Canadian Payroll and Human Resource News and Articles - November 2014Canadian Payroll and Human Resource News and Articles - November 2014

Payroll News Canada - November 2014

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. Federal and Provincial news are listed immediately below followed by our Featured Article and other useful topics.

Tip of the Month Federal News Provincial News
Featured Article GrandMaster News Newsletter Archive



Tip of the Month

November 2014 - Transfer a Misallocated Credit - Did you know that the CRA's My Business Account feature allows you to request the transfer of a misallocated credit within a payroll account, or from a payroll account in cases where you need to correct a misallocated payment? Though these financial transaction requests are processed manually the CRA will promptly forward each request to the appropriate tax centre for action. Click Here for more information.

Looking for past tips? Click Here to view 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

November 10, 2014 - Payroll Deductions Formulas for Computer Programs - The January 1, 2015, version of Guide T4127, Payroll Deductions Formulas for Computer Programs is now available on the CRA website. This guide 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)

November 10, 2014 - Governments of Canada and Quebec Invest in New Fund to Create Jobs and Growth - Finance Minister Joe Oliver today announced the Government of Canada’s investment in Teralys Capital Innovation Fund, a private sector-led fund of funds and a key element of the Government of Canada’s Venture Capital Action Plan (VCAP). "Our Government remains committed to encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship that fosters the creation of breakthrough technologies and the jobs that come with it." said Joe Oliver, Minister of Finance. (Full Story)

November 3, 2014 - Canada Revenue Agency announces maximum pensionable earnings for 2015 - The Canada Revenue Agency announced today that the maximum pensionable earnings under the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) for 2015 will be $53,600—up from $52,500 in 2014. The new ceiling was calculated according to a CPP legislated formula that takes into account the growth in average weekly wages and salaries in Canada. Contributors who earn more than $53,600 in 2015 are not required or permitted to make additional contributions to the CPP based on earnings exceeding this amount. The basic exemption amount for 2015 remains $3,500. (Full Story)

October 31, 2014 - Improving Canada's Caregiver Program - Formally known as the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP), the Caregiver Program has been a feature of Canada’s immigration system for many years as a component of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. The removal of the live-in requirement will result in greater opportunities for Canadians in caregiver occupations and an increase in wages for caregivers hired from abroad after employers clearly demonstrate that there are no Canadians available for the job. (Full Story)

October 23, 2014 - Harper Government Creating Jobs and Growth While Returning to Balanced Budgets - Finance Minister Joe Oliver today introduced the Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2, which proposes to implement measures from Economic Action Plan 2014 and other measures that will support jobs, economic growth, families and communities, as well as improve the fairness and integrity of the tax system, as the Government returns to balanced budgets in 2015. The Canadian economy has posted one of the strongest job creation records in the G-7 over the recovery, with nearly 1.2 million jobs created since July 2009. (Full Story)

October 15, 2014 - Attracting skilled immigrants - Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander spoke to human resources professionals from across Canada about how, with the launch of Express Entry in 2015, Canada will be able to attract skilled immigrants who are most likely to succeed. Express Entry will provide a faster and more effective way for skilled immigrants to start working in Canada permanently. Employers in Canada will be able to consider Express Entry candidates who meet their needs when they cannot find a Canadian or permanent resident for the job. (Full Story)

October 7, 2014 - Federally Registered Pooled Registered Pension Plans Now Available - There is now a new federal retirement savings option available to businesses and individuals working in federally regulated industries as well as residents of the territories. Minister of State (Finance) Kevin Sorenson announced that the five insurance companies that have federal Pooled Registered Pension Plan (PRPP) licences have been registered with the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions and the Canada Revenue Agency. This was the final step necessary for the plan administrators to make federal PRPPs available to Canadians. (Full Story)

September 12, 2014 - 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, 2014 to December 31, 2014. There have been no changes to the prescribed interest rates since last quarter, except for the interest rate for corporate taxpayers’ pertinent loans or indebtedness. (Full Story)

Provincial Payroll and HR News

(Click a Province to expand the articles)



November 08, 2013 - Nominate an employer who creates welcoming workplaces - The 23rd Alberta Business Awards of Distinction recognize businesses that employ youth, persons with disabilities, and Albertans from diverse groups. Albertans are encouraged to nominate employers who have gone the extra mile to develop talents and skills in a supportive work environment. Completed nomination packages must be submitted online or delivered to the Alberta Chambers of Commerce office no later than 4 p.m. on November 22. (Full Story)

November 03, 2014 - Public input sought on workplace health and safety rules - Albertans are invited to share their thoughts on proposed changes to Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Code. The OHS Code documents the specific rules and requirements governing health and safety practices in the workplace. As part of a regular review of Alberta’s OHS Code, Albertans can share their views by completing an online survey. The survey will be open until January 31, 2015. (Full Story)

October 30, 2014 - Government updates employer safety records - Information on workplace injuries, fatalities and lost-time claims for 2013 is now available online. Albertans can search the employer records site by employer name, city or town, and industry to find occupational health and safety information on more than 155,000 employers. Records stretch back to 2009 and users can sort employers by their lost-time claims, disabling injury rates, and fatality numbers. (Full Story)

