Greater Niagara Chamber  strongly objects to potential labour and employment standards reforms in Ontario

Changes would discourage investment, eliminate jobs and diminish economic opportunities in Ontario, especially among small business owners

A News Release from the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce iin Niagara, Ontario

Posted May 15th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC), in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has sent a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne warning against potential changes to Ontario’s Labour Relations Act (LRA) and the Employment Standards Act (ESA), including the introduction of a $15 minimum wage.

The letter is cautioning that these reforms may have unintended consequences impacting job creation and competitiveness, as well discouraging investment in the province.

More Niagarans work in retail than in any other single industry, and retail will be hugely impacted by these changes. They will not only result in downsizing and layoffs in Niagara’s retail workforce, but the costs will be passed on to consumers, resulting in higher prices.

Niagara’s economy depends in large part upon the tourist industry. Employers in this highly competitive sector operate on thin margins. The proposed changes will have similar effects in this industry. This becomes a vicious cycle, with a less-competitive tourism sector then shedding further jobs.

Niagara’s agriculture and world-renowned vinticulture industries will also be profoundly affected. These changes will not be abstract ones affecting GDP analytics and stock prices, but will have a real and often wrenching impact on thousands of people living and working here in our community.

Many businesses will have to address these higher costs by increasing prices. This will mean that the same people who benefit from an increased minimum wage would promptly lose it again as they pay more for groceries, rent, energy, and so forth.

The potential reforms are coming at a time when costs for consumers and the cost of doing business is high and putting Ontario at a competitive disadvantage. Ontario has experienced slower growth in GDP and job creation than in the past, and drastic reforms to labour and employment run the risk of causing serious damage to the future prosperity of the province.

 “These sweeping changes could seriously impact job creation and the health of our local economy,” said Mishka Balsom, President and CEO of the GNCC. “We need to get the message out that the proposed changes would discourage investment in Ontario, thereby diminishing economic opportunities in Ontario. Evidence must drive decision-making, not politics.”

 Statistics Canada indicates that 76 percent of part-timer workers voluntarily choose part-time work to better accommodate schooling or personal life. 

 “We are urging Premier Wynne to complete an economic impact analysis of the proposed reforms to limit potential consequences that could seriously jeopardize our future growth,” said Richard Koroscil, Interim-President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “We support reform where and when it is needed, but we caution against change for change’s sake.”

 Budget 2017 points out that 98% of all new jobs created since the recession have been full time, and 78% have been above-average wage for their respective industries.

 The goals of economic growth and improved employee rights are not mutually exclusive. That which supports the competitiveness of Ontario’s economy can also help enhance quality of work. Increased education and enforcement may assist with compliance to Government regulations and can improve worker environments. Regulatory reform that raises costs for business, only to reduce the ability of business to invest in and grow the labour force is counterproductive.

The GNCC and the Ontario chamber network believe that, while workplace reform is doubtless necessary, such reform should only take place based on evidence, research, and carefully-planned policy in consultation with all involved stakeholders, and not as part of electioneering or party politics.

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space below the Bernie quote.

A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater binational Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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4 responses to “Greater Niagara Chamber  strongly objects to potential labour and employment standards reforms in Ontario

  1. “The letter is cautioning that these reforms may have unintended consequences impacting job creation and competitiveness, as well discouraging investment in the province.” Note the word “may”. So I call on the GNCoC to present evidence to support their assertions…and I mean real evidence, not more opinion. It’s high time to dispel some entrenched myths about what drives investment.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gail Benfafield

    One wonders what GNCofC booster, and former CAO, St. C. Mayor Sendzik has to say. Inquiring minds might like to know.

    Like

  3. I find the GNCC comments to be below the belt and doubt very much the truth of the following line:

    Budget 2017 points out that 98% of all new jobs created since the recession have been full time, and 78% have been above-average wage for their respective industries. I would love to see proof (highly doubtful) of these figures. Trumpism is alive and well at our local Chamber or is this a carry over from Harper’s days of pulling figures out of thin air and trying to get us to believe them. Our tourism industry is controlled by a handful of people who could care less if those working in the industry made a decent wage and or worked full time. The Chamber does not work for the employees but for the employer and I find their argument against a minimum wage increase to be asinine.

    Don Gravelle

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Increased costs can only be recovered in a uncompetitive market and if consumers have the ability to pay. Labour of all types has been losing ground over the past 40 years. Time to start paying the freight again.

    After all labour is the most competitive market since the likes of GNCC actively lobby’s , and even buys, government support. How else do we get Temporary Foreign Worker Programs and union rights in theory only?

    Liked by 2 people

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