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

Payroll News Canada

March 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

March 2016 - Completing Slips and Summaries - The CRA offers a reminder that payers who issue income slips, financial information slips, contract payments, must now use their business number instead of their filer identification number. Additionally, if your business is filing more than 50 information slips, you must file your information return electronically via XML or the CRA's Web Forms application. 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

March 18, 2016 - Interest rates for the second 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 April 1, 2016 to June 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. (Full Story)

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

February 18, 2016 - Seminars to Support Payroll Compliance Knowledge Pensions and Benefits Environments - With financial wellness high on the agenda of governments and employers, the CPA recommends that payroll, accounting and HR practitioners involved in pensions and benefits processing and administration stay abreast of developments and regulation by taking ongoing pensions and benefits training to enhance their payroll compliance knowledge. The CPA offers three pension and benefit seminars: Pensions and Benefits from a Payroll Perspective, Advanced Pension Case Studies from a Payroll Perspective, and Best Practices of Employee Group Benefits, offering the most up-to-date payroll compliance knowledge practitioners require to successfully administer their plans. (Full Story)

February 16, 2016 - Governments of Canada and Ontario Announce an Agreement Towards Improving Pensions for Canadians - The Federal and Ontario Provincial Governments have announced that they have reached an agreement to work together to achieve their mutual goal of improving pensions for Canadians. To provide more time for discussion among provinces and the federal government, Ontario is proposing to phase-in the launch of the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) by starting enrollment in January 2017, one year later than the original start date, and by starting the first phase of contributions in January, 2018. This will give businesses more time to enroll, and provide about 400 businesses with the additional time they have been seeking. (Full Story)

February 4, 2016 - Administration of Employee Benefits - Employer-provided benefits form an important part of an organization’s total compensation package, and knowing how to administer them correctly is integral to payroll compliance. Recent headlines have revealed that many employers are unclear with their compliance responsibilities in developing employment policies, despite their willingness to comply. Since many employer-provided benefits are also taxable benefits, payroll practitioners’ knowledge of benefits administration is vital to mitigating business risk. As such, The Canadian Payroll Association’s offers seminars on best practices and compliance tips for topics. (Full Story)

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


March 17, 2015 - Aboriginal construction program builds opportunities - A two-year pilot program co-sponsored by the Alberta government, Bow Valley College, NorQuest College, industry and Aboriginal organizations will help more than 600 Aboriginal people train for careers in the construction industry. The Alberta Aboriginal Construction Career Centres pilot will complement other existing programs that support Aboriginal training and employment in trades careers. Under the program, the two centres will deliver employment training, job coaching and counselling to more than 300 Aboriginal Albertans at each institution, with a focus on construction trades. Over its two-year duration, the program aims to provide construction-related job placements for up to 300 registrants. (Full Story)

March 01, 2016 - Provincial inspectors on tour to improve workplace safety - Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) officers are inspecting stand-alone convenience stores and combined convenience store/gas station operations. Officers are talking to employers and workers about current OHS and Employment Standards legislation related to issues such as working alone, workplace violence, paycheque deductions and employing young workers. The results of the inspection campaign, along with ongoing consultations with industry stakeholders, will help determine the next steps in the review of OHS and Employment Standards legislation. (Full Story)

Feb 17, 2016 - Central Alberta employers attend information sessions on hiring summer students - Alberta government representatives are joining local business leaders to present information on the Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP) throughout central Alberta. The program is designed to benefit students seeking work experience and employers who can offer support. STEP will provide employers who hire students with a wage subsidy of $7 an hour for work opportunities between four and 16 weeks. STEP positions will be distributed fairly across sectors and across the province. (Full Story)

March 16, 2016 - Enforcement tools and remedies to protect workers - WorkSafeBC's Prevention strategy includes consultation, education, and enforcement. With respect to enforcement, WorkSafeBC has a number of tools available under the Workers Compensation Act (the Act) to achieve compliance. When employers are not in compliance with the Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR) and disregard WorkSafeBC's orders and penalties, WorkSafeBC can invoke remedies through the court system. (Full Story)

