The Owen Sound and District Chamber of Commerce is applauding the provincial government's move to repeal the previous Ontario government's Bill 148 'Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act.'
The province is planning to pass the 'Making Ontario Open For Business Act' which would maintain the $14 an hour minimum wage until 2020, after which, increases will be tied to inflation.
Chamber of Commerce CEO Peter Reesor says, "It was important to make these changes now because it was killing the economy, killing jobs and we had to stop it."
Reesor says the previous government rolled out the act too quickly, without proper consultation or economic analysis.
The new government also plans to replace Personal Emergency Leave rules which it calls 'disastrous.' It now says workers can take up to three days for personal illness, two for bereavement and three for family responsibilities.
It also plans to oversee the Skilled College of Trades and change the journeyperson to apprentice ratio to one-to-one, meaning each journeyperson could train one person instead of having to have the previous two journeypersons per an apprentice.
Reesor says the province should go even further with that. "It should be possible for one journeyperson to train two apprentices. That's the next step in working with the provincial government." He adds, "There's no reason at all that one skilled-trade certified journeyman cant train two apprentices at the same time, or three for that matter."
Reesor says the chamber and the Ontario Chamber will be pushing MPPs and the government to take a hard look at the journeyperson formula."
"We have a huge shortage" says Reesor. "We've got to be able to train them better and faster.
The Four County Labour Market Planning Board's Employer One survey in Grey, Bruce, Huron and Perth has shown there is a huge need for more skilled workers in the area with some employers waiting over a year to fill skilled worker positions.
He says right now it takes five years for an apprentice to be certified. "You're going to do them one at a time? It doesn't make any sense at all."
The new Making Ontario Open For Business Act has yet to be passed.