Wide Range Of Opinions Heard At Bill 148 Public Hearings In Windsor

A government standing committee holding public hearings on Bill 148, which will increase the minimum wage, is getting an earful in Windsor.

It is hearing from at least 19 delegations, 11 of them unions.

Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Act includes an increase in the minimum wage to $15/hour by 2019.

Some are arguing the wage boost doesn't go far enough in addressing a living wage, while others fear small businesses aren't ready for the impacts.

Robert Maich spoke to the committee as a concerned resident and says the timing of it is questionable.

"There should not be half now and half after the election, vote for me, " says Maich. "This should be this is what we need to do to fix the problem, let's sit down if we are going to have a minimum income and vote on it."

Chief Executive Officer with the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation Stephen MacKenzie says Windsor is in a unique position in dealing with a hike in minimum wages.

"We are concerned about the impact of the proposed measure on the cost of doing business and then in term of how it affects our competitiveness and this holds especially true for Windsor-Essex where we sit 700 metres from the global economy," he says.

President of Unifor Local 240 Jodi Nesbitt represents workers in the office, hospitality and retail sector and applauds the government changes.

"All workers will benefit from these bold and much needed changes. With pressure from our community and labour advocates, I'm pleased that our government has recognized that maintaining the status quo is a disservice to our province," Nesbitt said as she advocated for ten designated paid days for workers who are dealing with sexual or domestic violence at home.

Labour leaders believe if workers are earning more money, they will spend it on food, clothing, housing and other necessities giving the economy a boost.


19 delegations scheduled to speak before the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. July 14, 2017

The committee moves onto London, Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto next week.