March 11, 2016 - Government announces support for women to start a career in the trades - The BC Government announced $1.8 million for the Women in Trades Training (WITT) initiative through the Industry Training Authority (ITA) to help support women to get the skills and training they need to start a career in the trades. While there are more and more women pursuing trades careers in British Columbia, the percentage of male journeymen is still significantly higher than females. With the addition of nearly one million job openings expected in the province by 2024, women will play an increasingly important role in keeping B.C.’s economy diverse, strong and growing. (Full Story)

March 5, 2016 - Grants connect students with training for jobs of tomorrow - British Columbia students will get a bit of help to give them an opportunity to connect with skills, technical and trades training opportunities, thanks to $170,000 in Skills Training Access Grants that are going to school districts across B.C. The Skills Training Access Grant supports B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, a plan for re-engineering the province’s education and training systems - from kindergarten through to post-secondary training and beyond - to ensure students have a full range of training options and are first in line for the careers of tomorrow. (Full Story)

March 1, 2016 - Simplifying apprenticeship requirements for embalmers and funeral directors - Apprenticeship training for embalmers and funeral directors is being streamlined with changes to the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services regulations. Currently funeral director and embalmer apprentices must be supervised at all times during their 3,600 hour practical training period. The proposed changes, in effect April 1, 2016, simplify the process and reduce government red tape by relaxing these requirements as an apprentice gains more practical experience and skills. (Full Story)

Feb. 10, 2016  - British Columbians take their careers to the next level with Canada - B.C. partnership - Over 1,370 British Columbians across the province are receiving the training they need for jobs in their communities thanks to the federal and provincial partnership under the Canada Job Fund. These training programs represent an investment of more than $10.3 million from the Canada - British Columbia Job Fund Agreement under the Employer-Sponsored Training stream. These training programs support B.C.’s regional labour market demands and provide opportunities to youth, women, Indigenous people, immigrants and other eligible participants to receive skills training as well as industry recognized certificates or credentials. (Full Story)

Feb. 5, 2016 - Government takes action to keep mine workers on the job - Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett today announced action to help keep thousands of B.C.’s metal and coal mines workers on the job by allowing mining companies to temporarily defer a portion of their hydro bills - supporting families and communities during the current slowdown in the sector due to low commodity prices. Each company that chooses to participate in the program will be required to enter into a formal agreement with BC Hydro. (Full Story)

March 22, 2016 - Revised Payroll Information for Manitoba - CanPay has posted the 2016 revisions for Manitoba payroll and HR-related data in its free online database. This page provides current provincial payroll information for the province of Manitoba that includes such topics as Minimum Wage, Hours of Work, Worker's Compensation, Leaves, Statutory Holidays, Minimum Working Age, Termination Notices Requirements and much more. Revised payroll information for all of Canadian provinces and territories is also available. (Full Story)

February 18, 2016 - Industry Codes and New Business Rates - The Manitoba WCB website has posted the revised Industry Codes and New Business Rates is in PDF format. Employers registered with the WCB are assigned to one or more industry classifications based on their primary business activity(s). Employers who require WCB coverage are classified within one or more of the sub-groups in 8 Industry Sectors. Employers in excluded industries who want to purchase optional coverage are assigned to a sub-group in Sector 9. Employers are classified according to their primary business activity(s). The rate risk category shown in each description reflects the current year only.  These can change from year to year based on the experience of the employers registered under these classifications. (Full Story)

March 16, 2016 - Collective agreement signed with New Brunswick Nurses Union - The provincial government and the New Brunswick Nurses Union have signed a new collective agreement for 240 nurse managers and nurse supervisors. The three-and-a-half year agreement includes annual economic wage increases of one per cent and an adjustment to complete the implementation of a joint pay equity study. "I thank the two negotiating teams for reaching this agreement, said Human Resources Minister Denis Landry. "This illustrates our commitment to ensuring that the government treats its employees with fairness by respecting the collective bargaining process." (Full Story)

