Payroll News for Canada, Employment ArticlesEmployment News and Payroll Tips

Payroll News Canada - Employment Articles

July 2017 - Welcome to the latest edition of The Payroll News! As always, please feel free to forward this newsletter to your friends and associates who are interested in keeping up with the latest changes in Canadian payroll, employment and HR News. Federal and Provincial news items are listed immediately below followed by our Featured Article.


Tip of the Month Federal News Provincial News
Featured Article Software Updates Newsletter Archive


Tip of the Month

July 2017 - Labour Employment Standards Calculation Tools - Did you know that Government of Canada's Labour Program website offers a series of Labour Employment Standards Calculation Tools to assist in your payroll calculations? These include a General Holiday Calculator for figuring out holiday entitlements for most standard employment situations. Also included is a Vacation Pay Calculator that is designed to calculate minimum vacation pay entitlements for employees subject to federal labour standards legislation in a standard employment situation. Click Here to learn more.

Looking for past tips? Please visit our Tip of the Month archive for historical tips other useful information that will assist with your payroll and HR tasks.

Canadian Federal Payroll and HR News

July 21, 2017 - Court finds working notice moot for employee on medical leave - A recent decision by the Superior Court of Ontario has confirmed that working notice doesn't count when an employee is away from work due to medical factors. The case confirms the importance of medical expertise. All the employee really knew throughout this period was that he was in pain and he didn't think he could work, but his opinion doesn't matter; at the end of the day, only a medical doctor's opinion mattered. (Full Story)

July 20, 2017 - Poor wouldn't benefit from expanded CPP -  As recently as June 2016, the federal and provincial finance ministers agreed to expand the Canada Pension Plan. It's so recent, in government terms, that many of the details of benefit entitlements, costs and investment criteria still aren't known. But it has been long enough for deep thinkers on matters of social security to delve into the macro proposals and issue some serious concerns. Who really benefits? It turns out, it's not low- or middle-income workers. (Full Story)

July 19, 2017 - Feds start work on nearly decade-long overhaul of systems running EI, CPP - The federal government is on the cusp of launching an overhaul of the computer systems running key social safety net programs, and hoping to avoid seeing another IT project become mired in problems. Government documents show that officials are planning to take more than eight years to modernize the systems that oversee payments from employment insurance, old age security and the Canada Pension Plan. The work is part of a larger strategy that ESDC has been working on for years, trying to digitize more of its operations. (Full Story)

July 17, 2017 - Extra EI program cost $1.3 billion, feds say - The federal Liberals are looking for answers after the government's program to help workers in hard-hit economic regions of the country blew past budget expectations, with spending now topping $1.3 billion. The government figured that just 235,000 people would use extra weeks of employment insurance benefits when they unveiled the program last year to help workers in 15 regions of the country with stubborn unemployment rates. That was projected to cost the government $827.4 million between April 2016 and March 2019. But as of July 9, Employment and Social Development Canada said that it had spent just under $1.31 billion on the extra weeks of benefits for 317,261 claimants. (Full Story)

July 17, 2017 - Challenging the Wage Gap: Canadian women still earn less than men - The gender pay gap in Canada has shrunk over the decades, but there are a number of reasons why it still exists:  the types of work women do, the number of work interruptions, how many hours women work, among other factors. Researchers also acknowledge an “unconscious gender bias” plays a role. According to the latest numbers from Statistics Canada, Canadian women earn an average of $0.87 for every $1 a man earns. The wage gap has always existed in Canada, but it has gotten smaller over the decades. In 1981, women earned only $0.77 for every dollar a man earned. So it has inched 10 cents closer to parity since then. (Full Story)

July 7, 2017 - Canada adds 45,000 jobs in June, mainly part time - Canada's economy added another 45,000 jobs in June, bumping the unemployment rate down to 6.5 per cent. Statistics Canada reported Friday that most of the new jobs were part time. There were 37,000 new part-time jobs and about 8,000 new full time jobs created during the month, the data agency reported. The June numbers mean Canada's economy has now added jobs in all but two of the last 12 months, and has created 351,000 new jobs over that time, most of them full-time ones. (Full Story)

June 26, 2017 - Five common mistakes companies make on T4s - When most employees receive their T4 slip, they focus on the tax hit and contributions to the Canada Pension Plan and employment insurance. Rarely do they check whether the employer made an error until an accountant catches it or they receive a notice from the Canada Revenue Agency. Accountants say it's not uncommon for small businesses to make mistakes on T4s, either because the employers don't understand what benefits are taxable to employees, or they simply forget to include them. (Full Story)

June 23, 2017 - Government of Canada reducing barriers to inclusive employment through Call for Concepts - The federal government has  launched the Call for Concepts for a program to help federally regulated, private sector workplaces break down barriers to employment for women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minority communities. The Workplace Opportunities: Removing Barriers to Equity grant and contribution program will provide up to $500,000 a year to help make workplaces inclusive and diverse through partnerships and industry-specific strategies. (Full Story)

June 23, 2017 - Canada Summer Jobs Up By 18% In 2017 - The mercury is up, and this year, summer help-wanted postings are too. Summer job listings, as a percentage of all listings, are up 18 per cent, according to a study by job site Indeed.com. The study showed that while most job openings were spread across the labour market, about one in five of them were for administrative or support staff, accounting for the largest share. Indeed.com said those results aren't surprising, since most administrative roles are usually entry-level jobs that lend themselves well to summer or temporary staff. (Full Story)

June  9, 2017 - Canada Finally Adds Wage Gains to Stellar Jobs Performance - Canada's labor market continued surprising in May, with a greater-than-expected 54,500 jobs gain that also finally came with signs of a pick-up in wages. The employment gain -- the third biggest one-month increase in the past five years -- was driven by the addition of 77,000 new full-time jobs, which offset falling part-time employment. Economists had forecast a 15,000 increase in employment. (Full Story)

Provincial Payroll and HR News (Choose a province to expand the articles)


July 14, 2017 - Job openings in Alberta increased in first quarter by nine per cent over last year - According to Statistics Canada data released Thursday, job vacancies rose by 3,600 positions to 43,000 in the first quarter of 2017 compared to a year earlier - a 9.3 per cent increase. This is the first year-over-year increase for Alberta in the number of job vacancies and the first jump in the job vacancy rate since the first quarter of 2015 when this data was first collected by Statistics Canada. Alberta was one of six provinces to see a gain in job vacancies spurred by stronger economic conditions, following declines in 2015 and 2016. (Full Story)

July 13, 2017 - Job vacancies and hourly wages on the rise in Alberta - Job vacancies are on the rise in Alberta and the average hourly wage offered by employers is also climbing, according to Statistics Canada. The number of unfilled jobs in the province rose by 3,600 in the first quarter of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016, marking a 9.3 per cent increase. "Increases in vacancies for full-time positions accounted for 59 per cent of the year-over-year rise in total job vacancies." Compared to two years ago, however, vacant jobs are still few and far between. (Full Story)

July 13, 2017 - Calgary Stampede benefits from job grant changes - Improvements to the Canada-Alberta Job Grant will help more unemployed Albertans train for new jobs and better support rural employers and small businesses. The Canada-Alberta Job Grant (CAJG) is a grant funding program where employers and government share the cost of training new and existing employees to increase their knowledge and skills while also meeting the needs of Alberta's changing economy. Changes to the grant will expand access to training and offer more ways for Alberta employers to train workers by: covering 100 per cent of training costs up to $15,000 when the trainee is unemployed; reimbursing a portion of travel costs of participants and trainers from outside Edmonton and Calgary; and allowing sole proprietors to apply to train their workers. (Full Story)

July 11, 2017 - Alberta tax credit spurs investments, creates jobs - Seventeen Alberta businesses from around the province are expected to support more than 1,500 full- and part-time jobs by upgrading or expanding their facilities. The Alberta government is helping the businesses take on the new construction projects through the first intake of the Capital Investment Tax Credit (CITC). Over the course of the program, the CITC is expected to leverage about $700 million in capital investment and support about 4,600 direct and indirect full-time jobs. (Full Story)

July 7, 2017 - Employment continues rising, but most new jobs part-time positions - Employment in the oilsands region continued to rise last month, with the wholesale and retail trade sector seeing the most growth. However, more than half of the new jobs added to the local economy are part-time positions. According to data from Statistics Canada, a total of 1,300 new jobs were added to the local economy, with 600 of those positions counted as full-time, the remaining 700 positions were part-time. (Full Story)

July 6, 2017 - Government receives WCB review report - An independent review panel has presented the province with recommendations to modernize Alberta's Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) and better serve Albertans. The WCB system provides no-fault benefits and supports a safe return to work for injured workers. The last comprehensive review of the WCB system was conducted more than 15 years ago. The 189-page report includes 60 recommendations to government. The WCB system covers nearly 1.9 million Albertans working at over 160,000 employers across the province. (Full Story)

June 22, 2017 - Number of Albertans on EI declines for 6th straight month - About 3,200 fewer Albertans received Employment Insurance benefits in April than in March, marking the sixth consecutive monthly decline in the province. The 3.8 per cent decline doesn't necessarily mean fewer people are unemployed, as not everyone who's out of work qualifies for EI and the benefits only last for so long. The number of people receiving EI payments in Calgary, specifically, fell 2.5 per cent in April to 27,590. (Full Story)

