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

Payroll News Canada

October 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 Canadian Payroll and HR. 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

October 2016 - CRA Business Tax Reminders - Did you know that the CRA provides a mobile app lets business users create custom reminders and alerts for key CRA due dates related to instalment payments, returns, and remittances? The Business Tax Reminders mobile app is recommended for small and medium-sized businesses, and allows users to a) create custom reminders for key CRA due dates related to instalment payments, returns, and remittances; and b) customize and tailor the reminder system for their personal business deadlines with either calendar or pop-up messages. Click Here to learn more about the CRA Business Tax Reminders mobile application.

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

October 12, 2016 - Minister helps launch a unique work­integrated learning program - A one-of-a-kind program that provides students with free tuition and a salary while they learn on the job is being praised by the Government of Canada as an innovative example of work-integrated learning. Minister Bains pointed to the program as an innovative example of how Canada can help prepare its young people for a rapidly changing job market and highlighted the importance of developing a diverse talent pool that includes more women. (Full Story)

October 11, 2016 - Government of Canada highlights National Disability Employment Awareness Month - The Government of Canada highlighted that October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month across Canada. Employers are being challenged to think about how they can make their business more inclusive during this important month. While the Government of Canada continues to work to ensure equal opportunity for all Canadians in their communities and workplaces, there is still a gap in the employment of Canadians with disabilities. According to the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability, Canadians with disabilities were employed at a rate of 47 percent compared with 74 percent for Canadians without disabilities. (Full Story)

October 6, 2016 - Canada Pension Plan enhancement - On October 6, 2016, legislation was introduced to enhance the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) administers Part 1 of the CPP and is committed to providing taxpayers and businesses with up-to-date information. All new forms, policies, and guidelines will be posted as they become available and updated. Bill C-26 proposes to enhance the CPP to increase the amount working Canadians will receive from the CPP in their retirement years, from one-quarter to one-third of their eligible earnings.  The federal working income tax benefit (WITB) will also be increased to offset the increase in CPP contributions of eligible low-income workers. (Full Story)

October 6, 2016 - Liberals to consult on promises of parental leave, compassionate care benefits - The federal minister in charge of employment insurance says he wants to hear from Canadians before making any changes to benefits. That could include, as one Liberal has already proposed, allowing pregnant women in dangerous or challenging jobs to start taking their 15 weeks of maternity leave before they give birth. The consultations, which started Thursday, will look at the Liberal campaign promise to expand parental leave and compassionate care benefits to Canadians who care for a family member. The four week period will give employers, workers, provinces, and experts a chance to make policy recommendations. (Full Story)

October 6, 2016 - Government Introduces Legislation for a Stronger Canada Pension Plan and a More Secure Retirement for Canadians - Middle class Canadians are working harder than ever, but many are worried that they won’t have enough put away for their retirement. One in four families approaching retirement - 1.1 million families - are at risk of not saving enough. That’s why the Government of Canada is committed to helping Canadians achieve their goal of a safe, secure and dignified retirement, and has worked with the provinces and territories to strengthen the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). All nine CPP participating provinces have now confirmed their support for the agreement concluded on June 20, 2016 in Vancouver. (Full Story)

October 5, 2016 - Equal pay for work of equal value - The Government of Canada has tabled its response in Parliament to the report of the House of Commons Special Committee on Pay Equity. The Government will embark on meaningful consultations and careful study of the issue, and table proactive pay equity legislation for federally regulated workplaces by the end of 2018, which will require employers to regularly and proactively review their compensation systems, identify any gender-based disparities, and take measures to address them. According to the Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada, in 2015, for every dollar earned by men, women earn about 87 cents in the federal private sector and Crown corporations. (Full Story)

September 29, 2016 - Growing the Canadian workforce and supporting green jobs for youth - As part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to strengthening the middle class and helping those working hard to join it, the Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour has announced the funding approval of 96 projects that will benefit over 3,400 youth, people with disabilities and newcomers looking for employment. The majority of projects focus on helping youth and people with disabilities get job skills training and work experience. More than 2,500 youth between the ages of 15 and 30 will benefit from programs and services that will improve their job skills, hands‑on experience and career development. (Full Story)

September 28, 2016 - Salary increases expected to stay flat in 2017: Survey - Amid continuing uncertainty over the direction of the Canadian and global economies, Canadian employers are not expecting to make higher increases to compensation budgets for 2017, according to a survey of 347 employers by Aon Hewitt. Base pay is expected to increase by 2.8 per cent in 2017, up from 2.6 per cent (including salary freezes and pay cuts) in 2016. Spending on variable pay is expected to be 15.4 per cent of payroll - unchanged from 2016. Employers are clearly reluctant to earmark higher compensation increases as they prepare for a highly competitive landscape in 2017. (Full Story)