March 15, 2016 - Premier pledges continued support to Sussex area, announces new jobs in the region - Premier Brian Gallant has reiterated the provincial government’s continuing support for the Sussex area in the wake of the Picadilly mine closure. The Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour has been in Sussex to offer services, including employment and personal counselling, help with career decision making, interview skills and resumé writing. The department has also worked with Potash Corp. to provide transitional assistance. The premier announced investments totalling $365,000 in three Sussex-based businesses that will create 39 jobs in the community. A further 50 jobs will be announced by another private sector business in the days ahead. (Full Story)

March 14, 2016 - Summer job application process to be modernized - The provincial government is modernizing the Student Employment Experience Development (SEED) program and taking the politics out of the application process. The program pairs students with New Brunswick employers during the summer months. In order to focus on the students’ developmental needs, placements will no longer be recommended by MLAs. This year, students will complete an online application for the program and will receive labour market information. Prospective employers will also fill an online posting to offer jobs. Students will then be able to choose to apply for the positions most suited to them. (Full Story)

February 24, 2016 - Collective agreement signed with CUPE Local 1418 - The provincial government and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Local 1418, have signed a new collective agreement for about 1,200 employees. They include social workers; probation and parole officers; human resource development officers; recreation and culture program officers; and human rights officers. They work mainly at the departments of Social Development, Public Safety, Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour as well as Tourism, Heritage and Culture. The four-year agreement includes annual wage increases of one per cent. (Full Story)

February 16, 2016 - WorkSafeNB launches new app - WorkSafeNB, in collaboration with the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), launched a new app to help New Brunswickers better access workplace health and safety information. The NB OHS Guide app provides mobile access to the WorkSafeNB Guide to OHS Legislation website, which launched in May 2015. The site hosts relevant, up-to-date information on more than 35 topics concerning the health and safety of every New Brunswick worker. From any jobsite, a worker can look up health and safety requirements, tips and more. (Full Story)

March 10, 2016 - Supporting Labour Market Needs - The Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation is receiving one year funding to enhance and improve its membership and labour force database. This is being made possible through the Labour Market Partnerships program under the Labour Market Development Agreement between the provincial and federal governments. This labour force database will assist the First Nation to gather and assess information about members such as work experience, education and training, to best link members to potential employment. The program is intended to support employers, employer or employee associations, community groups and communities in developing and implementing labour market strategies and activities for dealing with labour force adjustments, and in meeting human resource requirements. (Full Story)

February 17, 2016 - New addition to WorkplaceNL Safety Charter - WorkplaceNL has announced that Captain Sidney J. Hynes, Executive Chairman, Oceanex Inc., has been inducted into its CEO Safety Charter. Captain Hynes is the 63rd business leader since 2007 to become a signatory to the CEO Safety Charter. The CEO Safety Charter's mandate is to support the continuous improvement of healthy and safe workplaces throughout the province. As ambassadors for safer workplaces, signatories have demonstrated their commitment to preventing injuries and promoting health and safety in the workplace. (Full Story)

March 04, 2016 - WSCC Launches New e-Business Services - The Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) has announced the release of two new e-Business services, added to WSCC Connect. The Report Unsafe Work service allows anyone to conveniently and anonymously report unsafe work, in order to identify hazards and implement corrective actions before injuries occur. The second service, Register a Business, allows employers to register a business online through WSCC Connect. All the information required can be completed online in approximately 15 minutes with five easy steps. WSCC Connect, launched in 2015, currently allows employers to Make a Payment, View Assessment Rates, and Request a Clearance. (Full Story)

February 25, 2016 - NWT Named Canada’s Best Diversity Employer for 2016 - The Government of the Northwest Territories has, for the fourth year in a row, been chosen as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2016. This recognition by the Globe and Mail and Mediacorp Canada Incorporated distinguishes organizations that strive to include women, Aboriginal peoples, visible minorities, persons with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender peoples in the workplace. Receiving the award places the GNWT among an exclusive group of Canadian employers who have demonstrated a commitment to create a workplace where all employees feel comfortable, valued and ready to achieve their full potential. (Full Story)

Minimum Wage Increasing April 1 - Nova Scotia's minimum wage is increasing in line with the cost of living. The Government accepted the Minimum Wage Review Committee's recommendation to increase the minimum wage by 10 cents, to $10.70 an hour on April 1. The minimum wage for someone who has less than three months' experience will also increase by 10 cents an hour, to $10.20. Minimum wage rates are adjusted annually, and are based on the previous year's national Consumer Price Index. (Full Story)