June 20 2017 - Alberta expands job-protected leave in broad reform of Employment Standards Code - Alberta employers will soon have to adapt to longer employee absences. The Alberta government has introduced a broad reform of the Alberta Employment Standards Code (The “Code”). The revisions to the legislation governing non-unionized employees in Alberta was given royal assent on June 7, 2017. The proposed implementation date for the revised Code is January 1, 2018. The biggest changes affect job-protected leave, which is the employee's right to return to a job after having taken unpaid leave. (Full Story)

June 19, 2017 - Alberta's new employer-unfriendly Workplaces Act - Bill 17: The Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act, was introduced in the Alberta Legislature on May 24th and passed June 7, 2017. Whether it is “family-friendly” is a matter of opinion, but we can advise with certainty that it is not “employer-friendly.” There are significant changes to enforcement, including large administrative penalties, inspections by Employment Standards Officers, and mandatory audit procedures. Employers will need to make changes now to their policies, employment practices and workplace strategies in order to minimize legal risk. (Full Story)

July 7, 2017 - British Columbia adds 20,000 jobs in June - Statistics Canada said there were 20,000 jobs created in British Columbia in June, dropping the provincial unemployment rate down to 5.1 per cent. Overall, the data agency said the Canadian labour market beat expectations and added just over 45,000 jobs last month. The strong growth dropped the national unemployment rate down to 6.5 per cent. However, most of the jobs were part-time. There were 37,000 new part-time jobs and about 8,000 new full-time jobs created in June nationally. (Full Story)

June 22, 2017 - The number of EI recipients in BC and Prince George rose in April - Only 1,900 people collected Employment Insurance benefits during the month of April in Prince George according to Statistics Canada. Year-over-year the number of beneficiaries in the northern capital increased by 9% or 200 people. Provincially, the situation was pretty much the same according to analyst Myriam Hazel. “The number of people receiving benefits in British Columbia rose by 600 people or 1.1% in April.” In BC, 53,180 people collected benefits during this time, which is a spike of 570 people since April of 2016. (Full Story)

June 20, 2017 - B.C. employment edges up in May - May marked another strong month for B.C.'s labour market as estimated employment jumped 0.5%, or 12,300 persons, from April to reach 2.47 million persons and well exceed a national increase of 0.3%. Higher levels of business confidence, housing demand, tourism and exports have contributed to a robust expansionary employment cycle. Year-over-year employment growth reached a sparkling 4.2% with a full-time gain of about 3.5% and a rise in part-time work of 6.6%. (Full Story)

July 7, 2017 - Unemployment in province steady at 5.3% - The Manitoba economy shed 2,600 full-time jobs last month but also gained 4,200 part-time positions, new Statistics Canada data shows. The agency's latest monthly Labour Force Survey report, released on Friday, also showed 2,000 new workers entered the provincial labour force in June. As a result, the net gain of 1,600 new jobs wasn't enough to affect the provincial unemployment rate, which held steady at 5.3 per cent. That's the second-lowest unemployment rate in the country after British Columbia's 5.1 per cent. With the addition of 1,600 new positions in June, the provincial economy has posted a net gain of 8,400 jobs since June of last year, all of them full-time positions. (Full Story)

June 27, 2017 - Study shows cost of $15 minimum wage outweighs benefits - Proponents of a $15 minimum wage in Manitoba should look at a recent study out of Seattle, Washington if they really want to know how jacking up the base wage affects low-income workers. Seattle officials voted three years ago to increase that city's minimum wage to $15 an hour gradually over several years. And just like in Manitoba and other parts of Canada, the same debate raged on about what the real effects of the policy would be. (Full Story)

June 19, 2017 - WCB Delivers Its 100th Annual Report - The Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba's (WCB) 2016 Annual Report was tabled in the provincial legislature on May 24. The highlights include 100 years of success in building a workers compensation system that benefits Manitobans, continued enhancements to the rate model and customer service initiatives and rewarding employers who have embraced prevention and return to work initiatives by lowering the average assessment rate. The Five Year Plan was also tabled. The average assessment rate decreased by $0.05 in 2016 to $1.25 and the downward trend continues with the recent 2017 rate announcement of $1.10. Since 2014, the WCB's two consecutive years of rate decreases returned $85 million to employers. (Full Story)

June 10, 2017 - Province boasts lowest unemployment rate for second month - The Manitoba economy posted a net gain of 2,700 new jobs last month, enabling the province to maintain the lowest unemployment rate in the country, new Statistics Canada data shows. In it's latest monthly Labour Force Survey report released on Friday, the agency said the local economy created 7,000 new full-time positions in May. But those gains were partially offset by the loss of 4,300 part-time positions. (Full Story)

