Smiths Falls raises concerns about incoming labour laws

October 11, 2017 by

06 SF LogoBill 148, the new labour law best known for the sharp and rapid increase to the minimum wage in Ontario, is causing municipalities a lot of headaches, and could push some to reduce services.

For many people, the bill just provides a welcome increase in minimum wage, but for municipalities it’s going to have possibly unintended but significantly costly consequences.

Of particular concern is the on-call provision and how it will affect public safety.

In Smiths Falls CAO Malcolm Morris calculated the proposed changes to on-call compensation would add half a million dollars to the firefighters budget with just 18 volunteer firefighters.

As Mayor Shawn Pankow points out, this legislation puts municipalities in a very difficult position when it comes to providing a wide range of essential services.

“It’s going to impact all 444 municipalities in the province," Mayor Pankow told Lake 88. "At minimum it would be a better than one per cent tax increase just to cover some of the changes. Worst case scenario, it could be a five or six percent tax increase, if what is being proposed ends up being part of the legislation."

The mayor says the impact can be difficult for municipalities of any size to ingest, and could mean either a drastic reduction of services, a cut in the town's capital works budget, or increased taxes.

"We really have to make sure that the province hears loud and clearly that there are some real concerns with some of what’s being proposed,” concluded Pankow