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An Educational Service of CanPay Software Inc.
February 2012

Contents:

• Welcome
• What's New


Featured Article:

Many factors to balance in employee compensation More than money (Part 1 of 2)

Tip of the Month:

Enhanced Services for CRA's Web Forms
  Welcome!

February 2012 - 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:

January 30, 2012 - Federal job skills program helps people with disabilities - A Government of Canada investment will help 110 people with disabilities on Vancouver Island and the Upper Sunshine Coast get training so they can get jobs or become self-employed. James Lunney, Member of Parliament for Nanaimo-Alberni, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, today announced that the BC Centre for Ability Foundation will receive over $1.3 million through the Government’s Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities. (Full Story)

January 27, 2012 - Enhanced online resources to help youth find employment - Human Resources and Skills Development announced a new approach that will enhance how the Government is helping to equip young Canadians with the tools and resources they need to successfully transition into the workforce. Through enhancements to the Government’s main website for youth, Youth.gc.ca, the Government is improving the way it does business to better address the needs of today’s youth, including helping them prepare for, find and maintain meaningful employment. (Full Story)

January 23, 2012 - Government of Canada Invests in Skills Development to Help Canadian Manufacturers Compete Globally - The Federal government announced an investment of up to $5 million that will allow manufacturing workers in southern Ontario to benefit from advanced skills training, thanks to a Government of Canada contribution to the Yves Landry Foundation. This contribution is part of a larger investment by the Government of Canada to support manufacturing skills development across the province. Today, FedNor announced an investment of up to $2 million for the AIME North initiative that will be delivered by the Yves Landry Foundation in northern Ontario. (Full Story)

January 17, 2012 - Revised Automobile Benefits Online Calculator - The CRA has posted the updated Automobile Benefits Online Calculator effective January 1, 2012. This online tool allows you to calculate the estimated automobile benefit for withholding purposes based on the information you provide. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) does not retain any of the data you provide to complete your calculation. (Full Story)

January 4, 2012 - Government of Canada provides more support for families: Increased EI parental benefit flexibility now available for adoptive parents - Human Resources and Skills Development announced that parents who commit to adopt children in their care will be able to get Employment Insurance (EI) parental benefits. In recognition that adoption programs vary by province and territory, the Government of Canada will now allow parents to be eligible for EI parental benefits as soon as they have taken the necessary steps to adopt the child in their care. This change brings the EI program in line with current adoption procedures. (Full Story)

January 1, 2012 - Changes to the rules for deducting Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions - On January 1, 2012, changes to the rules for deducting CPP contributions came into effect. These legislative amendments do not affect the salary or wages of an employee who is considered to be disabled under the CPP or QPP, nor do they affect the salary and wages of a person who has reached 70 years of age. Employees working in Quebec and other workers not subject to the CPP are not affected by these changes. (Full Story)

December 2011 - Wage loss replacement plan payments - Under new legislation that passed in December 2011, payments from uninsured Wage Loss Replacement Plans are considered employment income and therefore, are subject to Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions. The treatment of wage loss replacement plans (WLRP) payments for Canada Pension Plan (CPP) purposes changed over the years. For a period, payments made from certain types of uninsured WLRP plans were not considered pensionable. In December 2011, new CPP legislation clarified that all payments made from uninsured WLRPs are considered to be remuneration from pensionable employment. (Full Story)

December 19, 2011 - Revised Payroll Deductions Formulas for Computer Programs - The new Payroll Deductions Formulas for Computer Programs effective January 1, 2012 is now available on the CRA Web site. The publication contains the formulas you need to determine federal, provincial (except Quebec), and territorial income taxes, Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions, and Employment Insurance (EI) premium deductions. The formulas also allow you to calculate payroll deductions for special cases such as commission, pension income, bonuses, and retroactive pay increases. (Full Story)

December 15, 2011 - Interest rates for the first 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 January 1, 2012 to March 31, 2012. (Full Story)