July 7, 2017 - New Brunswick jobless rate hits lowest level since 2009 - New Brunswick's jobless rate inched down to 8.1 per cent in June, and hasn't been this low in almost eight years. According to Statistics Canada, New Brunswick's jobless rate was at 8 per cent in November 2009. The latest monthly labour force report shows 100 full-time jobs were added in June, while 300 part-time jobs were lost. Although the province's June unemployment rate is down from 8.4 per cent in May, the agency said 1,600 people left the labour force altogether. (Full Story)

June 23, 2017 - Higher wage for temporary foreign workers 'unfair,' shellfish labourer says - Deer Island residents employed at a local shellfish plant earn $2.50 an hour less than workers brought in under the federal temporary foreign workers program. The starting wage for local employees is $11.75 an hour, but foreign workers are earning $14.17 an hour. ​The temporary workers program dictates that participants be paid the "median wage" of an employment zone, which in this case covers Deer Island and St. Stephen as well as Saint John. Karen Ludwig, the member of Parliament for New Brunswick Southwest, said the federal program is under review because of past difficulties. (Full Story)

June 9, 20167 - New Brunswick jobless rate dips in May with 700 new jobs - With the addition of 700 jobs to the New Brunswick economy in May, the provincial unemployment rate dipped to 8.4 per cent last month, Statistics Canada reported Friday. The jobs that brought down the unemployment rate from 8.7 per cent in April were all full-time, the agency said. Looking back over the past year, when 3,600 jobs were lost in the province, the New Brunswick economy gained 6,800 new full-time positions, for a net increase of 3,100 jobs. (Full Story)

June 1, 2017 - WorkSafeNB releases 2016 Annual Report - WorkSafeNB's 2016 operating results were released today in its 2016 Annual Report. The report highlights a year of continued improvement in service delivery and stakeholder engagement, better than expected investment returns, and a continuing upward trend in claim acceptance and duration. WorkSafeNB is required by legislation to reimburse the provincial government for the operating costs of the worker and employer advocates ($1.4 million) and the WCAT ($1.3 million). (Full Story)

July 17, 2017 - Client service satisfaction surveys - In an effort to further improve client service, WorkplaceNL is now conducting bi-annual client service satisfaction surveys. As part of this, a random sample of injured workers and employers will be contacted in the coming weeks to measure their satisfaction with the service they are receiving from WorkplaceNL. The results of these surveys will be used to develop action plans and make improvements to our client service programs. If you are an injured worker or employer, you may receive a call about their services from Corporate Research Associates (CRA), an independent research company with an office in Newfoundland and Labrador. (Full Story)

June 19, 2017 - WorkplaceNL's injury fund continues to be fully funded - WorkplaceNL's financial position continues to improve, and it was compliant with all 2016 performance indicators in the areas of client service, facilitating recovery at work, leadership in prevention through collaboration and financial sustainability. The injury fund was 126.1 per cent funded at the end of 2016, up from 118.8 per cent for 2015. When the funded position exceeds 120 per cent, policy allows for a downward adjustment to the assessment rates paid by employers. Effective January 1, 2017, the average assessment rate paid by employers was reduced to $2.06 per $100 of assessable payroll. As well, the maximum compensable and assessable earnings (MCAE) increased to $63,420, the highest in Atlantic Canada. (Full Story)

June 12, 2017 - Provincial Government Releases Summary of Minimum Wage Consultations - The Provincial Government today released a summary report of feedback from public consultations and online submissions to help establish a clear and consistent method of determining future increases to the minimum wage. The summary report identifies: Support for a transparent method of making future minimum wage adjustments; Benefits and challenges of introducing a standard methodology for adjusting the minimum wage; and Support for linking minimum wage to increases in the cost of living. The minimum wage was raised by 25 cents to $10.75 on April 1, 2017, with an additional increase of 25 cents to $11 to take effect on October 1, 2017. These increases will bring Newfoundland and Labrador's minimum wage rate in line with other Atlantic Provinces. (Full Story)

July 4, 2017 - N.W.T. looks to immigrants to address looming labour shortage - At least 28,000 jobs will open in the Northwest Territories within the next 15 years, thanks mostly to the territory's aging population. A report from the Conference Board of Canada says filling those positions will be a challenge for the N.W.T. On June 30, the Government of the Northwest Territories released a new immigration plan to help address the territory's potential labour shortage. According to the Conference Board of Canada, most of the 28,000 job openings - 98 per cent - will be to replace retirees or those moving away from the N.W.T. (Full Story)