October 10, 2014 - Latest job statistics show Alberta running at full steam - Labour numbers released by Statistics Canada today reveal Alberta’s unemployment dropped a full half percent in September, a very large drop for just one month. Alberta added 21,200 jobs in September - 69,100 since January. The unemployment rate is now 4.4 per cent, which is as close to full employment as we can get, and well below the national average. Upward trends suggest the labour market is likely to get even tighter – especially in specific industries. (Full Story)

October 9, 2014 - Governments of Canada and Alberta launch the Canada Job Grant to help Albertans get jobs - The Alberta government announced today that Alberta is now accepting employer applications for the Canada Job Grant. The Canada Job Grant is an innovative, employer-driven approach to help Canadians gain the skills and training they need to fill available jobs. It is designed to be flexible enough to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes, in all industries and regions. The Canada Job Grant will provide up to $15,000 per person for training costs, such as tuition and training materials (up to $10,000 from the federal government and $5,000 from employers). (Full Story)

September 2014 - New deal improves labour mobility for apprentices - Alberta and Nova Scotia have signed an agreement in principle to ensure apprenticeship training is transferable between both provinces. This agreement will improve the recognition of in-province training, allow for the recognition of apprenticeship work experience hours and enhance labour mobility for apprentices in both provinces. The  new agreement will help to eliminate barriers and make it easier for apprentices to achieve certification. (Full Story)

August 28, 2014 - Alberta’s minimum wage increased to $10.20 September 1 - Minimum wage earners in Alberta saw a boost to their paycheques on September 1, when the province’s two minimum wages increased. Alberta’s general minimum wage will increase from $9.95 to $10.20 per hour. The liquor server minimum wage will rise from $9.05 to $9.20 per hour. A $1 per hour differential between the two wages will now be maintained to recognize that liquor servers typically earn tips. (Full Story)

November 6, 2014 - Province proclaims November 7 as annual Apprenticeship Recognition Day - The provincial government has proclaimed Nov. 7, 2014, as B.C.’s inaugural “Apprenticeship Recognition Day” to help raise awareness of the importance of developing a highly trained and skilled workforce for key sectors of B.C.’s growing economy where skilled trades are needed. Today there are over 37,000 registered apprentices in B.C.’s industry training system. In addition, there are more than 9,400 registered employer sponsors of apprentices, up by 350 from 2012-13. (Full Story)

November 4, 2014 - WorkBC’s Find Your Fit to showcase B.C.’s in-demand jobs in Fort St. John - Young people considering what skills they will need for tomorrow’s in-demand occupations will have an interactive, hands-on experience at WorkBC’s Find Your Fit tour stop at location across Canada over the coming weeks. Find Your Fit is part of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint commitment to re-engineer education and deliver the skilled workforce B.C.’s growing economy needs. (Full Story)

October 30, 2014 - Six-month Blueprint update shows significant progress on re-engineering skills training - Premier Christy Clark today unveiled a six-month progress update on B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint that summarized a wide range of actions undertaken across government since the launch of the Blueprint on April 29th of this year. By 2022, there will be one million job openings in B.C. - more than 78% of jobs will require some form of post-secondary education, and 43% in trades and technical occupations. In response, the B.C. government launched B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint to provide a detailed action plan that gives young people a clear and seamless path right from school through to the workplace. (Full Story)

October 24, 2014 - Governments of Canada and B.C. launch the Canada Job Grant to help British Columbians get jobs - The government announced today that employers in British Columbia can now apply for the Canada Job Grant, an innovative, employer-driven approach to help Canadians gain the skills they need for available jobs. The Canada Job Grant is designed to be flexible enough to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes, in all industries and regions. The Canada Job Grant will provide up to $15,000 per person for training costs, such as tuition and training materials (up to $10,000 from the federal government and $5,000 from employers). (Full Story)

October 24, 2014 - New skills training seats in the Cariboo for B.C. jobs - As part of B.C.’s Blueprint, Premier Christy Clark today announced additional trades training seats for students in Quesnel and Williams Lake. The Ministry of Advanced Education is providing one-time funding to support the additional trades training spaces. "Our commitment in B.C.’s Blueprint is to increase access to trades training that supports the needs of B.C.’s industry, employers, workers and families" said Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk. (Full Story)

October 10, 2014 - B.C. Labour Market Outlook forecasts one million job openings by 2022 - The third edition of the British Columbia Labour Market Outlook (Outlook) was released today on WorkBC.ca to provide the most up-to-date data on labour market demand and supply trends throughout the province between now and 2022. Labour market projections contained in the Outlook indicate there will be more than one million job openings in B.C. over the next decade. The updated data also provides a strong foundation for ensuring that skills training decisions made through the BC Jobs Plan and B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint are aligned with the needs of B.C.’s labour market and key sectors. (Full Story)

October 2, 2014 - B.C.’s blueprint helps Aboriginal learners get skills for jobs - An investment of up to  $6.4-million as part of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint is helping more than 440 Aboriginal people get the skills and education that they need for jobs in B.C.’s growing economy. In April 2014, government introduced B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and committed to continuing to provide funding for in-community delivery of skills and training programs that meet Aboriginal learners’ needs and help prepare them to enter B.C.’s labour market. (Full Story)

November 9, 2014 - Province Reminds Retailers, Employees Of Remembrance Day Restrictions - Manitoba Labour and Immigration advises that in Manitoba, most non-essential businesses are required to close until 1 p.m. on Nov. 11 to commemorate Canadian contributions and sacrifices in wars and international conflicts. Employees working on Remembrance Day are entitled to one and a half times the regular rate of pay for all hours worked, but not less than half the normal working hours of a regular working day, in addition to five per cent of their earnings in the 28 days before Remembrance Day. (Full Story)

November 7, 2014 - Manitoba Government Removes Employment Barriers For Military Tradespeople - The Manitoba government is making it easier for veterans to transfer their military experience in the skilled trades into civilian jobs, Jobs and the Economy Minister Kevin Chief announced today, to mark the third annual Apprenticeship Recognition Week. Eligible applicants will be able to write the certification examination for their designated trade, and upon passing that examination, will receive a Red Seal Certificate of Qualification from Apprenticeship Manitoba, Minister Chief said.  To further assist with a smooth transition from the military to civilian trades, all fees for this process will be waived, he added. (Full Story)

October 16, 2014 - Manitoba Government Proclaims Amendments To Workers Compensation Board Act That Establish Safe Work Manitoba - The Manitoba government has proclaimed the Workers Compensation Amendment Act, which puts in place new measures to protect workers and prevent injuries in the workplace, Labour and Immigration Minister Erna Braun announced today. The amendments establish a prevention committee as part of the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) to oversee and provide guidance to the Manitoba government’s new workplace prevention initiative known as SAFE Work Manitoba. (Full Story)

October 10, 2014 - Manitoba Government Announces Enhanced Access To Trades Training For Students In Northern Manitoba - Students in northern Manitoba will have expanded opportunities to train on state-of-the-art equipment with access to trades training while getting a head start on a good paying job in the trades following two new partnerships between the Kelsey School Division and UCN, and OCN and UCN. Premier Greg Selinger noted this builds on increasing opportunities for young people to get good jobs here in Manitoba and will help the government reach its commitment of adding 75,000 workers to the labour force by 2020. (Full Story)

October 2, 2014 - Manitoba Government Programs To Assist Women To Enter Skilled, Non-Traditional Trades - The Manitoba government will launch several new initiatives to help women access job opportunities in non-traditional skilled trades, Jobs and the Economy Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.  "Jobs in the skilled trades are in high demand and women are significantly under-represented so this is an excellent opportunity to help women improve their career outlook and their standard of living." said Minister Oswald. (Full Story)

October 1, 2014 - Manitoba Government Promotes Good Jobs For Manitobans During Disability Employment Awareness Month - The province highlighted the contributions of people with disabilities to Manitoba’s labour market at a number of events throughout October during Disability Employment Awareness Month. Minister Responsible for Persons with Disabilities Jennifer Howard pointed to the Transforming Futures program at Red River College as one example of how the province is training people for employment.  The program, funded by the province, is aimed at training people with intellectual disabilities to earn a diploma and enter the workforce. (Full Story)

September 17, 2014 - WCB Manitoba Introduces Flexpay - The WCB of Manitoba has introduced FlexPay, an enhanced payroll reporting and payment system for all customers. FlexPay offers many features to enhance the payment process including: online payments with more options for when and how payments are made; online payroll reporting phased in over a two year period with greater flexibility; 24/7 online access. (Full Story)

November 7, 2014 - Continued harmonization of trades helps apprentices - Six additional trades will see their requirements and criteria harmonized across the Atlantic Provinces as part of the Council of Atlantic Premiers’ Atlantic Apprenticeship Harmonization Project. "Our government’s top priority is creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity", said federal Employment and Social Development Minister Jason Kenney. "That is why we are working with the Atlantic provinces to remove barriers caused by different apprenticeship systems; so that we can help more Canadians get the skills and experience they need and benefit from well-paid, in-demand jobs. Harmonizing apprenticeship requirements in Atlantic Canada will improve completion rates, address skills shortages and create jobs for apprentices." (Full Story)

November 5, 2014 - Employment programs and services will be highlighted during Career Week - Special events designed to highlight the employment programs and services available to New Brunswickers will take place during Career Week, Nov. 3 – 7. The events will be hosted at Career Information Centres and Regional Employment and Continuous Learning Services Offices across the province. "Creating jobs and growing our economy are our government’s top priorities. Career Week is helping us achieve those goals. Our mandate is to build a skilled workforce, keep our youth in New Brunswick and help meet the needs of employers by closing the workforce gaps." said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Francine Landry. (Full Story)

October 31, 2014 - Jobs board has first meeting - The New Brunswick Jobs Board held its inaugural meeting in Fredericton today. "Our government is changing the way we approach job creation and economic development in New Brunswick," said Premier Brian Gallant. "I am proud to have a team that will be focused on job creation in order to make New Brunswick the best place to raise a family." The board will also set policy on jobs and will be responsible for co-ordinating job creation efforts across government, setting job targets and holding departments and agencies responsible for their work. (Full Story)

