Business owners aren’t fooled by the myth that better wages and fair workplace practices are bad for business. What businesses in our network are concerned about is an economy in which too many working Ontarians are living in poverty. Precarious work is not good for business.

The current government refuses to acknowledge this lost consumer potential. Instead it focuses on making life easier for the biggest corporations, who are 5 times more likely than small businesses to pay minimum wage.

Job numbers are up but precarious work prevails

How does Vic Fedeli dare take full credit for the latest Statistics Canada job numbers? Fedeli talks about “damage” done to businesses before he came to office. But job numbers were also good following last year’s minimum wage increase. The government has stuck stubbornly to its claim that improved conditions for employees destroys small business. We know from experience that this is untrue.

Businesses will decide for themselves what the current government has done to help them. But we know what they have done to hurt employees is bad for business. Cancelling the $15 minimum wage. Eliminating paid sick days. Cancelling laws protecting temp workers, who are more likely to be injured or killed at work.

Most small businesses already offer more than the bare minimum. 60% of small and medium businesses surveyed support a $15 minimum wage or higher. Treating our employees well means they are more likely to stay, saving us money in turnover costs. More and more businesses are speaking out about the real financial benefits of decent work. It’s time for the government to catch up.

Gilleen Pearce, co-owner, Inderly – Better IT support, and spokesperson, Better Way Alliance 

The Better Way Alliance is a network of Ontario business owners who consider employee well-being a smart investment, for our long-term profitability and the health of Canada’s economy. Our members employ more than 30,000 Ontarians. Industries represented include services, retail, food and beverage, and manufacturing.