‘They should have seen it coming,’ says MPP

BARRY’S BAY  - Sweeping changes to provincial labour law have created controversy across the province. These changes include a rise in the minimum wage from $11.40 to $14.00 per hour, which started January 1.

Certain Tim Hortons franchises in southern Ontario were criticized for eliminating employee breaks and reducing benefits to adjust to the wage increases.

The Premier was quoted as describing the actions of the franchisees as a “clear act of bullying workers.”

The provincial Labour minister, Kevin Flynn defended the changes.

“When people are earning in the lower income levels, when they get that paycheque, they spend that paycheque almost immediately. It goes right back into the economy, right back to the grocery store, the clothing stores, the Tim Hortons of the world,” Flynn said. “It’s not going into trust accounts, it’s not going to the Cayman Islands or something like that, it’s staying right here in Main Street, Ontario.”

Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke MPP John Yakabuski said, “The discussion shouldn’t be about Tim Hortons they’re the ones after making the big news, but there’s 400,000 small and medium businesses in Ontario. They are all being affected. So many of them are little family operations, the money’s just not there to absorb this. They either have to do one of two things. They have to cut their expenses or they have to raise their prices. Raising prices in itself, you go down that road and it has it’s own inherent risks. In raising prices you can only do so much and you can chase customers out the door and the reality is we want to bring more people in the door.”

For more pick up a copy of the January 17, paper.