September 26, 2016 - Veterans to receive help to overcome barriers to jobs - Veterans struggling with mental health issues are receiving skills training and the support they need to obtain and retain employment. The Transitions to Communities program will provide employment assistance services to vulnerable Veterans who struggle with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or operational stress injuries (e.g. post-traumatic stress disorder). This will complement existing programs that Veterans Affairs Canada offers to Veterans to assist with the transition to civilian life and employment. (Full Story)

September 20, 2016 - 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, 2016 to December 31, 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)

September 14, 2016 - CEIC announces 2017 Employment Insurance Premium Rate and Maximum Insurable Earnings - The Canada Employment Insurance Commission (CEIC) has announced that the EI premium rate for 2017 will be $1.63 per $100 of insurable earnings, which is the seven-year break even rate forecast by the Chief Actuary in the 2017 Actuarial Report on the Employment Insurance Premium Rate. The release of the new EI premium rate for 2017 marks the beginning of the CEIC assuming responsibility for setting the annual EI premium rate. (Full Story)

September 6, 2016 - Skills Link program assists in eliminating barriers to employment - High-risk Calgary youth, more than half of which are expected to be Syrian refugees and immigrants, will learn how to overcome barriers to employment, learn critical job skills and prepare to transition to the job market or return to school. The Enhancing Refugee Youth Employment Outcomes, a project to be delivered over a 33-week period under the Government of Canada’s Skills Link program, will help 48 youth overcome barriers to employment and develop a wide range of jobs skills. Included in the program is a 10-week paid work experience where youth will be placed in entry-level private sector positions where demand is high. (Full Story)

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


October - 11, 2016 - Key infrastructure projects create 8,000 jobs in 2016 - Capital Plan 2016 investments have created jobs and spurred construction activity across the province, bringing new roads, schools and health facilities to Albertans. "Our government has chosen to significantly invest in infrastructure to help stimulate the economy, support Alberta's families and address the province’s infrastructure deficit. This investment is already paying off. Enhancements to the Capital Plan will support an additional 8,000 estimated jobs in 2016." said Brian Mason, Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation. (Full Story)

October 7, 2016 - Who's afraid of a living wage? - The sky is falling. Again. On October 1, minimum wages went up in several provinces, including Ontario, Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island. But it was the hike in Alberta that got the most attention. Following through on an election promise, the NDP government there is raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by late 2018 on an incremental basis. This week’s raise to $12.20 amounted to a rise of $1, or more than 8 per cent over the previous level, and leaves Alberta with the highest provincial rate. (Nunavut, at $13, is higher still.) Business groups reacted predictably, warning of Armageddon. Restaurants Canada, the industry lobby, claimed that 78 per cent of its members in the province would cut hours and 50 per cent would lay off workers, based on a survey of members. (Full Story)

September 30, 2016 - Job grant helps employers get better trained workers - Employers are seeing the benefits of the Canada-Alberta Job Grant (CAJG) that is helping businesses gain and retain workers with the right skills. Launched in October 2014, the Canada-Alberta Job Grant responds to Alberta’s labour challenges by helping employers build a skilled workforce to meet current and future needs. As of June 2016, more than $29 million has been approved for training. More than 5,700 applications have been approved for more than 2,400 unique employers in Alberta. The program lets employers decide who gets trained and what type of training their current or prospective employee should receive. (Full Story)

September 29, 2016 - Tax credit would help small businesses, investors create jobs - A tax credit for investments in small Alberta businesses would support up to 4,400 new jobs over three years and contribute up to $500 million to the province’s GDP. As part of the Alberta Jobs Plan, legislation to create the Alberta Investor Tax Credit (AITC) will be introduced during the fall sitting of the legislature. It will offer a 30 per cent tax credit for investments in Alberta small business made between April 14 of this year and December 31, 2019. The registration process for the tax credit will be announced pending the passage of accompanying legislation this fall. (Full Story)

September 28, 2016 - Oct. 1 minimum wage increase will support Alberta families - Low-income Albertans will take another significant step toward a living wage on Saturday, Oct. 1 when the province’s general minimum wage goes up $1 per hour. The increase will mark the second in a series of progressive steps that will give Alberta a $15 per hour minimum wage by 2018. The lower minimum wage for liquor servers will also be eliminated. In addition to the 2016 increase, the general minimum wage will rise by $1.40 to $13.60 per hour on Oct. 1, 2017, and a further $1.40 to $15 per hour on Oct. 1, 2018. (Full Story)

