down the implementation of Bill 148. The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act will bring about major changes in less than six months, and Ontario’s employer community is concerned that the pace of change will seriously injure our economic growth. The Keep Ontario Working coalition is calling on the provincial government to give businesses more time to better prepare.                               

In their letter, the Keep Ontario Working group calls on the government to consider the timing of implementation. As it stands now, Ontario’s minimum wage will increase by 32 per cent in only 18 months.

 “To demonstrate true fairness and compassion for workers, we must ensure Ontario has a strong economy to help create jobs and increase economic growth,” said Karl Baldauf, Vice President of Policy and Government Relations at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Spokesperson for the Keep Ontario Working Coalition. “To plan effectively and protect jobs, employers need predictability and time to adjust to these changes. There is no way to absorb and adjust to a 32 per cent hit in less than 18 months.”

The Keep Ontario Working coalition has commissioned an independent economic analysis to better understand the economic impact of these changes. The results of the coalition’s economic analysis will be shared this coming August.
                                        

Read the open letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne:                                             


Dear Premier Wynne:                                  

On behalf of Ontario’s employer community, the Keep Ontario Working coalition is writing to you today with a call for fairness and restraint as the Ontario legislature’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs begins province-wide consultations. As we have said since the introduction of Bill 148, the impacts from this legislation will create tremendous uncertainty for Ontario businesses. Realistic legislative timelines can only be proposed following a full economic impact analysis.

Economic Impact Analysis                         

Ontario’s small and medium sized businesses are the lifeblood of communities, creating local jobs and increasing economic growth around the province. In recent months we have received emotional stories from employers who believe that the impacts from Bill 148 will be profoundly negative and cause significant job loss and financial burden. Many of these businesses have expressed concern that the planned implementation of such drastic labour reforms does not give them the appropriate time to adjust.                         

Due to the Government of Ontario’s unwillingness to appropriately test the economic impacts of your legislation, the Keep Ontario Working coalition has commissioned our own thorough and comprehensive assessment to fully evaluate the damage these changes will generate. This independent analysis will be completed in August and we will share it with you and all of Ontario’s workers and employers at that time.                                            

Pace of Change                                

Many Ontario employers, especially small businesses, are now considering closing their business because they do not have the capacity to successfully manage such reforms. In the case of the minimum wage, for example, the business community was wholly aligned with your government’s previous approach, which allowed for increases to the minimum wage that were predictable and protected against arbitrary political decision-making. We object to this new approach, which will provide an arbitrary increase. If your government is intent on this public policy change, we ask that you proceed in a way that allows businesses to better prepare.                     

Since 2010, the minimum wage in Ontario has increased by 12 per cent. Under your proposed changes, employers would be required to increase the minimum wage by a further 23 per cent in six months, followed by another 11 per cent a year later. This represents a total increase of 32 per cent over just 18 months.

When looking at other jurisdictions who have introduced similar wage increases, the timelines for full implementation are significantly longer than ours. For example, the State of California is taking five years to increase their minimum wage by 50 per cent to $15/hour with employers of less than 25 employees. Seattle has allowed for a 4-year implementation for a 36 per cent wage increase. However, even there, recent evidence by the National Bureau of Economic Research has suggested that the costs of the Seattle minimum wage increases outweigh the benefits by 3:1. In that instance, low-wage workers are losing $125 per month due to less hours of work scheduled.                                   

We know that over the planning period, especially with an increase to minimum wage, the cost of goods will rise, as will utility and occupancy costs (such as leases and ownership), as well as municipal taxes.                         

To plan effectively and protect jobs, employers need predictability and time to adjust the cost of other inputs where we can. There is no way to absorb and adjust to a 32 per cent hit in less than 18 months, the bulk of which is an even more unmanageable 23 per cent increase a mere seven months out.

Our concern surrounding the pace of change is not isolated to the minimum wage in Ontario, but encompasses all aspects of the legislation. We know that changes to other areas – such as equal pay for temporary and part time workers and scheduling – will carry significant new costs for employers, costs that must be contended with in order to avoid maximum job losses.                                                                        

We urge you to slow the pace of the Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Act. We are extremely concerned that the proposed legislation will have negative impacts on the growth of our province’s economy, our people, and our communities. This does not demonstrate fairness.                             

To demonstrate true fairness and compassion for workers, we must ensure Ontario has a strong economy to help create jobs and increase economic growth. Ontario’s workers and employers deserve to truly understand the impact of your decisions. That is why we urge you not to rush these reforms, and to consider the economic impacts that will be revealed as a result of our comprehensive economic impact analysis in August.                           

We are committed to working collectively with your government to ensure that workers in this province can continue to prosper. For that to occur, we must continue to work together and ensure we are doing all we can to protect against job losses, increased costs to consumer goods, and economic hardship.                                           

Sincerely:

The Keep Ontario Working coalition:                                            

Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services (ACSESS)

Canadian Franchise Association (CFA)

Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC)

Food and Beverage Ontario (FBO)                                               

National Association of Canada Consulting Businesses (NACCB Canada)

Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA)

Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC)

Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA)

Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA)                                                      

Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA)

Restaurants Canada

Retail Council of Canada (RCC)

Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)

 

The Keep Ontario Working Coalition (KOW) is a broad-spectrum group of business sector representatives concerned with sound public policy to help produce jobs and grow Ontario. For more information on the Keep Ontario Working coalition please visit www.keepontarioworking.ca.