Ontario business groups raise concerns about provinces planned labour reforms

TORONTO — The Ontario government’s plan for major labour reforms would have significant side effects that would put 185,000 jobs at risk, a coalition of business groups said Monday in releasing part of its analysis on the proposed legislation.The economic analysis commissioned by the Keep Ontario Working Coalition found that Ontario businesses stand to take a $23-billion hit within two years of the implementation of Bill 148, largely due to a minimum wage increase.The coalition, which includes groups such as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Retail Council of Canada, said the changes proposed in the bill would force employers to find creative ways to cut costs, such as hiring less and increasing automation.“The changes presented in Bill 148 will have dramatic unintended consequences that include putting close to 200,000 jobs at risk and seeing everyday consumer goods and services increase by thousands of dollars for each and every family in Ontario,” said Karl Baldauf, a spokesman for the coalition.He said the reforms are “too much, too soon,” echoing concerns expressed by business groups since the minimum wage increase was announced.Key figures of the analysis were made public Monday and more findings are expected to be released in the weeks and months to come, the group said.The proposed legislation would, among other things, raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, require equal pay for part-time workers and expand personal emergency leave.The bill would boost the minimum wage, which is currently set to rise with inflation from $11.40 an hour to $11.60 in October, up to $14 on Jan. 1, 2018, and $15 the following year.“Making $15 an hour is great but only if you have a job,” Baldauf said.Ontario’s Ministry of Labour said it was reviewing the findings, but noted the study is one among many.“Many businesses across the province have come out in support of our plan because it helps them attract employees, reduces their labour turnover and encourages employees to become more invested in the business,” Labour Minister Kevin Flynn said in a statement.The government is committed to working with the business community and recognizes it has concerns, the minister said.“That being said, we will not back down from our plan to bring fairness to Ontarians,” he said. “We will remain in the corner of those families who are counting on these supports.”Premier Kathleen Wynne has said she is working on ideas to support Ontario businesses through major labour reforms, but has yet to say exactly what form this relief would take. Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid has also suggested the province was looking at reducing other costs for businesses to help them cope with the labour changes.The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a national think tank, said the numbers released Monday represent a worst-case scenario that research suggests is unlikely to pan out.David Macdonald, the centre’s senior economist, said similar predictions have been made in other jurisdictions ahead of minimum-wage hikes but there has in fact been “little impact on employment.”He also said the analysis doesn’t reflect that employees earning more will also spend more, or that businesses will see gains in productivity and save on training costs by better retaining their staff.“Those pieces balance themselves out,” he said.The Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis conducted the study, which examines the impact of six key areas of reform, namely changes to the minimum wage, equal pay provisions, vacation, scheduling, personal emergency leave and unionization.The centre said both current and potential new jobs would be at risk in the first two years of the plan. It projects the number of jobs will be 2.4 per cent lower under the proposed legislation.Small business owners will be more affected, as will women, who are more likely to hold lower-paying jobs, said Paul Smetanin, the organization’s president.The coalition said labour reforms should be introduced more gradually but did not recommend a particular timeline.It also renewed its calls for the government to conduct an economic analysis of its own. read more

Goldcorps first gold from Cerro Negro

first_imgGoldcorp has achieved first gold production at Cerro Negro, a high-grade gold mine located in the Santa Cruz province of Argentina. On July 25, the initial dore bar weighing approximately 100 kg was poured at the mine containing an estimated 317 oz of gold. Overall, progress at the mine remains on track for declaration of commercial production by the end of the year.  Production guidance for 2014 is expected to be between 130,000 and 180,000 oz of gold.  Initial capital costs have been reduced by $100 million and are now expected to be between $1.6 and $1.7 billion.“We are very pleased to have first production on schedule and within our current capital cost guidance range from this world class mine,” said Chuck Jeannes, Goldcorp President and CEO.  “Very importantly, this achievement was reached safely, with Cerro Negro in the midst of a run of over 4.1 million man hours without a lost time accident. This milestone signals not only the start of Cerro Negro’s mine life, but also a period of sustained growth for Goldcorp. The team at Cerro Negro has done an outstanding job amid occasionally challenging circumstances and I congratulate them for this outstanding effort. We look forward to strong contributions from Cerro Negro to Goldcorp’s overall performance for many years to come.”Cerro Negro is a high-grade gold mine located in the Santa Cruz province of Argentina.   It contains several high-grade vein structures, including the Mariana Central, Mariana Norte, San Marcos and Eureka.Cerro Negro was acquired in 2010 and since then the gold reserves and resources have nearly doubled, and new discoveries support Goldcorp’s expectations that Cerro Negro will be a long-lived, high quality asset with low production costs. Cerro Negro’s ideal physical setting and easily accessible veins will result in near-term, cashflow-accretive gold production.  Proven and Probable gold mineral reserves totalled 5.74 Moz as of December 31, 2013.The property contains a large, very prospective land package, with a rich network of near-surface gold veins that are easily mineable at very low costs.The project is located on the low level Patagonian plains in southern Argentina, at an elevation of some 600 m above sea level. Project infrastructure is excellent, with paved and gravel road access to the nearest provincial town of Las Heras, 110 km northeast. Las Heras already provides basic manufacturing and service facilities to local on-shore oil fields located in Santa Cruz. 160 km northeast of Las Heras is the regional centre, Comodoro Rivadavia (population 140,000), with port and airport facilities.The property comprises 25,000 ha, and contains ten currently identified prospect areas with manifestations of epithermal gold mineralisation. The deposits are low-sulphidation, epithermal gold (and potentially silver) hosted within quartz veins and associated stockworks. Within the overall project, at least six zones of epithermal mineralization are now recognised.last_img read more