Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MPP Steve Clark with Northern Cables CEO Shelley Bacon, left, Prescott Mayor Brett Todd and 401 Electric President Barry Moss at an announcement to highlight how the Making Ontario Open for Business Act will help grow the local economy. – Submitted Photo

Brockville– MPP Steve Clark visited the Northern Cables plant in Brockville on Friday, November 2nd to highlight how the government’s Making Ontario Open for Business Act will help grow the economy and create good jobs here in Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.

Clark was joined by Northern Cables CEO Shelley Bacon and President Todd Stafford, 401 Electric President Barry Moss and Prescott Mayor Brett Todd to highlight how the legislation removes job-killing regulations and red tape imposed by the previous Liberal government.

“We’re right across the river from a jurisdiction that is not only competing with Ontario for new investment, but actively recruiting businesses in Leeds and Grenville to relocate,” said MPP Clark.

“Making Ontario open for business is all about boosting job creation by lifting the burden on employers and giving them confidence to invest so we can start bringing back the 320,000 manufacturing jobs lost on the previous government’s watch. The balanced labour reforms we’re making are not only good news for job creators, but anyone who is looking for work or hoping to find a better job.”

If passed, the legislation would create a framework of reasonable, flexible and predictable employment regulations that work for employees and employers alike, stressed Clark.

This includes a pause on further increases to the minimum wage after this year’s 21-per-cent increase until 2020 when annual increases will be tied to inflation. The bill would also put in place a consistent system of annual leave days, providing every Ontario worker with the following: three sick days, three family responsibility days and two bereavement days per year. Job-protected leave for victims of domestic or sexual violence would remain in place.

“We appreciate that the government is sending a message that Ontario is open for business. This legislation shows that Premier Ford and MPP Clark heard our concerns when they visited Northern Cables earlier this year and that we can rely on this government to continue working to reduce the regulatory burden so industry can compete,” said Bacon.

Clark said the legislation is also designed to create more opportunities in the skilled trades and help employers find the skilled workers they need through measures that include modernizing the apprenticeship system by moving to a one-to-one journeyperson-to-apprentice ratio.

“We thank the new Ontario government for listening to the concerns of the Electrical Contractors and the Ontario Electrical league in addressing the shortage of skilled trades by changing the apprenticeship ratio to 1:1, this will ensure an adequate supply of tradespeople for the future,” said Moss.

“Municipalities here such as Prescott have been doing all that we can to help our businesses grow and create jobs, but it has been like we’ve been fighting with one hand tied behind our back,” said Mayor Todd, who also serves on the board of directors of the St. Lawrence Corridor Economic Development Commission, an organization formed by seven Leeds-Grenville municipalities in 2017 to attract industrial growth in the region.

“These changes help level the playing field when it comes to competing with our friends across the river in New York State, eliminate much of the unnecessary burden on our businesses that have stalled job growth, and create a much better open-for-business environment for employers and employees.”

Clark noted the Making Ontario Open for Business Act has also been endorsed by a number of groups, including the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

“Small business owners in Leeds and Grenville and the rest of the province have been telling us that Bill 148 is burying them in unmanageable, significant costs and excessive red tape, on top of the unprecedented steep and speedy minimum wage hike,” said Julie Kwiecinski, Director of Provincial Affairs, Ontario at CFIB.

“We thank the new Ontario government for listening to the concerns of small business owners, and taking bold action to address them with policy that shows compassion for both employees and employers.”

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