New mi­ni­mum wage wor­ries re­si­dence ope­ra­tors

Tribune Express - - NEWS -

sys­tem that will pro­vide SNC tech­ni­cians with real-time in­for­ma­tion on sur­face and sub­sur­face wa­ter condi­tions to pass on to far­mers, and al­so aid the SNC with its flood The On­ta­rio Li­be­ral go­vern­ment plans to raise the mi­ni­mum wage rate in this pro­vince to $14 an hour star­ting in Ja­nua­ry 2018 then $15 the year af­ter is good news for people wor­king at mi­ni­mum-wage jobs. But ma­ny bu­si­ness ope­ra­tors, in­clu­ding the ow­ner/ope­ra­tors of pri­vate re­si­dences ca­te­ring to people like se­niors with fixed or low in­comes, are wor­ried about how this will af­fect their base ope­ra­ting ex­penses, in­clu­ding the wor­king hours and num­bers for their staff.

The Uni­ted Coun­ties of Pres­cott-Rus­sell coun­cil (UCPR) re­cei­ved a pre­sen­ta­tion du­ring its Sept. 12 com­mit­tee of the whole ses­sion from Ni­cole Nor­mand and Nor­mand Trem­blay, spea­king as a de­le­ga­tion from l’As­so­cia­tion des ré­si­dences de Pres­cott-Rus­sell (ARPR). The group re­pre­sents the ow­ner/ ope­ra­tors of 35 pri­vate re­si­dence fa­ci­li­ties and hou­sing units in the Pres­cott-Rus­sell re­gion. For most of them, the ma­jo­ri­ty of their te­nants are people with li­mi­ted or fixed in­comes, in­clu­ding se­niors on pen­sions.

ARPR mem­bers are concer­ned about Bill 148, which the pro­vin­cial Li­be­ral go­vern­ment plans to ap­prove so that it can raise the mi­ni­mum wage in On­ta­rio from its cur­rent $11.40 maxi­mum to $14 star­ting in Ja­nua­ry next year fol­lo­wed by a fur­ther in­crease to $15 in Ja­nua­ry 2019. The as­so­cia­tion does not ob­ject to seeing On­ta­rio’s mi­ni­mum wage li­mit in­crea­sed.

The main wor­ry for the as­so­cia­tion is how the pro­vin­cial go­vern­ment’s plan to raise the mi­ni­mum wage rate will af­fect “the bot­tom line” ope­ra­tion ex­penses for their own fa­ci­li­ties if there is not al­so a cor­res­pon­ding in­crease in the pro­vince’s an­nual sub­si­dy rate for pri­vate re­si­dences which pro­vide low-cost hou­sing for people li­ving on fixed or li­mi­ted in­comes and pen­sions. If that does not hap­pen and ARPR mem­bers conti­nue to face ri­sing costs for ne­ces­sa­ry ex­penses like hy­dro and other uti­li­ties, then they may have to look in­to op­tions for re­du­cing their ope­ra­ting costs. That could mean cut­ting back on the num­ber of people they hire or the num­ber of hours they can of­fer their em­ployees, or even what kind of ser­vices they can pro­vide for their clients.

Right now, the ARPR pre­sen­ta­tion sta­ted, at least 80 per cent of the people who work pri­vate re­si­dence fa­ci­li­ties are at or close to the cur­rent mi­ni­mum wage. They do the same kind of work in most cases as people em­ployed in the pu­blic sec­tor re­si­dences but, the ARPR brief no­ted.

The cur­rent mi­ni­mum wage sa­la­ry, plus unem­ploy­ment in­su­rance and other man­da­to­ry be­ne­fit pay­ments for em­ployers makes up 45 per cent of the base ope­ra­tions ex­pense for ARPR mem­bers. Ano­ther 10 per cent in­cludes hy­dro, mu­ni­ci­pal taxes, and wa­ter and se­wer ser­vice bills. All these are fixed ex­penses ei­ther by the pro­vin­cial or mu­ni­ci­pal go­vern­ments.

Other ope­ra­tion ex­penses may pro­vide some “wiggle room” for ARPR mem­bers but not much. An in­crease to the mi­ni­mum wage would mean a 14 per cent in­crease to the ba­sic ope­ra­tions cost for a pri­vate re­si­dence in the long term.

The ARPR argues that if the pro­vin­cial go­vern­ment plans to raise the mi­ni­mum wage rate for On­ta­rio then it must al­so look at in­crea­sing the sup­port fun­ding it pro­vides through mu­ni­ci­pal so­cial ser­vice pro­grams like that of the UCPR to pri­vate re­si­dence ope­ra­tors who of­fer sub­si­di­zed hou­sing for low-in­come people and those with fixed in­comes.

Le gou­ver­ne­ment li­bé­ral de l’On­ta­rio compte aug­men­ter le sa­laire mi­ni­mum dans cette pro­vince à 14 $ l›heure en jan­vier 2018, puis à 15 $ l’heure par an plus tard. C›est une bonne nou­velle pour les per­sonnes tra­vaillant dans des em­plois à sa­laire mi­ni­mum. Mais les di­ri­geants de nom­breuses en­tre­prises, y com­pris ceux de ré­si­dences pri­vées des­ser­vant des per­sonnes comme les aî­nés à re­ve­nu fixe ou faible, s›in­quiètent des consé­quences que ce changement au­ra sur leurs frais d›ex­ploi­ta­tion, y com­pris les heures de travail pour leur personnel.

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