(WINDSOR, ON) – A coalition of food and tourism organizations, including the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, calling themselves Keep Ontario Working, have sent an open letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne denouncing the proposal to raise the minimum wage level to $15 and urging the pace of industry change.
Expressing concern that the proposed changes with injure economic growth, Lindsey Rivait, the group’s communications coordinator, and with the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce, said in a press release that the provincial government needs to give businesses more time to prepare.
“To demonstrate true fairness and compassion for workers, we must ensure Ontario has a strong economy to help create jobs and increase economic growth,” said Karl Baldauf, vice-president of policy and government relations at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and spokesperson for the Keep Ontario Working Coalition. “To plan effectively and protect jobs, employers need predictability and time to adjust to these changes. There is no way to absorb and adjust to a 32 per cent hit in less than 18 months.”
In their letter to the premier, the coalition said that, “… the impacts from this legislation will create tremendous uncertainty for Ontario businesses. Realistic legislative timelines can only be proposed following a full economic impact analysis.”
Keep Ontario Working has commissioned its own economic impact assessment to evaluate the legislation’s effect. In the letter, the group presupposes that Bill 148 will generate “damage” to the economy and claims that employers are now considering closing their small businesses.
The coalition will release the findings of the study in August.