Hamilton’s small businesses vow job cuts if Ontario Liberals’ labour reforms are passed

News Aug 29, 2017 by Kevin Werner Ancaster News

The Ontario government is studying a few ideas to assist small businesses that are expected to take the brunt of a minimum wage hike to $15 per hour starting Jan. 1, 2019, says Hamilton Liberal MPP Ted McMeekin.

“I’ve made a couple of suggestions (to Premier Kathleen Wynne) around how to stimulate new employment that could include direct government involvement,” said McMeekin. “I know the (all-party committee) is looking at a number of options.”

But McMeekin said the Liberals’ Bill 148 is designed to distribute the benefits of a productive economy to the working poor.

“It’s about fairness and narrowing the gap,” he said. “The best way to do that is to put money in peoples’ pockets. It’s going to buy socks, underwear and shoes for the kids, maybe one meal out a month for the family.”

Business owners gathered at an Aug. 29 business roundtable discussion organized by the Flamborough Chamber of Commerce at the Dutch Mill Country Store, politely, but firmly rejected the Liberals’ proposal to add further costs to their operations.

“I do feel like I’m being strong armed by my government on this issue,” said Linda Grainger of the family-owned Grainger Glass in Waterdown. “Have some consideration for those of us who mortgage our homes, who miss the school plays, who put the people who work for us ahead of themselves.”

Waterdown Self Storage's Mark Soave told McMeekin and Flamborough Coun. Judi Partridge, who is also the provincial Liberal candidate for Flamborough-Glanbrook and took part in the discussion, the people who will benefit from increasing the minimum wage from $11.40 per hour to $14 starting Jan. 1, 2018, “are the ones who will be hurt the most.”

He said as costs for labour increase, businesses will look to technology to cut their spending and ultimately lay off workers.

“Technology is your worst enemy,” he told the gathering. “You just really have to think about what you are doing.”

Dundas’ Beanerymunky Chocolates' Lori Eisenberger said she believes in paying her employees a living wage, which is higher than the prevailing minimum wage, but to pay the $15 minimum wage will mean cutting back hours, and “probably cancelling our health spending account.”

Terra Greenhouses Ltd. chief financial officer Andy Broadbent, echoed similar concerns among the 45 people who turned out for the two-hour, noontime event, saying the labour changes the Liberals are proposing are going too fast.

He said up to 85 per cent of the 500 employees that work at Terra Greenhouses receive more than the minimum wage. For those people who earn the minimum wage, Broadbent said it will cost the company six figures to pay those people. To offset the labour costs, prices may have to rise, or other expenses will be reduced, including cutting jobs.

“Give us some time to logically plan,” he said.

Flamborough Chamber of Commerce executive director Arend Kersten, said when the Liberals announced that the minimum wage was part of the labour reform packages, it was a bombshell for the business community.

When the government refused to conduct an economic analysis, a group called the Keep Ontario Working Coalition, which is in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, commissioned a study by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis. The result, said Kersten, is that Ontario will risk losing about 185,000 jobs, including 8,000 jobs in Hamilton if the labour changes are passed. In addition, it will cost $1,300 per household over the next two years and businesses will take a $23-million hit.

“This is simply too much, too quickly,” said Kersten.

The coalition has proposed that the Liberals consider the results of the study; slow down the implementation of the minimum wage proposals; establish sector-based scheduling reforms; equal pay for equal work initiatives be delayed for six months; and preserve the secret ballot for union certification.

McMeekin defended his government’s proposals, telling the group it won't be backing away from a $15 an hour minimum wage. However, he said that there are opportunities for potential changes in other proposals, such as relief for the agri-food businesses and the rural communities.

“We are trying to be balanced,” he said. “But you can’t raise a family on $11.40 an hour.”

The bill, which was studied by a legislative committee after the first reading — an unusual move — must now pass second reading and possibly another round of standing-committee review before third reading and enactment, expected during the legislature's fall sitting which begins in September.

Later, McMeekin acknowledged the campaign by business organizations against the labour changes. During the roundtable discussion, Kersten chided McMeekin for not answering why the Liberals failed to conduct an economic analysis of the labour reforms’ impact on businesses.

“Every time a government moves to streamline labour laws there are some in the community who yell ‘the sky is falling.’ Well you know what? Notwithstanding these utterances, we continue to grow the economy at a faster pace than any G7 nation or any other province. We continue to create whole new jobs in many jurisdictions.”