October 30, 2014 - Process underway to set up jobs board and Opportunities NB - Work is underway to refocus government job creation efforts, Premier Brian Gallant announced today. "New Brunswickers need a government focused on job creation," said Gallant. "We are proud to be that government. Our comprehensive approach includes better-focused efforts on job creation, ensuring all of government is involved and that our investment attraction efforts are focused on areas of the highest growth potential." (Full Story)

October 16, 2014 - New Youth Employment Fund to accept applications in February - Job placements will help 1,500 young New Brunswickers every year obtain work experience and training under a new Youth Employment Fund. Premier Brian Gallant announced today that the fund would be accepting applications in February. The fund will match unemployed youth aged 18 to 29 with employers for six-month work placements that can include up to two months of training. The placements will be subsidized by the provincial government and begin on April 1, 2015. (Full Story)

October 10, 2014 - WorkSafeNB decreases average assessment rate for 2015 - The average employer’s assessment rate will be reduced by 10 cents from $1.21 in 2014 to $1.11 in 2015 per $100 of payroll. The rates, effective January 1, 2015, represent an 8% reduction. The rate decrease will see premiums for approximately 13,000 employer operations drop or remain stable. New Brunswick’s average assessment rate continues to be the lowest in Atlantic Canada. (Full Story)

October 6, 2014 - 2015 assessment rate under the Firefighters’ Compensation Act - WorkSafeNB announced today the 2015 assessment rate under the Firefighters' Compensation Act (the “FC Act”). The new rate of $690 per active firefighter is effective January 1, 2015. The increase from $444 per active firefighter to $690 will affect approximately 100 municipalities and 70 local service districts that employ full-time and volunteer firefighters. (Full Story)

November 7, 2014 - Building a Strong Economy Through the Harmonization of Apprenticeship Programs - Apprenticeship requirements in six new trades will be harmonized across the Atlantic provinces to help improve access to consistent training, certification and standards, leading to more job opportunities and greater mobility while helping address skills shortages in this region. The government’s top priority is creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. Removing barriers caused by different apprenticeship systems will help more Canadians get the skills and experience they need and benefit from well-paid, in-demand jobs. (Full Story)

October 30, 2014 - Average Employer Assessment Rate Remains Stable for 2015 - The Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission announced today that the average assessment rate for employers will remain at $2.45 per $100 of assessable payroll. Also, the Maximum Compensable and Assessable Earnings (MCAE) will increase to $61,615. Both are effective January 1, 2015.  Assessment rates are premiums paid by employers to cover anticipated costs of workplace injuries, return-to-work programs, prevention initiatives and the cost of administering the workers’ compensation system. (Full Story)

September 30, 2014 - Minimum Wage Increase Takes Effect October 1 - Effective October 1, the provincial minimum wage increased by 25 cents to $10.25 per hour. An additional 25 cent increase will take place October 1, 2015. "These increases are consistent with the Provincial Government’s progressive approach to a fair minimum wage to benefit many lower income earners in Newfoundland and Labrador while considering the ability of employers to pay these wages to their employees" said Tony Cornect, Minister Responsible for the Labour Relations Agency. The provincial minimum wage will increase by 25 cents to $10.25 per hour on October 1, 2014, to be followed by another 25 cent increase on October 1, 2015. (Full Story)

November 7, 2014 - 2015 Assessment Rates are here - The Workers’ Safety & Compensation Commission of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut have released a booklet summarizing the WSCC employer assessment rates for 2015. It provides a general overview, and does not replaces the Workers' Compensation Acts. (Full Story)

November 3, 2014 - Celebrating NWT apprentices and skilled trades - Minister of Education, Culture and Employment Jackson Lafferty is recognizing the top-achieving NWT apprentices during Skilled Trades and Technology Week in the Northwest Territories happening from November 3-9, 2014. The week is taking place this year as part of 50th anniversary celebrations for apprenticeship training and certification in the NWT.  The goal of Skilled Trades and Technology Week include getting NWT youth thinking about skilled trades and technology careers as an interesting possibility for them, as well as engaging with industry to create a dialogue focused on the importance of encouraging uptake in skilled trades and technology careers to ensure that the NWT meets the job demands of employers. (Full Story)

October 9, 2014 - Governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories launch the Canada Job Grant to help people in the Northwest Territories get jobs - The Government of the Northwest Territories is now accepting employer applications for the Canada Job Grant and are encouraging employers to apply. The Canada Job Grant is an innovative, employer-driven approach to help Canadians gain the skills and training they need to fill available jobs. The Canada Job Grant will provide up to $15,000 per person for training costs, such as tuition and training materials, which includes up to $10,000 in federal contributions. (Full Story)

November 7, 2014 - Apprenticeship Consistency Expands Opportunities - Government is working to align training and standards for six more trades under a federal-provincial agreement to allow apprentices to complete training quicker. Carpenter, welder, metal fabricator, steamfitter-pipefitter, plumber and industrial electrician apprentices will soon have more consistencies in curriculum, log books and course sequences across the Atlantic provinces. The changes will allow apprentices to take advantage of opportunities across the Atlantic provinces since the training will be consistent. (Full Story)