December 15, 2011 - The new Payroll Deductions Tables (T4032) and new Payroll Deductions Supplementary Tables (T4008) - Effective January 1, 2012 - The new Payroll Deductions Tables (T4032) effective January 1, 2012 are now available on the CRA Web site. This publication contains tables for federal and provincial tax deductions, CPP contributions and EI premiums. It will help you determine the payroll deductions for your employees or pensioners. The revised Payroll Deductions Supplementary Tables (T4008) have also been posted. (Full Story)

December 2012 - Canada Pension Plan changes in January 2012 - Significant changes to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) will occur in January 2012 to reflect the way Canadians are living, working, and retiring. The changes will affect both employees and self-employed workers aged 60 to 70. The changes will not affect you if you are already receiving a CPP or Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) retirement pension and you remain out of the workforce. Employees working in Quebec and other workers not subject to the CPP will also not be affected by these changes. (Full Story)

Alberta:

January 27, 2012 - More than 2,500 students to be offered summer employment - This summer, more than 2,500 high school and post-secondary students will have the opportunity to work with Alberta’s not-for-profit organizations. Applications are now being accepted for the Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP). Every year the provincial government provides a wage subsidy to eligible employers to create full-time summer employment opportunities for post-secondary and high school students. Part-time positions are available to students with disabilities who can only work part-time. The program offers a wage subsidy of $7 per hour. (Full Story)

January 1, 2012 - The deadline to file your annual return is February 29, 2012 - If you have workers’ compensation coverage through WCB-Alberta, you need to file an Annual Return each year. Your Annual Return includes your actual insurable earnings (payroll) paid in 2011, along with an estimate of insurable earnings for 2012. Filing your Annual Return ensures that you’re paying the appropriate premiums for the worker coverage you need. The deadline to file your Annual Return is February 29, 2012. (Full Story)

December 29, 2011 - 2011 Occupational Health and Safety penalties double from previous year - Alberta courts sent a strong message in 2011 that workplace health and safety must not be compromised. The penalty total of more than $3.4 million is the second highest ever, doubling the $1.7 million collected in 2010. More than $2.3 million of the $3.4 million in penalties in 2011 was in creative sentences paid to third parties, such as post-secondary institutions, training programs, rescue societies and other organizations that advance workplace health and safety. Individual creative sentences in 2011 ranged from $29,000 to $355,000. (Full Story)

December 8, 2011 - WCB-Alberta publishes 2012 employer premium rates - 58 per cent of employers will see no change or a reduction on their 2012 WCB premiums. In Alberta’s workers’ compensation system, the best performers pay lower rates while the poorest performers pay more. Good performance means that top employers and their workers have developed suitable strategies to help those injured on the job recover at work, in a more positive environment than alone at home. On the flip side, WCB-Alberta’s poor performance program aims to galvanize 1,600 poor performing employers to take immediate action to improve return-to-work planning and injury prevention practices. (Full Story)

December 2, 2011 - Alberta continues to forecast strong job growth - The Alberta government is forecasting that employment levels will remain strong over the next decade in the province with thousands of jobs generated, while challenges to grow the labour force will remain. The new occupational demand and supply outlook forecasts that Alberta will generate over 606,000 jobs and approximately 492,000 new workers will join the labour force by 2021. (Full Story)

British Columbia:

January 31, 2012 - Helping to build British Columbia’s clean economy - The B.C. government is providing $216,720 to an industry group headed by the GLOBE Foundation for a research project that will examine the labour market needs and job potential of British Columbia’s emerging clean economy sector. The GLOBE Foundation will co-ordinate and manage the research, which will identify and define key strategic sectors of the ‘clean’ economy with the highest potential for job creation. This research is an important step toward ensuring there will be sufficient numbers of skilled workers to meet the anticipated demand within the key clean economy sectors. (Full Story)

January 30, 2012 - First Regional Workforce Table open house forum in Terrace - Over 80 representatives from community organizations, First Nations, post-secondary institutions, employers, labour organizations and a host of others took part in the first Regional Workforce Table open house forum. The goal of the forum was to provide a labour market snapshot of the opportunities and challenges facing B.C.’s Northwest and to discuss how a regional workforce table could facilitate the alignment of skills training programs with the labour market needs of the region and the people who live there. (Full Story)

