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Business law increasing minimum wage will start January 1

Businesses always need to stay aware of changing legislation which may affect their operations. Ontario owners have a big update coming on January 1, 2018, when minimum wage increases to $14 per hour. The new business law will be accompanied by further labour reforms, including a corporate tax cut for small businesses and an increase in emergency leave entitlements.

Like many business law changes, the sweeping reforms are controversial in Ontario. Labour advocates and workers polled by the government approve increasing minimum wage, while businesses group analyses suggest that it may lead to a decrease in jobs. Part of the concern comes from the short time frame the government has provided for a relatively large increase. The minimum wage is currently $11.60 in the province.

The government is providing a tax cut to ease the burden on small businesses from the increase. As of January, the corporate tax rate for small business will decrease from 4.5 percent to 3.5 percent. Other changes will also be instituted in the new year, including an increase in vacation entitlements for long-time employees, emergency leave expansion, and a requirement to pay employees for three hours if their shift is cancelled within 48 hours of its start.

While there is much speculation about the impact of the business law changes, the overall impact of the legislation on Ontario is still unclear. Like many similar changes, the impact will vary from business to business. Business owners should contact a lawyer immediately if they have any legal questions about how or any other Ontario legislation will affect their operations.

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