Canadian Payroll and Human Resource News and ArticlesCanadian Payroll and Human Resource News and Articles

Payroll News Canada

June 2016 - 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 Canadian 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 Software Updates Newsletter Archive


Tip of the Month

June 2016 - Tax and benefit implications during a postal disruption - In the event of a postal work stoppage, the CRA has posted a useful set of online options that can prevent businesses from encountering missed deadlines, late fees and other payment issues. If your business has an upcoming payroll remittance, business registration, due payment, etc., the CRA offers a list of online options that may assist. Click Here for more information.

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

Canadian Federal Payroll and HR News

June 2016 - The new Payroll Deductions Tables (T4032) and new Payroll Deductions Supplementary Tables (T4008) - Effective July 1, 2016 - The new Payroll Deductions Tables (T4032) effective July 1, 2016 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)

June 23, 2016 - The Temporary Foreign Worker Program - Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour MaryAnn Mihychuk has released a statement regarding the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. The Government of Canada will bring forward a plan later this year to address the problems with this program. The cap on the proportion of an employer’s workforce that can consist of low-wage temporary foreign workers will be frozen and will remain at 20 percent (or at the employer’s current level, whichever is lower) only for employers who accessed the Temporary Foreign Worker Program prior to June 20, 2014. Employers who hired temporary foreign workers in low-wage positions for the first time after June 20, 2014, as well as first-time users of the Program, are subject to a 10 percent cap. (Full Story)

June 22, 2106 - What's been said about the CPP deal between Ottawa and some provinces - A selection of what was being said Tuesday about the changes to the Canada Pension Plan agreed to by the federal government and most of the provinces and territories: "Quite frankly, I was a thorn in the side of many of my colleagues... I kept bringing this up. I kept making it clear that we were moving ahead, and I kept making it clear that we all knew that there was a national problem.'' - Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, whose plan to go it alone on its own pension plan is widely believed to have forced the issue. (Full Story)

June 20, 2016 - Canada's Finance Ministers Agree to Strengthen Canada Pension Plan - Finance Minister Bill Morneau released a statement regarding enhancements to the Canada Pension Plan. He stated that Canada’s Finance Ministers have agreed in principle to work on a CPP enhancement starting January 1, 2019 that would increase income replacement from one quarter to one third of pensionable earnings. This means that, at maturity, a Canadian with $50,000 in constant earnings throughout their working life would receive a yearly pension benefit of  around $16,000 instead of the $12,000 they would currently receive, or $4,000  more per year. (Full Story)

June 20, 2016 - Starting the summer with new jobs and opportunities across Canada - The Government of Canada is releasing details about new projects and programs creating jobs and opportunities in every province and territory. This includes 24 new projects that will help under-represented Canadians improve their employability skills. It also includes a provincial and territorial overview of the successful Canada Summer Jobs program that is funding 77,000 job positions across Canada. Nearly 700 youth and over 400 people with disabilities will broaden their horizons as they obtain new job skills and gain real-life work experience through projects led by organizations in western, central and eastern Canada. (Full Story)

June 16, 2016 - Interest rates for the third 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 will be in effect from July 1, 2016 to September 30, 2016. 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. The interest rate charged on overdue taxes, Canada Pension Plan contributions, and employment insurance premiums will be 5%. (Full Story)

May 12, 2016 - Government launches consultation to improve Employment Insurance services - Through Budget 2016, the Government of Canada committed to improve services for Canadians. To support this commitment, the Government is taking action by launching the Employment Insurance Service Quality Review, a nationwide consultation process with key stakeholders and the public to seek their input on ways to improve services to Employment Insurance (EI) claimants. In 2014–15, Service Canada received 2.8 million EI applications and issued $15.7 billion dollars in payments to claimants. (Full Story)

May 11, 2016 - Employment Insurance Service Quality Review - Through Budget 2016, the Government of Canada committed to improve services for Canadians. To support this commitment, the Government is taking action by launching the Employment Insurance Service Quality Review, a nationwide consultation process with key stakeholders and the public to seek their input on ways to improve services to Employment Insurance (EI) claimants. The review will examine how Service Canada administers the EI program so that resources are focused on providing the best possible service to Canadians. (Full Story)

