Premier Wynne seeks collaboration with businesses

News Jun 19, 2017 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says the province will provide some help to small businesses as they face increasing labour costs with the minimum wage jumping to $15 an hour in January 2019.

Wynne, who toured the Mustard Seed Co-op in Hamilton on June 16 during a swing through the city and Burlington, said Ontario is behind other provinces and areas of the United States that have already adopted $15 minimum wage policies.

“We are not at the head of the parade on this,” said Wynne. “We are actually playing catch up.”

She said business groups have expressed concerns about the accelerated increases to the minimum wage, but, she said, there may be ways to mitigate some of the extra costs, such as cutting regulations or reducing fees.

“We are going to work with them,” said Wynne. “We think there are things we can support them (with).”

During her nearly hour election-style visit to the nonprofit grocery store, Wynne purchased Tree to Table maple syrup from Lynden, honey from Harriston, Ont., and rhubarb from Waterdown. She also had scheduled visits to the Burlington Senior Centre and the Burlington Art Gallery.

The Liberals have proposed boosting the current minimum wage of $11.40 per hour to $14 per hour on Jan. 1, 2018, and to $15 on Jan. 1, 2019. Also part of the labour reforms announced earlier this month include allowing workers to take up to 10 days of personal emergency leave each year, with two of those days paid; creating three weeks of vacation time after five years with a company; making sure full-time and part-time workers receive equal pay for equal work and establishing stable scheduling for employees.

Wynne said in 2003, when the Liberals took power, the minimum wage was $6.85, which had been frozen for eight years. Since then the minimum wage has been increased 10 times to over 70 per cent.

Ontario Tory leader Patrick Brown, who was in Burlington at the Burlington Chamber of Commerce on June 14, said raising the minimum wage could cripple small businesses and encourage layoffs.

In an interview, Brown said the party is “still looking at these (labour) reforms.” He refused to say if he would repeal the $15 minimum wage proposal, which still must be approved by the Ontario legislature this fall, but he said some of the reforms he liked, including the extended sick leave.

Brown wants to give businesses “a pace that is more gradual, that gives businesses the ability to adapt with it. I like the intent of higher wages. I want to do it in a fashion that protects existing jobs.”

Brown did criticize the Liberals for introducing the reforms, saying it was done for political reasons and not in the best interests of Ontario.

The Tory leader said the Liberals should have conducted an analysis on how a higher minimum wage would impact businesses, but Wynne says studies have stated the benefits of higher wages, while other studies have identified the impact to businesses and loss of employment.

Graham Cubitt, a director of the Mustard Seed Co-op grocery store, said the issue is complicated and there are complexities in how to make equal workplaces possible.

Yet the Mustard Seed, a not-for-profit group which is controlled by over 1,400 members and sells locally-produced food and products, has thrived in its three years on York Boulevard. It pays its employees what is deemed to be a living wage, which in Hamilton is now $15.85.

And even though poverty activists applauded the provincial government for finally boosting the minimum wage to $15 per hour, anti-poverty groups are now advocating for a minimum wage of between $16 and $17 an hour because of the rising cost of living.

Activists argue higher wages actually provide a stable workforce for businesses and reduces turnover.

There are about 30,000 people in Hamilton who work every day but don’t earn enough to rise about poverty levels. Most recent figures suggest 19 per cent of Hamiltonians live before the poverty line.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne will reach out to businesses to help with rising labour costs

News Jun 19, 2017 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says the province will provide some help to small businesses as they face increasing labour costs with the minimum wage jumping to $15 an hour in January 2019.

Wynne, who toured the Mustard Seed Co-op in Hamilton on June 16 during a swing through the city and Burlington, said Ontario is behind other provinces and areas of the United States that have already adopted $15 minimum wage policies.

“We are not at the head of the parade on this,” said Wynne. “We are actually playing catch up.”

She said business groups have expressed concerns about the accelerated increases to the minimum wage, but, she said, there may be ways to mitigate some of the extra costs, such as cutting regulations or reducing fees.

“We are going to work with them,” said Wynne. “We think there are things we can support them (with).”

During her nearly hour election-style visit to the nonprofit grocery store, Wynne purchased Tree to Table maple syrup from Lynden, honey from Harriston, Ont., and rhubarb from Waterdown. She also had scheduled visits to the Burlington Senior Centre and the Burlington Art Gallery.

The Liberals have proposed boosting the current minimum wage of $11.40 per hour to $14 per hour on Jan. 1, 2018, and to $15 on Jan. 1, 2019. Also part of the labour reforms announced earlier this month include allowing workers to take up to 10 days of personal emergency leave each year, with two of those days paid; creating three weeks of vacation time after five years with a company; making sure full-time and part-time workers receive equal pay for equal work and establishing stable scheduling for employees.

Wynne said in 2003, when the Liberals took power, the minimum wage was $6.85, which had been frozen for eight years. Since then the minimum wage has been increased 10 times to over 70 per cent.