October 24, 2014 - Helping Apprentices Complete Training Sooner, Easier - Proposed amendments to the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act introduced today, Oct. 24, will help more apprentices complete their training sooner and easier. Nova Scotia apprentices who pursue on-the-job-training in another province will no longer have to register in that province. Instead, they can remain registered in Nova Scotia. This lets them start training more quickly, and saves paying extra fees and writing more exams. (Full Story)

October 15, 2014 - Nova Scotians Can Access New Pension Plan - Finance and Treasury Board Minister Diana Whalen announced today, Oct. 15, legislative changes to provide Nova Scotians access to Pooled Registered Pension Plans. The government says it's an innovative way for small businesses to provide pension options to their employees, filling a need that was not available previously. These will also be available to employees without a participating employer, and, the self-employed. Only about 40 per cent of Nova Scotians have a pension and less than 20 per cent of working Nova Scotians contribute to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan. (Full Story)

October 6, 2014 - More Steps Taken to Improve Workplace Safety - After months of consultation with workers and employers, the new administrative penalties regulations took effect, Oct. 1. Hundreds of employers, workers and safety partners took part in a review of the regulations to help identify areas for improvement. Government is also reaching out to employers and workers to improve additional Workplace Health and Safety regulations. Proposed changes have been drafted based on input from safety partners. (Full Story)

October 2, 2014 - Government Raises Bar with New Diversity, Inclusion Strategy - Government is strengthening its commitment to diversity and inclusion in the public service with its first diversity strategy. The strategy sets the direction for the next four years. Nova Scotia's public service includes immigrants, Aboriginal people, persons with disabilities, African Nova Scotians, racially visible people, women in non-traditional roles, LGBTI community members, and other under-represented groups. (Full Story)

September 24, 2014 - Program Will Help People with Disabilities Get, Succeed at, Work - A new workplace attendant support program will help more Nova Scotians with disabilities enter, and succeed in, the workforce. Up to $20,000 per client is available annually, based on income. Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard said the program will encourage employers to hire people with disabilities.  The program is available through a renewed federal-provincial Labour Market Agreement for Persons with Disabilities, and is managed by Independent Living Nova Scotia. (Full Story)

September 2, 2014 - WCB announces 2015 rates - Demonstrating leadership in workplace safety and return to work programs can reduce the impact of workplace injury as well as the costs of workplace injury insurance, reported the Workers’ Compensation Board as part of its 2015 employer rate announcement. This week, the Workers’ Compensation Board notified 18,500 covered employers of their 2015 rates for workplace injury insurance. An industry’s rate is set based on claims cost experience - the ratio of injury costs to payroll. Employers with higher claims costs in their industry pay a higher rate. (Full Story)

November 7, 2014 - Ontario Economy Grows by 37,000 Jobs in October - Ontario's economy continues to grow, gaining 37,000 net new jobs in October, including an increase of 33,700 full-time jobs. The province's youth (ages 15-24) employment increased by 6,300. With October's gains, employment in Ontario has increased by 551,300 since June 2009 -- 93.1 per cent of which are full-time and 71.3 per cent in the private sector. Ontario's unemployment rate has declined from a recessionary high of 9.4 per cent in June 2009 to 6.5 per cent in October. (Full Story)

November 6, 2014 - Protecting Ontario's Most Vulnerable Workers - The Ontario legislature today passed The Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014. The act will help protect vulnerable workers, including those who earn minimum wage, do temporary work, and work as temporary foreign workers. A number of areas are addressed including: making the minimum wage fair and predictable, better clarity for temporary help agency workers, increased protections under the employment standards act, 2000 (ESA), and better protections for temporary foreign employees and working co-op students. (Full Story)

November 6, 2014 - Province Passes Legislation to Increase Minimum Wage - Today, Bill 18, the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014, passed third reading with all party support in the Ontario legislature. The new act supports Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy, and is designed to further increase protections for vulnerable workers. The act builds on the 2014 increase to minimum wage from $10.25 to $11 per hour. (Full Story)

November 1, 2014 - New and Revised WSIB Benefits Policies - Following extensive stakeholder consultation, the WSIB developed new and revised policies as part of its Benefits Policy Review. Specifically, we developed a new Pre-existing Conditions policy. The WSIB undertook an open and transparent consultation over the past two years as part of developing these policies. Stakeholder input was carefully considered and informed significant changes to the final Pre-existing Conditions policy and in many cases was incorporated into the other policies under review. The policies are effective November 1, 2014. (Full Story)

October 31, 2014 - Job Protection for Caregivers - Three new job-protected leaves - the Family Caregiver Leave, Critically Ill Child Care Leave and Crime-Related Child Death or Disappearance Leave - are now in effect. These measures provide unpaid job-protected leave for employees while they care for sick or injured loved ones or cope with the crime-related death or disappearance of a child. The Employment Standards Amendment Act (Leaves to Help Families), 2014, came into force on Oct. 29, 2014. It applies to all employees covered by the Employment Standards Act, 2000, whether full-time, part-time, permanent or term contract. (Full Story)