Hamilton’s small businesses vow job cuts if Ontario Liberals’ labour reforms are passed

News Aug 29, 2017 by Kevin Werner Ancaster News

The Ontario government is studying a few ideas to assist small businesses that are expected to take the brunt of a minimum wage hike to $15 per hour starting Jan. 1, 2019, says Hamilton Liberal MPP Ted McMeekin.

“I’ve made a couple of suggestions (to Premier Kathleen Wynne) around how to stimulate new employment that could include direct government involvement,” said McMeekin. “I know the (all-party committee) is looking at a number of options.”

But McMeekin said the Liberals’ Bill 148 is designed to distribute the benefits of a productive economy to the working poor.

“It’s about fairness and narrowing the gap,” he said. “The best way to do that is to put money in peoples’ pockets. It’s going to buy socks, underwear and shoes for the kids, maybe one meal out a month for the family.”

Business owners gathered at an Aug. 29 business roundtable discussion organized by the Flamborough Chamber of Commerce at the Dutch Mill Country Store, politely, but firmly rejected the Liberals’ proposal to add further costs to their operations.

“I do feel like I’m being strong armed by my government on this issue,” said Linda Grainger of the family-owned Grainger Glass in Waterdown. “Have some consideration for those of us who mortgage our homes, who miss the school plays, who put the people who work for us ahead of themselves.”

Waterdown Self Storage's Mark Soave told McMeekin and Flamborough Coun. Judi Partridge, who is also the provincial Liberal candidate for Flamborough-Glanbrook and took part in the discussion, the people who will benefit from increasing the minimum wage from $11.40 per hour to $14 starting Jan. 1, 2018, “are the ones who will be hurt the most.”

He said as costs for labour increase, businesses will look to technology to cut their spending and ultimately lay off workers.

“Technology is your worst enemy,” he told the gathering. “You just really have to think about what you are doing.”

Dundas’ Beanerymunky Chocolates' Lori Eisenberger said she believes in paying her employees a living wage, which is higher than the prevailing minimum wage, but to pay the $15 minimum wage will mean cutting back hours, and “probably cancelling our health spending account.”

Terra Greenhouses Ltd. chief financial officer Andy Broadbent, echoed similar concerns among the 45 people who turned out for the two-hour, noontime event, saying the labour changes the Liberals are proposing are going too fast.

He said up to 85 per cent of the 500 employees that work at Terra Greenhouses receive more than the minimum wage. For those people who earn the minimum wage, Broadbent said it will cost the company six figures to pay those people. To offset the labour costs, prices may have to rise, or other expenses will be reduced, including cutting jobs.

“Give us some time to logically plan,” he said.

Flamborough Chamber of Commerce executive director Arend Kersten, said when the Liberals announced that the minimum wage was part of the labour reform packages, it was a bombshell for the business community.

When the government refused to conduct an economic analysis, a group called the Keep Ontario Working Coalition, which is in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, commissioned a study by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis. The result, said Kersten, is that Ontario will risk losing about 185,000 jobs, including 8,000 jobs in Hamilton if the labour changes are passed. In addition, it will cost $1,300 per household over the next two years and businesses will take a $23-million hit.

“This is simply too much, too quickly,” said Kersten.

The coalition has proposed that the Liberals consider the results of the study; slow down the implementation of the minimum wage proposals; establish sector-based scheduling reforms; equal pay for equal work initiatives be delayed for six months; and preserve the secret ballot for union certification.

McMeekin defended his government’s proposals, telling the group it won't be backing away from a $15 an hour minimum wage. However, he said that there are opportunities for potential changes in other proposals, such as relief for the agri-food businesses and the rural communities.

“We are trying to be balanced,” he said. “But you can’t raise a family on $11.40 an hour.”

The bill, which was studied by a legislative committee after the first reading — an unusual move — must now pass second reading and possibly another round of standing-committee review before third reading and enactment, expected during the legislature's fall sitting which begins in September.

Later, McMeekin acknowledged the campaign by business organizations against the labour changes. During the roundtable discussion, Kersten chided McMeekin for not answering why the Liberals failed to conduct an economic analysis of the labour reforms’ impact on businesses.

“Every time a government moves to streamline labour laws there are some in the community who yell ‘the sky is falling.’ Well you know what? Notwithstanding these utterances, we continue to grow the economy at a faster pace than any G7 nation or any other province. We continue to create whole new jobs in many jurisdictions.”

