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An Educational Service of CanPay Software Inc.
September 2011

Contents:

• Welcome
• What's New
• GrandMaster Update


Featured Article:

HR Matters: Don't treat Human Resources as DIY (Part 1 of 2)

Tip of the Month:

Hiring Credit for Small Business
  Welcome!

September 2011 - 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 the Payroll industry. Or better yet, subscribe them for free using the Tell Others About Us link.


What's New in Canadian Payroll

Listed here are recent changes in legislation on Federal and Provincial levels that may impact your payroll calculations. Please view the following list for changes that affect your region.

FEDERAL:

September 23, 2011 - Salary Overpayments - The CRA has released updated information on their website to give employers better instructions on how to correct Salary Overpayments due to Clerical or administrative errors or when the Employee did not perform duties. It involves the correction amounts needed if you make a payment or an overpayment of salary, wages or other remuneration to an employee. (Full Story)

September 14, 2011 - Government of Canada Promotes Economic Prosperity Through Support for Small Business - The government has highlighted the substantial action they have taken to encourage growth and create jobs through support for small businesses and entrepreneurs while protecting our environment for the benefit of future generations. Some of these initiatives included the reduction of the small business tax rate from 12 per cent to 11 per cent, raising the amount of business income eligible for that rate from $300,000 to $500,000, and reducing the burden of federal regulatory requirements on Canadian enterprises. (Full Story)

September 12, 2011 - Government of Canada highlights new tax credit for volunteer firefighters - The government has announced a new tax credit for volunteer firefighters, a non-refundable tax credit passed in the 2011 federal budget. The nonrefundable tax credit is available to any volunteer firefighter who serves at least 200 hours per year at one or more fire departments beginning on January 1, 2011. (Full Story)

September 9, 2011 - Interest rates for the fourth calendar quarter - The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) today announced the prescribed annual interest rates that will apply to any amounts owed to the CRA and to any amounts the CRA owes to individuals and corporations. These rates are calculated quarterly in accordance with applicable legislation and will be in effect from October 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011. (Full Story)

August 30, 2011 - Government Invites Comments on Tax Rules for Employee Profit Sharing Plans - The Department of Finance is inviting stakeholders to comment on the tax rules that apply to Employee Profit Sharing Plans (EPSPs) to ensure that the rules continue to accommodate the appropriate use of such plans. In recent years, these plans have increasingly been used as a means for some business owners to avoid making Canada Pension Plan contributions and to avoid paying Employment Insurance premiums on employee compensation. (Full Story)

August 18, 2011 - Government Launches Employment Insurance Rate-Setting Consultations - The government has announced the launch of Employment Insurance (EI) premium rate-setting consultations that will focus on how the EI rate-setting mechanism can be further improved to ensure more stable and predictable rates. The Government committed to consulting on the EI rate-setting mechanism with last September's announcement that it was limiting the potential increase in EI premiums to 5 cents per $100 of insurable earnings for 2011 and 10 cents for subsequent years. (Full Story)

August 16, 2011 - Government of Canada Moving Forward With Its Low-Tax Plan for Jobs and Growth - The Department of Finance has released for consultation draft legislative proposals to implement tax measures from Budget 2011. Some of changes include making some occupational, trade and professional examination fees eligible for tax relief under the Tuition Tax Credit, aligning deduction rates for intangible capital costs in the oil sands sector, and reducing the tax advantages related to making contributions to an individual pension plan in respect of past service. (Full Story)

Alberta:

August 10, 2011 - Province stepping up employment standards enforcement - Alberta is ramping up efforts to improve fairness in the workplace with a combination of better enforcement and education. Additional officers are being hired to respond to more complaints and to expedite investigations and new training materials are being launched to ensure that employers have better information about workplace rights and responsibilities. (Full Story)