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


June 14, 2016 - WCB 2015 surplus distribution - The Workers' Compensation Board of Alberta has announced that better-than-expected investment returns in 2015 mean eligible employers will soon be receiving a surplus distribution. Eligible employers with a net rebate of over $200 will receive a cheque in the mail. Employers receiving a net rebate of under $200 will have the amount applied directly to their account. They will be notified of the rebate on their next invoice. WCB sets premium rates to reflect the fully funded cost of rate setting year injuries in order to ensure that today’s employers pay for the cost of today’s injuries. This means that employer premiums will always be driven by their own performance and not investment returns. (Full Story)

June 6, 2016 - WCB Review panel asks Albertans for input - Albertans are invited to share their opinions and experiences with the Workers' Compensation Board review panel. People may offer feedback through an online questionnaire or by written submission at alberta.ca/wcb-review until July 15. The Workers' Compensation Board review is being conducted by an independent three-member panel with extensive experience in representing workers and employers through Alberta's workers' compensation system. (Full Story)

May 19, 2016 - Government meets commitment to support student jobs - The Alberta government is meeting its commitment to support approximately 3,000 student jobs under The Alberta Jobs Plan through the Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP), which begins this month. Since the program launched in January, more than 2,600 applications have been received from employers across Alberta. More than 1,100 employer applications were approved, funding just over 3,000 summer positions. The program encourages employers to hire students for summer employment by providing a $7-per-hour wage subsidy. (Full Story)

May 18, 2016 - Alberta to consult on minimum wage - As previously committed, the Government of Alberta will listen to employers and employees on how to move forward with changes to the minimum wage. Focused consultations will be held over the next month with key stakeholders, including employers, social service organizations and low-income earners. Discussion topics will include future increases, meal and lodging deductions and the phase-out of the differential liquor server rate. Approximately 59,000 Albertans earn minimum wage, with approximately 43 per cent working full time jobs. (Full Story)

June 22, 2016 - Treaty 8 labour-market strategy maps employment and skills training opportunities - Treaty 8 Tribal Association bands now have a five-year, community-specific labour-market strategy. This community-specific human-resource strategy will help communities fill local labour-force needs for small businesses in services and retail, and for industry needs in sectors like oil and gas, manufacturing, transportation and tourism. The Community and Employer Partnerships program is featured in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and provides more support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market. The Employment Program of BC is funded by the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada through the Labour Market Development Agreement. (Full Story)

June 20, 2016 - Modest enhancement of Canada Pension Plan sustains future retirement income - Finance ministers reached consensus on an agreement-in-principle to recommend a modest and balanced incremental enhancement to the Canada Pension Plan, starting in 2019 and phased in over seven years until 2025. Under the agreement-in-principle, starting in 2019 CPP contributions for a typical worker earning the average Canadian wage of approximately $55,000 would initially increase by an additional $7 per month, and thereafter according to the following schedule. Employers would match these contributions. This individual’s maximum annual benefits under the CPP would increase by about one-third, to $17,478 from $13,110 (2016 dollars). (Full Story)

June 7, 2016 - New partnership increases skills training opportunities for small business in B.C. - British Columbia’s small business owners can now receive one-on-one expert assistance to help them successfully access training funds from the Canada-B.C. Job Grant program thanks to a new partnership with Small Business BC. Business owners can apply to the Canada-B.C. Job Grant to cover two-thirds of the costs of skills training for new or current employees to a maximum of $10,000 for each employee trained per fiscal year. In addition, employers may qualify for up to 100% of costs if the training results in the company hiring a person who was unemployed, up to a maximum of $15,000 for each future employee. (Full Story)

June 6, 2016 - Single parents on assistance find new opportunities and employment - More than 2,800 single parents on income and disability assistance are already getting the supports they need to find employment and build a more secure future through the Single Parent Employment Initiative (SPEI), a program that provides skills training or work experience and wrap-around supports. SPEI provides up to 12 months of funded training for in-demand jobs or work experience placements, child care costs, transportation assistance and employment readiness workshops. (Full Story)