Hamilton’s small businesses vow job cuts if Ontario Liberals’ labour reforms are passed

News Aug 29, 2017 by Kevin Werner Ancaster News

The Ontario government is studying a few ideas to assist small businesses that are expected to take the brunt of a minimum wage hike to $15 per hour starting Jan. 1, 2019, says Hamilton Liberal MPP Ted McMeekin.

“I’ve made a couple of suggestions (to Premier Kathleen Wynne) around how to stimulate new employment that could include direct government involvement,” said McMeekin. “I know the (all-party committee) is looking at a number of options.”

But McMeekin said the Liberals’ Bill 148 is designed to distribute the benefits of a productive economy to the working poor.

“It’s about fairness and narrowing the gap,” he said. “The best way to do that is to put money in peoples’ pockets. It’s going to buy socks, underwear and shoes for the kids, maybe one meal out a month for the family.”

Business owners gathered at an Aug. 29 business roundtable discussion organized by the Flamborough Chamber of Commerce at the Dutch Mill Country Store, politely, but firmly rejected the Liberals’ proposal to add further costs to their operations.

“I do feel like I’m being strong armed by my government on this issue,” said Linda Grainger of the family-owned Grainger Glass in Waterdown. “Have some consideration for those of us who mortgage our homes, who miss the school plays, who put the people who work for us ahead of themselves.”

Waterdown Self Storage's Mark Soave told McMeekin and Flamborough Coun. Judi Partridge, who is also the provincial Liberal candidate for Flamborough-Glanbrook and took part in the discussion, the people who will benefit from increasing the minimum wage from $11.40 per hour to $14 starting Jan. 1, 2018, “are the ones who will be hurt the most.”

He said as costs for labour increase, businesses will look to technology to cut their spending and ultimately lay off workers.

“Technology is your worst enemy,” he told the gathering. “You just really have to think about what you are doing.”

Dundas’ Beanerymunky Chocolates' Lori Eisenberger said she believes in paying her employees a living wage, which is higher than the prevailing minimum wage, but to pay the $15 minimum wage will mean cutting back hours, and “probably cancelling our health spending account.”

Terra Greenhouses Ltd. chief financial officer Andy Broadbent, echoed similar concerns among the 45 people who turned out for the two-hour, noontime event, saying the labour changes the Liberals are proposing are going too fast.

He said up to 85 per cent of the 500 employees that work at Terra Greenhouses receive more than the minimum wage. For those people who earn the minimum wage, Broadbent said it will cost the company six figures to pay those people. To offset the labour costs, prices may have to rise, or other expenses will be reduced, including cutting jobs.

“Give us some time to logically plan,” he said.

Flamborough Chamber of Commerce executive director Arend Kersten, said when the Liberals announced that the minimum wage was part of the labour reform packages, it was a bombshell for the business community.

When the government refused to conduct an economic analysis, a group called the Keep Ontario Working Coalition, which is in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, commissioned a study by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis. The result, said Kersten, is that Ontario will risk losing about 185,000 jobs, including 8,000 jobs in Hamilton if the labour changes are passed. In addition, it will cost $1,300 per household over the next two years and businesses will take a $23-million hit.

“This is simply too much, too quickly,” said Kersten.

The coalition has proposed that the Liberals consider the results of the study; slow down the implementation of the minimum wage proposals; establish sector-based scheduling reforms; equal pay for equal work initiatives be delayed for six months; and preserve the secret ballot for union certification.

McMeekin defended his government’s proposals, telling the group it won't be backing away from a $15 an hour minimum wage. However, he said that there are opportunities for potential changes in other proposals, such as relief for the agri-food businesses and the rural communities.

“We are trying to be balanced,” he said. “But you can’t raise a family on $11.40 an hour.”

The bill, which was studied by a legislative committee after the first reading — an unusual move — must now pass second reading and possibly another round of standing-committee review before third reading and enactment, expected during the legislature's fall sitting which begins in September.

Later, McMeekin acknowledged the campaign by business organizations against the labour changes. During the roundtable discussion, Kersten chided McMeekin for not answering why the Liberals failed to conduct an economic analysis of the labour reforms’ impact on businesses.

“Every time a government moves to streamline labour laws there are some in the community who yell ‘the sky is falling.’ Well you know what? Notwithstanding these utterances, we continue to grow the economy at a faster pace than any G7 nation or any other province. We continue to create whole new jobs in many jurisdictions.”