Local Press Releases

Kitchener hearings reveal job loss concerns of rapid $15 min. wage hike

July 18, 2017

Kitchener – Kitchener committee hearings into government’s Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces Act, only further highlighted the job-loss concerns relating to the unassessed impacts of the Wynne Liberal proposal for significant labour changes including an over 30-per cent minimum wage increase in just a year and a half.

“It’s been important for Finance Committee members to hear from our employers and employees in Waterloo Region as to how the impacts of this proposed minimum wage climb will affect the people of our area.” Harris said. “And the message I’m left with is that while there is no doubt that paying for Liberal Government scandal and mismanagement has left many in need of significant change to grow and prosper, the proposal to hike minimum wage by a third in just over a year to meet that need will only further increase the burden on our most vulnerable.”

A series of presenters, business owners and representatives spoke to their contention that, should the minimum wage increase proposal go through, they would be forced to make significant changes to meet increased payroll demand.

“Time and again we saw presenters – business owners from our communities – come  to the table indicating their support for a “gradual”, “measured” increase to the minimum wage, but warning against the job decisions they will be forced to make should the current 18-month timetable to $15 be implemented,” indicated Harris. “An increased minimum wage won’t mean a thing to a worker who has lost his job if the employer simply can’t afford to pay them anymore.”

Harris added he’s hopeful given the recent statements of the Labour Minister that Ontario’s $15 minimum wage proposal is “still up for debate,” that it’s not too late to have government support amendments for changes including the, “gradual, measured” approach business owners are advocating.