October 29, 2014 - WSIB’s centennial milestone: Commemorating 100 years of service to Ontarians - One hundred years ago, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) opened its doors and began serving the workers and employers of Ontario, handling its first claim in January 1915. The WSIB is continuing to evolve to better serve the needs of the province’s workers and employers. Innovations in return to work and recovery programs have seen 92 per cent of injured workers returning to work after one year with no wage loss. (Full Story)

October 27, 2014 - Employers Helping Students Succeed - Employers from Sault Ste. Marie and Barrie were recognized at the Ontario Cooperative Education Association conference for helping local students gain hands-on learning opportunities for their future careers. An estimated 40,000 employers across the province provide over 80,000 high school students with valuable work-related learning opportunities through numerous activities and programs, including Ontario’s Co-operative Education programs. (Full Story)

October 17, 2014 - Celebrating Ontario Parks Summer Student Excellence - Ontario is providing support to student employees for demonstrating excellent performance while working in Ontario Parks. Now in its 15th year, the Ontario Parks Partners Bursary Awards recognize summer students each year for their commitment to great work, unparalleled service, and leadership in natural resources management. Ontario invested $78 million this year in summer jobs programs to help over 100,000 students find employment and start businesses. (Full Story)

October 10, 2014 - Ontario Surpasses 500,000 Jobs Created Since the Recession - Ontario marked a major job creation milestone - more than half a million jobs have been created since the global recession in 2009. With September's job gains, employment in Ontario has increased by 514,300 since June 2009 -- Ontario's unemployment rate has declined from a recessionary high of 9.4 per cent in June 2009 to 7.1 per cent in September. Ontario gained 24,700 net new jobs in September, including an increase of 19,100 full-time jobs. The province's youth (ages 15-24) employment increased by 12,600 jobs. (Full Story)

November 7, 2014 - Feedback on new WCB policy - The Workers Compensation Board has approved in principle changes to the policy, Travel and Related Expenses (POL-03) and is inviting stakeholders to provide feedback on this draft policy by December 6, 2014 in the Policy Consultation section of their website. Stakeholder feedback is an important part of the policy development process and the WCB wants all involved to have an opportunity to provide feedback on the policies that affect them. (Full Story)

November 3, 2014 - Free online awareness course about upcoming WHMIS changes - If your workplace requires Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) training, you may be interested in a free course that raises awareness about upcoming changes in the WHMIS system. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) is offering an online course - at no cost to the first 100,000 participants in Canada- on how WHMIS will be aligning with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) used internationally. (Full Story)

October 30, 2014 - Safety efforts reflected in reduced WCB rates - For the fifth consecutive year, the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) is reducing rates for employers.  Over 96% of Island businesses will see a decrease in their WCB group rate next year, a continuation of the decade-long downward trend.  The average assessment rate for 2015 will be $1.79 per $100 of payroll which is an eleven cent (6%) decrease from the 2014 rate. All Island employers will be advised of their individual assessment rates in December 2014, which are based on claims costs and the risks of workplace injury in their industries. (Full Story)

October 28, 2014 - WCB Injured Workers Satisfaction Survey - The Workers Compensation Board’s bi-annual Injured Workers Survey is now underway. As in previous studies, the 2012 Injured Worker Survey is designed to obtain feedback from injured workers with respect to the service they received from the WCB. Participation is entirely voluntary and confidential. The survey is one way feedback is gathered so that the WCB can continue to improve how they serve Island workers and employers. (Full Story)

November 7, 2014 - Saskatchewan Staying Strong: Fastest Job Growth And Lowest Unemployment In Canada - Saskatchewan's strong economy has again produced the fastest rate of employment growth and lowest unemployment rate in Canada, according to new figures released today by Statistics Canada. The latest report from Statistics Canada shows that employment in October 2014 was up by 3.5 per cent over last October with Saskatchewan employers creating 19,700 more jobs.  In total, there were 576,200 people employed in the province, the highest ever for the month. (Full Story)

November 3, 2014 - Skilled Trades and Technologies Week - Saskatchewan is encouraged to explore and discover the opportunities in the skilled trades and technologies from November 3 to 9, 2014. The seven days have been declared Skilled Trades and Technologies Week in Saskatchewan, in celebration with the rest of the country. Careers in skilled trades and technologies provide many opportunities for Saskatchewan youth.  This week provides a look into the rewarding career options available and encourages students throughout the province to take part in a variety of activities. (Full Story)

October 30, 2014 - Wages Continue to Increase in August - Workers in Saskatchewan are taking more money home according to new figures released by Statistics Canada today.  Average weekly earnings in the province were $986.22 in August, the third highest among the provinces.  Wages were up 4.0 per cent on a year-over-year basis, above the national increase of 3.5 per cent. Saskatchewan's average weekly earnings increased by 0.8 per cent (+$8.08) compared to the previous month, ranking third highest among provinces (tied with Alberta), and above the national increase of 0.1 per cent. (Full Story)