July 2017 - Employer Information on Apprenticeship and Trades - The government of NWT reminds employers that taking on an apprentice is good for business. A study completed by the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum in 2009 found that for every $1 spent on apprenticeship training, a business receives an average of $1.47 in benefits. It's also great for the NWT workforce. That's because having a greater number of trained Northerners means more of the benefits from large-scale developments stays in the North. (Full Story)

July 7, 2017 - Province, Halifax Partnership Working to Support Employers Fill Labour Gaps - The province and Halifax Partnership are working together to help employers attract more immigrants and fill skilled labour shortages. A two-year agreement between the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration and the Halifax Partnership will support and advance the employer-driven Atlantic Immigration Pilot to help businesses attract and retain global talent. More than 225 companies across the province have already submitted applications to participate in the program and this partnership will help bring in an additional 50 employers.(Full Story)

July 6, 2017 - WCB Nova Scotia adds online services - Doing business with WCB Nova Scotia just became easier. After a century of paper-based operations, the WCB is now providing online services to workers and employers. Physiotherapists and chiropractors can also invoice the WCB electronically, and communicate securely as part of their business. The new service channels are available through WCB's website, allowing secure, 24/7 access to account information, claim details, and more. They offer secure messaging, and direct links to resources that can support safe and timely return to the workplace. More features will be added as the WCB's modernization moves forward.(Full Story)

June 27, 2017 - Payroll Rebate Approved - Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI) has approved a business development incentive in the form of a payroll rebate for Pepper Services (Canada) Ltd. or Pepper Group. Pepper Group, a residential mortgage, consumer lender and loan servicer, based in Sydney, Australia, has the potential to create up to a maximum of 200 jobs in the expansion of its Global Shared Service Centre in Halifax. Based on the maximum growth forecast of the five-year payroll rebate agreement, NSBI estimates the company would spend $56,500,000 in salaries. It is estimated the new employees would contribute provincial tax revenues of $8,045,000 through their income and consumption taxes. As a result, Pepper Group would earn up to $4,955,000 over five years.(Full Story)

June 15, 2017 - WCB Online now available for workers, tiered service providers, employers - Starting today, workers dealing with workplace injury will have access to online services to manage their claims and support their return-to-work journey. With WCB Online, workers will be able to look up information about their claim, submit forms online, and communicate securely with WCB through messaging. The launch of WCB Online for workers completes a phased approach to provide customers with easy-to-use online service options, which will help improve communication, customer experience, and overall response times. Information is sent securely online, which will help to move claims faster, and contribute to better outcomes for a safe and timely return to work.(Full Story)

June 15, 2017 - WCB Nova Scotia reports signs of progress with fewer workplace injuries and fatalities in 2016 - Workplace injury in Nova Scotia reached a historic low last year. In its 2016 Annual Report released today, WCB Nova Scotia reports 5,847 time-loss claims, compared to 6,014 the previous year. The province's workplace injury rate dropped to 1.74, the lowest it has been since the WCB started measuring time-loss injuries in this manner.  "Our time-loss injury rate in Nova Scotia has been improving every year for the past decade," says Stuart MacLean, WCB Nova Scotia CEO. "There are also thousands fewer claims than there were ten years ago, and close to 300,000 fewer days lost to workplace injury. That's great progress, but there is still a lot more work to do." (Full Story)

June 12, 2017 - Changes to Occupational Health and Safety Act Now in Effect - Changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act that will help keep Nova Scotians safe at work take effect today, June 12. The amendments, passed in April 2016, better define when, how, and which injuries and incidents must be reported. They give government additional tools and authority to enforce safety requirements for those who put people at risk of serious injury or death by disregarding safety regulations. These amendments are part of government's overall efforts to improve workplace safety. These improvements also include Nova Scotia's Workplace Safety Strategy, enhanced education and outreach efforts, more targeted inspections and the hiring of a dedicated occupational health and safety prosecutor.(Full Story)

July 2017 - Guidelines to determine if an employee is taxable - An employee is considered to normally work in Nunavut if the employee works, performs duties or provides services in Nunavut for more than half of the number of days worked for an employer in the year. in this case, the employee is liable to pay the tax on all remuneration earned by the employee if the employee normally works in Nunavut for an employer. An employee is considered to normally work outside Nunavut if the employee works, performs duties or provides services outside Nunavut for more than half of the number of days worked for an employer in the year. (Full Story)

July 10, 2017 - Ontario Creating Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs - Ontario is creating more opportunity and security for workers through its plan for Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs. This includes hiking the minimum wage, ensuring part-time workers are paid the same hourly wage as full-time workers, introducing paid sick days for every worker, enabling at least three weeks' vacation after five years with the same employer and stepping up enforcement of employment laws. Through a broad, inclusive consultation process, Ontario will ensure proposed changes give all workers the opportunity to succeed and get ahead. (Full Story)