January 30, 2012 - New mobile app offers quick contractor-liability clearance - WorkSafeBC is releasing a new mobile app that gives employers, contractors, and even homeowners the ability to easily access clearance letters - anywhere, anytime. Clearance letters are notices that tell employers or homeowners whether a firm, contractor, or sub-contractor is complying with WorkSafeBC’s registration and payment requirements. This is important because employers or homeowners that hire a contractor who is not in compliance could be liable for outstanding premiums. (Full Story)

January 9, 2012 - Engagement key to creating jobs in Campbell River - "Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan" will continue moving forward with regional economic investment pilots. A forum is scheduled in Campbell River on Monday, Jan. 30 to be hosted by Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation. The Regional Economic Investment Pilot is part of the Province’s initiative to engage the public to generate ideas aimed at attracting investment and job creation in areas consistent with the BC Jobs Plan. (Full Story)

December 2, 2011 - New online job tools for British Columbians - Exploring exciting career opportunities or delving into labour market information for any region of the province is the focus of three innovative, new online job tools being introduced by the provincial government today as part of "Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan". The initial launch of the three job tools will allow a broad range of B.C. residents – from school children and teens to job-seekers, employers and researchers in all sectors of the economy – to test the programs. The tools are part of the BC Jobs Plan commitment to better inform British Columbians about employment opportunities in the areas where they live. (Full Story)

December 8, 2011 - WorkSafeBC Board approves amendment to Working Alone requirements in the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation - WorkSafeBC’s Board of Directors has approved amendments to Part 4 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, regarding a third option to protect workers assigned to work alone in late night retail premises. The amendments become effective April 15, 2012. The third option addresses implementation issues and challenges with the existing regulation. (Full Story)

December 2, 2011 - Over $1 million supports skills training for mining industry - The B.C. government is providing a funding boost for a new program to support training for people to work in the mining industry, part of the BC Jobs Plan commitment to provide a solid foundation of skills training to meet labour market demands in key sectors of the economy. A total of $1,069,000 will go to the Association for Mineral Exploration BC (AME BC), the Mining Association of BC, Aggregate Producers Association of BC and their industry partners. The money will be used to further develop human resource strategies designed to meet the increasing demand for skilled labour in B.C.’s mining sector. (Full Story)

December 1, 2011- Province teams up with Campbell River to create jobs - The Province will partner with Campbell River in one of three regional economic development pilot projects as part of the Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan. The Regional Economic Investment Pilot is aimed at attracting investment, identifying opportunities, economic diversification and job creation in areas consistent with the BC Jobs Plan. In January, Campbell River will hold a forum, which will be hosted by Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation. (Full Story)

Manitoba:

January 6, 2012 - Manitoba's Labour Market Ends 2011 On A Strong Note - More Manitobans were working in December 2011 than in November and total employment now stands at 626,300, according to figures released by Statistics Canada, Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade Minister Peter Bjornson announced. Manitoba’s unemployment rate improved to 5.4 per cent in December 2011 from 5.5 per cent in November 2011. Manitoba had the third-lowest unemployment rate at the end of 2011, much better than the national unemployment rate of 7.5 per cent, and the second-lowest average unemployment rate for 2011. (Full Story)

January 4, 2012 - Governments Of Canada And Manitoba Help Youth And Unemployed Workers In The Minnedosa Area Prepare For The Job Market - People who face barriers to employment in the Minnedosa area will get job preparation training through federal-provincial support for an employment project. "Our government is investing in education and training opportunities to help people build successful careers right here in Manitoba," said Minister Bjornson. "We are committed to supporting the growth of a skilled workforce and this initiative will help Manitobans in the Minnedosa area contribute to and benefit from that growth." (Full Story)

December 21, 2011 - Maintaining Personal Coverage Now Easier - The WCB recently made improvements to the Personal (Special) Coverage insurance package available to business owners operating in Manitoba. In July, in addition to introducing a guaranteed minimum benefit level for holders of Personal Coverage, the WCB significantly streamlined the Personal Coverage annual renewal process. For individuals who have Personal Coverage but no worker payroll to report, they no longer need to complete the Annual Payroll Form. Instead, they will receive a statement early in January outlining their rate, the amount of coverage we are carrying forward on their behalf and payment options available to them. Payment on their account by January 31 will ensure their insurance coverage continues without interruption. (Full Story)

December 19, 2011 - Province Announces Changes To Employment Standards Code Effective Jan. 1 - Employees and employers will have more flexibility to adjust daily hours of work to accommodate personal obligations under one of four changes to the Employment Standards Code, Labour and Immigration Minister Jennifer Howard announced today. "These changes respond to requests from businesses and employees and they are designed to meet the needs of today’s workplace," said Howard. (Full Story)

December 19, 2011 - Governments Of Canada And Manitoba Help Youth Prepare For Their Careers - Young people in Manitoba will continue to have access to a resource that allows them to learn about career and education options, thanks to support from the federal and provincial governments. With assistance from the governments of Canada and Manitoba, the Manitoba School Counsellors’ Association will continue to publish the magazine Manitoba Prospects, which helps young people across the province make informed career choices and learn about educational opportunities. (Full Story)

December 9, 2011 - Governments Of Canada And Manitoba Help Older Workers Re-Enter The Workforce - Ten federally and provincially funded projects will support unemployed older workers in small communities in Manitoba by helping them develop their skills and get back into the labour market. Joint funding of $2.9 million will be allocated for these projects under the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers. The funding is designed to help unemployed older workers in small communities across Manitoba get the support, training and skills development opportunities they need to find jobs and re-enter the workforce. (Full Story)

New Brunswick:

December 22, 2011 - Summer job applications for students now available - Applications are now available from the Student Employment and Experience Development (SEED) program for students looking for summer jobs in New Brunswick. The provincially funded program provides summer jobs to eligible students in provincial government departments and agencies; municipal and First Nations offices; and non-profit organizations. The program provides employers with a supplement equal to the minimum wage rate per hour to help students gain work experience while earning a living. (Full Story)

December 8, 2011 - New funding to hire research assistants and technicians - A total of $1.1 million in new funding to hire more research assistants and technicians at New Brunswick universities and community colleges. The funding will be streamed through two of the foundation’s initiatives; $600,000 to the Research Assistantships Initiative and $500,000 to the Research Technicians Initiative. The initiatives are intended to increase New Brunswick's capacity to do applied research and provide some of the resources needed to recruit and retain the province's top students and post-graduate researchers. (Full Story)

December 2, 2011 - Unemployment rate slightly higher in November - New Brunswick's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November was 9.8 per cent, 0.4 of a percentage point higher than in October, according to figures reported today by Statistics Canada. The number of employed New Brunswickers was 351,200 in November, down 1,700 from last month. In November. New Brunswick's labour force, which measures those working or actively seeking work, was 389,400, down slightly from October and down 3,400 from the same month last year. (Full Story)

Newfoundland and Labrador:

January 16, 2012 - Committee Established to Review Workplace Compensation System - The Provincial Government announced today the start of the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission (WHSCC) statutory review. The statutory review, as required every five years under the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act, provides an opportunity for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to participate in reviewing the province's workplace health, safety and compensation system. Outcomes from the last statutory review were compiled in a report and action plan titled Finding the Balance: The Report of the Statutory Review Committee on the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act. (Full Story)

January 11, 2012 - Community Enhancement Employment Program to Receive Additional Funding - An additional $4.1 million has been allocated to the Community Enhancement Employment Program (CEEP) by the Provincial Government to further support current as well as potential new projects in rural areas of Newfoundland and Labrador. The CEEP provides funding to community-based organizations which sponsor and manage enhancement projects and in June of 2011 the Provincial Government announced $4.5 million for the program. Eligible sponsors include towns, Inuit community governments, regional municipalities, local service districts, community and economic development organizations and other not-for-profit organizations. (Full Story)

