Federal labour proposals pose staffing and red tape concerns for small businesses

Proposed changes borrow from former Ontario Bill 148 and may set tone for other provinces

Ottawa, May 9, 2019 – The labour law changes being looked at by the federal government pose serious staffing and red tape concerns for federally regulated small firms, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). 

“Small businesses employ the happiest, most satisfied workers, according to industry research,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly. “A big part of that is the flexibility and close employer-employee relationship they foster. The proposed changes would make it harder, not easier, for federally regulated employers to give their workers time off to deal with personal matters, offer flexible schedules and working hours, and meet their staffing needs to remain productive.”

The government has mandated the Expert Panel on Modern Federal Labour Standards to examine key issues they have identified. In its recommendations to the Expert Panel, CFIB is urging the government to:

  • Not implement a federal minimum wage and instead ensure that it remains set by reference to provincial standards
  • Simplify requirements and provide employers and employees greater flexibility to manage their relationships directly
  • Create policies that support entrepreneurship and small business growth to meet the needs of the evolving workplace and workforce
  • Ensure that it does not impose a one-size-fits-all approach that would add additional administrative hurdles for small employers

In addition, CFIB cautions the government not to assume that it needs to intervene in workplaces that have chosen not to unionize. 

“While relatively few small businesses are federally-regulated, we are concerned that these policies will set the tone for future provincial policies, which would affect hundreds of thousands of small businesses across the country,” said Monique Moreau CFIB’s vice-president of national affairs. “Many of these bad ideas have been borrowed from Ontario’s Bill 148, which imposed massive new costs and complexities on small firms. We are asking the Expert Panel to be mindful of how these changes affect small firms, which make up the majority of workplaces in Canada.”

CFIB has presented its recommendations to the Expert Panel and will hold a webinar next week where CFIB members and other small businesses are invited to express their questions and concerns to the government.

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Milena Stanoeva, CFIB

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at cfib.ca.