The President of the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce says businesses are doing what’s necessary to survive the minimum wage hike. Peter Chirico was reacting to some owners passing increased labour costs onto their employees to offset higher expenses. Chirico says because of the large rise in the minimum wage, some merchants have no choice but to exercise their management rights when the issue is not protected by law. “Businesses will do what they have to do to survive,” Chirico said. “They are the lifeblood. They have the skin on the table, not the government.”
Chirico also took exception to the Premier and Labour Minister Kevin Flynn saying businesses are bullying their employees when using them to offset their increased costs. Flynn is hiring 175 investigators to look into how businesses are reacting to the minimum wage hike. But Chirico says the minister hiring investigators is the kettle calling the pot black. “Isn’t that what he’s doing by saying he’s going to investigate every business that reduces,” said Chirico. The chamber president said if there are businesses violating the new law, then Flynn should “absolutely go after” them. However, he believes the number of merchants not following the rules is very small, perhaps only one or two per cent.