Nova Scotia:

January 27, 2012 - Halifax to Host Women in Non-traditional Careers National Conference - Large-scale projects such as shipbuilding and offshore exploration will bring a large demand for skilled workers and a boom in opportunities for women in non-traditional careers. The Ministry of Labour and Advanced Education is committed to increasing the participation of women in science, engineering, trades and technology. (Full Story)

January 25, 2012 - Minimum Wage Increasing to $10.15 on April 1 - The minimum wage in Nova Scotia will rise to $10.15, a 1.5 per cent increase from the present rate of $10.00 an hour. The minimum wage for an inexperienced worker, with less than three months' experience in the work for which they were hired, has also risen from $9.50 to $9.65. The increase to $10.15 is based on the Low Income Cut Off adjusted for inflation. Future increases to the rate will occur annually in April based on increases to the national consumer price index for the previous year. (Full Story)

January 16, 2012 - Province Seeking Input on Foreign-worker Regulations - Amendments to the Labour Standards Code were introduced in spring 2011 to protect foreign workers from activities such as recruiters charging fees and workers arriving to find conditions and compensation changed from what was originally agreed upon. The legislation we introduced will help better protect some of Nova Scotia's most vulnerable workers. (Full Story)

Nunuvut:

January 17, 2012 - Government of Canada helps Inuit in Nunavut find good jobs - Human Resources and Skills Development announced that the Nunavut Fisheries Training Consortium will receive support to help Inuit in Nunavut find good jobs. Nunavut Fisheries Training Consortium’s Pre-Training to Increased Inuit Participation project will help 120 Inuit increase their skills in Nunavut's fishing industry and, in turn, this will increase their job opportunities and ability to attain higher level positions. (Full Story)

Ontario:

January 16, 2012 - Ontario Economy Growing And Creating Jobs - The McGuinty government remains focused on jobs and the economy. Despite uncertainty around the world, Ontario's real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose 0.7 per cent (2.7 per cent annualized) in the third quarter (July to September 2011). As of December 2011, employment was 42,300 jobs above the pre-recession peak in September 2008. Ontario's employment has increased by 299,100 net jobs from the recessionary low in May 2009, with full-time employment up by 268,000 net jobs. (Full Story)

January 6, 2012 - Ontario Focused on Jobs - Ontario is creating the right climate for businesses to grow and create quality jobs, with 121,300 net new jobs created in the province in 2011. Job growth in the province accounted for more than 45 per cent of all jobs created in Canada in 2011 and the pace of job creation in Ontario is ahead of the USA and most Canadian provinces. As of December 2011, employment was 42,300 jobs above the pre-recession peak in September 2008. Ontario's employment has increased by 299,100 net jobs from the recessionary low in May 2009, with full-time employment up 268,000. (Full Story)

December 21, 2011 - McGuinty Government Strengthens Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund - Ontario is implementing changes it first announced in 2010 and reaffirmed in the 2011 Budget by strengthening the Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund (PBGF) to help protect pensioners. Changes will help to make the PBGF more sustainable by reducing the size of claims and ensuring it has sufficient funds to cover them. PBGF assessments are paid by the company or organization that sponsors the pension plan, not employees. The McGuinty government is committed to improving Ontario's pension system to protect plan members and pensioners. (Full Story)

December 16, 2011 - Ontario Auto Investments Help Secure Jobs - General Motors announced today that it will make the next generation Impala at its Oshawa plant. It's a move made possible by Ontario's investment in the auto sector and one that will secure 350 jobs for families in the region. In 2009, Ontario partnered with the Canadian and American governments to help GM restructure. GM has since repaid its loans and announced approximately $1 billion in new investments. Today's new production line announcement is further good news. (Full Story)

December 14, 2011 - Ontario's Economy Creating Jobs - Ontario is providing the right climate to attract investment and create jobs for Ontario families. In December alone, the McGuinty government supported the creation and retention of more than 1,600 jobs and attracted more than $2 billion in new investment to the province through 20 different projects. (Full Story)

