Canadian Manufacturing

Labour changes would ‘substantially’ affect Ontario’s competitiveness, economy, OCC says

Chamber calls on province to consider business impact before legislating



TORONTO—As the province considers a number of changes to the Labour Relations Act and the Employment Standards Act, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce is calling on the government to avoid proposals it said would take a significant toll on Ontario’s competitiveness, jobs, and the economy.

“Ontario’s employers face mounting costs as the result of a new mandatory pension plan, rising electricity rates, and some of the highest workplace safety insurance premiums in the country,” Allan O’Dette, president & CEO of the OCC, said. “Before making any changes to provincial labour laws, government must consider the impact these changes would have on Ontario’s competitiveness. These additional proposals could add to the cumulative burden, impacting jobs and the economy.”

As the Changing Workplaces Review enters the final consultation phase, the OCC as well as over 30 other chambers and boards of trade are expressing their concern.

“Many of those recommendations would result in significant changes to the Employments Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act, increasing the cost of doing business in Ontario,” the OCC said.

Among the 14 recommendations the OCC sent the province, the chamber called for sector exceptions to be maintained, safeguarding “the unique nature of certain sectors.” It also said businesses should not be told how to schedule, countering the deputations of some groups arguing employers should be required to schedule two weeks in advance.

“This is not feasible for all sectors. Many businesses in the manufacturing sector, for example, must constantly adjust production in order to meet demand,” the OCC said.

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