May 11, 2016 - Nurses and health employers ratify agreement - British Columbia’s nurses and health employers have voted in favour of a new five-year agreement. The agreement provides members of the Nurses’ Bargaining Association (NBA) with a 5.5% wage increase over the five-year term, with the potential for additional increases if the B.C. economy exceeds annual forecasts. Further to the agreement, the Ministry of Health has committed to enhancing nurse education, workplace safety and rural recruitment and retention of nurses to support broader health system improvements. (Full Story)

May 4, 2016 - Minimum wage increases coupled with new training supports - The British Columbia government is increasing the minimum wage in two stages to better reflect the province’s overall economic growth and ensure all workers benefit from B.C.’s success. The first increase will be 40 cents and bring the minimum wage rate to $10.85 per hour, effective Sept. 15, 2016. This new rate includes the 10 cents scheduled for the 2015 CPI, plus an additional 30 cents. A second increase of 30 cents plus an amount based on the 2016 CPI (estimated to be 10 cents) will bring the minimum wage rate to $11.25, effective Sept. 15, 2017. The 2016 CPI will be available from Statistics Canada by March 2017. (Full Story)

June 21, 2016 - Manitoba Government Explains Opposition To CPP - Manitoba’s Finance Minister wants more time to talk about the enhanced Canada Pension Plan before signing off on it. Ministers from every province except Manitoba and Quebec signed off the agreement. Cameron Friesen says it would have been unwise for the newest government in the country to rush into something. Premier Brian Pallister says the plan to increase premiums ignores the responsibility that people have to put away money themselves. The expansion of the pension plan would go into effect in 2019 and would see CPP premiums and benefits increase gradually. (Full Story)

June 11, 2016 - Statistics Canada Reports Manitoba Has Lowest Unemployment Rate In Canada - Manitoba Growth, Enterprise and Trade advises that according to Statistics Canada, Manitoba posted the lowest unemployment rate in the country in May. Manitoba’s unemployment rate was down in May to 5.9 from 6.1 per cent in April, well below Canada’s rate of 6.9 per cent.  Manitoba is followed by Saskatchewan which had a rate of 6 per cent. Full-time employment increased by 1,900 positions, while part-time employment increased by 1,100 positions. Employment in the construction sector continued to increase with 4.9 per cent growth in 2016. (Full Story)

May 30, 2016 - WCB's Annual Report Delivers Financial Results and Commitment to Customer Experience - The Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba's (WCB) 2015 Annual Report has been tabled in the provincial legislature. The highlights include a surplus of $95 million, implementing a more fair and balanced assessment rate model and enhancing customer services for injured workers. The WCB also released its 2016 - 2020 Five Year Plan. The WCB also introduced a new team that helps employers develop or strengthen their return to work programs. Effective return to work programs minimize the duration of an injury, promote recovery and benefit both workers and employers. (Full Story)

June 21, 2016 - Future generations of New Brunswickers to benefit from proposed enhancements to Canadian Pension Plan - The provincial government has joined the federal government and other provinces in an agreement in principle to recommend a modest and balanced incremental enhancement to the Canada Pension Plan. Under the agreement in principle, starting in 2019, the ministers have agreed to increase income replacement from one quarter to one third of pensionable earnings. This means that, at maturity, a Canadian with $50,000 in constant earnings throughout their working life would receive a yearly pension benefit of about $16,000 instead of the $12,000 they would currently receive, or $4,000 more per year. (Full Story)

June 16, 2016 - Provincial government moves forward with pay equity - The provincial government is taking a major step forward with implementing pay equity in government. The provincial government has approved the implementation of pay equity adjustments for one of its largest groups of employees. The group, represented by local 2745 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, includes more than 3,000 workers in the education sector, of which the vast majority is women. These workers include educational assistants, administrative assistants, school library workers and intervention workers. (Full Story)

June 7, 2016 - 40 new jobs coming to Bathurst - A total of 40 new jobs will be created by Blue Ocean Contact Centers. Blue Ocean has been in Bathurst since 2000 and employs 125 people. Opportunities NB will contribute up to $173,500 in the form of a payroll rebate over five years to create and maintain 40 full-time positions. The creation of the 40 new jobs is estimated to increase the provincial GDP by $1.6 million annually. Opportunities NB is a Crown corporation that seeks to attract and support opportunities to grow the economy and create jobs. It provides support services for businesses across the province. (Full Story)