October 23, 2014 - Mandatory Coverage for Directors of a Corporation - Recently the WCB approved a policy called “Coverage - Directors” (Policy 14-2014). This is a new policy that provides mandatory coverage for all directors carried on payroll. Under the new policy, a director who is reporting employment income on a Canada Revenue Agency T4 income tax slip is considered a worker and is required to have WCB coverage. This change is effective January 1, 2015. Any changes to coverage for directors can be made on the annual Employer’s Payroll Statement (EPS). (Full Story)

October 20, 2014 - Improved Safety Performance in Saskatchewan Positively Impacts 2015 Premium Rate - The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) today proposed a 3.3 percent drop to its 2014 average premium rate, from $1.51 to $1.46 per hundred dollars of payroll. The announcement was made today in Regina at a WCB Rate Setting consultation meeting with Saskatchewan business and labour leaders. Saskatchewan’s preliminary 2015 average employer premium is 28.8 percent below the twelve year high of $2.05 in 2004. The 2015 rate proposal means that Saskatchewan could have the fourth lowest average premium rate in Canada next year. (Full Story)

October 10, 2014 - Saskatchewan Leads the Nation in Job Creation - Saskatchewan is leading the nation in job creation with the fastest rate of employment growth and the lowest unemployment rate in Canada. Employment was up 3.5 per cent over last September (19,300 jobs), the highest growth rate in the nation.  Nationally, jobs were up 0.9 per cent.  There were 574,800 people employed in Saskatchewan in September. Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate in September 2014 was 3.5 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis, the lowest among the provinces.  This is well below the 6.8 per cent recorded nationally. (Full Story)

October 3, 2014 - Province Proclaims Disability Employment Awareness Month - Minister responsible for Immigration, Jobs, Skills and Training Jeremy Harrison proclaimed October as Disability Employment Awareness Month. Disability Employment Awareness Month seeks to bring awareness of the individual, economic and societal benefits of diversifying Saskatchewan’s workforce by employing people of varying abilities. Government’s investment of $9.9 million in workforce development programming helps people with disabilities to prepare for, secure and maintain a job. (Full Story)

October 1, 2014 - Saskatchewan’s Minimum Wage Now $10.20 - Effective October 1, 2014, Saskatchewan’s minimum wage will increase to $10.20 from $10 per hour.  Since 2007, Saskatchewan’s minimum wage has increased by 28.3 per cent, with six increases from $7.95 to $10.20 over the past seven years. Along with the increase to minimum wage, the Government of Saskatchewan has also significantly reduced the tax burden on minimum wage earners by increasing the basic personal, spousal and child benefit and creating the Saskatchewan Low Income Tax Credit. (Full Story)

October 23, 2014 - Most Yukon employers to see sixth consecutive assessment rate decrease - Falling injury costs and a healthy fund have allowed the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board to reduce assessment rates to most industries in 2015. This is the sixth consecutive year rates have trended down for most employers. Following an analysis of claims costs, more than 2,050 employers will see their rates fall as much as 4.1per cent next year. Roughly 1,000 more will see their rates remain the same as they were in 2014. (Full Story)

October 20, 2014 - Occupational Health and Safety Announces Targeted Inspections - Occupational Health and Safety inspects workplaces in the Yukon all year. These random inspections are an important part of monitoring safety processes across the Yukon, helping to ward off tragedy and preventing disability. Beginning October 20, the OH&S will start visiting many types of mechanical shops and garages to address any identified risks. Workplaces that do not meet the regulations will receive orders and face fines or prosecution. The Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board will be reporting their findings once the targeted inspections are finished. (Full Story)

Featured Article

The Cost of Cash Stress

Staff fretting over money hits firms

As one of those "working Canadians," I was somewhat dismayed to learn the Canadian Payroll Association (CPA) has recently reported more and more workers are living paycheque to paycheque. According to this most recent survey, people are also saving less and feeling stressed and overwhelmed by debt.

Even more alarming is the statistic that suggests 63 per cent of young people, aged 18 to 29, are living paycheque to paycheque. Baby boomers, too, are reported to be postponing retirement.

Overall, in comparison to other provinces, it seems Manitobans are the big spenders, often spending more than they earn. And don't just think this issue is a problem for low-income workers. There are plenty of other studies that show those earning $100,000 often don't handle their finances any better.

Yet, you might be asking, what has the issue of personal financial stress got to do with the workplace? The answer is, everything! In fact, financial stress is now seen as a silent epidemic that results in lost productivity, lost profits, higher health-care costs and sometimes lower employee morale. For instance, 29 per cent of survey respondents indicated their personal financial issues were a distraction at work, while 48 per cent indicated they have tried to handle their personal financial affairs during work hours.

Although almost unbelievable, one study suggests employees spend up to 20 hours per month dealing with personal financial issues during work time. This includes getting calls from creditors, calls from banks about insufficient funds and bounced cheques, arranging debt-consolidation loans, worrying about money and simply daydreaming about financial freedom. Take a moment and add this up for just one employee; then think about the number of people on your staff. You can just imagine the dollars being wasted from stress.

