Local small business owners hit hard by minimum wage increase
By Jeff Morris
Sue Dennison is one of many local business owners who have been hit hard by the Wynne Government’s minimum wage hike and labour changes.
“The wage increase is one thing, but the paid emergency leave is absolutely killing us,” said the Manotick resident who owns the Tim Hortons location in Richmond. “We had to pay out 70 hours in the first two weeks and 72 hours the next two weeks. It comes right off the bottom line.”
Dennison was one of the many local business owners at the small business forum hosted by Carleton Progressive Conservative candidate Goldie Ghamari in Stittsville last Thursday. She urged the PC candidate to take a hard look at Bill 148, which brought about the wage increase.
Ghamari used Tim Hortons as an example, saying that for the average Tim’s with 35 employees, wage hikes will cost each franchise owner $174,000. The following year, when minimum wage is jacked up again, the cost per restaurant jumps to $248,000.
“The government can’t keep raising prices and putting it on the shoulders of businesses,” she said. “We should be grateful that there are any entrepreneurs. They are the backbone of our economy.”
Ghamari played a clip of Liberal MPP Ann Hoggarth, who said that if business owners cannot afford to pay employees minimum wage, then they shouldn’t be in business.
“We can’t do anything about $14, but if we win, we would change next year’s planned hike and spread it out over four years, going up 25 cents per year,” said Ghamari.
Another point that was echoed through the forum was that the wage increase affected more than minimum wage workers. If businesses had a tier of people at the $14 or $15 per hour mark, their wages would also have to be increased to keep a wage scale within the workplace.
The next forum in Ghamari’s Carleton Conversations series will take place March 1. The topic will be hydro, but the location has yet to be determined.