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Minimum wage increase will put 185,000 jobs at risk, says Ontario chamber

Legislative changes will equal a $23-billion hit to businesses
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Bill 148 will put 185,000 jobs at risk over the next two years, says a new analysis of the provincial legislation. (Stock photo)

A new report is predicting proposed legislation to increase Ontario’s minimum wage will put 185,000 jobs at risk over the next two years.

The study was conducted by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis and released by the Keep Ontario Working Coalition in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, in response to Bill 148: the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act.

“The changes presented in Bill 148 will have dramatic unintended consequences that include putting close to 200,000 jobs at risk, and seeing everyday consumer goods and services increase by thousands of dollars for each job at risk, and seeing everyday consumer goods and services increase by thousands of dollars for each and every family in Ontario,” said Karl Baldauf, the Ontario chamber’s vice-president of policy and government relations, in an Aug. 14 news release.

“We’ve run the numbers and it’s clear that this is too much, too soon. If the Ontario government chooses to proceed with these sweeping reforms too quickly, all of us will be affected, and the most vulnerable in our society chief among them.” 

Data from the economic impact analysis shows: 

  • $23 billion hit to business over the next two years alone 
  • 185,000 Ontario jobs will be at immediate risk over the next two years
  • 30,000 of the jobs at risk are youth under 25
  • 96,000 employees at risk are expected to be women
  • 50 per cent increase to inflation for this year and the foreseeable future. The cost of everyday consumer goods and services will go up by $1,300 per household on average each and every year

The Ontario government would need to borrow $440 million more to cover the increases in new costs from this legislation. If the government were to provide offsets to businesses, as they have indicated, the province’s treasury will take a bigger hit

Municipalities will be forced to increase employee wages by $500 million without additional offsetting revenues

Baldauf said the province would have to introduce significant amendments to prevent the scale and impact of change this legislation would create.

Amendments to the legislation are expected from the province on Aug. 16.



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