As well, as we know, stress leads to distractions, inattentiveness and generally unsafe behaviours that in turn can result in workplace accidents. In fact, it is reported that 60 to 80 per cent of all workplace accidents are stress-related rather than resulting from environmental factors such as a slippery floor or poor equipment. That's because employees experiencing stress are often not thinking clearly and/or their normal reactions can be delayed, causing significant personal injury.

Stress is also a well-known factor in employee health and wellness issues, with disgruntled employees being 2 1/2 times more likely to report an injury. On the other hand, it is reported that stress accounts for 75 to 90 per cent of doctor visits in the U.S. Employees report suffering from stress-related illnesses such as migraine headaches, depression, anxiety, ulcers, insomnia and even heart attacks. That's an incredibly high number of health-care visits and an incredible health-care benefits cost.

Stress is also known to contribute to turnover. In fact, it is thought up to 40 per cent of all turnover is the result of employee stress. That's because many financially stressed workers are constantly looking for the next new job with higher pay. Unfortunately, unless these individuals change spending habits, they will fail to alleviate their financial challenges.

On the other hand, the resulting problem for the employer is the fact you are now spending money on the recruitment and selection of a new employee, training and orientation, all the while financially supporting the new employee until the individual reaches a solid level of personal productivity.

And what about the distraction happening within your HR department? Human resource professionals often take the brunt of employee financial stress. This might include having to administer wage garnishments or be on the receiving end of calls from bill collectors or banks trying to verify information. And what about dealing with concerns related to the lack of productivity? This may require a range of HR strategies from confidential discussions to the application of progressive discipline. Then again, there is all that time and energy expended in the new recruitment and selection process. Would it surprise you if you were to learn these activities could take up to 10 per cent of your payroll budget?

While your first thought of a potential solution might be to invite Gail Vaz-Oxlade, that famous television personality from Till Debt Do Us Part, Princess and, most recently, Money Moron to visit your organization. Surely, she can dispense some good advice and share wise words from her book, Money Rules; Rule Your Money or Money Will Rule You." You second thought might be a query; should you have any responsibility at all if your employee is experiencing financial stress? The answer is a resounding yes, especially since there is such an impact on your bottom line. However, what exactly can an employer do?

First of all, it is important employers recognize that a visit and a pep talk from debt-reduction guru Vaz-Oxlade would be nothing but a Band-Aid approach. It will treat only the symptoms of financial stress rather than the cause. Employees need to learn how to manage their money. The situation is not unlike the earlier employee-wellness issue. At one time, employers didn't feel they had any right to intervene in an employee health issue. However, once the hidden costs and the financial impact on the corporate bottom line was understood, employers quickly set up internal wellness programs in order to address the problem of employee illness and absenteeism.

The same thing applies to financial stress. In fact, many employers are now sponsoring financial-education programs for their employees as part of their overall wellness programs. These programs teach employees how to manage their money and reduce debt rather than seminars on how to invest their money. Workshops are designed to teach employees easy-to-use money-management tools and techniques in order to help organize their various credit, debit, bank accounts and family budgets. Employees can also take a confidential personal financial assessment to determine areas of concern and be introduced to the many online money-management software tools.

One of the keys to the success of financial-educational programs is to hire a professional to conduct the seminars and to offer ongoing support through email correspondence, telephone calls and/or access to web-based followup programs.

The benefits to both employees and employers are easily observed. Less stress, less absenteeism, less turnover, higher morale, higher productivity and an appreciation that the employer cares about the well-being of their employees.

-- source: The Cure for Employee Stress: Financial Wellness, January 2014, Employee Financial Stress is Costing Your Company a Bundle -- And How You Can Stop it Now!, Salmon Thrust, Pte. Ltd.

Article presented by permission from Barbara J.Bowes, President of Legacy Bowes Group, president of Career Partners International, Manitoba. She can be reached at barb@legacybowes.com.

GrandMaster News

The current release of GrandMaster Suite (6.81) incorporates a number of changes and important adjustments to make it even easier to use the program and perform your payroll tasks.

  • Customized Payroll Report - We have added a Base Amount option to the Results tab in the Customized Payroll Report dialog box so you can include the amounts of your statutory deductions/benefits and certain deductions/benefits when calculating.
  • Background Option for Printed T4 and T4A's - The Print T4 Statements and Print T4A Statements dialog boxes now contain a Use Background option to include the CRA form background when printing T4's and T4A's.
  • PDF Option for Printed T4 and T4A's - We have added an Adobe option to the The Print T4 Statements dialog box so you can print directly to an Adobe PDF file.
  • Employee Profile - We corrected an error that occurred in certain cases when you attempted to access an employee's profile.
  • Upload Pay Statements and T4's to ENETEmployer Mailbox - We have added an Upload to ENETmployer button to the Print T4 Statements dialog box so you can upload your pay statements and T4's to our new ENETEmployer Mailbox. This feature allows employees to view their individual T4 statements when they visit www.enetemployer.com. Note: You will need to contact Canpay to have this service activated for your account before use.
  • Additional QC Tax - We corrected an error where the Additional QC Tax amount was being bypassed when the employee did not have enough funds.
  • T4 Box 82 - We corrected an issue with the T4 Summary Report where in certain cases, Box 82 was displaying incorrect information.

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