» Large Hospitality Operations Eligible for Hydro Incentives
For over a year, ORHMA has been a proponent of including qualified hospitality operations under the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) peak to peak demand hours, a program that excluded our industry. Our voice on this ask was heard and we applaud this week’s announcement of expanding the ICI eligibility while reducing thresholds.
The ICI would be expanded to include all sectors while also lowering the threshold for participation. More than 300 businesses are already utilizing the ICI to achieve electricity savings, and with these changes, over 1,000 new businesses are estimated to be eligible.
These measures would expand the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI), which encourages large energy users to lower consumption during peak periods. Reducing peak system usage improves reliability and lowers total costs. The ICI would be expanded to include all sectors while also lowering the threshold for participation. More than 300 businesses are already utilizing the ICI to achieve electricity savings, and with these changes, over 1,000 new businesses are estimated to be eligible.
We must add that this incentive does not include the majority of our members that pay high fees each and every month especially the Global Expense portion of a hydro bill. ORHMA continues to work towards a reduction method that supports a struggling sector.
» Minister of Finance will Investigate Visa and MasterCard’s Practices
ORHMA applauds Finance Minister Bill Morneau for announcing that the government will conduct a further review of the interchange fees. The ORHMA is a founding member of the Small Business Matters Coalition that has been advocating for lower fees paid to Visa and MasterCard.
The audit review follows Visa and MasterCard’s released self-audits of promised credit card merchant fee reductions that showed the average overall rate retailers pay is 1.5%. In 2014, the previous government and Visa and MasterCard’s agreed to reduce Canadian fees to an average of 1.5% – from an average 1.6% to 1.7% respectively. Statement by the Minister of Finance on Visa's and MasterCard's Voluntary Commitments.
» Sexual Harassment Compliance – Sept 8th 2016
With new legislation taking into effect as of Thursday, September 8th, 2016, employers are to ensure they have procedures in place to investigate workplace sexual violence and harassment.
The procedures need to include :
- The reporting and documentation specific on workplace sexual harassment – its policies and programs
- Collecting and disclosing the information - on all workplace harassments
- Investigation of incidents- to include follow up with ones that experienced harassment and alleged harasser (All need to be informed
- Awareness- ensure sufficient information and instruction is provided to incoming and existing employees regarding workplace harassment
- An annual review of these procedures is contacted
Employers also need to know that the new legislation passed through Bill 132, the Sexual Violence and Harassment Plan Act, 2016, gives inspectors the power to order employers to hire an outside investigator who meets specified criteria.
Bill 132, the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment), includes several amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act to enhance employer responsibilities with respect to harassment that occurs in the workplace, including sexual harassment. These amendments came into effect September 8. The Ministry has developed new resources to help workplaces comply with the new requirements.
Learn More >
» WSIB Premium Rate Reductions since 2001
When WSIB faced an unfunded liability of over $14 Billion, ORHMA worked diligently with officials to mitigate against severe increases to premium rates in the hospitality industry. ORHMA, as part of an employers group, meets quarterly with WSIB’s leadership and successfully influenced a freeze for the last three years including 2016. As WSIB’s performance is improving reductions are in the plan for 2017 and beyond. Good bottom line business support here.
A Message from the WSIB Chair & President: First Premium Rate Reduction Since 2001
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), we are writing to announce a five per cent reduction on the average premium rate for Schedule 1 in 2017.
For 2017, rate groups that have shown positive performance will see a decrease of up to 14 per cent compared to 2016.
No rate groups will see an increase in their premium rates, with the exception of two affected by the new presumptive Post Traumatic Stress Disorder legislation- RG 845: Local Government Services and RG 590: Ambulance Services.
See our 2017 premium rates>
After reaching a high of $14.2 billion in 2011, the WSIB’s unfunded liability (UFL) today has been reduced by more than half to $5.6 billion. The reduction of the UFL and associated premium rate reductions are taking place at a time when benefits for injured workers have been maintained.
Technical rate sessions for industry stakeholders will be held at select times during fall 2016. These sessions will include recommendations on how to improve premium rates as well as relevant information on improving health and safety outcomes in the workplace. For more details on these sessions please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
» Ontario Increases Minimum Wage
Ministry of Labour
Ontario will raise the general minimum wage from $11.25 to $11.40 on Oct. 1, 2016. Minimum wage rates for liquor servers, students under the age of 18, hunting and fishing guides, and homeworkers will also increase at the same time.
Learn More >
» Repeat Violators/Zero Tolerance Blitz
Ministry of Labour
Ontario is helping to protect vulnerable workers with an employment standards inspection blitz this fall. In September and October, the Ministry of Labour’s employment standards officers are conducting a blitz focusing on repeat violators and will be taking a zero tolerance approach towards any violation of the Employment Standards Act, 2000. Repeat violations are one indicator of intentional or wilful non-compliance. The ministry is focusing primarily on sectors with a high rate of precarious employment and other sectors with repeat violators.
Learn More >
» 2018 is Canada-China Year of Tourism
Justin Trudeau- Prime Minister of Canada
Prime Minister Trudeau’s recent visit to Beijing many co-operative initiatives were announced in meetings with President Xi Jinping of China, Chairman Zhang Dejiang of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and Li Keqiang. The positive exchanges among the leaders focused on ways to advance Canada-China relations, including the strengthening of the high-level dialogues, expanding exchanges at all levels and support economic growth. Included is a Announcing 2018 as the Canada-China Year of Tourism and agreeing to increase cooperation to boost the two-way flow of tourists. With China’s anticipated huge growth already impacting many Canada and Ontario destinations this is exciting news. Read more
» Talk to an HR Advisor – Complimentary Webinar Series with HRdownloads
Do you have any HR questions you want answered? Perhaps you need help with terminations, managing difficult employees, or legislative updates. Or maybe you just want to hear what other HR professionals in Canada are asking.
