By Robert Mackenzie
Published July 11 2017
The Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce is advocating for a slower implementation of the $15 minimum wage being proposed by the Ontario government.
In a press release the Keep Ontario Working group a coalition of business sector representatives supported by the Haliburton Chamber of Commerce said that employers need time to adjust to the proposed changes which would see minimum wage increase 32 per cent by January 2019.
“Small business is very concerned that 32 per cent in 18 months is a huge challenge” said chamber president Richard Wannan.
Minimum wage currently sits at $11.40. If the changes being proposed pass through legislation minimum wage will rise to $14 by January 2018 then to $15 by January 2019.
A letter sent to Premier Kathleen Wynne by the Keep Ontario Working group on July 10 said that the impacts of the legislation would “create tremendous uncertainty for Ontario businesses.”
“There is going to be some impacts if this comes down in the way it is presented” Wannan said adding that he hopes the implementation of a minimum wage increase is softened so that businesses can “adapt instead of react.”
The Keep Ontario Working group is hiring a firm to conduct an independent analysis of the proposed legislation in order to “fully evaluate the damage these changes will generate.” The July 10 letter said the analysis would be completed and shared with the public in August.
On June 29 a group of more than 50 Canadian economists wrote an open letter in support of increasing the minimum wage to $15 saying that the raise would be a positive step for workers and the economy.