September 20, 2016 - Alberta helps entrepreneurs create new job opportunities - The Government of Alberta is supporting enterprising Albertans during the current economic downturn by providing training on running their own business. Albertans looking to take new products, services or ideas to market can work with experts and mentors to create business plans, connect with investors and learn best practices as part of the Alberta government’s Self-Employment training program. Approximately $1.9 million is allocated to Self-Employment training for 2016-17 in partnership with the Government of Canada. (Full Story)

September 17, 2015 - Province supports innovation in employment for Albertans with disabilities - More Albertans with disabilities will become employed through four innovative projects that promote inclusive workplaces. These four projects support youth, First Nation communities, employers and community organizations and will advance Alberta’s Employment First Strategy by providing inclusive and accessible workplaces for people with disabilities. "Our province is better because we welcome and embrace diversity. Albertans with disabilities are a vital part of our communities, and significant participants in the workplace and our success as a province." said Irfan Sabir, Minister of Human Services. (Full Story)

September 15, 2016 - Alberta committed to protecting at-risk workers - Focused inspections by Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) will ensure that vulnerable workers are safe and treated fairly. The Government of Alberta is helping protect workers by conducting OHS inspections at workplaces that typically employ at-risk workers. OHS officers will be looking to ensure that OHS legislation is being followed, including rules around hazard assessment documents, first-aid training, working alone and workplace violence. Officers will also be looking for potential violations of employment standards, including those related to hours of work, payment of wages, overtime and holiday pay. (Full Story)

September 07, 2016 - New support to create jobs, attract investment, diversify local economies - As part of the Alberta Jobs Plan, the provincial government is giving support to municipalities and organizations to work together on economic development projects that diversify and grow local economies. Through the new CARES program, communities will have access to $30 million over two years. The CARES Program will have three grant application intake periods, with the first one beginning on Oct. 1, 2016 and ending Nov. 30, 2016. (Full Story)

October 11, 2016 - WorkBC’s Find Your Fit to showcase B.C.’s in-demand jobs in Fort St. John - Young people of Fort St. John will have an opportunity to learn the skills they will need for tomorrow’s in-demand occupations. WorkBC’s Find Your Fit tour is an interactive event where individuals of all ages can learn about B.C.’s in-demand careers and test out some of the skills they would need for those occupations. Participants will also get to know career planning tools - such as Blueprint Builder and Career Trek videos - and the job resources and labour market information WorkBC.ca offers. (Full Story)

October 4, 2016 - B.C. confirms support for Canada Pension Plan enhancement - The Government of British Columbia has confirmed support for the proposed Canada Pension Plan enhancement after considering feedback received through an online consultation during the summer. This historic agreement strengthens the Canada Pension Plan to better-support future generations of Canadians and their families in retirement. Once fully phased-in, the changes increase the maximum benefit workers entering the workforce over the next few years will receive by between 33% and 52%, compared to the current system. (Full Story)

September 27, 2016 - Maternity and parental leave benefits exempted for people on assistance - On Oct. 1, 2016, the Province will make Employment Insurance (EI) maternity and parental benefits and EI benefits for parents caring for critically ill children fully exempt for people on income and disability assistance. B.C. is only the second province after Quebec to exempt EI maternity and parental benefits from monthly provincial assistance. This builds on a number of significant changes the Province has made over the last 18 months to further support families with children on assistance, including exempting Canada Pension Plan orphan’s benefits and WorkSafeBC child benefits from income, disability or hardship assistance. (Full Story)

September 27, 2016 - Creating better access to tech employment - A study that will help create improved access to engineering and technology employment opportunities for people with disabilities is being launched in the Lower Mainland. The Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of B.C. (ASTTBC) association is receiving funding to look at different barriers to employment, as well as new opportunities, for people with disabilities to work in the tech industry. Through surveys of at least 125 employers who hire tech-related employees, employer workshops and focus groups with people with disabilities, the final report will feature best practices to support hiring people with disabilities, as well as specific training and educational needs. (Full Story)

September 26, 2016 - Workplace safety for small businesses - Small business owners wear many hats every day, and are often required to be experts in everything from payroll to technology to purchasing. Workplace safety may feel like uncharted territory for a new business owner or manager, but WorkSafeBC says it can help. Employers can also look for resources to mitigate injuries related to employee workstation ergonomics. Workers can be involved in this process before injury occurs, by sharing ideas to minimize the physical stress of tasks and looking to change ineffective or unsafe work practices. Collaborating with workers leads to improved engagement and long-term solutions in improving work habits. (Full Story)