June 29, 2017 - Rules change for Canada-Ontario Job Grant program - The Canada-Ontario Job Grant (COJG) supports up to two-thirds of eligible third-party training costs in the form of government grants. One important thing to keep in mind regarding government funding programs such as the six-year Canada Job Grant initiative is that multiyear funding programs evolve, and so their eligibility rules and their focus change over time. Training that was a clear fit for the 2014 iteration of the COJG may no longer align with the updated funding criteria. It is important to be aware of changes to this program in 2017 for both new and existing applicants. (Full Story)

June 29, 2017 - Target Benefit Multi-Employer Pension Plan Framework - The government is implementing a new framework for target benefit multi-employer pension plans (MEPPs) to help ensure these plans are healthy and sustainable over the long term. This framework will replace the time-limited funding regulations currently in place for specified Ontario multi-employer pension plans (SOMEPPs), whose members are unionized. Unlike defined benefit plans, target benefit plans have fixed contributions and can address funding deficits by reducing accrued benefits, including pension benefits being paid to retirees. (Full Story)

June 29, 2017 - Protecting Mining Workers on the Job - This summer, Ontario will launch inspection blitzes to ensure mining workers are safe on the job.  From July 1 to August 31, 2017, mining inspectors, ergonomists and engineers will check that mine employers are taking appropriate action to assess and address occupational disease hazards and protect workers. These enforcement blitzes are part of the province's commitment to keep workers safe on the job. (Full Story)

June 26, 2017 - Ontario leads Canada with low lost-time injury rate - Ontario's workplaces continue to be among the safest in Canada – since 2009, Ontario has had the lowest lost-time workplace injury rate in the country. The average lost-time injury rate for Canada in 2015 was 1.5 per 100 workers, compared with Ontario's, which over the last four years has been below 1.0 per 100 workers. That's one of the many health and safety statistics in the By the Numbers: 2016 WSIB Statistical Report, released today by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). (Full Story)

June 8, 2017 - Personal Emergency Leave for All Workers - Ontario is taking historic action to create more opportunity and security for workers with a plan for Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs. As part of this plan, the government will expand personal emergency leave to include an across-the-board minimum of at least two paid days per year for all workers. As part of the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, the government is also proposing to hike the minimum wage, ensure part-time workers are paid the same hourly wage as full-time workers, expand family leaves and make certain that employees are not misclassified as independent contractors, so that they get the benefits they deserve. (Full Story)

June 6, 2017 - Creating Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs for Temporary Help Workers - Ontario is taking historic action to improve the working conditions of temporary help agency workers with a plan for Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs. This includes ensuring workers at temporary help agencies receive equal pay for equal work, hiking the minimum wage, implementing a more appropriate unionization model for their sector, introducing paid personal emergency leave for every worker and stepping up enforcement of employment laws. (Full Story)

June 2, 2017 - Equal Pay for Part-time Workers - Ontario has introduced legislation that will require employers to pay the same wage to part-time employees who do the same job as full-time employees, as part of the government's plan for fair workplaces and better jobs across the province. Under the Act, casual, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees would be entitled to be paid the same rate as full-time permanent employees when doing the same job. The proposed measures would also require equal pay for temporary help agency employees doing the same job as permanent employees at the company they are assigned to. (Full Story)

July 2017 - Guide to Gender Diversity in Employment - The Prince Edward Island website offers the " Guide to Gender Diversity in Employment". This guide is designed for employers, managers and human resource personnel but it is also an informative tool for all employees. It provides a straightforward framework for identifying and taking action on a gender diversity strategy for the workplace. The focus of this Guide is on gender diversity in the workplace - the equal treatment, acceptance and promotion of both females and males in an organization. But diversity is about more than gender. It is about the ability - of all of us - to create organizations that work for everyone. (Full Story)

June 26, 2017 - WCB reports fewer injuries for workers and reduced rates for employers - The Workers Compensation Board (WCB) released its 2016 Annual Report today at their Annual Public meeting, in support of the WCB's ongoing commitment to protecting Island workers and employers through fair and affordable workplace safety and compensation services. In an effort to monitor safety culture on Prince Edward Island, the WCB analyses statistics that represent the collective behaviors of the workforce. The injury frequency rate is the number of time-loss injuries per 100 workers over a period of one year. In 2015, a frequency rate of 1.28 represented a 9 % decrease since 2014. The statistic is based on workforce data, using the most current information available from the previous year. (Full Story)

July 13, 2017 - Sask. has 1,000 fewer job vacancies than a year ago - There are about 1,000 fewer job vacancies in Saskatchewan than there were a year ago, according to a report released by Statistics Canada on Thursday. Comparing the first quarter of 2017 with the same period in 2016, the year-over-year decrease in job vacancies - meaning unfilled, available positions - was 10.5 per cent, leaving about 8,500 job vacancies throughout the province. The biggest declines in job vacancies were in the retail, accommodation and food services sectors. In the first quarter of this year, Saskatchewan's job vacancy rate was down to 1.8 per cent from two per cent one year earlier. (Full Story)