May 26, 2016 - Atlantic provinces collaborate on trades and training initiatives - The Atlantic Workforce Partnership has made significant progress on several initiatives that will help build a skilled workforce and promote apprentice mobility across Atlantic Canada. The Atlantic Apprenticeship Harmonization Project will help apprentices capitalize on employment opportunities at home by providing access to more on-the-job training opportunities and valuable work experience. New Brunswick is currently hosting the partnership and the project is funded in part by the federal government. (Full Story)

May 24, 2016 - New high tech company brings jobs and skilled workers to Saint John - RevJet, a Silicon Valley-based technology company, has moved its research and development office to Saint John, bringing highly skilled software development jobs to the city as well as 20 skilled workers and their families from Ukraine. Opportunities NB will contribute up to $400,000 in the form of a payroll rebate for creating and maintaining 20 full-time jobs for three years. The creation of these 20 new jobs is estimated to increase the provincial GDP by $2.7 million annually. (Full Story)

May 19, 2016 - 145 new IT jobs in Fredericton - A total of 145 new jobs in the information technology (IT) sector will be created with the establishment and expansion of a new Aboriginal software testing company: Professional Aboriginal Testing Organization (PLATO). Up to 87 new jobs will be created as more students complete the six-month training program. PLATO will receive up to $462,000 in payroll rebates for the creation of 87 new software testing positions. (Full Story)

June 22, 2016 - Provincial Government Announces Recipients of Student Employment Grants - More than 1,000 post-secondary students will gain valuable work experience this summer with $1.95 million in funding provided by the Student Summer Employment Program - Post-Secondary. The program helps connect post-secondary students in the province with employment during the summer months. Summer student employment programs are supported through funding provided by the Provincial Government and are delivered by the Department of Advanced Education and Skills employment centres throughout the province. (Full Story)

June 22, 2016 - All WorkplaceNL clients and vendors are encouraged to register for direct deposit - Canada Post has advised WorkplaceNL of potential delays or interruptions in postal services due to a labour disruption. All clients, including injured workers, their dependents, employers and vendors/service providers who receive payments from WorkplaceNL, are strongly encouraged to register now for direct deposit if they have not already done so. WorkplaceNL will monitor the situation, and further information for clients and service providers will be posted as required. (Full Story)

June 20, 2016 - $9.3 Million Strengthens Work Experience through Job Creation - The first round of Job Creation Partnerships has been announced for 2016-17 by the Provincial Government with $9.3 million in funding approved for 219 projects to employ over 1,000 individuals. Job Creation Partnerships is funded through the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Market Development Agreement. 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)

June 17, 2016 - Applications Now Available for Community Enhancement Employment Program - The Provincial Government is now accepting applications from not-for-profit organizations and local governments that wish to sponsor projects funded by the Community Enhancement and Employment Program (CEEP). The program provides funding to eligible sponsors, including towns, Inuit Community Governments, regional municipalities, local service districts, community and economic development organizations, and other non-profit organizations. Individuals can be employed for up to 400 hours in order to become eligible for employment insurance benefits. The deadline for receipt of applications is July 29, 2016. (Full Story)

June 02, 2016 - WorkplaceNL’s injury fund continues to be fully funded - WorkplaceNL’s 2015 Annual Performance report shows its financial position continues to improve. This is the second consecutive year that the injury fund is considered fully funded, a significant turn-around from near bankruptcy in 2000. The injury fund, which provides security for injured workers and sustainability for employers, increased from $1.1 billion in assets in 2014 to $1.2 billion in 2015. Effective January 1, 2016, the average assessment rate paid by employers was reduced to $2.20 per $100 of assessable payroll. The $0.25 surcharge that employers had been paying to cover past unfunded liabilities was removed. As well, the maximum compensable and assessable earnings (MCAE) increased to $62,540, the highest in Atlantic Canada. (Full Story)

June 2016 - Training on the Job - The Government of the Northwest Territories provides support for employers in developing a productive workforce and providing work and learning opportunities for eligible clients. Employer assistance may include: wage subsidies, course costs, special equipment and supports, job coaching and mentoring. The Training-on-the-Job program helps Employment Insurance participants take part in skills development opportunities by providing wage subsidies to employers who offer them training in the workplace. Visit the link below to learn more about business eligibility for these programs. (Full Story)

May 2016 - WSCC Newsletter - The Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission has released the latest issue of the SafetyNet eNewsletter. The publication provides informative articles, useful tips and changes in legislation that affect the Workers' Compensation in the region. This issue includes a reminder that the new Occupational Health and Safety Regulations are now law in Nunavut. The new regulations apply to all businesses operating in Nunavut, with the exception of those that are federally regulated. (Full Story)

June 20, 2016 - Canada Pension Plan Agreement Reached - Nova Scotia has joined the federal government and other provinces in an agreement in principle to improve the Canada Pension Plan. "The agreement in principle will provide enhanced security for future generations of Nova Scotians, while contributions will be modest, affordable, and phased in over seven years," said Randy Delorey, Minister of Finance and Treasury Board from Vancouver. "This agreement brings us a step closer to improving the CPP." The agreement requires final ratification by seven of 10 provinces representing two-thirds of the national population. (Full Story)

June 2016 - Additional resources offered through Skills Online NS as part of Workplace Safety Strategy initiative - In partnership with CBDC Nova Scotia, the Skills and Learning Branch of the Department of Labour and Advanced Education has been facilitating continued learning for all Nova Scotia communities and workplaces through Skills Online NS, a freely accessible online learning platform that can be found at coursepark.com/ns. In alignment with the Workplace Safety Strategy’s 2015 Small Business Safety Toolkit, the safety planner is designed to help Nova Scotia’s employers be able to more easily navigate and access the information and resources they need to implement and maintain a strong safety program within their workplaces. (Full Story)

May 26, 2016 - Changes to Trades Make Training More Accessible - The province continues to break down barriers for apprentices and increase access to opportunities. The first of 10 trades to be aligned under the Atlantic Apprenticeship Harmonization Project have been announced. Atlantic trade harmonization work is led by the Atlantic Workforce Partnership, which is helping to build a skilled workforce and promote apprentice mobility across Atlantic Canada. The partnership was established by the Council of Atlantic Premiers in 2012. (Full Story)

May 11, 2016 - Fair Treatment for Non-Bargaining Unit Employees - Management and non-management employees who are not unionized will fall under the same four-year wage pattern, step increases and service award rules as bargaining unit employees, government announced. The four-year wage pattern for non-bargaining unit employees will not have an increase in the first two years, then one per cent in the third year, 1.5 per cent in the fourth year and 0.5 per cent on the last day of the fourth year. The public service award, for those who are eligible, has been updated and will be based on an employee's bi-weekly salary at the time of retirement. (Full Story)

May 4, 2016 - Province Committed to Supporting Youth - The province is committed to seeing more young people find meaningful work as part of Budget 2016-2017. More than $12 million will be invested in programs that provide the skills, training and experience needed to connect young people to a career here in Nova Scotia. Some investments to support youth and students include: $3.2 million for employers to create new positions for recent graduates and $5.1 million to provide students with meaningful co-op and summer work experiences. Additionally, the Government's Experience Through Opportunity program gives young and less experienced workers opportunities with the public service across the province. (Full Story)

June 06, 2016 - Call for proposals - training and employment initiatives - The Department of Family Services is now accepting proposals for 2016-17, for training and employment initiatives. Non-profit organizations, municipal corporations, training institutions, Inuit organizations and societies can apply for funding to deliver programs under the several categories: Labour market program for persons with disabilities - training and employment programs for persons living with a disability; and Youth - training and employment programs for out-of-school youth ages 15-30. The deadline to apply is July 10, 2016. (Full Story)

May 2016 - WSCC Newsletter - The Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission has released the latest issue of the SafetyNet eNewsletter. The publication provides informative articles, useful tips and changes in legislation that affect the Workers' Compensation in the region. This issue includes a reminder that the new Occupational Health and Safety Regulations are now law in Nunavut. The new regulations apply to all businesses operating in Nunavut, with the exception of those that are federally regulated. (Full Story)