September 22, 2016 - B.C. and forest industry partner to meet workforce needs - To ensure that the forest industry has the skilled workforce it needs in the future, the Province has partnered with the B.C. Forest Safety Council (BCFSC) and the Council of Forest Industries (COFI) on two new Forest Workforce projects that will support the recruitment, identification and skills assessment of qualified workers. The goal of the project is to establish the competencies and develop assessment tools that employers can use to evaluate worker qualifications. Forestry stakeholders are also working with COFI to research existing career information and to identify gaps as well as materials to help the recruitment of new workers. (Full Story)

September 21, 2016 - Cost of payday loans to drop amid look at all high-cost financial services - The borrowing rates of high-cost, short-term cash loans - payday loans- will be lowered under regulations coming into effect Jan. 1, 2017. As of Jan. 1, 2017, the maximum allowable charge for a payday loan in B.C. will drop from $23 to $17 for every $100 borrowed, making it the second-lowest rate in Canada. Almost 159,000 British Columbians took out payday loans in 2015, according to information provided to Consumer Protection BC by the payday loan industry. (Full Story)

September 16, 2016 - Student outcome survey shows apprenticeship training in B.C. pays off - A survey of over 2,800 former apprenticeship students in British Columbia demonstrates that the completion of trades apprenticeship training overwhelmingly leads students to well-paying jobs. The survey showed that 97% of former traditional apprenticeships students were in the labour force (employed or looking for work) in comparison to an 82% labour force participation rate for the B.C. population. (Full Story)

September 14, 2016 - British Columbia’s minimum wage increased on Sept. 15 - As announced on May 4, 2016, the British Columbia government is increasing the minimum wage in two stages beginning Thursday, Sept. 15, to better reflect the province’s overall economic growth and ensure all workers benefit from B.C.’s thriving job market. The first increase – effective Sept. 15 of this year – will be 40 cents and will bring the general minimum wage up to $10.85 per hour and the liquor server minimum wage to $9.60. These new rates include the 10 cents scheduled for the 2015 Consumer Price Index (CPI), plus an additional 30 cents. (Full Story)

September 29, 2016 - Manitoba Government Consulting An Approach To Minimum Wage - As the Manitoba government seeks ways to foster long-term, sustainable economic growth, the province is seeking the input of Manitoba taxpayers and business owners on a new approach to minimum wage. the government is welcoming the input of all Manitobans as they consult on an approach to minimum wage in the province that will ensure Manitobans are well positioned to grow the economy and increase employment (Full Story)

September 7, 2016 - Many Manitobans living pay cheque to pay cheque, not saving enough for retirement - For many working Canadians, and for those in Manitoba, the road to a comfortable retirement is becoming longer and more difficult. A large portion of the working population is living pay cheque to pay cheque, unable to save, and worried about their local economy, according to the Canadian Payroll Association's eighth annual Research Survey of Employed Canadians, released today ahead of National Payroll Week. The survey reveals that only 36% of working Canadians and only 32% of those in Manitoba expect the economy in their city or town to improve in the coming year. (Full Story)

September 1, 2016 - WCB Celebrates 100 Years of Serving Manitobans - One hundred years ago, on September 1, 1916, 14 staff members gathered in the Paris building on Portage Avenue to form the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba (WCB). Over the last 100 years, the WCB has kept in step with the changing times, evolving its services to offer greater support to the employers and workers of this province. Programs like Return to Work, SAFE Work Manitoba and the Appeal Commission were not part of the original Workers Compensation Act (the Act) but now play an important role in the WCB system. (Full Story)

October 4, 2016 - WorkSafeNB announces increase in average assessment rate for 2017 - The average assessment rate for New Brunswick employers in 2017 will increase from $1.11 per $100 of payroll to $1.48 per $100 of payroll. It’s the first increase approved by the board of directors since 2010. Over the last six years, the average rate declined from $2.08 in 2010 to $1.11 in 2016. Increasing claim costs, mainly as a result of changes to benefit policies coupled with a slight increase in accident frequency, have led to a reduction in WorkSafeNB’s funding position. The average rate increase will see assessed premiums increase for most employers. Individual employers will see smaller or larger increases based on their accident experience. (Full Story)

October 4, 2016 - 2017 assessment rate maintained under the Firefighters’ Compensation Act - WorkSafeNB's board of directors announced today that the 2017 assessment rate under the Firefighters’ Compensation Act (FC Act) will remain at $690 per firefighter. The rate is effective January 1, 2017. The rate is designed to cover continuing claim costs while reducing the unfunded liability. The board of directors decided to maintain the rate for 2017 because of stable claim costs and positive investment returns. (Full Story)