July 7, 2017 - June job numbers in Saskatchewan spark debate - The Government of Saskatchewan and the Opposition may differ in opinion when it comes to the overall employment situation in Saskatchewan. But today they agreed on one thing: more full-time jobs is a good thing. At the Legislative Building on Friday, the two sides commended numbers that show an increase in full-time jobs in the province. According to June's Labour Force Survey released by Statistics Canada, Saskatchewan is up 4,200 full-time jobs from June 2016. Now 468,700 residents hold full-time employment. Part-time jobs are down by 5,900. (Full Story)

June 23, 2017 - Saskatchewan's Minimum Wage Will Increase in October - The minimum wage in Saskatchewan will increase to $10.96 an hour, from $10.72 an hour, on October 1, 2017. The increase was calculated using an indexation formula that has been used since 2011. Saskatchewan's legislation provides for an annual review based on changes to the consumer price index and the average hourly wage for the previous year.  Any changes to the minimum wage are announced by June 30.  Changes take effect October 1. (Full Story)

June 9, 2017 - May Job Growth - There were 1,300 more jobs in Saskatchewan last month compared to May 2016, according to Statistics Canada data released today.  Compared to last month, there were 2,100 more people working in the province (seasonally adjusted). The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May was 6.3 per cent in Saskatchewan, the fourth lowest among the provinces.  The national unemployment rate for May was 6.6 per cent. Regina's employment was up 1,700 (+1.2 per cent), and Saskatoon's employment was up 1,900 (+1.2 per cent) compared to last May. (Full Story)

July 2017 - Average Assessment Rate for 2018 Announced​ - As part of a continuing multi-year plan to reduce its overfunded position and ensure the actual cost of the compensation system is reflected in the rates paid by employers, the Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board is today announcing a 3 per cent increase in the average assessment rate for 2018. Next year the average assessment rate will rise to $1.93 from the current rate of $1.87, an increase of 6 cents. The average assessment rate is used when calculating the various industry group rates which employers will pay. Injury cost experience has a major influence on those calculations. As a result, the rates employers pay may be higher or lower than the average rate. (Full Story)

Featured Article: Managers Need to Lead By Example

Almost every manager I speak to talks about the amount of time they spend on human resource issues. Some even feel overwhelmed. Unfortunately, most of the issues relate to interpersonal conflict between employees, bullying, blaming, poor performance, job dissatisfaction, gossip, complaints and whiney attitudes.

According to Cy Wakeman, author of Reality Based Leadership, and the keynote speaker at the upcoming QNET conference, part of the challenge is that many employees have adopted learned helplessness both in their personal and professional lives. In her view, employees are feeling they lack control and have an inability to change their circumstances. This results in negative attitudes and presents a problem for leaders.

In her view, the fault lies with leaders who over-manage and don't lead instead of coaching employees and developing their skills and expertise. When a leader acts in such a way, all they get from employees is excuses. This leads to even more workplace drama.

So what is the solution?

Wakeman suggests that first of all, leaders need to stop arguing with reality and quit making excuses for not dealing with issues when they arise. They also need to stop ignoring the facts of the situation and stop creating their own mental stories in which they picture themselves as a victim.

They must take personal responsibility for their own thinking by recognizing how they distort their initial thinking and assumptions about a situation and then fail to deal with situations in a timely manner.

She suggests leaders need to recognize that viewing their situation from a judgmental manner can lead to a chain of events that results in negative emotions, distorted and inappropriate actions and tainted results. For instance, when a leader makes an assumption and labels an employee as "lazy," then they haven't examined the situation carefully and may even be distorting reality. In the end, more than likely, the employee will not have been treated fairly in terms of job assignments and career development. When a leader gets bogged down in their own distorted thinking, they will lack energy, feel significant stress and will fail to be a good leader.

