Locals express concerns over minimum wage hike


the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, is cur- rently in the first reading stage, in which the government will take proposed amendments into consideration this week. The bill will then go back for second and third readings in the House of Commons, after more proposed amendments by the committee. This bill is one of the few to go out to the public after the first reading – the usual process calls for public feedback only after twhe second reading in the House. Local business owners and employers from Rockland expressed their dismay of the government having taken their time to draft and revise this bill, yet only giving businesses less than a year to implement it. Almost all government representatives have made it clear that it is inevitable that some businesses will not survive this hike, but the argument made by many business owners is that they would have more of a fighting chance given amore reasonable time frame. Although Crack stated he would push for a compromise of increasing the minimum wage slowly to $15 over a three-year period, he is doubtful the government will budge. “More peoplemaking a larger salary equals moremoney to invest in the economy,” said Crack. “We cannot leave people behind any- more.” According to theMPP, the bill is expected to pass through its second and third readings in the House within the next month, leaving the bill to be voted on by the end of October or beginning of November. The question

The Clarence-Rockland Chamber of Commerce organized a meeting on Tues- day, August 15, for local entrepreneurs and business owners to meet with Grant Crack, MPP of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, in order to bring forth their concerns and questions regarding the provincial govern- ment’s plan to increase theminimumwage to $15 by January 2018. Over 20 local business owners and appre- hensive residents showed up to voice their concerns. Most agree that the increase to $15 is not necessarily the problem, but it is instead the speed at which the government is moving forward with it. Minimum wage has been a hot topic throughout the province since Premier KathleemWynne proposed the increase at the end of May of this year, leaving its mark as the largest increase to theminimumwage in the province’s history. The proposal was announced as part of a plan to create better jobs, fairer workplaces and to give more than a quarter of employees in Ontario a pay raise. However, local business owners are fearful that the hike is too high, too fast and will leave themfinancially incapable of surviving the transition. “We are getting a lot of feedback, a lot of support for the bill but also concern from small businesses about impacts to their bot- tom line,” said Crack. Bill 148, also called

Le Chambre de commerce de Clarence-Rockland a organisé une rencontre d’information pour les entrepreneurs et les propriétaires d’entreprises avec Grant Crack, le député provincial de Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, le mardi 15 août, concernant le projet de Loi 148 qui vise à augmenter le salaire minimum de la province. Une des plus grandes

préoccupations n’est pas l’augmentation à 15 $, mais plutôt la vitesse à laquelle le gouvernement propose de la mettre en œuvre, soit janvier 2018. —photo Alexia Marsillo

613 446-5188 814, St-Joseph Rockland, ON K4K 1L5

is not whether this bill will be passed – it almost certainly will since the Liberals hold a majority government – the matter now at hand is the amendments to be made to the bill and if they will be significant enough for local small business owners. fini la douleur ! Votre dentier est inconfortable ou douloureux? Nous avons la solution. RESIDENTIAL • COMMERCIAL • INDUSTRIAL • INSTITUTIONAL • PRE-ENG. BUILDING • DESIGN BUILD • PROJECT MANAGEMENT • FULLY BILINGUAL

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