September 27, 2016 - Province invests $1 million to help unemployed adults learn a second official language - The provincial government will invest up to $1 million to provide free access to second-language training for unemployed adults, adding more courses on demand and making them more affordable. "We are listening to New Brunswickers," said Premier Brian Gallant. "Many people realize the economic benefits that bilingualism creates, but some need help to become more fluent in their second language so they can compete for bilingual jobs." Training at NBCC‎ and CCNB will be provided at no cost to unemployed New Brunswickers beginning in January 2017. Employment insurance recipients will be eligible to continue receiving those benefits while taking second-language training. (Full Story)

September 26, 2016 - Investment in Miramichi senior employment program - The provincial government is investing $196,000 in the Miramichi John Howard Society through the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers program. The program began this summer, helping people over the age of 55 to re-enter the workforce. A variety of services are offered, including resumé writing, job search strategies and interview tips. The aim of the program is to reach more than 40 participants, specifically those in communities affected by significant downsizing or closures. The initiative is funded by the department’s Research and Innovation program, supporting pilot projects and research leading to new ways to help people transition to the labour force. (Full Story)

September 9, 2016 - Consultation announced on minimum wage and employment standards - The public is invited to participate in consultations on indexing the minimum wage to inflation, employment protection for youth and coverage under the Employment Standards Act. Since 2014, the provincial government has increased the minimum wage twice, to $10.65 per hour, and is committed to further increasing it to $11 per hour by 2017 and then indexing it to the rate of inflation. (Full Story)

October 7, 2016 - Assisting Youth to Achieve Career and Employment Goals - The government has announced more than $1.5 million in project approvals for Linkages, a career and employment program to help young people succeed in Newfoundland and Labrador. Funded through the Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour, in partnership with non-profit community-based agencies, Linkages assists young people who have challenges transitioning from school into the labour force. With a focus on youth who are non-Employment Insurance eligible, Linkages aims to help individuals return to school to further their education; enter skills training; continue employment; or pursue self-employment. (Full Story)

September 29, 2016 - Public Advisory: Provincial Consultations on Apprenticeship Wage Subsidy Conclude - The Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour advises that the final session for consultations on the Apprenticeship Wage Subsidy program scheduled for Labrador City tomorrow has been cancelled due to a lack of participants. People can still submit written comments using the discussion document, available at www.aes.gov.nl.ca/lmda/apprenticeship.html. The consultations are ensuring stakeholders have an opportunity to provide input on what they feel is currently working with the Apprenticeship Wage Subsidy program and equally, what changes or modifications they would view as necessary given the current and future labour market demands for skilled trades. (Full Story)

September 16, 2016 - Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission Launches New Campaign - The Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) has launched Worth It, a new campaign aimed at highlighting the importance of workplace safety. "The WSCC wants people to stop and think about why being safe at work is important to them, why returning home at the end of the day, week, or month is worth it," explained Dave Grundy, WSCC President and CEO. The microsite, www.worth-it.ca, provides information about the Worth It campaign in English, French, and Inuktitut. Additional phases of this campaign will be rolled out later in 2016 and 2017, highlighting the services the WSCC offers to employers, supervisors, workers, and Northerners in general. (Full Story)

September 6, 2016 - OHS Program for Small Businesses - The Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut releases the Occupational Health and Safety Program Guide for Small Businesses, a new initiative to assist small businesses in developing their own Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Programs. The WSCC defines a small business as an operation with less than 20 employees. While small businesses in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are generally not required to develop a formal OHS Program, having a program is a best practice. (Full Story)

October 12, 2016 - WCB Policy consultation underway - WCB Nova Scotia has a revolving program policy agenda that determines the policy topics for coming years, and is set through consultation by stakeholders. The next topic is the development of a new policy regarding workers with pre-existing medical conditions. In spring 2016, WCB's Board of Directors approved a two stage policy consultation on this topic.  The first stage of the consultation took place in June 2016 and involved a working group composed of key stakeholders including injured workers, labour, and employer groups.  This paper initiates the second stage of consultation. (Full Story)

October 5, 2016 - Advancing Apprenticeship Training - More young Nova Scotians will have the chance to gain valuable on-the-job training with changes to the province's apprenticeship system. Amendments to the province's trade regulations increase training ratios for automotive service technician, truck and transport mechanic and cook apprentices from one apprentice per journeyperson to two apprentices per journeyperson. These changes, which are set to take effect in spring 2017, advance the province's efforts to harmonize training and certification requirements with other provinces and territories and to improve mobility for those completing their training and certification out of the province. (Full Story)

September 6, 2016 - Province Launches New Employment Services Network Across Nova Scotia - The province has launched its new employment services system, Nova Scotia Works. The new system will strengthen Nova Scotia's workforce by providing better front line services and support for youth, job seekers and employers. "We've been working hard to ensure all Nova Scotians looking for work have access to the employment services they need, no matter where they live," said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan. "This new system will provide the support they need to find a good job, and it will also help employers find skilled workers." (Full Story)