March 23, 2016 - Graduate to Opportunity Provides Opportunities for New Graduates - More than 100 new graduates have launched their careers in Nova Scotia thanks to the Graduate to Opportunity program. The program provides salary contributions to eligible businesses that hire recent graduates. The offset is 25 per cent in the first year and 12.5 per cent in the second. It is available to Nova Scotia-based small and medium-sized businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Startup companies, social enterprises, not-for-profits and registered charities are also eligible. Government provided more than $1 million in funding for Graduate to Opportunity in year one. The funding will increase to $3.2 million this year. (Full Story)

March 11, 2016 - WCB Coverage for PTSD - Workers who are diagnosed by a psychologist or psychiatrist with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to job-related trauma, and who have WCB coverage, may qualify for compensation. This is the case whether the PTSD results from a single traumatic event, or, the cumulative effects of more than one traumatic event over time. Just as with other workplace injuries, the Workers’ Compensation Act sets out certain timelines related to claims for compensation. Claims must be made within a year of your diagnosis of PTSD, regardless of when the traumatic event or events actually occurred. (Full Story)

March 4, 2016 - Government Announces Summer Jobs for Students - The Government has announced that it will hire more than 150 students across the province this spring and summer. More than 80 positions will be posted online. Other students will be hired through internships and co-op placements directly with schools and some will return to summer positions they successfully competed for in the past. The 80 open positions are based throughout the province, and include a wide variety of jobs from camp counsellors and forest resource workers to an aircraft maintenance engineer. This another step in ensuring that more young workers are hired into the Nova Scotia public service. In November, more than 70 public service positions were posted requiring little-to-no experience. In each of the next five years, five per cent of new provincial government hires will be young workers. (Full Story)

March 1, 2016 - WCB Nova Scotia introduces new approach to multidisciplinary health services - A new strategic partnership will ensure consistent, focused care for injured workers who need more advanced treatment for work-related sprain and strain injuries, WCB Nova Scotia announced. The change will see WCB Nova Scotia enter a single contract with one health care provider for these particular services, building a stronger, more effective, and more efficient business relationship. The approach will improve quality and consistency of the more complex functional rehabilitation services involved in helping injured workers return to the job. (Full Story)

February 2, 2016 - Payroll Rebate Approved - Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI) has approved a business development incentive, in the form of a payroll rebate, for Oxford Frozen Foods Limited. The Nova Scotia-based food producer, processor, manufacturer and exporter, has the potential to create up to a maximum of 110 new jobs under the payroll rebate agreement. Based on the maximum growth forecast of the five-year payroll rebate agreement, NSBI estimates Oxford Frozen Foods could spend an additional $18.7 million in salaries. Under the payroll rebate agreement, the company has an opportunity to earn a rebate up to a maximum of $1,486,800, with a lesser rebate if it creates fewer than 110 new jobs. (Full Story)

March 04, 2016 - WSCC Launches New e-Business Services - The Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) has announced the release of two new e-Business services, added to WSCC Connect. The Report Unsafe Work service allows anyone to conveniently and anonymously report unsafe work, in order to identify hazards and implement corrective actions before injuries occur. The second service, Register a Business, allows employers to register a business online through WSCC Connect. All the information required can be completed online in approximately 15 minutes with five easy steps. WSCC Connect, launched in 2015, currently allows employers to Make a Payment, View Assessment Rates, and Request a Clearance. (Full Story)

March 2, 2016 - Minimum wage increase - The Government of Nunavut has issued a reminder to all Nunavummiut and businesses operating in the territory that on April 1, 2016, the minimum wage will increase to $13 per hour. With this increase, Nunavut will once again have the highest minimum wage in Canada. This will also bring the wage to an appropriate amount to better reflect the high cost of living in Nunavut. Those looking for more information about the minimum wage increase are encouraged to contact the Nunavut Labour Standards Compliance Office. (Full Story)