HRdownloads’ upcoming webinar is on Thursday September 29, 2016 and offers you a chance to get your questions answered and hear an advisor in action. During this unique webinar, they’ll offer a live question-and-answer period, where one of their senior advisors will answer questions submitted by you.
Registration deadline is Wednesday, September 28th, 2016. To register, click here.
» Ontario Government Throne Speech
Sets the tone for the next two years
On September 12, 2016 the Throne Speech set the tone by the Premier for her government to deal with mounting voter concerns over rising electricity prices; in response to which the government proposed a new measure to reduce electricity bills for consumers and small businesses via an HST rebate. The new focus on managing electricity fees may be recognized as an acknowledgement that the government has been widely perceived as insensitive to rising living costs.
The government will introduce legislation this fall to provide residential, farm and small business electricity ratepayers with a rebate equivalent to the provincial portion of the HST, beginning January 2017. The eight per cent rebate will save the average customer approximately $130 per year. Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault said the rebate will cost the government approximately $1 billion per year.
Eligible rural residents will receive “additional relief” in the form of a $35 monthly benefit, resulting in a total savings of $540 per year, or 20 per cent off their current bills. Thibeault said the rural subsidy will come from an increase in the existing rural support program, which is funded by rate. The government will also expand the Industrial Conservation Initiative program, which provides medium and large-sized companies with financial incentives to use electricity during off-peak hours. The program is currently open to businesses with a monthly peak demand greater than three megawatts. The province pledged to expand the type of businesses that are eligible and to once again lower the eligibility threshold; it was lowered from five megawatts to three megawatts in 2014.
The Wynne Liberals sought to frame the announcement as a consumer-friendly measure that is possible because of the government’s progress on bringing Ontario’s finances into line. The Speech made an unequivocal commitment that the 2017/18 Budget will be balanced – a promise that the Government has made repeatedly over the last two years. The Speech also stated that the Province’s debt-to-GDP ratio is “leveling” and will start to decline.
Looking forward, the Speech re-committed the Government to launching a provincial cap-and-trade program in 2017 – which will transform the Province’s business environment.
The Speech noted that Ontario’s economy grew faster than that of the U.S. and all other G7 jurisdictions over the first quarter of 2016. In that context, balancing the Budget, while trying to improve service levels and quality of life in the Province, will be the Liberal Party’s hopeful recipe for the next election.
The Throne Speech outlined several policy areas on which the Wynne Government will focus in the coming Parliamentary Session.
Specifically, notable topics are:
· The Government will introduce legislation this session to create an on-bill rebate equal to the provincial portion of the HST. The rebate, which will go into effect January 1, 2017, is equal to 8% of the average electricity bill. Small businesses and all consumers will receive the rebate. Larger businesses will benefit from expansion of eligibility for the Industrial Conservation Initiative, which supports commercial and industrial ratepayers in moving electricity use to off-peak hours.
· The Wynne Government continues to believe that innovative, low-carbon industries are the way of the future. The Speech promised continued spending through the previously-existing $400 million Business Growth Initiative and the Jobs and Prosperity Fund to attract such businesses to Ontario. Also promised were more targeted trade missions in key markets.
· In January 2017, the Ontario Cap-and-Trade Program will start up, with revenues to the Province being allocated to greenhouse gas reduction projects and incentives for households and businesses to reduce emissions.
· The government believes that support for updating workforce skills should come from employers and the government.As such, the Province reiterated it will work with unions, industry, and educators to develop new skills training projects – particularly through the Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy and the Highly Skilled Workforce Expert Panel.
Transit and Infrastructure
· The Government will continue allocation of $160 billion in spending over 12 years, with notable upcoming investments in Light Rail installation and GO Train system updates in the GTA. Highway access to the Ring of Fire also remains on the Liberal Party’s radar.
· Due to the Federal Government’s initiative to increase the CPP, the ORPP has now been abandoned, but the government used the Speech to state it will continue to play a leadership role on retirement planning.
· The Legislative Assembly was prorogued to accommodate the Throne Speech, so all legislation that was on the Order Paper before the Speech now must be re-introduced – and the government indicated that it will do so quickly.
Conclusion: The Throne Speech was the Liberal Party’s reaction to a summer in which their government was driven off-message. In that light, the priorities laid out in the Speech are the Premier’s effort to highlight its policy plan and accomplishments to date. The content of the Speech effectively establishes the battle ground for the next election – with the Liberal Party touting its investments, while pledging to balance the Budget and creating a consumer-friendly rebate. The Opposition Parties are adamant that the Liberals’ policies are not effective at protecting consumers, addressing the rising cost-of-living, or creating jobs – and they will make that case to voters between now and 2018.
ORHMA Advocacy: ORHMA’s Government Relations Department represents the industry’s interests to the Government of Ontario. We continue to be your voice and meet with elected officials, key advisors, staff and other like minded associations. We seek to reduce red tape, lower business costs and ensure a fair level playing field while growing Ontario’s hospitality industry.
Click here to hear the Speech. Click here for view hydro announcement.