July 21, 2017
Watching the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs hearings on the Liberal government’s Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act this week you can see the louder parts of the business community time and again push a narrative that if the minimum wage goes up to $15 by January 1, 2019, and if the ESA is strengthened, the economy will be in shambles.
They paint a picture of major job losses, a tidal wave of business closures, impending automation, young workers unable to get jobs, old workers left out in the cold, and an economy in ruins. It is a grim picture. The Chamber of Commerce, Restaurants Canada and other business organizations, along with the Tories, are asking for an economic impact study. They want the process to be slowed down, because this is, as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Patrick Brown have said, “too much, too soon”, a talking point that is actually recycled from the Canadian Restaurant Association’s effort in 1963 to halt the minimum wage increase and expansion to cover men.
They don’t seem to care that workers are living in poverty and need a raise and improved working conditions now, not later. They seem oblivious that this step towards better working conditions for all has been years in the making and it has the backing of economists.