March 21, 2016 - Ontario To Hire 2000 New Correctional Officers - The province will hire 2,000 correctional officers over the next three years to increase staffing levels at Ontario's correctional facilities, enhance access to rehabilitation and reintegration programming, strengthen mental health supports and improve staff and inmate safety. The province's commitment to increase hiring will ensure that staffing levels grow beyond normal turnover and retirement. All new recruits must complete a comprehensive assessment and evaluation as part of a rigorous, eight-week training program. The program includes mental health training and inmate management techniques, and is supported by ongoing training and job coaching following deployment. (Full Story)

March 18, 2016 - Minimum Wage Increases for October 1, 2016 - Ontario is increasing minimum wage rates - the lowest rate that can be paid by employers to employees. Between 1996 and 2003, the general minimum wage in Ontario was frozen at $6.85/hr., but increased annually between 2004 and 2010, and again in 2014 and 2015. Previous to today's announcement, the most recent increase took the general minimum wage from $11/hr. to $11.25/hr. That increase was the result of the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act - passed November 2014 - that tied changes to the minimum wage to the Ontario Consumer Price Index. (Full Story)

February 25, 2016 - Ontario's Investments Creating Jobs for Today and Tomorrow - Finance Minister Charles Sousa has released the 2016 Ontario Budget: Jobs for Today and Tomorrow, which outlines the next phase of the government's plan to create jobs and economic growth. More than 600,000 jobs have been created since the recessionary low in June 2009. Ontario is projected to create more than 300,000 additional jobs by the end of 2019, which would bring total job creation to more than 900,000 net new jobs over a 10-year period. (Full Story)

February 11, 2016 - WSIB releases 2016-2018 Strategic Plan - The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has released its 2016-2018 Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan reflects the WSIB’s commitment to continue strengthening its operations to provide Ontario’s workers and employers with even better service and value. The WSIB now processes 92 per cent of claims within two weeks, up 65 per cent from 2008.  The Unfunded Liability has decreased from $14.2 billion in 2011 to $6.8 billion in late 2015, and could be eliminated it by 2022. As a result, average premium rate reductions of between 10 and 15 per cent may be possible over a five-year period, starting in 2017. (Full Story)

February 8, 2016 - Job Opportunities for Young People in Natural Resource Management - Ontario is offering summer employment opportunities for young people in natural resource management to help develop professional skills and prepare them for successful careers. There are more than 2,000 opportunities - including internships and summer jobs - available for young people in communities across Ontario. There are more than 30 government programs to help youth build skills, start a business or find a job. Since its launch in 2013, the Youth Jobs Strategy has created more than 30,000 job opportunities for young people across the province. (Full Story)

February 5, 2016 - Ontario Adds 19,800 Jobs in January - Ontario's economy continued its positive momentum with the second straight month of job creation, adding 19,800 jobs in January. This brings the total increase in employment since the recessionary low in June 2009 to 608,300. Ontario's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.7 per cent, below the national average. The province's recently announced Business Growth Initiative is helping to grow the economy and create jobs by promoting an innovation-based economy, helping small companies scale-up and modernizing regulations for businesses. (Full Story)

February 3, 2016 - Ontario Allocates $36 Million to Help Apprentices Become Ready to Work - Ontario is supporting growth in high-demand jobs by introducing more young people to careers in the skilled trades to help ensure Ontario's future workforce has the skills and training for the jobs of tomorrow. The money will be invested over two years to help the next generation of skilled tradespeople access the training, equipment and facilities they need to prepare for the workforce. New annual apprenticeship registrations in programs across Ontario have grown from 17,100 in 2002-03 to more than 26,500 in 2014-15. This investment will help support the almost one in five new jobs in the province that is expected to be created in the trades in the coming decade. (Full Story)

March 15, 2016 - Workers Compensation Board Releases New Strategic Plan - The WCB announced the release of their 2016 - 2018 Strategic Plan. The plan was built upon a foundation of research, consultation and partnership with stakeholders to better meet the safety and compensation needs of Island workplaces. Their goal is to ensure that all workplaces are safe, workplace injuries are eliminated and each client experience is one of excellence. The Strategic Plan provides the direction for WCB priorities and maps the future course for the organization and the work they do on behalf of stakeholders. (Full Story)

