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GCC Supports Analysis On Bill 148

Web posted on July 26, 2017

Guelph, July 21, 2017: Today, the Guelph Chamber of Commerce made its submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. In its submission, the Chamber called on the Government of Ontario to take an evidence-based approach as it considers the implementation of the Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan.

The plan commits to unproven sweeping reforms without ensuring protection against unintended economic consequences, including job losses, rising consumer costs, and economic hardship. The Guelph Chamber also raised its concern about the extremely fast pace of the implementation of the plan and noted the need to review the pace and intensity of the implementation.

Implementing a plan this comprehensive, as quickly as is being proposed, without an economic impact analysis could have significant impacts on local businesses, the local economy and Ontario's competitiveness.

As noted in the Business Prosperity Index of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce's 2017 Ontario Economic Report, despite projections that Ontario will lead Canada in economic growth in the coming years, diminished profitability, lower labour market participation, and sluggish market activity; along with other key factors have resulted in a risk-averse atmosphere where businesses are disinclined to grow production.

Businesses are questioning if they should grow in Ontario or expand offshore. These regulations are also being implemented during a period of decelerating economic growth, the adoption of Donald Trump's America First policy, lower corporate taxes and costs in the United States of America, and growing uncertainty about the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The key considerations in the Guelph Chamber Submission include:

  • These reforms are coming at a time when Ontario's economy continues to show signs of vulnerability.

  • Rather than rush implementation, the Government of Ontario should spend the coming months appropriately subjecting the proposed reforms in the final report of the Changing Workplaces Review to an economic impact analysis. This analysis should have clear acceptability thresholds, and the reforms implemented should be limited to those that pass such thresholds or are being implemented with a commensurate economic offset measure.

  • Supporting reform where and when it is needed, but caution against change where it is unclear what the cost or the benefit of said change will be.

  • There is need for predictability in the setting of minimum wage and the tying future increases to an appropriate economic indicator like CPI.

"As an economic engine, Guelph plays an important role in Ontario's future prosperity," says Kithio Mwanzia, President & CEO, Guelph Chamber of Commerce. "As a leading community in job creation, it is vitally important that we remain at the forefront of issues linked to our capacity to attract and retain top talent and that we advocate for evidence based decision making on issues impacting our collective economic prosperity."