Ontario Tory leader Patrick Brown, who was in Burlington at the Burlington Chamber of Commerce on June 14, said raising the minimum wage could cripple small businesses and encourage layoffs.

In an interview, Brown said the party is “still looking at these (labour) reforms.” He refused to say if he would repeal the $15 minimum wage proposal, which still must be approved by the Ontario legislature this fall, but he said some of the reforms he liked, including the extended sick leave.

Brown wants to give businesses “a pace that is more gradual, that gives businesses the ability to adapt with it. I like the intent of higher wages. I want to do it in a fashion that protects existing jobs.”

Brown did criticize the Liberals for introducing the reforms, saying it was done for political reasons and not in the best interests of Ontario.

The Tory leader said the Liberals should have conducted an analysis on how a higher minimum wage would impact businesses, but Wynne says studies have stated the benefits of higher wages, while other studies have identified the impact to businesses and loss of employment.

Graham Cubitt, a director of the Mustard Seed Co-op grocery store, said the issue is complicated and there are complexities in how to make equal workplaces possible.

Yet the Mustard Seed, a not-for-profit group which is controlled by over 1,400 members and sells locally-produced food and products, has thrived in its three years on York Boulevard. It pays its employees what is deemed to be a living wage, which in Hamilton is now $15.85.

And even though poverty activists applauded the provincial government for finally boosting the minimum wage to $15 per hour, anti-poverty groups are now advocating for a minimum wage of between $16 and $17 an hour because of the rising cost of living.

Activists argue higher wages actually provide a stable workforce for businesses and reduces turnover.

There are about 30,000 people in Hamilton who work every day but don’t earn enough to rise about poverty levels. Most recent figures suggest 19 per cent of Hamiltonians live before the poverty line.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne will reach out to businesses to help with rising labour costs

News Jun 19, 2017 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says the province will provide some help to small businesses as they face increasing labour costs with the minimum wage jumping to $15 an hour in January 2019.

Wynne, who toured the Mustard Seed Co-op in Hamilton on June 16 during a swing through the city and Burlington, said Ontario is behind other provinces and areas of the United States that have already adopted $15 minimum wage policies.

“We are not at the head of the parade on this,” said Wynne. “We are actually playing catch up.”

She said business groups have expressed concerns about the accelerated increases to the minimum wage, but, she said, there may be ways to mitigate some of the extra costs, such as cutting regulations or reducing fees.

“We are going to work with them,” said Wynne. “We think there are things we can support them (with).”

During her nearly hour election-style visit to the nonprofit grocery store, Wynne purchased Tree to Table maple syrup from Lynden, honey from Harriston, Ont., and rhubarb from Waterdown. She also had scheduled visits to the Burlington Senior Centre and the Burlington Art Gallery.

The Liberals have proposed boosting the current minimum wage of $11.40 per hour to $14 per hour on Jan. 1, 2018, and to $15 on Jan. 1, 2019. Also part of the labour reforms announced earlier this month include allowing workers to take up to 10 days of personal emergency leave each year, with two of those days paid; creating three weeks of vacation time after five years with a company; making sure full-time and part-time workers receive equal pay for equal work and establishing stable scheduling for employees.

Wynne said in 2003, when the Liberals took power, the minimum wage was $6.85, which had been frozen for eight years. Since then the minimum wage has been increased 10 times to over 70 per cent.

Ontario Tory leader Patrick Brown, who was in Burlington at the Burlington Chamber of Commerce on June 14, said raising the minimum wage could cripple small businesses and encourage layoffs.

In an interview, Brown said the party is “still looking at these (labour) reforms.” He refused to say if he would repeal the $15 minimum wage proposal, which still must be approved by the Ontario legislature this fall, but he said some of the reforms he liked, including the extended sick leave.

Brown wants to give businesses “a pace that is more gradual, that gives businesses the ability to adapt with it. I like the intent of higher wages. I want to do it in a fashion that protects existing jobs.”

Brown did criticize the Liberals for introducing the reforms, saying it was done for political reasons and not in the best interests of Ontario.

The Tory leader said the Liberals should have conducted an analysis on how a higher minimum wage would impact businesses, but Wynne says studies have stated the benefits of higher wages, while other studies have identified the impact to businesses and loss of employment.

Graham Cubitt, a director of the Mustard Seed Co-op grocery store, said the issue is complicated and there are complexities in how to make equal workplaces possible.

Yet the Mustard Seed, a not-for-profit group which is controlled by over 1,400 members and sells locally-produced food and products, has thrived in its three years on York Boulevard. It pays its employees what is deemed to be a living wage, which in Hamilton is now $15.85.

And even though poverty activists applauded the provincial government for finally boosting the minimum wage to $15 per hour, anti-poverty groups are now advocating for a minimum wage of between $16 and $17 an hour because of the rising cost of living.

Activists argue higher wages actually provide a stable workforce for businesses and reduces turnover.

There are about 30,000 people in Hamilton who work every day but don’t earn enough to rise about poverty levels. Most recent figures suggest 19 per cent of Hamiltonians live before the poverty line.