Chambers of commerce ask government to help offset wage increase

Dear editor:
More help needed to offset impact of minimum wage hike
There has been much discussion in recent weeks about the unintended consequences of Bill 148, the legislation that introduced a higher minimum wage in Ontario and extended many labour and employment standards provisions.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and its members, including the Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce, understand and appreciate the intent of the legislation. But we also understand that evidence-based public policy must be fundamental in a properly functioning democracy.
For months, chambers across Ontario have forewarned that any objective analysis of these changes could lead to significant job loss, a 50% increase in inflation over and above what would otherwise be expected in the next few years, and acceleration toward automation.
Now we are seeing these consequences come to fruition as businesses take extra-ordinary actions.
It is the opinion of the Ontario Chamber that the implementation was too much too fast. It is clear that the Ontario Government must take further action to mitigate the unintended consequences of Bill 148.
Chambers will continue to call on government to provide offsets in the upcoming budget that will help employers manage this increase in labour costs. We must ensure that we are doing all we can so that Ontario remains competitive.
Let’s lower the rhetoric, on all sides, and ensure that we are collectively helping to shape an inclusive and shared prosperity here in Muskoka and across Ontario.
Norah Fountain, General Manager
Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce