Canadian HR Reporter

July 2018 CAN

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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CANADIAN HR REPORTER JULY 2018 2 NEWS Ontario employers looking for relief with PCs in power Move could spell revisions to minimum wage, income tax, Bill 148 BY MARCEL VANDER WIER ON June 7, Ontario voters ush- ered change into Queen's Park in Toronto, with the Progressive Conservative (PC) party, led by Doug Ford, winning a majority government. "A new day has dawned in On- tario," Premier-designate Ford said in his victory speech to support- ers. "A day of opportunity, a day of prosperity and a day of growth." The businessman from Eto- bicoke, Ont., campaigned on a platform promising to boost the provincial economy while reduc- ing the cost of operations. His plan included a slowdown in minimum wage hikes legislated to reach $15 in 2019, cuts to red tape, and a reduction in hydro rates, corporate tax rates and per- sonal income tax. While it will take time for the government to change over and implement policy, Ontario em- ployers are encouraged, according to Rocco Rossi, president of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce in Toronto. "is is a time of significant anxiety — not just because under the prior administration, costs increased considerably and tax burden and regulatory burden, but also the anxiety around the NAFTA discussions," he said. "at's been compounded by... a U.S. president exploding on Twitter and then sending out ver- bal hit men on TV to attack the prime minister. Just outrageous behaviour that should be cause for concern for all Ontarians and all Canadians." "We take great encouragement simply from the philosophy and culture change — a province be- ing open for business — because, quite frankly, many of our mem- bers were feeling quite demon- ized — that it is almost a bad thing to be a businessperson," said Rossi. "ere's no question that, as with the majority of Ontarians, the business community was looking for change." ousands of small and medi- um-sized employers are looking forward to the changeover, said Joe Martin, director of Canadian business and financial history at the University of Toronto's Rot- man School of Management. "The business community needs a lot of reassurance right now after 15 years of a nanny state government," he said. "Some of the larger enterprises will have some trepidation just be- cause they are a lot more sophisti- cated than Mr. Ford, but I'm sure they're prepared to say, 'Well, let's wait and see.'" Business-friendly policy One of Ford's major campaign tenets was to create more jobs for Ontario by sending the mes- sage that the province is open for business. "Government doesn't cre- ate sustainable jobs on its own," his campaign platform stated. "What government can do, how- ever, is create the conditions that make it easier to start a busi- ness, grow a business or invest in Ontario." To accomplish this, Ford has promised to lower the corporate tax rate from 11.5 per cent to 10.5 per cent. He also pledged to alle- viate the skills gap by increasing access to apprenticeships and reforming the foreign credential recognition process. e broad strokes set out in Ford's platform are encouraging for employers, said Rossi. "He's made some statements with respect to reduction of corporate taxes — both the gen- eral rate and the small business rate," he said. "He's talked about a further reduction in the hydro costs, which is a huge input cost for many of our members and therefore very well-received and anticipated." Recent corporate tax reform south of the border removed any advantage Ontario may have held previously, said Rossi. "(Ford has) also called for a slowing down — not a rollback — but a slowing down of the next jump in the minimum wage to al- low for the business community to better absorb what's already happened," he said. "All of those things are positive." e new government's first ac- tions will likely be to lower hydro and corporate tax rates to indicate the province is indeed open for business, said Scott Allinson, vice- president of public affairs at the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) in Toronto. "ose seem to be the priorities of where they're going." Ford will recall the legisla- ture for a brief summer session shortly after he officially becomes premier on June 29 in order to enact some of his main campaign promises, according to media reports. Reviewing Bill 148 A minimum wage increase from $11.60 to $14 per hour has already been legislated to take effect in the province as of Jan. 1, 2018. But the road to $15 is expected to slow under Ford, with increases potentially lowered to 25 cents an- nually or tied to inflation. e premier-designate has also promised to remove the burden of income tax from minimum- wage earners. While minimum wage was a major discussion point in the PC platform, it remains to be seen what the new government's stance will be on other portions of recently implemented Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, and Bill 3, the Pay Transparency Act, said Allinson. "We're waiting to see in the first 100 days if there is any indication that they are go- ing to make any changes, be- sides not implementing the minimum wage to $15," he said. "(Bill) 148 will need to be re- opened up. In regards to any oth- er workplace regulations, there's been no indication to us… of what they're going to look at." A more thorough review of Bill 148 may be in order, as labour costs are not related to minimum wage alone, said Rossi. e legislation stemming from the provincial Changing Work- places Review contains a series of legislative items that have led to greater complexities and costs for employers, he said. "Since the PCs will have to re- open (Bill) 148 in order to change the increased pace to $15, I think it also represents an opportunity for employers to input on changes to some of the rest." Preventative health care Canadian HR Reporter spoke with MedCan executives Shaun Francis and Ashim Khemani, as well as Newtopia founder and CEO Jeff Ruby about the benefits of preventative health-care programming Tackling corporate cynicism? Let's walk a mile Dealing with dysfunction and a lack of trust at the management level Beware the Band-Aid solution When a worker has medical restrictions due to an injury that interferes with her job, the employer cannot simply decide the person can't work Should employees have the right to disconnect? Suggestions on how to deal with after-hours communication in the workplace Supreme Court will not hear drug testing appeal involving oilsands workers Injunction still prevents Suncor from random testing Quebec passes updated labour standards Changes cover temp agencies, overtime, pensions, leaves BLOGS BRIEFS NEWS FEATURED VIDEO BLOGS BRIEFS NEWS FEATURED VIDEO BLOGS BRIEFS NEWS FEATURED VIDEO Recent videos, stories and blogs posted on Check the website daily for updates from Canada and around the world. "We take great encouragement simply from the philosophy and culture change — a province open for business." Doug Ford, premier-designate of Ontario. Credit: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri LEGISLATIVE > pg. 6

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