CORNWALL, Ontario – The Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce is adding its voice to a chorus of others across the province, that call into question the methodology used by Queen’s Park in drafting its controversial Bill 148 employment changes.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has sponsored its own third-party economic review of the Bill 148 changes, which suggests that vast, unprecedented reforms will put 185,000 jobs at risk and increase consumer goods and services by $1,300 per household, greatly impacting Ontario’s most vulnerable workers. This is a result of disproportionate minimum-wage hikes, and other moves to alter the employment landscape in this province.
“The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has done its due diligence in helping to complete an independent economic review of the Bill 148 impact on our province,” said Todd Lihou, the chair of the Cornwall Chamber’s political advisory committee. “The results speak for themselves. Bill 148 will create chaos among local and small business owners who operate with razor-thin margins and cannot accommodate the changes being discussed.
“We continue to call upon the provincial government to soften the measures being considered to change employment standards across Ontario” continues Lihou.”We strongly believe a living wage and other measures should be a fact of life in Ontario. But it is clear those initiatives should come via tax breaks and other social programs, and not the backs of small business.”
Jobs are not the only expected unintended consequences. There is an expected 50 per cent increase in inflation for this year and the foreseeable future, increasing everyday consumer goods and services by $1,300 per household on average each and every year.
Of further concern is the impact Bill 148 will have on small cities of 50,000, where municipalities could be on the hook for as much as $500,000 in additional expenses to pay for part-time and seasonal employees.
“Cornwall is a city of close to 50,000 people, and to suggest that city hall will have to cover additional expenses of hundreds of thousands of dollars – in today’s economic climate – will put undue strain on our municipality, as well as the taxpayers and business owners who drive our local economic engine,” said Lihou. “Premier Kathleen Wynne needs to re-examine her policies with respect to Bill 148, and the hardship its implementation will create.”