QUEEN’S PARK – Norm Miller, MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka rose in the Legislature this week to speak about the opening of Phoenix Building Components in Sundridge. Miller used this opportunity to ask the government to hold more consultations with small business on the proposed labour law changes in Bill 148.
Mr. Norm Miller: I rise to share a positive story with my colleagues and to caution the government about policies that hurt small business.
Last month, I was pleased to visit Phoenix Building Components in Sundridge. Like their namesake, this business rose from the ashes of Kent Trusses, which shut down in August 2016 after 40 years. At its peak, Kent Trusses employed 100 people and was the largest employer in the village of Sundridge. When it closed, it threw 80 people out of work.
Phoenix, which is based in Barrie, Ontario, started building trusses in Sundridge again in April of this year, and once again employs 50 people. That may not sound like a big deal to some of my colleagues from city ridings, but in a community of less than 1,000 people, 50 jobs makes a huge difference to the whole community. I want to thank Grant Gibbons, president and CEO of Phoenix, for his company’s investments in Sundridge.
When I visited Phoenix in September, it was great to see people at work and trucks delivering lumber and picking up trusses. But Andy Forsayeth, operations manager, told me that between hydro rates and other government policies, it is a struggle to restart a business in Ontario right now. Communities like Sundridge need businesses like Phoenix, so I ask this government to find policies that will help businesses and small communities succeed.
I’ve recently heard from small employers around Parry Sound–Muskoka about proposed labour changes in Bill 148. I hope that this government will do another round of real consultation on Bill 148 and actually listen to the small employers around Ontario.