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Ontario Chamber: timing and lack of consultation on minimum wage hike disruptive to business

Business caught flat-footed with departure from schedule wage increases
Pexels-Tim Douglas
(Pexels image/Tim Douglas)

TORONTO – Nov. 3, 2021: Rocco Rossi, president and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce, released the following statement in reaction to the Government of Ontario’s proposed minimum wage hike set for January 1, 2022.

“We are in favour of fair compensation and wage increases that are planned and done in consultation with the business community so that businesses have time to plan and implement the changes. We also recognize that workers have been impacted by the pandemic and higher cost of living.

“Many businesses are still grappling with the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, including cashflow constraints and the increased cost of doing business; this is no time to add to their costs. The way the proposed changes are being implemented, leaving employers with less than two months to plan, will have considerable administrative and financial impact amidst a pandemic and after 20 months of duress.

“We are disappointed in the lack of consultation on such a significant policy shift and departure from the scheduled wage increases. It is dangerous to bring in major new labour reforms without addressing or protecting against unintended consequences, such as job losses, rising consumer costs, service cuts, and economic hardship for businesses and our greater economy.

“We ask the Government of Ontario to work with us and other business organizations to ensure that a sudden and unplanned minimum wage hike does not do more harm than good. The government needs to re-evaluate the timeline and consider debt forgiveness for impacted businesses to support this unanticipated change in policy.

“We look forward to working with the government in reviewing the current minimum wage, to ensure any increases are tied to fair and transparent reasons, with sufficient notice to allow business owners to prepare.”