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Ontario Government out of Step with Reality!

Ontario Government Prize move #1: "The Ontario Ministry of Labour has launched a consultation to determine if there are suitable protections in the Employment Standards Act for workers employed by staffing agencies. Vic Dhillon, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour will be leading the consultation on behalf of the Minister."

Yesterday I was suffering some angst about a number of issues that meant I had trouble coming up with a positive blog. The above announcement was one of them ... and another example of a Government being driven by the "squeaky wheel".

I had resolved to not let it get to me, but a blog is meant to be a place to share thoughts and ideas in an open manner so what the heck. I'm sure this blog entry will not win me any friends with the Ontario Government but they need to hear it!

Ontario Government prize move #2: On March 31st the contracting vehicle that the Ontario government uses to procure IT services on an as and when required basis expired. The new one wasn't ready, but it is "projected" to be released in June (or July .... my bet is on September). For a business that means six months of lost opportunity with one of the biggest users of IT services in the province. For the Government managers trying to get their work done it means they either procure the services another way (read more expensive, and probably more complicated) or they wait.

A reasonable person might suggest that they extend the old contract ... "can't do that", they say. Don't worry there are other procurement tools people can use. Nice theory but we have not seen a new piece of business since the old contract expired ... but who cares they new contract will be here in a few months!

Newsflash for the Ontario Government ... the Ontario economy is either on the "edge of a recession" or "in recession" according to a CIBC economist. Not a big surprise given the state of the manufacturing sector in South West Ontario.

Why would ANY Government choose to cause issues for the small and medium enterprises of this province which the Ontario Government describe as the engine of the economy? Worse yet why NOW, when the economy is so fragile?

The staffing industry in Canada is an $8 Billion industry according to the latest Statistics Canada report (2006 Survey of Services Industries: Employment Services). Ontario represents 57% of that business or approximately $4.6 Billion.
The staffing industry has average annual operating profits of 3.5%, with Ontario companies operating at 2.6% ... hardly room to play there!
I was talking with the President of a medium sized staffing company who has been in the business for 25 years. He estimated that his company alone has found 450,000 people jobs over that 25 year period.

Hundreds of manhours of the best minds in our industry are going to be consumed trying to defend our industry from attack and at the same time one source of business has been cut off.

Wake up Ontario ... this is a global economy and Ontario businesses, already operating on skinny margins will not be able to compete if you keep getting in the way!