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Chamber position on new minimum wage bill

June 1, 2022

On May 31, 2022, The Winnipeg Chamber submitted the following letter to the provincial government regarding Bill 44 – The Employment Standards Code Amendment Act (Minimum Wage).


May 31, 2022

Clerk of Committees
Legislative Assembly of Manitoba
251-450 Broadway
Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3C 0V8
Email: [email protected]

RE: Bill 44 – The Employment Standards Code Amendment Act (Minimum Wage)

Clerk of Committees:

On behalf of The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and our 2,000 members, I am pleased to share a few brief comments about Bill 44, The Employment Standards Code Amendment Act (Minimum Wage) for the benefit of the members of the Legislative Assembly.

The Chamber appreciates that Canada, like many other nations, is experiencing inflation at a rate that has not been seen in decades. We also recognize several other provinces have taken recent steps to significantly increase their legislated minimum wage levels.

With all this being considered, we acknowledge a one-time adjustment to Manitoba’s minimum wage beyond the index-based formula outlined in Section 7 of the Employment Standards Code is justified. As such, we support the intent of Bill 44.

However, an adjustment should be made to the bill to require a minimum of 90 days of notice to allow time for employers to make the required operational adjustments (e.g. payroll processing, pricing, shift scheduling).

Further, the following measures will be critical in determining the amount of the one-time adjustment:

  1. Extensive consultation with employers and labour organizations.
  2. Analysis of the impact any proposed increase would have on employment levels, economic activity, and collective bargaining agreements.
  3. Consideration for the cost-of-living in Manitoba relative to other jurisdictions.

The legislated minimum wage formula has benefitted both employers and employees, as it has followed an objective, evidence-based process. While current economic conditions warrant an extraordinary adjustment, the process for determining that increase should remain as objective and data-driven as possible.

Businesses are prepared to do their part during these difficult times. However, it should be noted that today’s data release of the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions – a joint Statistics Canada/Canadian Chamber of Commerce initiative – indicates that rising input costs, including labour, is the number one concern for Canadian businesses at this time.

The Chamber calls upon the Province of Manitoba to augment any measures that ultimately are borne 100% by business with measures financed through the provincial treasury.

Notably, The Chamber urges the Province of Manitoba to:

  1. Commission a provincial tax review to assess how Manitoba’s tax policies and framework hinder economic growth for all Manitobans.
  2. Increase the basic personal tax exemption amount to further assist all Manitobans impacted by historic inflationary pressures.
  3. Provide financial relief (e.g. grants, tax credits) to small businesses to help them make the transition to an unplanned higher minimum wage.

We look forward to having the opportunity to discuss this issue in much greater detail with the government in the weeks ahead. If any member would like to discuss this issue further, I can be reached at [email protected] or at 204-944-3318.

Sincerely,
THE WINNIPEG CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

 

 

Loren Remillard
President & CEO