June 21, 2016 - 2015 WSIB Statistical Report Now Available - The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) today released its By the Numbers: 2015 WSIB Statistical Report. The report highlights trends in injuries, illnesses, recovery and return to work in Ontario's overall prevention system and industry sectors. Among the statistics featured in the 2015 By the Numbers: The WSIB served more than 5.3 million workers and more than 300,000 employers, registered almost 230,000 claims, and issued $2.58 billion in benefit payments. (Full Story)

June 20, 2016 - Statement on the Agreement in Principle to Enhance CPP - The Ontario Government has issued a statement in response to the agreement in principle on Canada Pension Plan (CPP) enhancement. It was stated that two-thirds of Ontario workers don't have access to a workplace pension plan, and only one in four younger workers - aged 25 to 34 - participate in a workplace pension plan. To help Ontario workers prepare for retirement, the provincial Government began establishing the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP). (Full Story)

June 10, 2016 - Ontario Adds 21,600 Jobs in May - Ontario's economy continues its strong performance, adding 21,600 jobs in May. In May, Ontario experienced employment growth in a number of sectors with the largest gain being in construction with an increase of almost 25,000. Ontario's unemployment rate also dropped to 6.6 per cent, lower than the national average. More than 600,000 jobs have been created since the recessionary low in June 2009. Ontario is projected to create more than 300,000 jobs by the end of 2019, which would bring the total to more than 900,000 net new jobs over a 10-year period. (Full Story)

June 9, 2016 - Ontario Protects Employees' Tips and Gratuities - Starting June 10, Ontario is making it illegal for employers to take employees' tips and other gratuities, except in limited circumstances. Employers will also not be able to make deductions from tips for things like spillage, breakage, losses or damage. These rules affect employers and employees covered by the Employment Standards Act, 2000 in workplaces where tips and other gratuities are received - such as at bars, restaurants, hair and nail salons, catering firms and taxis. Employers are allowed to withhold or make deductions from their employees' tips and other gratuities if they are tip pooling or if a statute or a court order authorizes it. (Full Story)

June 2, 2016 - Province Passes Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Act - Ontario is expanding pension coverage to over four million workers without an adequate workplace pension plan. The province has passed the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Act (Strengthening Retirement Security for Ontarians), 2016. The Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) will bring financial security and drive economic growth for generations to come, by providing Ontario workers with a predictable stream of income in retirement, paid for life. The ORPP will also offer a survivor benefit for all plan members. (Full Story)

May 27, 2016 - Ontario Taking Action to Protect Young Workers - As young people across Ontario start looking for summer jobs, Ontario is launching several initiatives to protect young workers in seasonal, part-time or temporary employment. Workers that are new to their job, including young workers, are three times more likely to be injured in the first month than at any time. One of the Ministry of Labour's initiatives include launching two province-wide inspection blitzes on health and safety and employment standards, focusing on protecting young workers throughout the summer. (Full Story)

June 21, 2016 - Statement on Canada Pension Plan agreement - Prince Edward Island Finance Minister Allen Roach issued a statement following the meeting of federal, provincial, and territorial finance ministers in Vancouver. "Prince Edward Islanders rely a great deal on the Canada Pension Plan for their retirement savings, which is why we have historically supported efforts to enhance the existing CPP. This latest agreement is a modest, fully funded, phased-in approach to enhancing the CPP that is portable, universal, and easy to participate in. I want to commend the effort of all the finance ministers at the table, who worked collaboratively to develop a plan that will help ensure a safe, stable, more secure retirement for Islanders and all Canadians." (Full Story)

June 3, 2016 - New website connects job seekers with employers and labour market services and supports - A new employment website for local employers and job seekers, WorkPEI.ca, is now live. WorkPEI.ca will serve as a valuable resource for job seekers, local employers, students, newcomers, and PEI expats. The website provides job seekers and employers with access to many options for assistance provided by the Province, including a new job board with advanced search features aimed at matching job seekers to employers through local job vacancies. WorkPEI.ca will provide useful and time saving options for registered users, including: job postings; resume sharing; job matching; occupational profiles; labour market statistics; and information on current PEI supports and services available to Islanders. (Full Story)