September 2011 - Employment Standards Fact Sheets - The Alberta Government website offers a series of fact sheets to help employers and employees learn about the rights and obligations of both parties under the Employment Standards Code. The fact sheets provide basic information and are not intended to replace the actual text of the Employment Standards Code, Employment Standards Regulation and other related legislation. (Full Story)

British Columbia:

September 22, 2011 - Distracted driving poses a significant risk for workers - WorkSafeBC is working with ICBC to reduce the risks of distracted driving. Workers and employers in B.C. are being encouraged to take steps to eliminate any risks or distractions and consider that when behind the wheel. To help workers and employers, new materials are now available to download on WorkSafeBC.com, including a sample safe-driving policy; tip sheets for employers, supervisors and workers. (Full Story)

September 19, 2011 - New online course for supervisors provides free access to valuable safety resources - Supervisors, workers, and employers in any industry in B.C. may benefit from a new WorkSafeBC online safety training course that can be accessed any time, free of charge. The Supervising for Safety course provides information and resources on supervision and the key role it plays in providing and maintaining a safe and healthy workplace. Organized into nine modules, the course can take seven to eight hours to complete and also allows users to select the topics they want to explore and proceed at their own pace. (Full Story)

September 15, 2011 - Wood Innovation Centre will create jobs for generations - Premier Christy Clark is calling on architects, designers and engineers for ideas on how to create the world's tallest multi-use wood building in Prince George. The iconic structure will house the Wood Innovation and Design Centre (WIDC), which will revitalize the forest industry and support generations of jobs for local and rural economies. "The work, training and research coming out of the Wood Innovation and Design Centre will expand the scope and size of our markets, creating good paying jobs throughout the province." said Premier Clark. (Full Story)

August 31, 2011 - New jobs training for smaller B.C. communities - The B.C. government is seeking proposals to provide $4.3 million in additional funding for Job Options BC training programs that will help people find and keep employment in small, rural communities. The program includes four to six weeks of group activities, including assessment, life skills, job-finding clubs and employability skills (job search, basic skills upgrading, computer training, and short term skill training). (Full Story)

August 12, 2011 - Pilot project to attract more working families to B.C. - Family members of most temporary foreign workers in British Columbia will be able to work for any employer in the province, thanks to a pilot project launched today. This pilot project will examine the benefits of allowing family members of temporary foreign workers to work while they are here with a principal applicant who has been hired because of his or her skills. (Full Story)

Manitoba:

September 16, 2011 - Reminder for Firms in the Quarterly Payroll Reporting Program - Employers registered in the WCB's Quarterly Payroll Reporting Program should note that the Quarterly Remittance form is on the last page of their September Account Statement. Payroll information and payment of assessment for July through the end of September are due at the WCB offices by October 20th. (Full Story)

September 16, 2011 - Another Record Low for Manitoba Workplace Injury Rate - The Manitoba time loss injury rate fell once again in 2010 to end the year at a record low of 3.3 injuries per 100 full-time workers. This is down from a rate of 3.5 in 2009 and represents an overall drop of 41.1 per cent since 2000. Most industry sectors across the province also saw their time loss injury rate decrease in 2010 and all industries experienced a reduction in injury rates since 2000. (Full Story)

September 16, 2011 - WCB/SAFE Work Publications Now Featured in Various Languages - As workplaces become increasingly multicultural, the needs of workers and employers continue to evolve. Thus, the WCB and SAFE Work offer resources and publications in a variety of languages. Some resources include Hazard stickers, Hurt at Work posters and "Everyone's Responsibility" brochures. For a complete look at WCB and SAFE Work prevention materials, visit SAFE Manitoba or the WCB Publications section of the Manitoba WCB website. (Full Story)

September 16, 2011 - Understanding the WCB Rate Setting Model - Each Fall season, the WCB calculates rates for the upcoming year for all employers. Employers are assigned a rate based on their own claims experience, the claims experience of their industry, and how these circumstances compare to average employers throughout the province. The rate setting process also has limits built in to prevent employers' rates from fluctuating too quickly. (Full Story)

