This blog is part of our ongoing Wincon Team blogging initiative, designed to keep our employees up-to-date on company and security-industry news and developments
As always, this New Year brought with it a sense of hope, prosperity and energy to propel our business forward in 2018. It also introduced The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act—better known as Bill 148.
The legislation transformed many of Ontario’s labour and employment laws, adding new penalties for employers that misclassify their employees as contractors, extended vacation time for some workers and made significant amendments to shift-scheduling rules, among many other changes. But for most of you, the most significant impact of Bill 148 is on your pay cheques.
Effective January 1, the legislation increased the province’s minimum wage to $14 per hour from $11.60. That hourly minimum will jump to $15 on January 1, 2019.
Now, you’ve probably read numerous headlines about the running battle between Premier Kathleen Wynne and various small business owners who cut shifts or slashed employee benefits in the wake of the minimum wage increase. In my view, the Premier’s attempt to portray small and medium-sized business owners as ‘bullies’ is both unfair and a deliberate distraction from the fact a great number of businesses took a direct hit to their bottom-line with the sharp increase in the minimum wage.
To be clear, I’m all for a strong living wage. All of you do great work—in fact, you’re the backbone of our company’s success!—and deserve every penny you earn. The greatest concern expressed by the entrepreneurial community has to do with the speed at which these changes were implemented. Many companies have, indeed, had to cut staff hours, lay off workers or make other operational or compensatory adjustments to stay afloat—that includes businesses of all sizes ranging from Tim Hortons franchisees to retail powerhouses such as Wal-Mart.
Our strategy was very different.
First, we decided that adequate staffing and coverage were far too important to compromise. So, too, was the strength of our company culture. We have a very positive, productive—and I would argue—innovative workplace, and we were determined not to upset that fine balance by thinning our employee ranks.
So, with that strategic decision in hand, we made our next move, which was to increase prices for our clients. This is never an easy task, nor is it a simple message to deliver to customers who need to carefully consider any increase to their business overhead costs. But here’s what I wanted you to know: our clients love the service we provide, and they love working with all of you. With the exception of only a limited few who simply couldn’t manage the extra costs, the organizations understood that a price increase was necessary as Bill 148 came into effect.
I want you to know that we’ve maintained a strong client base and our bottom-line is intact. You can rest assured that there won’t be any significant changes to staffing, other than our usual shifts in personnel as we address operational changes and requirements. In addition, we won’t be cutting hours. If anything, the new minimum wage has made us stronger by highlighting just how strong our client relationships are, as well as the extraordinary work each of you do to service our clients.
I’m all about finding silver linings in the face of adversity, and I think I just discovered another one as we stared down a seemingly insurmountable financial obstacle. As we continue to celebrate our 25th anniversary, you can even expect us to unveil new employee-training initiatives and strategies to further strengthen our already amazing culture.
With that in mind, my only request is that all of you keep up the great work, continue making our clients happy and never stop contributing your remarkable ideas and ingenuity as we work together to make 2018 our company’s most successful year ever!
Winston Stewart, founder