May 31, 2016 - Minimum wage for Island workers will Increase June 1 - On 1 June 2016, the minimum wage on Prince Edward Island increased from $10.50 per hour to $10.75 per hour. Government monitors minimum wage rates elsewhere to ensure that Island workers aren’t disadvantaged compared to their neighbors. This increase means that Islanders earning minimum wage will earn more per hour than minimum wage earners in other Atlantic provinces. In October, 2016, minimum wage on Prince Edward Island will increase again to $11.00 per hour. (Full Story)

May 12, 2016 - Policy Changes Provide Better Coverage for First Responders and all Workers - The Workers Compensation Board (WCB) of Prince Edward Island has revised their policy related to psychological and psychiatric conditions. The changes will recognize the increased risk in occupations such as emergency first responders. A worker may be entitled to compensation benefits for a psychological or psychiatric condition if it is determined that there has been a significant or severe reaction to an unexpected and emotionally shocking event, or the cumulative effect of a series of events. The revised version of the policy has received final approval by the WCB Board of Directors and can be viewed on their website, along with the FAQ. (Full Story)

May 5, 2016 - Increase to early childhood educator wages - Government is increasing salaries to early childhood educators employed at early years centres by two per cent, as of July 2016. Prince Edward Island’s early learning and childcare system is among the best in Canada and the Government will be providing a two per cent increase in wages for over 300 early years centre educators, starting this July. This wage increase will see $300,000 re-invested into front-line educators. EYCs must meet certain requirements including providing infant care, care for children with special needs, charging set parent fees, and paying employees according to a wage grid. This is the first increase to the wage grid since 2010. (Full Story)

May 03, 2016 - Changes Coming to Cost of Claims Information - Effective May 31, 2016 employers will see some changes to the information that is presented on their monthly statement related to the cost of WCB claims.  Detailed transaction cost information will no longer be indicated.  A monthly total for each worker claim will continue to be reported as well as total costs for the period.  If you require additional information on a particular claim, please contact Worker Services and your Case Worker will assist you. (Full Story)

June 23, 2016 - New Pension Plans Give Saskatchewan People More Choice - The Government of Saskatchewan has entered into a Multilateral Agreement Respecting Pooled Registered Pension Plans (PRPP) and Voluntary Retirement Savings Plans. PRPPs are professionally administered, defined contribution style pension plans targeted to employees and self-employed individuals who previously did not have access to a workplace pension plan. PRPP administrators are responsible for the design and operation of each plan.  Once an employer has joined a PRPP, its employees will be enrolled (with the option to opt out) so they can take advantage of the retirement savings option. (Full Story)

June 10, 2016 - Employment Up, Unemployment Rate Down in Saskatchewan - In May 2016, Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted) was 6.0 per cent, down from 6.3 per cent in the previous month.  Saskatchewan's unemployment rate is now second lowest among the provinces and lower than the national unemployment rate of 6.9 per cent. There were 577,800 people employed in Saskatchewan in May 2016, down 4,900 from May 2015.  However, there were 2,200 more people working in Saskatchewan in May than in April (seasonally adjusted), suggesting that the employment market, which has been hit hard by the downturn in the resource sector, may be stabilizing. (Full Story)

June 9, 2016 - Saskatchewan's Compassionate Care Leave Benefits Increasing - Saskatchewan employees who need to take time away from work to care for a loved one will soon be eligible to receive up to 28 weeks of job-protected leave.  This is an increase from eight weeks. Amendments are due to recent changes in federal legislation where employees are eligible for 26 weeks of benefits after observing a two week waiting period. With these amendments, Saskatchewan will be one of three provinces to increase this leave to match the changes to Employment Insurance. (Full Story)

June 9, 2016 - Provincial Government Partners with SIIT to Deliver Skills Training - The Government of Saskatchewan is pleased to announce funding support for the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) Construction Careers Regina program.  SIIT will receive $967,000 for programming and wages. The program provides First Nations and Métis people with an opportunity to obtain the skills, certifications and experience needed to gain employment in the construction and industrial sectors.  More than 600 participants will access the program in Regina this year. (Full Story)

