TORONTO — Ontario’s Government for the People is taking concrete measures to make Ontario open for business, grow the economy and help create and protect good jobs across the province.

Jim Wilson, Ontario’s Minister Responsible for Red Tape and Regulatory Burden Reduction, joined Laurie Scott, Minister of Labour and Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, to announce a series of regulatory and legislative changes that, if passed by Ontario’s Legislature, will make it easier for Ontario employers to hire and make it easier for workers to find jobs and grow their careers in Ontario.

“When it comes to the economy, being ‘For the People’ means keeping and growing good jobs right here in Ontario,” said Wilson. “This will not happen on its own. Instead, it starts with cutting the unnecessary red tape that is driving jobs and investment out of our province.”

The Making Ontario Open for Business Act will, if passed by Ontario’s Legislature, enable more Ontario employers to boost job creation and investment by cutting unnecessary regulations that are inefficient, inflexible and out of date while maintaining standards to keep Ontarians safe and healthy.

“At the heart of our plan is the conviction that Ontario can once again be a great place to invest, grow and create jobs,” said Wilson.

As part of the reforms, the Ministers announced that the government would take immediate action to repeal much of the burdensome, job-killing red tape imposed by the previous government through the notorious Bill 148. These reforms include maintaining Ontario’s current minimum wage at $14 per hour until 2020, to be followed by increases tied to inflation. The government will also replace the previous government’s disastrous Personal Emergency Leave rules. Instead, for the first time in Ontario’s history, workers will be able to take up to three days for personal illness, two for bereavement and three for family responsibilities. Current provisions for domestic and sexual violence leave will be maintained, which is a valuable protection for employees. The proposed reforms will also reduce the red-tape burden around scheduling while updating the Labour Relations Act.

“Today’s reforms are vital to create good jobs and stimulate new investment. We are lightening the burden on businesses and making sure that hard work is rewarded while proving to the world that Ontario is open for business,” said Scott. “Businesses should have confidence in reasonable and predictable regulations. And everyone who works should have the confidence of a good job and a safe workplace.”

The Making Ontario Open for Business Act, if passed, will also address the backlog in Ontario’s skilled trades by replacing Ontario’s outdated model with a one-to-one journeyperson-to-apprentice ratio for every trade for which ratios apply, thereby better aligning Ontario with other provinces and territories. The legislation, if passed, will also modernize the apprenticeship system by initiating an orderly wind-down of the Ontario College of Trades, which remains a source of unnecessary and burdensome complexity for skilled trades employment in the province.

“There are many tremendous and vibrant opportunities available in the skilled trades in Ontario. In fact, one in five new jobs in the next five years will be trades-related. But in Ontario today, employers can’t find apprentices and apprentices can’t find jobs,” said Fullerton. “As far as we’re concerned, if you are prepared to do the work then you deserve a shot at the job.”

The government will continue to systematically review Ontario’s stock of regulations, then streamline, modernize and, in some cases, eliminate unnecessarily complicated, outdated or duplicative regulations.

“Our government has been clear since day one – we are making Ontario open for business. It is time to bring quality jobs back to Ontario and help families get ahead. This legislation is just one way our government is working towards that goal,” said Wilson.