Wynne to help some businesses offset wage hikes
Premier Kathleen Wynne said Friday she is working on ideas to support Ontario businesses through major labour reforms, suggesting she is looking more at offsetting unrelated costs than pulling back the labour changes themselves.
Many businesses and business groups have voiced opposition to the changes, in particular a plan to boost the minimum wage to $14 on Jan. 1 and to $15 in 2019. They say a 32 per cent increase in less than 18 months will be tough to absorb.
Loblaw Companies said increases in Ontario and Alberta will hurt its bottom line, estimating its labour costs will grow by about $190 million next year.
Ontario’s minimum wage increase is included in proposed legislation along with equal pay for part-time workers, increased vacation entitlements and expanded personal emergency leave.
After participating in a roundtable discussion on labour in Windsor on Friday, Wynne said she has heard businesses’ concerns as committee hearings on the bill have travelled the province this month.
“I have committed to bringing forward some proposals in the fall that would support business in ways that, as I say, will allow them to go through this transition,” she said, but wouldn’t divulge specifics of what she is planning, but mentioned that restaurant owners in particular have cited fees they pay to the LCBO as an issue.