March 10, 2016 - Employers report all-time high satisfaction with Workers Compensation Board - The results of the 2015 Employer Survey are in and the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) is pleased to report that this year’s survey shows another all-time high (80.9%) in its service satisfaction index. The index is a composite measure of employers’ satisfaction with a variety of service dimensions, including effectiveness, fairness and service delivery. Based on the survey results, 83% of employers surveyed, believe the WCB is effective in providing service, which is up from 74 % in 2013. (Full Story)

March 2, 2016 - Training to increase safety skills within the fishing industry - Training workers involved in the fishery will assist them in increasing their skills and improving safety in the fishing industry on Prince Edward Island, says Minister Richard Brown, Workforce and Advanced Learning. New training, funded by SkillsPEI, will take place at the Holland College Marine Training Centre in Summerside. Approximately 165 individuals will have the opportunity to participate in various training courses, including: Marine Basic First Aid; Marine Advanced First Aid; Marine Emergency Duties; Radio Operator Certification; and Small Vessel Operator Proficiency. This program is funded through the Canada-PEI Labour Market Development Agreement. (Full Story)

February 19, 2016 - Prince Edward Island encouraged by federal investment in student summer jobs - The federal government expansion of the Canada Summer Jobs Program will be a boost for Prince Edward Island students as they seek work experience and develop their careers, says Minister Richard Brown, Workforce and Advanced Learning. The Government of Canada recently announced its plans to double the resources supporting the Canada Summer Jobs Program, with new funding of up to $113 million each year over the next three years, allowing the program to offer close to 70,000 summer jobs for students across Canada from now until 2018. (Full Story)

February 19, 2016 - Workers Compensation Board coverage will now include Island farms - The Workers Compensation Board (WCB) of Prince Edward Island is taking steps to provide workers compensation coverage to workers on Island farms. In 2012, a legislative Review Advisory Committee was appointed to review the Workers Compensation Act. One of the recommendations from the report advised the WCB and Government to consult with the farming industry to discuss their inclusion under the workers compensation system. This would ensure that the farming industry would have similar protection to other workers in the province. Previously, farming employers on Prince Edward Island were not required to have Workers Compensation coverage; it was available on a voluntary basis. (Full Story)

February 2, 2016 - Youth to enhance skills through Connection 2 Employment - Unemployed youth will have the opportunity to enhance their life and employability skills to assist them to successfully transition into the workforce or return to school, says Minister Richard Brown, Workforce and Advanced Learning. Thanks to a partnership between SkillsPEI, the East Prince Youth Development Centre, Holland College, and The Adventure Group, unemployed youth in Prince Edward Island will get the chance to participate in Connection 2 Employment. This project offers participants an opportunity to enhance life and employability skills, and to assist them in making a successful transition into the workforce. Participants will also have an opportunity to take part in a four week work placement with private sector employers across Prince Edward Island. (Full Story)

February 3, 2016 - WCB Workplace Health & Safety Conference - Registration is now open for the 2016 Workers Compensation Board (WCB) Workplace Health and Safety conference. The PEI WCB will host this event as it continues to be an excellent opportunity to come together as safety professionals, employers and workers alike. This year's conference is being held in Charlottetown on Thursday, May 5th as part of North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week. Delegates will be able to customize their learning experience by selecting from a wide variety of workshops relevant to today’s employers, managers, supervisors and workers. (Full Story)

March 4, 2016 - Saskatoon's SkipTheDishes Set to Expand Training and Employment - The technology firm with offices in Saskatoon plans to expand their Saskatchewan workforce by 300 jobs in the next three years. Increased employment in Saskatchewan's technology sector will add strength to the province's diversified economy. The government is committed to removing barriers to growth and investment, and that includes working with businesses to create jobs in the province and keep them in Saskatchewan. (Full Story)

