By Jeff Morris, Manotick Messenger
A room full of South Carleton business leaders and local employers got the opportunity to talk about the challenges they are facing with Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade Todd Smith last month.
The meeting was set up by Progressive Conservative MPP Goldie Ghamari, who invited several local business owners to a meeting with Smith at the Rideau Carleton Entertainment Centre.
“Some of the key themes that I found were the regulation for 44-and-a-half hours in a week, the issue with the Quebec border which is something I have been hearing quite often, and something that I have had come up a few times, which is the mandatory yearly WSIB training,” Ghamari said. “For a business with zero or no turnover it is just a big administrative cost.”
Smith thanked the business owners for coming to the meeting to share their concerns.
“I heard some new things that I have not heard before,” Smith said. “That will give us a little bit of work to do.”
While Smith said that his government has a lot of work to do since taking over from the Wynne Liberals, he did say that positive steps are being made through Ontario’s Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act.
“We have taken some positive steps in allowing businesses to thrive through Bill 66,” Smith said. One of the areas that Smith said was a starting point was the flexibility of the hours in the workplace, particularly in the agri-business and trucking industries.”
Another key theme around the table was the lack of desire to work among many of younger people and students.
“As far as changing our next generation and making them want to work, it does start with our education system,” Smith said. “We need to bring in more accountability into our education system.”
Smith, whose wife is a high school teacher, says he has seen first hand the failures of the system in building work ethic and responsibility among young people.
“With some of the student success programs that are in now you can put off all your assignments until the very last day of school and bring them all in on the last day of school and move onto the next grade. That’s not right. It doesn’t teach kids any kind of self-responsibility.”