August 22, 2011 - Up-to-Date Employer Representative Authorizations - Many employers in Manitoba use the services of employer representatives to help them manage their interactions with the WCB. The WCB requires current authorization on an employer's file before information about that employer can be shared with these individuals. Employer representatives may include employer consultants, accountants, bookkeepers, payroll services, lawyers and/or other service providers not employed by the employer. (Full Story)

New Brunswick:

September 15, 2011 - Public sector pension review launched - The provincial government has launched a review to ensure that public sector pension plans are affordable, sustainable and have secure benefits. One of the issues being considered during the review is the differences between provincial public service pension benefits and retirement provisions and those offered by private sector employers, in the context of overall employee compensation. (Full Story)

September 9, 2011 - Unemployment rate lower in August - New Brunswick's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August was 9.2 per cent, 0.9 of a percentage point lower than in July, according to figures reported today by Statistics Canada. The unemployment rate decreased by 0.5 of a percentage point compared to the same month last year. The number of employed New Brunswickers was 350,200 in August, up 2,200 from July. (Full Story)

Newfoundland and Labrador:

September 14, 2011 - Ministers Address Newfoundland and Labrador Employers' Council - Finance Minister Tom Marshall and HR Minister Darin King addressed the Newfoundland and Labrador Employers' Council 2011 Provincial Employment Relations Summit on September 15 in St. John's. Held approximately every three years, the Provincial Employment Relations Summit brings together the top 50 employers in Newfoundland and Labrador to discuss employment issues and related strategies. (Full Story)

August 16, 2011 - Bellevue to Benefit from Job Creation Partnerships - Seven individuals will carry out important infrastructure improvements in the Bellevue area through three Job Creation Partnership projects. The Provincial Government is supporting these projects through an investment of $62,367 under the Job Creation Partnership program. Since November 2009, the Provincial Government has delivered approximately 475 projects with a total value of nearly $22 million, providing employment for over 2,250 individuals. (Full Story)

August 2, 2011 - Corner Brook Area Receives Job Creation Partnership Funding - With a Provincial Government contribution of $385,785 through the Job Creation Partnership program, 16 individuals will gain valuable work experience through four Job Creation Partnerships project in the District of Humber West. Job Creation Partnership program funding is provided through direct contributions to sponsors or through the extension of Employment Insurance benefits for project participants and may include in-kind or in-cash contributions from sponsors. (Full Story)

Nova Scotia:

September 1, 2011 - WCB Announces 2012 Employer Rates - Workers' compensation assessment rates remain relatively stable for 2012, the WCB of Nova Scotia announced. For the eighth consecutive year, the average rate is holding steady at $2.65 per $100 of assessable payroll. Of the 18,000 employers covered by the WCB, 37 per cent will see their rate go down or stay the same and 63 per cent will see an increase. (Full Story)

August 30, 2011 - Students Gain Work Experience During Summer - More than 150 students across Nova Scotia gained valuable work experience and continued their learning by participating in summer co-operative education programs. Summer co-op creates more opportunity for students to participate in the co-operative education program. Many students who cannot fit a co-op experience into their academic school year are able to complete co-op in the summer. This year 155 students across the province completed more than 400 co-op credits. This was a significant increase over previous years and this growth is expected to continue. (Full Story)

August 19, 2011 - Agreement Helps Ensure Clean Energy, Lower Rates, Good Jobs - A new agreement will help ensure clean energy, lower, more stable power rates and good jobs for Nova Scotians for decades to come. The agreement is a commitment from the federal government to provide a loan guarantee in support of the Lower Churchill hydro-electricity project. The Lower Churchill project is part of the jobsHere plan to grow Nova Scotia's economy. The project is expected to generate $3.5 billion in jobs and economic spinoffs, including more than 18,000 person years of employment -- almost 6,800 person years of work in Nova Scotia alone. (Full Story)