Wakeman's reality-based leadership framework is based on leading first and managing second. An overview of her advice includes the following:

  1. Resist the urge to do it yourself: The job of a leader is not to solve employee problems or complaints but to help employees develop the skills to solve problems themselves. The leader should ask numerous questions, help the employee to challenge assumptions and reframe the situation. They need to be taught how to examine the different aspects of a problem, determine what information is missing, and confirm what action is within the employee's control. In this way, the employee will learn to take responsibility and be accountable.
  2. Coach, coach, coach: Leaders need to help employees by reflecting back what they say about a problem. This feedback will often stun the employee into self-awareness and will lead them to an improved problem-solving mindset. Coach the employee on how to analyze a problem, how to examine the implications for the organization, brainstorm and evaluate potential solutions and then make thoughtful recommendations for action. When this type of thinking and analysis occurs, people feel in control, which in turn leads to job satisfaction.
  3. Work on confidence first: Fostering employee independence involves promoting confidence and competence. Encourage your employees and work with them to identify their strengths and then coach them through learning new things and reinforcing the skills needed to overcome areas of weakness. Acknowledge and compliment employees when they have reached success and continue to encourage them. Remember, confidence builds competence.
  4. Focus on the hearts and minds: Your job as a leader is to focus on the future to develop a compelling vision that you can share with your employees and encourage them to align their goals and objectives with yours. Delegate the technical aspects of your work whenever you can and avoid stepping in to take over or dictating step by step how things should be done. Focus on capturing the hearts and minds of your employees and get their goals aligned with yours.
  5. Let go of old duties: Sometimes when you are promoted to a leader, it is difficult to let go of old roles and responsibilities, especially those that you enjoyed. The same goes for promoting a staff person to a new role. It's difficult for people to see an employee in a new role and so as leader, you must help with this transition. Provide a mentor to help transition the person to the new role and be sure to reassign old duties so the newly promoted individual can get on with learning their new role.
  6. Deflect emotional blackmail: Sometimes, employees make objections that have no grounds in fact. For instance, someone might say, "Well, you've never brought this up before." This is an attempt to manipulate and pressure you. Be sure to acknowledge what people have said, avoid taking their comment personally and try to redirect them toward a more productive direction.
  7. Focus on the positive: Instead of paying so much attention to those employees who are not motivated, pay attention and reward those who are most willing. This will create role models who will be noticed within the organization. After all, they are the ones who are motivated and are the visionaries within your organization who will help to create and maintain a positive culture. Let people know what competencies are going to get rewarded.
  8. Provide ongoing feedback: In Wakeman's view, the cause of all employee issues is the lack of feedback from a leader. They deserve to have frequent and honest feedback about what they are doing well and what areas need development. Employees need to have a review of their job description, and be considered for new opportunities. They deserve to be mentored.
  9. Deal with resistance: Leaders need to make employees aware that buy-in to the vision and mission of their organization is not optional. This takes managerial courage because you need to address a lack of alignment quickly. You cannot afford to invest too much time trying to deal with resistance. If your efforts are not rewarded, it is time to help the employee move on with their career.

Leading and managing is not an easy job. However, it is made more difficult when a leader doesn't face reality. Instead, they create a story around a situation that places them in a victim role, and they fail to deal with the situation. Unfortunately, they spend too much time trying to fix employees who don't want to get on board. No wonder many leaders and managers feel overwhelmed.

Wakeman's advice? "Get real!"

Article presented by permission from Barbara J. Bowes, President of Legacy Bowes Group and a professional speaker, author, radio personality and management consultant. She can be reached at barb@legacybowes.com.

Software Updates

GrandMaster Suite (v11.02)

  • Mid-year tax updates for July 1/17 (includes Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island).
  • Corrected a problem when printing T4's directly to printer, with background checked.
  • Print-to-File feature was removed temporarily. It has been restored.
  • Corrected a problem when creating EFT file, if Printing Remittance report.
  • Corrected a problem with Audit Report when exporting to file.
  • Corrected a problem with WCB where the YTD's were not carrying forward.
  • Adjusted the utility program (UHISREW) to properly adjust the WCB YTD issue.
  • Adjusted the Bonus Tax calculation to accommodate RRSP from Bonus amounts.

GrandMaster II (v12.02)

  • Mid-year tax updates for July 1/17 (includes Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island).
  • Updated numerous online help screens. These are available by pressing <F1> from any program screen.
  • Adjusted the location of Company Name on Pay Stubs and increase the length.
  • Fixed error message when printing pre-formed statements.
  • Fixed issue where pay statements were missing the "Period Ending" label when selected.
  • Fixed an issue with Print to Adobe in T4s.
  • Print-to-Screen feature was not available with release of 12.00. It has been restored.

eNETEmployer

  • Mid-year tax updates for July 1/17 (includes Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island).
  • Added a report option that allows you to choose whether to print the cheque number.
  • Various French language enhancements.
  • Program now uses the default tax province from Payroll tab's Address screen instead of the Employer tab's Address screen.
  • Fixed an error message that would appear when adding a new mail box.
  • Fixed issue where the correct paydate was not applied for new Semi-Monthly pays. The program now sets the paydate to the end date for semi-monthly pays.
  • Fixed issue where the Percentage Tax Calculation method was calculating the percentage on Gross amounts. It has been changed to calculate on Taxable amount.

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