OCC speaks out on Minimum Wage
October 9, 2013
BACKGROUNDER.. The Cornwall Chamber was recently made aware of a lobby group, the Workers Action Centre were seeking to have Ontario’s minimum wage increased to $14.00 per hour.
It raised its concerns with the local MPP noting that such an increase would have a substantially negative impact on member businesses and a survey confirmed that fact. One firm reported the last increase to $10.25 forced it reduce sales staff by 40%. Now the Ontario Chamber of Commerce has weighed in on the debate.
At a glance
60% of employers in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors say that an increase in the minimum wage will hurt their businesses and force them to lay off employees.
Ontario’s minimum wage of $10.25 is above the national average and the highest in the Great Lakes Region.
The minimum wage in Ontario has increased 50% over the last 10 years.
According to the OCC, businesses want the Ontario government to adopt a predictable, transparent, and fair process for determining Ontario’s minimum wage. Its recently published report calls on government to introduce a new process that ties the minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Ontario’s current minimum wage rate is determined by the government on an ad hoc basis and can result in sudden increases that can expose employers to unanticipated increases in the cost of doing business.
“We’ve considered all the options at Ontario’s disposal,” said Allan O’Dette, President & CEO of the OCC. “Tying the minimum wage to the CPI will bring predictability to the process. It will allow businesses to plan for increases in their labour costs and protect the long-term purchasing power of workers earning minimum wage.”
The OCC report is based on extensive consultations and surveys with employers from across Ontario. Its release comes as Ontario’s Minimum Wage Advisory Panel begins its consultations in communities across the province.