Small business applauds Ontario government for announcing reversal of punitive labour bill

Apprenticeship ratio reductions also welcome news

Toronto, October 23, 2018 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) today applauded the Ontario government for announcing legislation to reverse most of the employment standards and labour reforms in Bill 148. These changes were hastily implemented before the last election without any economic analysis or understanding of the potential negative impacts on job creation and the economy.

“Since January 1, businesses have been struggling to manage not only a 21 per cent increase in the minimum wage in only three months, but also a multitude of other major labour changes,” said Plamen Petkov, CFIB’s Vice President, Ontario. “Bill 148 has been grinding job creation and competitiveness in the small business sector to a halt, forcing many business owners to make tough decisions due to higher labour costs and a tsunami of red tape.” 

The cost to comply with regulations from all levels of government is almost five times greater for small businesses than for larger firms, and many small businesses don’t have the luxury of an HR Department.   

“We thank the Ontario government for recognizing that there’s much more in Bill 148 that’s hurting businesses than just the unprecedented minimum wage hike,” said Julie Kwiecinski, CFIB’s Director of Provincial Affairs, Ontario. “We are extremely pleased that the Ontario government has listened to small business concerns and has taken fast and bold action to effectively rebalance workplace relations in Ontario.” 

CFIB also welcomed the news that the government will reduce the journeyperson-to-apprentice ratios to 1:1 for the compulsory skilled trades.

“For more than a decade, both apprentices and employers alike have been urging the provincial government to remove barriers to apprenticeship training,” said Petkov. “Reducing artificial ratio restrictions, which were eliminated in most other provinces years ago, will allow more young people to enter the trades and pursue a meaningful career.”    

With the introduction of the Making Ontario Open for Business Act today, CFIB looks forward to continuing to advise the Ontario government and all political parties on ways to reduce costs and red tape to foster job creation.

To arrange an interview, please contact Milena Stanoeva at 647-464-2814, or

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every sector and region, including 42,000 in Ontario.