In May 2017, the Ministry of Labour released the final report of their Changing Workplaces Review and introduced legislation to create Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. Within the proposed legislation, OREA has significant concern regarding the planned increase of the minimum wage.
Since 2010, Ontario’s minimum wage has increased by 12 percent. The proposed changes will require employers to increase the minimum wage by a further 23 percent over the next six months, followed by another 11 percent hike a year later – a 32 percent increase in just 18 months. This will increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2019.
In July, OREA sent a written submission to the Standing Committee of Finance and Economic Affairs to express concern with the proposed minimum wage increase. OREA is concerned that this policy change will seriously affect the 3,500 brokerages across Ontario which employs an estimated 20,000 Ontarians.
While REALTORS® support the government’s commitment to improve the workplace for many Ontarians, the higher operation costs will kill jobs and raise costs for brokerages. This would hurt real estate and small businesses in every community across the province.
On August 14, the Keep Ontario Working Coalition, a group led by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and of which OREA is a member, released an independent economic impact analysis on the impact of the minimum wage increase. The study, which was conducted by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA), revealed that if the legislation were to be implemented, there will be a negative impact on Ontario jobs, the economy, and local communities.
Data from the economic impact analysis shows:
- $23 billion hit to business over the next two years;
- 185,000 jobs at immediate risk over the next two years;
- 50 percent increase to inflation for this year and the foreseeable future. The cost of everyday consumer goods and services will go up by $1,300 per household on average each year; and,
- The Ontario government would need to borrow $440 million more to cover the increases in new costs from this legislation
To effectively manage the proposed changes set out in Bill 148, OREA is asking for the government to give businesses and brokerages more time to adjust to these proposed changes to avoid potential job loss. OREA will continue to work with the Keeping Ontario Working Coalition to advocate for a slower implementation of the minimum wage increase.