February 9, 2016 - Employment Supports for People with Hearing Loss - Saskatchewan Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (SDHHS) will receive $385,088 in funding from the Government of Saskatchewan to deliver its Vocational Counselling, Disabilities & Employment Supports program. Established in 2010, the program offers a range of services to both individuals and employers to assist people living with hearing loss. The company works to remove barriers to employment, and provide individuals the supports they need to participate in the province's labour market. This only opens the door to employment, by providing counselling, job coaching, and interpreters, but for many this funding provides access to language. (Full Story)

February 5, 2016 - Saskatchewan Posts One of the Strongest Job Growth Rates in Canada - 2016 began with Saskatchewan posting one of the strongest rates of year over year job growth in Canada. There were 5,200 more people working in Saskatchewan in January 2016 compared to January 2015. That's an employment growth rate of 0.9 per cent, third best in Canada and ahead of the national growth rate of 0.7 per cent. Six provinces lost jobs over the past year, including Alberta which lost 38,100 jobs and Manitoba which lost 7,900 jobs. In January, Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate was 5.6 per cent (seasonally adjusted), the lowest rate among the provinces and below the national average of 7.2 per cent. For 27 of the last 28 months, Saskatchewan has maintained the lowest unemployment rate in the country. (Full Story)

February 4, 2016 - Assistance to Remove Employment Barriers for People Living with Disabilities - An agreement between the Government of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Abilities Council will provide $904,438 in funding to help the council deliver its Partners in Employment program.  The program offers a range of services to both individuals and employers to assist people living with disabilities in Regina and Moose Jaw. The Saskatchewan Abilities Council does work that enables Saskatchewan people to enter the workforce to develop their skills and further contribute to the communities in which they live and work. The individualized services available at Partners in Employment are designed to help people with barriers find, secure and maintain long-term community employment. (Full Story)

March 17, 2016 - Alternative Assessment Procedure - If you’re a truck or transport firm located in Yukon and your workers travel to other provinces, or if your firm is outside Yukon but your workers travel within the territory, you must register and pay premiums for these workers in each of the jurisdictions they travel through. This practice is consistent with workers’ compensation board requirements across Canada. The good news is you can pay through the alternative assessment procedure (AAP), which simplifies premium payments for interjurisdictional trucking and transport firms. Employers and workers in each province or territory using the alternative procedure receive the same rights, benefits and protection as those who don’t travel between jurisdictions. (Full Story)

February 27, 2016 - Changes to WHMIS 2015 for Employers - WHMIS Provides Canadian workers about hazardous products  used in the workplace. In 2015, was updated to along with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS). This means that the requirements are now in line with the USA and Canada's other trading partners. WHMIS 2015 includes chabges to 1) Hazardous Products Classification, 2) Labelling Requirements, and 3) Safety Data Sheets. Please view the video to learn more about the changes. (Full Story)

Featured Article

The benefits of offering benefits

Attracting, retaining quality employees just part of return on investment

Employers are once again concerned about a capability gap appearing in the marketplace, as it seems the gulf between candidate skills and the needs of employers is widening. Perhaps this is due to the rapid change technology brings about and/or a perceived lag in educational training. Yet, the last time a shortage of skilled employees plagued the market, it resulted in some pretty creative recruitment strategies. For instance, candidates were being offered signing bonuses, a free laptop even if they weren't selected as a finalist candidate and/or the ability to bring their dog to work.

One unique situation comes to mind where a candidate requested a desk made out of Lego blocks. Whether this request was a joke or not, the candidate was hired, and the employer built a desk out of 3,000 Lego blocks.

The capability gap appears to be repeating itself, and recruiters are once again becoming creative in their candidate search strategies. This time, recruiters are using targeted social-media campaigns, along with YouTube videos, blogs written by happy employees and slick slogans to advertise their job roles. Still others are setting up competitive candidate events where everyone is given a similar task with the winner(s) taking home the prize job.

More attention is also being paid to the work environment. For instance, more and more organizations are moving toward open-space work units that are flexible and can be moved around. Some employers are also now providing perks such as free in-house yoga classes, nap and playrooms, as well as all-day access to fruit and vegetables, healthy snacks and drinks.

Still others focus on ensuring a positive company image through creative websites and advertise their use of the latest technology as a means of attracting new employees. They work hard to ensure positive interpersonal relationships within the company and have become more informal than formal in their dress and demeanour.

