King Weekly Sentinel Thursday, October 5, 2017
King Chamber of Commerce
Concerned with Reports of Sweeping Labour Law and Employment Standards Reforms
Potential changes would stifle investment, eliminate jobs and diminish economic opportunities in Ontario, especially among small business owners
King Township, ON, Wednesday, May 17, 2017: The King Chamber of Commerce, on behalf of the business community in King Township, fully supports and endorses the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) who has sent a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne warning against potential changes to Ontario's Labour Relations Act (LRA) and the Employment Standards Act (ESA), including the introduction of a $15 minimum wage. Many of these potential reforms, if enacted, will stifle job creation and competitiveness, as well discouraging investment in the province. We are concerned that many of the potential reforms being discussed may have more to do with advancing the institutional interests trade unions, as opposed to sound policy for the protection of workers in Ontario.
The potential reforms are coming at a time when costs for consumers and the cost of doing business is increasingly putting Ontario at a competitive disadvantage. The changes we understand are being discussed will have a disproportionate impact on costs and flexibility for small employers, who constitute the majority of the business community in King.
"We are concerned about unintended consequences. Where are the economic impact analyses? These sweeping changes could seriously impact job creation and the health of our local economy in King" said Tom Allen, KCC’s President. "The proposed changes would discourage investment in Ontario and diminish economic opportunities for all Ontarians. Politics cannot drive decision-making, evidence must."
On issues of non-standard and part-time work, Statistics Canada data shows that part-time work has risen 22 percent since 2003, down from the 36 percent increase in the previous 12-year period. Recent studies show that 76 percent of part-timer workers voluntarily choose part-time work to better accommodate schooling or personal life.
"We are urging Premier Wynne to complete an economic impact analysis of the proposed reforms to limit potential consequences that could seriously jeopardize our future growth," said Richard Koroscil, Interim-President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. "We support reform where and when it is needed, but we caution against change for change's sake."
The OCC's letter reminds the Premier that Ontario's employer community is doing its part to create better jobs and working conditions in the province. Budget 2017 points out that 98% of all new jobs created since the recession have been full time, and 78% have been above-average wage for their respective industries.
The letter notes that the goals of economic growth and improved employee rights are not mutually exclusive. The OCC believes that what supports the competitiveness of Ontario's economy can also help enhance the quality of work. Increased education and enforcement may assist with compliance to Government regulations and can improve worker environments. Regulatory reform that raises costs for business, only to reduce the ability of business to invest in and grow the labour force, is counterproductive.
By Mark Pavilons
Thursday, March 16, 2017 - THE WEEKLY SENTINEL
| York Region is taking the lead on trying to secure federal funding to boost internet services in rural areas like King Township. York’s Committee of the Whole last week approved a staff report to seek federal funding through the government’s Connect to Innovate Program. The plan in York is to expand the broadband network in King, Georgina, East Gwillimbury and Whitchurch-Stouffville through a massive, 175-kilometre network. Both York and its rural member municipalities have pegged broadband as a key priority. York wants to be a “Gigabit Region,” where an innovative collaboration results in a connected lifestyle community. This means “raising the bar where there is under service” and staying ahead of the curve. King was well represented at the committee meeting, with councillors, staff and a representative of the King Chamber of Commerce all in attendance. Mayor Steve Pellegrini told his regional colleagues just how important this is to King. He pointed out Internet is a needed service, not unlike roads. The CRTC has declared Internet access an essential service. “This is the foundation for having high-speel (Internet) everywhere,” the mayor pointed out. “Connect to Innovation is so important to King,” said Councillor Dave Boyd. He admitted there are a number of gaps in and around King, particularly in the outskirts of Nobleton and throughout Lasay. Staff have gathered data to present to regional staff.
In February, York regional councillors met with federal government officials to articulate York’s infrastructure priorities, which include expanding the broadband network.
|The presentation focused on the opportunity to expand this network to facilitate economic development across York, especially in more rural communities. In January, it was announced that King will receive $1.6 million in a joint federal, provincial and private partnership for fibre optic broadband expansion. Communications company Vianet, who will be responsible for providing the service to residents, will contribute the remainder of the project costs. In June 2016, York council agreed that broadband was considered infrastructure that should be considered for both federal and provincial funding support and Regional staff would make applications. In December of 2016, the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development announced the Connect to Innovate program, which plans to invest $500 million by 2021, to bring high-speed Internet to rural and remote communities. The program anticipates direct public sector and municipal involvement. York staff noted Connect to Innovate will fund up to 75% of the cost of providing “last mile connections” to customers. The program also requires extended services must connect to institutions like municipal offices, libraries, schools, hospitals, etc. The program also extends eligibility to rural areas if under service can be proven. Every application to the fund must have a network of public/private partnerships. King Township created “King Connects,” to solicit public input and map where Internet services are lacking or non-existent. This data will help shore up York’s application in the future. York is well positioned to make an application, and has full support from its rural municipalities.||A proposed fiber loop in King means connecting Nobleton and Schomberg to the existing telecom network in King City. The King portion is roughly 38 kilometres, with a cost of $2.88 million. The proposed route is designed to maximize internet access to Regional and municipal infrastructure and facilities. “It will also put thousands of existing and future households within 2 kilometres of the optical fibre backbone; placing them within reach of Internet service providers that leverage the network to deliver broadband services,” the staff report noted. “Improved high-speed service to rural residents has the additional benefit of supporting the many home-based businesses in these areas.” The existing York Telecom Network is a natural vehicle for leveraging federal funding. The total estimated cost to build the three proposed routes (175 kilometres) in York is roughly $14 million, and an estimated $8 million can be recovered from Ottawa. That leaves York on the hook for the remaining $5.6 million. At this time, York has not earmarked the funds and will have to identify potential funding sources. Staff hopes to bring these details forward as part of the 2018 budget process. Mayor Pellegrini said it’s spread out over three years, so it shouldn’t be a problem for York to find the $2 million per year. The staff report and recommendations will go to regional council for final approval.|
King Weekly Sentinel Thursday, February 23, 2017
THE WEEKLY SENTINEL - Thursday, January 5, 2017
King Township enjoys strong economic activity in 2016
By Jamie Smyth Economic Development Officer King Township