September 1, 2016 - WCB Nova Scotia announces 2017 employer rates, focus on healthcare - The high cost of workplace injury in long-term care and home care is beginning to show in 2017 rates, with increases in assessment rates for both industry groups, WCB Nova Scotia announced today as part of its 2017 Rate Announcement.  WCB rates are responsive to an employer’s workplace safety and return-to-work performance. While the average rate is holding steady for the 13th year at $2.65 per $100 of assessable payroll, about 58 per cent of employers will pay less than they did last year, and 42 per cent will pay more. A small number of employers are surcharged, meaning their cost experience is at least three times higher than their industry average for at least four consecutive years. (Full Story)

September 27, 2016 - June Employment Statistics - The Government of Nunavut has released the Employment statistics report for June 2016. The report strives to serve the public by providing timely, accurate data about the public service. The Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA) contains Article 23, with the objective of increasing Inuit participation in government employment in Nunavut to a representative level. This snapshot of employment statistics is reported quarterly in the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut and the statistics represent the Inuit employment level within the GN in several different categories; occupational, community, region, and department. (Full Story)

September 6, 2016 - OHS Program for Small Businesses - The Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut releases the Occupational Health and Safety Program Guide for Small Businesses, a new initiative to assist small businesses in developing their own Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Programs. The WSCC defines a small business as an operation with less than 20 employees. While small businesses in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are generally not required to develop a formal OHS Program, having a program is a best practice. (Full Story)

October 7, 2016 - Ontario Adds 16,200 Jobs in September - Employment in Ontario increased by 16,200 in September -- including gains across the province in a number of sectors. The September job growth brings the total increase in employment since the recessionary low in June 2009 to more than 600,000 jobs. The majority of net new jobs in Ontario are full time positions in the private sector and in industries that pay above average wages. Ontario's unemployment rate was 6.6 per cent in September, and has been lower than the national average for 17 months in a row. (Full Story)

October 7, 2016 - Global Giant Creating 1,500 New Technology Jobs - Ontario's highly skilled workforce, culture of innovation and competitive business climate have helped the province secure a landmark investment from Thomson Reuters - it is expected to create 400 high-quality technology jobs in the next two years and approximately 1,500 jobs in the future. Thomson Reuters chose Ontario because of the province's diverse pool of highly skilled and talented workers, applauding all orders of government for their commitment to jobs, innovation and the knowledge economy. (Full Story)

October 7, 2016 - Ontario Helping Create Jobs and Growth in Northern Television Industry - Ontario is helping strengthen and diversify the economy and create good jobs for people in the North by supporting the rapidly-growing television production sector. Support for the television industry in the North is an important part of the government's Growth Plan for Northern Ontario. The plan is helping to create a globally competitive northern economy, support communities, renew and expand modern infrastructure, and support a healthy environment. (Full Story)

September 29, 2016 - Ontario Increased Minimum Wage on October 1 - As part of its balanced plan to build Ontario up and help people in their everyday lives, Ontario raised the general minimum wage from $11.25 to $11.40 on October 1, 2016 - the third consecutive year it has increased. Minimum wage rates for liquor servers, students under the age of 18, hunting and fishing guides, and homeworkers will also increase at the same time. In 2014, the government passed legislation to tie minimum wage increases to Ontario's Consumer Price Index (CPI), providing annual, reliable increases to workers and predictability for businesses. As a result, full-time minimum wage earners in the province are making $2,392 per year more than they did three years ago. (Full Story)

September 14, 2016 - WSIB Announces First Premium Rate Reduction Since 2001 - Safer workplaces, better outcomes for injured workers and operational and financial improvements have left Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) in its strongest position in decades. This has resulted in a five per cent reduction on the average premium rate for 2017. The rate reduction comes after brisk progress in paying down the WSIB’s unfunded liability. (Full Story)

October 12, 2106 - WCB Policy Consultation - The Workers Compensation Board of PEI is inviting your feedback on a number of recent policy changes. The policies include; Travel and Related Expenses (POL-03), Medications (POL-120), and Home Modifications and Special Equipment(POL-131). The board invites those interested in providing feedback to these draft policies to submit their feedback by October 27, 2016 in the Policy Consultation section of their website. (Full Story)

September 29, 2016 - The Humble Barber success is turning heads with help from Self Employ PEI - Sean Aylward, owner and operator of The Humble Barber, is the epitome of a hardworking Island entrepreneur. Opening in downtown Summerside in March 2015, Aylward’s barber shop received support through SkillsPEI’s Self Employ PEI program during its first year of operation. He recently opened a second location in downtown Charlottetown and now employs five Islanders between the two shops. The Self Employ PEI Program assists clients in their first year of operation through the Canada-PEI Labour Market Development Agreement. The program also offers up to $1,000 for a business planning consultant to assist with financing or marketing plans. (Full Story)