August 4, 2011 - Province Invests $5 Million To Support New Immigrant Small Businesses - Thanks to a financial boost from the province, the New Immigrant Small Business Loan Financing Pilot Program will create more jobs and continue to make Nova Scotia an attractive place for immigrant entrepreneurs and their families. Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Percy Paris announced today, Aug. 4, an additional $3 million in funding and a three-year extension to the pilot program. Over the past two years, the New Immigrant Small Business Financing Pilot Program has made 11 loans, and has helped create and maintain almost 50 jobs. (Full Story)

Ontario:

September 1, 2011 - Helping Create New Jobs In Ontario - Ontario is lowering the LCBO's mark-up on spirits, low-alcohol spirits and brandy sold in land-based duty free stores to 30 per cent from 50 per cent of the landed cost. The markup reduction is expected to create more than 200 new full-time jobs for Ontarians. The changes will improve the competitiveness of land-based duty free stores, allowing them to create the jobs. (Full Story)

September 2011 - Clarification regarding premium rate increase for 2011 and 2012 - The Ontario WSIB has released a document that clarifies some information that has been in the media about their recent premium rate increase announcement. This was to counter the inaccuracy that large percentage increases in premium rates will result in job losses and businesses closing. While premium increases to some groups do appear high in percentage terms, it is important to keep in mind that the increases are only applied to every $100 in payroll. (Full Story)

August 30, 2011 - Improving Workplace Health and Safety - Ontario has appointed George Gritziotis as the province's first Chief Prevention Officer as part of its commitment to workplace health and safety. Some of the Chief Prevention Officer's duties include the development of a provincial occupational health and safety strategy; coordinating and aligning Ontario's workplace health and safety prevention system; and providing advice on the prevention of workplace injuries and occupational diseases. (Full Story)

Prince Edward Island:

August 16, 2011 - Investing In The Opening Of New Markets For Atlantic Region Businesses - With economic growth and job creation as leading priorities for the Government, Bernard Valcourt, Minister of State for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency joined the ministers of the four Atlantic provinces to announce the five-year renewal of the Canada/Atlantic Provinces Agreement on International Business Development (IBDA). This agreement will make it possible for businesses in the region to access new markets, which will create jobs and stimulate economic activity. (Full Story)

August 12, 2011 - Employment Standards and You - The PEI Department of Community Services, Seniors and Labour has made available a poster outlining "What You Should Know About the Prince Edward Island Employment Standards Act". A range of topics are covered from Employee Rights and Responsibilities at Work, Minimum Wage, Hours of Work to Overtime Pay and Banking of Overtime Hours. A downloadable version of the poster is available. (Full Story)

Saskatchewan:

September 9, 2011 - Saskatchewan Unemployment Rate Drops To 4.5 Per Cent - Lowest In Canada - There are now more people working full-time than ever before in the province's history and Saskatchewan's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 per cent in August, its lowest level since February 2010. That's also the lowest unemployment rate in Canada, according to the August labour force report released today by Statistics Canada. Saskatchewan has now had the lowest unemployment rate in Canada for six straight months. (Full Story)

September 7, 2011 - Saskjobs.Ca Breaks All-Time Job Record In August - Job postings on Saskjobs.ca more than doubled in volume compared to this time last year. The 16,084 jobs posted represent a 56 per cent increase from August 2010 and a 29 per cent rise over July's numbers. The August monthly total exceeded the previous all-time high of 15,449 position postings set in April 2008. Of the 16,084 jobs posted to Saskjobs.ca in August, more than 10,000 jobs were full-time. (Full Story)

August 17, 2011 - Minimum Wage To Increase September 1, 2011 - Saskatchewan's minimum wage is going up effective September 1, 2011. The Government of Saskatchewan will increase the province's minimum wage from $9.25 to $9.50 per hour, which will also result in a corresponding increase to the minimum call-out pay to $28.50. This increase will affect approximately 22,000 minimum wage earners in Saskatchewan, representing approximately five per cent of the paid workforce in Saskatchewan. (Full Story)

