Wynne to help some busi­nesses off­set wage hikes

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - AL­LI­SON JONES

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.

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