September 28, 2016 - PEIANC and Province host Alternate Careers Day for Newcomers - The PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada (PEIANC) in collaboration with the Department of Workforce and Advanced Learning hosted an Alternate Careers Day. This event brought together newcomers, employers, and industry representatives to discuss ways newcomers can explore alternate careers, and the ways their skills can be of benefit to the Island labour force. Alternate Careers Day connects newcomers to unfilled career opportunities that are currently available in Prince Edward Island. The event will also provide information to newcomers about applying their transferable skills to Canadian career options. (Full Story)

September 22, 2016 - Women learning about non-traditional career options - A new project in Prince Edward Island is teaching women about careers they might not have otherwise considered. The Women’s Economic Empowerment Project - led by Women’s Network PEI with support from the province’s Department of Workforce and Advanced Learning - promotes career options in trades and technology for women through a variety of programming, including Trade HERizons and PropELLE programs. It uses a mix of hands-on learning and classroom sessions. The Women’s Economic Empowerment Project is made possible by the Women’s Network PEI and funding from the Province through the Canada-PEI Labour Market Development Agreement and the Canada-PEI Job Fund Agreement. (Full Story)

September 19, 2016 - Artisan crafts provide a doorway to the workforce - Islanders wanting to connect with the labour force are learning traditional arts and crafts as a way to broaden their skills and make them more employable. A partnership between the provincial and federal governments and the Aboriginal community, the 20-week project exposes participants to classroom and hand-on training in Mi’kmaq arts and crafts. Participants can also engage in planning development and business techniques of Abegweit First Nation’s community garden and learn how it contributes to food tourism and making Prince Edward Island Canada’s Food Island. Funding is provided by SkillsPEI and the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS) coordinated through the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI on behalf of Abegweit First Nation. (Full Story)

October 1, 2016 - Province Declares Disability Employment Awareness Month in October - The Government of Saskatchewan is pleased to proclaim the month of October as Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM). This is an opportunity to raise awareness of the employment barriers that many people with disabilities face. Employers can connect with employment professionals in their area and learn more about inclusive employment by visiting EmployLink (www.employlink.ca), an employment network designed to connect job seekers and employers to employment professionals. (Full Story)

September 27, 2016 - Minimum Wage Increase Effective October 1 - Saskatchewan’s minimum wage will increase to $10.72 an hour.  The change will take effect on October 1, 2016. Saskatchewan’s legislation provides for an annual review based on changes to the consumer price index and the average hourly wage. Any changes to the minimum wage are announced by June 30 each year.  Any changes take effect October 1. There are approximately 23,200 minimum wage earners in Saskatchewan’s workforce.  The majority (56 per cent) are under the age of 25 and largely work in the accommodations, food services or retail industries. (Full Story)

September 12, 2016 - One Hundred Scholarships Awarded to Saskatchewan Youth Apprenticeship Graduates - One hundred high school graduates from 66 Saskatchewan communities received Saskatchewan Youth Apprenticeship (SYA) Industry Scholarships in 2016. The scholarship, launched in 2009-10, is administered and overseen by the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission (SATCC), but the bulk of the funds are provided by industry partners and the Government of Saskatchewan. (Full Story)

September 12, 2016 - Almost half of Sask. residents living paycheque to paycheque: Canadian Payroll Association - Close to half of Saskatchewan residents are living paycheque to paycheque, according to a new survey from the Canadian Payroll Association. The Canadian Payroll Association (CPA) released its eighth annual Research Survey of Employed Canadians. The survey of roughly 5,600 Canadians reveals that in Saskatchewan and across the country, 48 per cent of people report it would be difficult to their financial obligations if their paycheque was delayed by a single week. (Full Story)

October 2016 - Corporate Disability Management Unit - If you are an employer who has an employee that requires accommodations and/or is returning to work, the Disability Management Unit can help. The Corporate Disability Management Unit assists employees, supervisors and human resource professionals to effectively accommodate the needs of employees who are experiencing medical conditions that impact them and their ability to work. Disability Management involves a team approach focused on designing and implementing a supportive plan that assists employees to remain at work or return to work after a medical related absence. (Full Story)

October 2016 - Canada-Yukon Job Grant (CYJG) - If you are an employer who intends to train existing or potential staff for specific, existing or projected positions in the labour market, the Yukon government offers the Canada-Yukon Job Grant (CYJG). The program is administered by Labour Market Programs and Services, Yukon Education as part of the Canada-Yukon Job Fund. This program meets the goals of the Labour Market Framework by a) ensuring training opportunities are available for all Yukon people to adapt
effectively and efficiently to changing skills, knowledge, and abilities, and b) to facilitate and improve learning and employment transitions. (Full Story)