August 5, 2011 - Saskatchewan's Employment Holds Strong, Unemployment Rate Remains Lowest In Canada - For the fifth consecutive month, Saskatchewan has the lowest unemployment rate in Canada and there are more people working full-time in Saskatchewan than ever before in the province's history. Saskatchewan's July unemployment rate of 4.9 per cent (seasonally adjusted) was well below the national average of 7.2 per cent. Unemployment rates in Regina (5.2 per cent) and Saskatoon (5.4 per cent) rank second and fourth among major Canadian cities. (Full Story)


GrandMaster Update

The current release of GrandMaster Suite (6.23) incorporates a number of changes and important adjustments to make it even easier to use the program and perform your payroll tasks. Some of the program changes include:

  • Date format not working when exporting - Some of the reports where incorrectly formatting the date when exported to a .csv file. The date was being forced to YYYYMMDD regardless of options selected. This has been corrected.
  • Worker's Compensation Assessable Earnings - If an employee worked in multiple provinces through out the year, they were still being included on the report in that province several periods later, with zero assessable earnings and premiums. This has been corrected.
  • Current hours without an applicable earnings amount no longer printing on pay stub - If you had an earnings code that had hours only and no dollars paid in the period, the hours were no longer printing on the stub. This has been corrected.
  • Deductions not calculating on "payout all" transaction - When a transaction was keyed to payout all of the balance of an accumulator, the accumulator was being adjusted but the amount was paid under the earnings as a negative amount.
  • Worker's Compensation Assessable Earnings - When an employee reached the maximum assessable, the assessable amount for that period should have been zero. The system, seeing the absent amount, tried to calculate assessable amount.

• • •

Visit CanPay's News page and view the latest Release Notes for a complete listing of program changes.


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HR Matters:
Don't Treat Human Resources as DIY
Part 1 of 2

While do-it-yourselfers are reportedly shaking up the real estate industry by jumping into the market to sell their own homes, a do-it-yourself human resource strategy is rarely as successful.

That's because human resource management doesn't just represent one aspect of managing people; it is a broad and complicated function. It typically includes eight functional areas including recruitment and selection, employee and labour relations, performance management, training and development, career management and succession planning, organizational development, compensation and benefits, and administration and records management.

You need to have expertise in each of these areas to ensure your organization is running smoothly from the people side of the business.

Therefore, today's business and the complexity of the people issues experienced by organizations no longer support the old "add-on" strategy of tacking HR as a responsibility to a front-line operational manager. There are just too many risks.

For instance, high turnover is one risk that can cost an organization up to three times the salary for a frontline worker and much more for highly skilled professionals. Low morale is another costly risk as poor performance management, a failure to deal with internal employee conflict, low support for training and development and/or the lack of advancement opportunities can cause havoc with employee productivity.

Finally, let's face it, employees are more quickly reaching out beyond their employer for help or restitution. If their employer fails to address a work situation, employees will turn to their human rights commissions to seek justice for issues such as failure to accommodate for disability, sexual harassment and other employment-related issues.

And from a business point of view, it doesn't matter whether a situation is a win or a loss, the cost of legal fees, possible awards for damages as well as the overall public scrutiny that will surely result can be quite scary.

It doesn't matter whether your organization is big or small or whether you operate as a business or a not-for-profit, human resource management matters. In fact, human resources starts and ends with your business. So, let's look at what a human resource role in your organization can do and why you should invest in this function.

Ask yourself the following brief questions and learn how a human resource professional can help make your business successful.

Please return next issue for the conclusion of this article!

Courtesy of Barbara Bowes - Barbara J. Bowes, FCHRP, CMC is president of Legacy Bowes Group, Manitoba's leading Talent Management Solutions firm. She is also host of the weekly Bowes Knows radio show and is the author of another new book called Resume Rescue. Barbara can be reached at barb@legacybowes.com.