MCMEEKIN COLUMN: Minimum wage hike about fair workplaces and better jobs

Opinion Sep 11, 2017 Ancaster News

Ontario’s economy continues to shine. Our economy is outperforming all G7 countries in GDP growth. Unemployment is at a 16-year low. People from other provinces are moving to Ontario at the fastest rate in almost 30 years.

But while many businesses are expanding and creating wealth here — not everyone is feeling it.

That is why this past spring, the government introduced Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. The Act includes hiking the minimum wage to $15 in 2019, introducing paid sick days for every worker, and stepping up enforcement of employment laws.

I spent the summer meeting with people at farmers markets, coffee shops, barbecues and community gatherings discussing Bill 148. The overwhelming consensus is clear — people support our plan.

However, some in the business community have been quite vocal in their opposition to our proposed changes. They’ve said it is too much, too fast. But for those who keep falling behind, these changes can’t come soon enough.

According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Ontario’s low-wage workforce has skyrocketed by 94 per cent over the past two decades. Nearly 30 per cent of Ontario’s labour market earned less than $15 an hour in 2016.

Most of those making less than $15 an hour are 25 or older. They are increasingly adults trying to support themselves, and their families — too often in more than one job. You simply can’t raise a family on $11.40 an hour.

Fifty-three economists endorsed the plan because their studies have found lower turnover, more on-the-job training and higher productivity after minimum wage increases.

The standing committee on finance and economic affairs travelled to 10 communities this summer, including Hamilton. It heard approximately 190 presentations from the public, businesses and labour. It will review feedback and continue to consult this fall.

We are carefully listening to the concerns of small businesses, and I have made suggestions to the premier around how to stimulate employment that could include government involvement to mitigate some of the proposed measures.

Friends, this is not about worker versus employer or labour union versus chamber of commerce. This is about fairness, balance and equal opportunity. It is absolutely the right thing to do.

While some say we can’t afford to makes these changes, the reality is for many people in Ontario we can’t afford not to. Ontario’s rising economic tide needs to lift up all boats, not just the yachts.

MCMEEKIN COLUMN: Minimum wage hike about fair workplaces and better jobs

Opinion Sep 11, 2017 Ancaster News

Ontario’s economy continues to shine. Our economy is outperforming all G7 countries in GDP growth. Unemployment is at a 16-year low. People from other provinces are moving to Ontario at the fastest rate in almost 30 years.

But while many businesses are expanding and creating wealth here — not everyone is feeling it.

That is why this past spring, the government introduced Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. The Act includes hiking the minimum wage to $15 in 2019, introducing paid sick days for every worker, and stepping up enforcement of employment laws.

I spent the summer meeting with people at farmers markets, coffee shops, barbecues and community gatherings discussing Bill 148. The overwhelming consensus is clear — people support our plan.

However, some in the business community have been quite vocal in their opposition to our proposed changes. They’ve said it is too much, too fast. But for those who keep falling behind, these changes can’t come soon enough.

According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Ontario’s low-wage workforce has skyrocketed by 94 per cent over the past two decades. Nearly 30 per cent of Ontario’s labour market earned less than $15 an hour in 2016.

Most of those making less than $15 an hour are 25 or older. They are increasingly adults trying to support themselves, and their families — too often in more than one job. You simply can’t raise a family on $11.40 an hour.

Fifty-three economists endorsed the plan because their studies have found lower turnover, more on-the-job training and higher productivity after minimum wage increases.

The standing committee on finance and economic affairs travelled to 10 communities this summer, including Hamilton. It heard approximately 190 presentations from the public, businesses and labour. It will review feedback and continue to consult this fall.

We are carefully listening to the concerns of small businesses, and I have made suggestions to the premier around how to stimulate employment that could include government involvement to mitigate some of the proposed measures.

Friends, this is not about worker versus employer or labour union versus chamber of commerce. This is about fairness, balance and equal opportunity. It is absolutely the right thing to do.

While some say we can’t afford to makes these changes, the reality is for many people in Ontario we can’t afford not to. Ontario’s rising economic tide needs to lift up all boats, not just the yachts.

MCMEEKIN COLUMN: Minimum wage hike about fair workplaces and better jobs

Opinion Sep 11, 2017 Ancaster News

Ontario’s economy continues to shine. Our economy is outperforming all G7 countries in GDP growth. Unemployment is at a 16-year low. People from other provinces are moving to Ontario at the fastest rate in almost 30 years.

But while many businesses are expanding and creating wealth here — not everyone is feeling it.

That is why this past spring, the government introduced Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. The Act includes hiking the minimum wage to $15 in 2019, introducing paid sick days for every worker, and stepping up enforcement of employment laws.

I spent the summer meeting with people at farmers markets, coffee shops, barbecues and community gatherings discussing Bill 148. The overwhelming consensus is clear — people support our plan.

However, some in the business community have been quite vocal in their opposition to our proposed changes. They’ve said it is too much, too fast. But for those who keep falling behind, these changes can’t come soon enough.

According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Ontario’s low-wage workforce has skyrocketed by 94 per cent over the past two decades. Nearly 30 per cent of Ontario’s labour market earned less than $15 an hour in 2016.

Most of those making less than $15 an hour are 25 or older. They are increasingly adults trying to support themselves, and their families — too often in more than one job. You simply can’t raise a family on $11.40 an hour.

Fifty-three economists endorsed the plan because their studies have found lower turnover, more on-the-job training and higher productivity after minimum wage increases.

The standing committee on finance and economic affairs travelled to 10 communities this summer, including Hamilton. It heard approximately 190 presentations from the public, businesses and labour. It will review feedback and continue to consult this fall.

We are carefully listening to the concerns of small businesses, and I have made suggestions to the premier around how to stimulate employment that could include government involvement to mitigate some of the proposed measures.

Friends, this is not about worker versus employer or labour union versus chamber of commerce. This is about fairness, balance and equal opportunity. It is absolutely the right thing to do.

While some say we can’t afford to makes these changes, the reality is for many people in Ontario we can’t afford not to. Ontario’s rising economic tide needs to lift up all boats, not just the yachts.