Featured Article

Employment Insurance rate change for 2017

The Actuarial Report on the Employment Insurance Premium Rate was released on September 14, 2016, by the Chief Actuary at the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions which confirms that the Employment Insurance (EI) account is on track to balance over the course of its mandated 7-year break-even horizon with a decrease in the premium rate in 2017. The new rate will be set at $1.63 per $100 of insurable earnings, dropping from the current rate of $1.88 per $100 of insurable earnings in 2016. It should be noted that the annual expected pay-as-you-go-rate (PayGo), which is the premium rate forecast to cover the expected EI program expenditures for the coming year, is $1.78.

The reduction in the premium rate will mean up to $118 in payroll savings for Canadian workers. The Government will continue to ensure that EI contributions are only used to fund EI programs, which will support the long-term sustainability of the program.

For residents of Quebec covered under the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP), EI premiums will be reduced by $0.36 per $100 of insurable earnings. As such, they will pay $1.27 per $100 of insurable earnings.

The Maximum Insurable Earnings (MIE) for 2017 will increase to $51,300 from $50,800 in 2016. The MIE is indexed on an annual basis and represents the ceiling up to which EI premiums are collected and the maximum amount considered in applications for EI benefits.

In addition, for 2017, it is estimated that the reductions will provide registered employers and their employees with $955 million in premium relief. Registered employers will be notified individually, as individual reductions may vary. Employers not qualifying for a premium reduction pay 1.4 times the announced EI rate for 2017, that is $2.28 per $100 of insurable earnings.

Furthermore, for self-employed Canadians who have opted-in to the EI program, the annual earnings required to qualify for special benefits will increase to $6,888 on January 1, 2017, up from $6,820 for 2016. The level of earnings required by self-employed Canadians to be eligible for EI special benefits is indexed annually to growth in the MIE.

Lastly, the federal government is reducing the EI waiting period from two weeks to one week, effective January 1, 2017.

  Premium Rate (per $100 of insurable earnings) Maximum Annual Contribution Difference in Maximum Annual Contribution from 2016
Workers $1.63 $836.19 -$118.85
Employers $1.63 x 1.4 = $2.282 $1,170.67 -$166.39
Workers in Quebec $1.27 $651.51 -$120.65
Quebec Employers $1.27 x 1.4 = $1.778 $912.11 -$168.91

  Category 1 Category 2 Category 3 Category 4
Premium Reduction (per $100 of insurable earnings) $0.21 $0.36 $0.35 $0.3

Article by Yosie Saint-Cyr, Managing Editor, HRinfodesk. Presented by permission. Yosie can be reached at editor@hrinfodesk.com.

Software Updates

GrandMaster Suite v9.03 (Current Release)

  • NL Tax Rates - Adjusted an error in the provincial tax rate table for Newfoundland and Labrador employees.
  • Quebec Bonus Tax Calculation - Added the Bonus Tax Calculation method for Quebec Taxes.
  • Export to eNETInbox - Changed the "Export to eNETEmployer" button label to "Export to eNETInbox" to reflect the revised branding.

eNETEmployer (Current Release)

  • Auto-Save - We added an Auto-Save mode (accessible via the options screen) that allows you to auto-submit your page changes. this can prevent data loss if you forget to Save the row before changing the page, filtering data, sorting rows and columns, etc.
  • System Dashboard - We have added a Dashboard feature that allows you to quickly review a number of common payroll statistics (current payroll name, last backup date, active user, etc.).
  • Auto Apply Design Themes - Design Themes now update instantly without having to reload the page.
  • New Theme Display - We created a new theme entitled eNETEmployer. This theme can be accessed via the Options screen.
  • Reset Password Popup - Fixed an issue where the Password Reset popup window would sometimes stick for users of the Google Chrome browser.
  • Pay Register Report - Adjusted the Pay Register report display to better support a large number of earnings.
  • Report Display - Adjusted the font size on the Employee Profile and Pay Statements to make these documents easier to read.
  • Pay Statement and Pay Register Report - Changed the default for these reports so that the SIN and Birth Date options would be set to "No". Preventing these two items from appearing on these reports offers improved employee privacy. Both options can be toggled as needed.
  • Smartphone Zoom - Fix an issue where some users were not able to use the zoom feature on a smartphone.

eNETInbox (Current Release)

  • Bulletin Board - Added a Bulletin Board feature that allows payroll administrators to upload important documents that can be securely viewed by all company employees.

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