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Ontario government to review Liberal labour reforms

Peterborough reaction to Ford’s plan to review labour reforms
The Ontario government is targeting Bill 148 - The Fair Workplaces Better Jobs Act for a review.

On Tuesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford told the legislature that he wants to scrap Bill 148, also known as the Fair Workplaces Better Jobs Act.

He backtracked later saying he wanted to review it instead.

The bill mandates equal pay for part-time and temporary workers doing the same job as full-time workers, increases sick day benefits and paid vacation and increases the minimum wage from $14 an hour to $15 on Jan. 1, 2019.

READ MORE: Ontario Premier Doug Ford vows to scrap Liberal labour reforms

“I talked about this over and over again. A lot of you heard me as the campaign went on. We want to make sure that Ontario is open for business — that companies know it’s a friendly atmosphere,” said Ford.

The Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is open to the review.

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“One of the concerns we initially had around Bill 148 was the pace of implementation,” said Sandra Dueck, policy analyst with the chamber.  “We were looking for an understanding of the impact on the changes before moving ahead. Perhaps under a review there’s an opportunity to do that now.”

Chris Potter, who owns Gotta Havva Pizza in Peterborough and Norwood, said he wants to see more dialogue and involvement by businesses in labour reform.

“We need to take this in a thoughtful, a step-by-step approach to how to best serve the population of Ontario and the business owners of Ontario,” Potter said.  “Dropping the hammer and saying massive change, let’s go is not the way to go about doing this.”

READ MORE: Ontario PC government to halt minimum wage hike scheduled for 2019

“We think it’s a mistake to roll back progressive legislation that was the product of lobbying and effort,” said Marcus Harvey, vice-president of the Peterborough Labour Council.  “It’s a tactical mistake.  The economy has already adjusted to that piece of legislation.  Total employment is up.  It doesn’t look like it’s had the negative effects people have imagined it would do.”