Coun­ties coun­cil un­hap­py over mi­ni­mum wage in­crease plan


The eight mayors re­pre­sen­ting the com­mu­ni­ties of Pres­cott-Rus­sell are not hap­py with the pro­vin­cial go­vern­ment about Bill 148, the new mi­ni­mum wage law.

Ga­ry Bar­ton, the current war­den for the Uni­ted Coun­ties of Pres­cott-Rus­sell (UCPR), no­ted that he and other mayors in the re­gion have heard com­plaints from lo­cal cham­bers of com­merce and other groups who fear the eco­no­mic im­pact of the le­gis­la­tion on small bu­si­ness in the pro­vince.

“I un­ders­tand the phi­lo­so­phy of trying to make things bet­ter,” Bar­ton said, about the goal of hel­ping low-in­come wor­kers, “but the way they (pro­vince) have gone about it is not good.”

Bar­ton ob­ser­ved that Bill 148 does not just deal with rai­sing On­ta­rio’s current mi­ni­mum wage to $14 an hour star­ting in Ja­nua­ry 2018 and then to $15 in 2019. It al­so deals with changes to ho­li­day and va­ca­tion pay rates, pay dif­fe­rences bet­ween part-time and full­time staff, and other items that could af­fect not just small bu­si­ness, es­pe­cial­ly in the tou­rism sec­tor, but al­so mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties and Mi­ni­mum-wage jobs are en­try-le­vel po­si­tions for ma­ny young people while pur­suing their ca­reer goals. But more and more people find that mi­ni­mum-wage jobs are the on­ly jobs now avai­lable for them. The On­ta­rio go­vern­ment plans to in­crease the mi­ni­mum wage in the pro­vince but ma­ny in the bu­si­ness sec­tor and in some mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties feel the Wynne Li­be­ral go­vern­ment is mo­ving too fast with its plan.

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