June 9, 2016 - YWCHSB nudges rates towards actual cost of caring for injured Yukoners - The Board of Directors of YWCHSB will increase the average assessment rate by two cents in 2017. The average rate will rise to $1.87 from $1.85 in 2016. This is the first such increase in seven years. While no employer pays the average assessment rate, it signals whether industry rates will rise or fall in the coming year. The specific industry rates paid by employers are set after deep analysis of injury rates and costs by an actuary. The YWCHSB will now examine each industry rate group to determine specific actual assessment rates for 2017. Those rates will be released in the fall. (Full Story)

May 11, 2016 - The Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board (YWCHSB ) Releases Annual Report - This year, the YWCHSB once again saw positive operational results, continuing a seven-year trend where operating costs and staffing were kept stable. In 2015, YWCHSB staff served 21,000 Yukon workers and handled more than $1 billion in assessable payroll. Contrast that with 2008, when 19,000 workers were served with $800 million in assessable payroll. In 2015, the YWCHSB issued a $10 million rebate, which provided a cheque to virtually every employer operating in the territory in 2014. (Full Story)

Featured Article

Tips for managers to make performance reviews count

The end of the year to-do list can seem never ending. Organizations speed up operations to maximize fourth-quarter results and meet year-end targets, all while planning for the next year.

And if leaders were not busy enough, many cram in employee performance reviews, too.

Notice the hierarchy of the responsibilities listed. What do you think falls by the wayside? Add in a stressed-out boss and you can understand why employees dread performance reviews and find the whole experience unproductive.

Roger Martin, former dean of the Rotman School of Management and co-author of Play to Win: ‘Every individual, in their job, has a “where to play and how to win,” choice to make.’

Although managers and employees alike complain about reviews, they really can be an effective way to give meaningful feedback to employees and help them learn, develop and feel valued.

An annual performance review process means that you’ll have at least one meaningful conversation each year with your manager. But a common complaint found in employee surveys is that many workers do believe they don’t get real feedback through the performance review process. If done right, a performance review can have a positive benefit for both leader and employee.
Here are four simple steps for managers to consider before starting the next round of reviews.

1. Preparation - Make sure you know what has to be filled out as part of your company’s appraisal process, know the expected timelines, and ensure your staff members have this same information.

2. Purpose - Understand why your organization wants reviews to be done. This could include succession planning, evaluating pay packages, career development, or some combination of these factors. Managers need to clearly understand the direct link between performance review results and how the organization evaluates success.

3. Planning - Before a performance review meeting, make sure you have the facts about the employee’s contributions, strengths and performance gaps. The review process should never be a forum to surprise an employee with unknown information. Reviews should be summary conversations in which an employee’s accomplishments are recognized, performance gaps are explored, and new goals are set for the coming year. Managers need to clearly define the expectations for each employee for the next year.

4. Performance review conversation - Set expectations: Make sure your employee knows the purpose of the review and outline how the conversation will be structured.

Review results: A review conversation can be a powerful developmental tool. Speak honestly about the employee’s performance, core competency scores, and goals. It will be counterproductive if the employee worries about the review process and believes it is a lecture, not a conversation. Effective leaders understand their primary role in the review conversation is to be a coach. Their attitude will influence the quality of the employee’s experience.

Summarize: Go over your discussion and emphasize key points to help you and the employee determine what will be done to close any performance gaps. Be mindful about how you phrase comments, as most people put more weight on negative comments than positive ones. Discuss career expectations, as well as any development needs. This is important, as it supports employees’ understanding of their role and value to the company.

Set goals and follow up: Finalize the employee’s goals and make it clear how progress will be measured and monitored. Coach the person to seek feedback from you, but also make a point, as a leader, to follow up on what you said you would do.
Whether the performance review is done in person, on paper, or with an online tool, your attitude as a manager will have the most profound effect on your employee.

Article by Bill Howatt, President of Howatt HR Consulting in Kentville, N.S. Reach him at bill.howatt@howatthr.com.

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