Ontario Premier Doug Ford is continuing his attack on Bill 148, saying the previous government’s Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act “killed tens of thousands of jobs.”
The legislation was met with pushback from business owners, who argued increases to minimum wage and more robust protections for workers would cause layoffs and higher prices.
Ford’s government announced plans on Tuesday to repeal chunks of the Liberal legislation. The changes include freezing the minimum wage at $14 until at least 2020, and repealing equal pay for equal work on the basis of employment status.
“No legislation in Ontario’s history has killed more jobs than Bill 148,” Ford said in a speech at the Ontario Economic Summit in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., on Friday. “The days of job-killing policies written by people who have never run a business, who have never had to meet a payroll, are over.”
“Employment increased in Ontario and British Columbia while it was little changed in the remaining provinces,” Statistics Canada wrote in an Oct. 5 release. “Employment in the province increased by 36,000, the third increase in four months.”
In July, six months after the initial minimum wage increase and labour reforms kicked in, unemployment fell to the lowest level since 2000.
Ford also took aim at Ottawa’s carbon tax plan, suggesting the rebates recently announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will “disappear” after the next federal election. Trudeau said a family of four would receive $307 back through rebates this spring, with that figure doubling by 2022.
“It’s the old I’ll give you $300 back, but I will take a $1,000,” Ford said. “It’s just another Trudeau Liberal tax grab.”
His speech to the largely pro-business audience outlined a five-pronged suite of commitments, including “cleaning up the Liberal’s hydro mess,” and ending “hallway healthcare.”
Ford also previewed road signs set to be placed on highways near the provinces borders in the coming weeks. English and French versions of the blue and white design feature the slogan “Welcome to Ontario. OPEN FOR BUSINESS.”
Ford’s legislation to replace the the Liberal’s Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act is called the Making Ontario Open for Business Act.