In June 2017, the provincial government introduced The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act (Bill 148). It was a victory for workers across the province of Ontario who were struggling to make a living with a painfully low minimum wage.
Bill 148 brought reforms such as increasing minimum wage to $15 (by January 1, 2019), 2 paid sick days, 5 paid days for survivors of domestic and sexual abuse, and 3 weeks paid vacation after 5 years – among other benefits. The Bill also protects workers’ wages from being reduced when new contracts are adopted and implemented by management.
The impact of this Bill on the small business owner is significant, especially for those that weren’t prepared for the rapid changes. The additional expenses hurt their bottom line, which in some cases meant staff layoffs, cutting other employee benefits, or shutting the doors completely.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford vows to repeal parts of Bill 148. While repealing the Bill would hurt workers across the province, it may allow businesses to halt the impact of rising wages. Some of the changes proposed are:
- Freeze the minimum wage at $14 until 2020
- Paid days off (personal illness, bereavement, and family responsibilities) will become unpaid
- Part-time staff will not have to be paid the same as full-time workers
On Tuesday, October 23rd, the government introduced the Making Ontario Open for Business Act with the above changes, which has passed the first reading. This may mean business as usual for small and big businesses alike.
So why is the Premier making this change? The premise is to help businesses continue to grow, thus creating jobs – not cutting them. As an added benefit, the Premier is proposing to eliminate provincial personal income taxes for minimum wage workers – a change that would be a substantial boost in the amount of take-home pay for workers across the province.
For more information about the effects of Bill 148, and how it affects your business, visit: