(Dec. 17/17): Ontario’s Fall Economic Statement failed to provide much-needed monetary offsets to help restaurant employers adjust to the enormous labour cost increases resulting from Bill 148.  Given the Premier’s public comments this summer regarding relief to restaurateurs worried about minimum wage increases, the measures introduced fell far short of expectations.

Here is what was provided:

The small business corporate income tax rate will decline from 4.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent, effective January 1, 2018.

A $124 million fund will be provided over three years to hire youth ages 15 to 29 years. As a result, small business employers (with less than 100 employees) receive $1,000 to hire youth and $1,000 to retain youth for six months beginning January 1, 2018.   However, for businesses to qualify for these grants, youth must be hired through Ontario’s Youth Job Connection program.

A separate program for any size business will provide employers who hire youth facing employment barriers (via the Youth Job Connection program) with retention payments of $1,000 after three months, and a further $1,000 payable after six months for each worker.

However, these new parameters will not be applicable to current or recently hired employees as well as laid-off employees who are rehired.

Employers in a position to hire should contact their local employment service office for both programs. You can find out more by visiting Employment Ontario’s Find Employment & Training Services website.

Another new development in Ontario’s labour law changes is that the government has designated “Cook” as a service sector trade now included in the eligibility list for the new Graduated Apprenticeship Grant for Employers program under the Modernizing Apprenticeships for Small Businesses initiative.

Restaurants Canada will monitor the impacts of Bill 148 and the $14 minimum wage increase on the restaurant industry and will continue to advocate for meaningful financial offsets.

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