December 2, 2011 - McGuinty Government Begins Meetings On Proposed New Fund - Ontario is moving forward to attract new investment and create jobs in Southwestern Ontario. Earlier this week, the McGuinty government introduced the Attracting Investment and Creating Jobs Act that, if passed, would create the new Southwestern Ontario Development Fund. The proposed Attracting Investment and Creating Jobs Act is a key component of the McGuinty government's plan to partner with business to create and protect new and existing jobs for Ontario families, and to strengthen local economies. (Full Story)

Prince Edward Island:

January 27, 2012 - Contractor Licensing Program streamlines permit process - Contractors who work in watercourses, wetlands or buffer zones can participate in a licensing program to streamline the regular permitting process, says Environment, Labour and Justice Minister Janice Sherry. Licensed contractors are no longer required to apply for a permit for each project. They are able to carry out certain kinds of work without direct supervision from the department and are responsible for maintaining project quality and meeting environmental regulations. (Full Story)

January 26, 2012 - Fisheries job fair scheduled for Souris - Fish plant workers in Eastern Kings County will have a chance to secure work for the coming fishing season at a job fair being organized by SkillsPEI, says Innovation and Advanced Learning Minister Allen Roach. The job fair is open to those workers who have been affected by the plant closure in the Souris area and anyone interested in working in the industry. (Full Story)

January 18, 2012 - WCB Operational Plan for 2012 - The Workers Compensation Board (WCB) of Prince Edward Island is pleased to announce the release of their Operational Plan for 2012. This document describes the actions the WCB will take to achieve the goals of our 2007-2012 Strategic Plan, in its final year of the planning cycle. The WCB looks forward to working in partnership with our stakeholders to make their vision of a culture of workplace safety a reality. (Full Story - PDF)

January 03, 2012 - New WCB Online Service - Employer Registration Renewal - As of January 1, 2012, employers have the option of renewing their registration electronically using WCB Online Services. Employer Registration Renewal is the latest service developed for employers who prefer the convenience of conducting business with us online. WCB Online Services provide secure 24/7 access to employer account information. All Island employers are reminded that the deadline for registration is February 28, 2012. (Full Story)

Saskatchewan:

January 26, 2012 - Saskatchewan Average Earnings Rank Second In Canada - According to today's report from Statistics Canada, Saskatchewan's average weekly earnings were $904.42, the second highest in Canada behind Alberta ($1,052.53). This is the second highest average weekly earnings for Saskatchewan on record. The national average was $883.96. In November 2011, Saskatchewan's average weekly earnings increased by 5.1 per cent, compared to a year ago. This increase was the second highest among the provinces behind Newfoundland and Labrador (5.7 per cent) and above the national average of 2.2 per cent. (Full Story)

January 19, 2012 - Another Year To Year Decrease In The Number Of Ei Recipients In Saskatchewan - The number of Saskatchewan people receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits has dropped year-over-year for the 20th consecutive month. There were 9,600 beneficiaries receiving regular EI benefits in Saskatchewan in November 2011, a decrease of 3,250 compared to a year ago. Saskatchewan had a 25.3 per cent decrease in the total number of beneficiaries from a year ago, the fourth largest decrease among provinces. (Full Story)

January 16, 2012 - Government Seeks Feedback On Workers’ Compensation Act Committee Of Review Report - The Government of Saskatchewan is asking stakeholders to provide feedback on the Workers' Compensation Act Committee of Review report, which contains 57 recommendations for changes to the workers' compensation system in Saskatchewan. Consultations will take place from January 16 to March 5, 2012. Stakeholders are encouraged to provide written input on all recommendations, especially those that require substantive changes to the Act or have significant implications for the Workers' Compensation Board, employees or the business community. (Full Story)

January 6, 2012 - Saskatchewan Employment Reaches Record High For December - The number of people employed in Saskatchewan in December 2011 was 523,500, a record for the month of December. Year-over-year, Saskatchewan saw an increase of 3,100 jobs. Saskatchewan's unemployment rate moved to 5.2 per cent, the second lowest in the country behind Alberta (4.9 per cent) and well below the national average of 7.5 per cent. Regina's unemployment rate of 3.8 per cent was the lowest in the country and Saskatoon's (5.4 per cent) was fifth lowest. (Full Story)