At the same time, most large organizations are also realizing the value of a competitive compensation and benefits packages as part of an attraction and retention strategy.

On the other hand, there are still a number of small-business owners who don't understand how valuable employee benefits are to employee recruitment and retention. Instead, they fret over perceived costs. This belief and/or philosophy is unfortunate because in the long run, it may well strangle the chances of long-term business success. According to a study by McKinsey Quarterly, benefits are key to attracting and retaining employees.

So just what is the value of offering employee benefits?

  • Demonstrates corporate commitment - Candidates looking at an organization as a potential employer will see it is willing to invest in employees. They perceive they will have value in making the company successful.
  • Reduce turnover - Employees tend to stay when they achieve job satisfaction. Studies show there is a reciprocal relationship between job satisfaction and the receipt of employee benefits. Offering benefits helps to create employee loyalty, thus reducing turnover.
  • Enhance employee morale - Offering employee benefits that match and address the personal needs of a workforce also shows the company cares; this in turn creates a healthy environment. Once again, research shows happy employees are more productive and help create a positive work environment.
  • Support good health - At one time, employers felt employee health was none of their business. Now, it is realized time away from work costs the employer a lot of money. Thus, benefits support the good health of employees and help to reduce the number of sick days. Employees, too, are seen to pay more attention to their health overall.
  • Variety meets individual needs - Typical benefits include life insurance, short- and long-term disability, dental and vision plans, paid vacation time, maternity, paternity and sick leave. However, creative companies have combined these with things such as product discounts, tuition reimbursement and/or opportunities for paid professional development.
  • Cost sharing creates respect - Employees want benefits and value them. In most cases, employee cost-sharing is accepted and welcomed. This creates a sense of appreciation for everyone's contribution.
  • Benefits can be an educational tool - Most employees take good health for granted, and so a benefit plan and its educational component can serve to remind people of its value. Employees should understand what a plan offers, how it is managed and what the overall benefits cost. Employees should be provided with an annual statement so they can see exactly what services they have used.

While understanding the benefits of offering employee benefits, small-business owners are often overwhelmed by the complexity of service offerings. However, there are several insurance-service providers in the market today, and the services they offer are excellent: a wide roster of programs, innovative tools, educational materials, employee and employer online access and annual analytics. This enables a sense of freedom and control for all parties, yet outside support is there when questions arise.

A benefit provider can help determine the type of plan best suited to an individual company and its employees' needs, balance future needs versus today's needs and work with an insurance professional to implement cost-control tools.

It is a shame many small owner-operated businesses often focus too much attention on the costs of providing employee benefits and fail to see the investment value received in return.

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

Software Updates

GrandMaster Suite v8.05 (Current Release)

  • Payroll Internet Resources - Links to third-party payroll resoueces have been updated.
  • T4 Form Background - A new option has been added that includes the form background for T4's that are printed to PDF.
  • T4 Code Explanations - New check box entitled “with explanations” that will print a T4 code explanation page after every T4 form printed. This option is useful for those who wish to print double-sided forms.
  • ROE PDF - Printed ROE's will now automatically be produced as a PDF that includes the latest form background (marked as Draft) as issued by the CRA. Paper copies can now be used only for office use as the CRA only accepts the official .XML export file.

eNETEmployer (Current Release)

  • Manual T4s - Fixed issue where the business number was not being added to a T4 that was created manually. In addition, manually added T4's will be set to the Full Rate by default. We also updated the T4/T4A Review to include manually created forms.
  • Special Characters for XML - Removed special characters that would appear under certain cases in T4, T4A, and RELEVE XMLs.
  • Benefit Items - Adjusted displayed result where the fixed amount for benefit items was not showing the cents portion.
  • Adjusted T4 Box 52 - Now the box will only show the dollar amount when printing while the  xml will include the cents amount.
    ROE Web Adjustment - Changed the ROE web to include a "1" for Total Insurable Hours if there are none. This will prevent the file from being rejected when uploading to ROE Web.
  • Pay Sequence Menu - Fixed issue where the Pay Sequence drop down menu was only displaying sequences for the current "actual" calendar year.

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