Sudbury

Sudbury Chamber of Commerce says minimum wage hike too much, too fast

Local businesses are looking for the government to provide some relief before the province’s minimum wage increases to $15 an hour.

Proposed changes forcing local businesses to make 'knee-jerk' reactions, says Sudbury chamber

Statistics Canada reports that 9.2 per cent of Ontario's workforce — about 540,000 people — earn minimum wage. (LM Otero/Associated Press)

Local businesses are looking for the government to provide some relief before the province's minimum wage increases to $15 an hour.

Tracy Nutt, the past chair of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, says changes planned for 2018 are too many, and too fast.

"It's been the message of the Ontario chamber and local chambers that we are in no way thinking the minimum wage should not increase," Nutt told CBC's Up North. "In fact, the chambers over the years have advocated for annual incremental increases."

Local businesses, especially small and medium-sized operations, are going to be forced into some tough decisions, Nutt said.

"Businesses have to react in an almost knee-jerk fashion in how they're going to continue keep the doors open, pay the bills," she said.

"Are they going to increase costs to their clients, or cut hours from staff schedules?"

Statistics Canada reports that 9.2 per cent of Ontario's workforce — about 540,000 people — earn minimum wage.

Tracy Nutt, past chair of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, says changes planned for 2018 are too many, too much, and too fast. (www.influentialwomen.ca)

Changes to scheduling ahead

The chamber is also concerned with the proposed changes to the amount of time employers are required to give before schedule changes.

"Written notice will have to be given four days in advance for any scheduling change," she said, adding that the chamber understands the reasons for that.

"But you throw back into that mix people calling in on any given day saying 'I'm not coming into work' because they also have 10 extra days a year they are entitled to.

"How do you schedule? How do you fill the gaps? It's really going to make it difficult to be fully staffed at any given time."

The Chamber is hoping their collective voice will push the government to consider a staggered introduction of the changes, even over a few years, to provide a bit of relief for businesses.

View the text from Bill 148 here.

(Natalie Holdway/CBC)

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