January 5, 2012 - Saskjobs.Ca Posts A Record Number Of Jobs In 2011 - Saskjobs.ca continues to be Saskatchewan's largest career matching website with more jobs posted in 2011 than ever before. In 2011, there were more than 150,000 vacancies posted to the site, an increase of more than 39,000 positions compared to the 2010 postings. The site hosted a record 9.8 million visits in 2011 compared to 8.9 million visits in 2010. (Full Story)

December 2, 2011 - Full-Time Job Growth In Saskatchewan - Statistics Canada reports today that November's full-time employment in Saskatchewan increased by 7,800 jobs compared to November 2010. Total full-time employment at 435,600 is the highest on record for the month of November as a result of part-time jobs changing to full-time employment opportunities. Off-reserve Aboriginal employment had a year-over-year increase of 4,400 jobs (12.2 per cent), for six months of gains. (Full Story)


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Many factors to balance in employee compensation More than money (Part 1 of 2)

The 2011 employee satisfaction survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in the United States found that only 54 per cent of employees were concerned about their compensation. Although I haven't seen a 2012 survey, I am predicting this number will rise.

Why? As of January, several source deductions from employees' paycheques have increased, which means less money in employee pockets. At the same time, however, many of our citizens will benefit from increases in benefits.

As well, I am certain that employers have also been experiencing concerns about their total compensation practices. While wage growth has been kept in line, health-care benefit costs are increasing and they may feel there isn't much room to bargain any salary increases. Of course, this downward pressure puts strain on employee/employer relations and results in threats of strike such as with Air Canada flight attendants and/or outright strikes such as with the postal workers in 2011.

Most employers don't wish their compensation issues to get to the point of strike. Yet, what signs can you pay attention to that will suggest employee dissatisfaction regarding compensation exists? If you are experiencing any of the following four key issues, then it's time to take action:

-- Employees at all levels are leaving your organization for better paying jobs.

-- It is becoming increasingly difficult to attract new employees, and the reason is always related to compensation.

-- Employees are raising a number of complaints, especially as it relates to equity in the marketplace and/or among fellow employees.

-- Employee morale is visibly slipping and this causes poor productivity, interpersonal conflicts and general disgruntlement.

What can be done to ease the issue of employee compensation? The following strategies will serve to help increase employee satisfaction and eliminate many of your issues.

Clear up the inequities -- First and foremost, it's important to ensure compensation equity within an organization. This is accomplished through a process called job evaluation. Job evaluation enables an organization to value each job against 11 different factors such as education and experience, level of problem solving, level and scope of communication, independence of decision making, and supervisory and financial responsibilities.

Ensure effective job classification -- Job classification or job "families" are one of the results of the job-evaluation process and provides a framework and structure that helps to explain the different levels of responsibilities found in jobs. Employees can see that high graded jobs require a higher level of duties and responsibilities, education and experience. Explaining how the job classification works creates a sense of "fair felt pay" among employees and reduces dissatisfaction.

Conduct a market survey -- While there are many published salary surveys that include multiple job titles, in many cases there aren't enough cohorts to accurately measure the jobs you are seeking. In this case, a special market survey conducted in your industry sector would be of value.

Establish accurate wage scales -- Wage scales must reflect the value of the work performed for your organization. Utilize the job evaluation process to measure value and determine the wage scale based on responsibilities and position requirements. Be sure the wages set will attract and motivate your employees.

Please return next issue for the conclusion of this article.

Source: Employee Job Satisfaction: The external forces influencing employee attitudes, SHRM, Issue #4

Article courtesy of Barbara Bowes - Barbara J. Bowes, FCHRP, CMC, CCP, is president of Legacy Bowes Group and vice-president of Waterhouse Executive Search. She can be reached at barb@legacybowes.com