Payroll News for Canada, Employment Articles Employment News and Payroll Tips

Payroll News Canada - Employment Articles

January 2018 - 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, employment and HR News. Federal and Provincial news items are listed immediately below followed by our Featured Article.

Tip of the Month Federal News Provincial News
Featured Article Software Updates Newsletter Archive


Tip of the Month

January 2018 - Reducing the reporting burden for employers - In order to reduce the reduce the reporting obligations for Canadian employers, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has announced two changes (beginning in 2018) for employers who have to report taxable benefits: 1) Employers who pay group term life insurance premiums for retirees will only have to report a paid premium if it is greater than $50 and it is the only income reported on a T4A slip, and 2) The threshold for reporting employee benefits that result from employer-sponsored social events will be $150 per person, instead of $100. Click Here to learn more.

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

January 29, 2018 - Temporary foreign workers staying longer regardless of unemployment levels - Temporary foreign workers (TFWs) are more likely to remain in Canada than they were in the past, according to a report published by Statistics Canada on Monday. And whether or not they stay appears to have little to do with unemployment levels in the regions where they are living and working, the research suggests. The number of TFWs present in Canada has increased from 52,000 in 1996 to 310,000 in 2015, according to StatCan. And while the majority of TFWs leave within two years, the tendency to stay longer has increased among more recent arrivals. (Full Story)

January 25, 2018 - Youth Employment Strategy - The Youth Employment Strategy (YES) is the Government of Canada’s commitment to help youth make a successful transition to the workplace. YES helps youth between the ages of 15 and 30 get the information and gain the skills, job experience and abilities they need to make a successful transition to the workforce. YES includes Skills Link, Career Focus and Summer Work Experience and is delivered by 11 federal departments. (Full Story)

January 23, 2018 - Online Course Addresses Impairment in the Workplace - When workers are impaired on the job, whether by fatigue, use of drugs, or consumption of alcohol, it can have serious consequences. To help workplaces take steps to address the issue of impairment, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) has launched the e-course Impairment and Cannabis in the Workplace. Using cannabis as an example, the e-course, Impairment and Cannabis in the Workplace, will provide managers and supervisors, health and safety committee members, human resources specialists, and health and safety advisors with an understanding of what impairment is, as well as its impact and causes, and the importance of having a workplace policy and corresponding procedures about impairment. (Full Story)

January 11, 2018 - New housing standards better protect agricultural temporary foreign workers - When temporary foreign workers in Canada’s agriculture industry have safe and adequate housing, the agriculture industry can thrive. The Government of Canada takes seriously its responsibility to ensure the rights and freedoms of temporary foreign workers are protected, including their right to safe and adequate housing. That is why today, the Government of Canada announced new measures to strengthen housing requirements for temporary foreign workers under the Primary Agriculture Stream, including the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program. (Full Story)

January 9, 2018 - The inconvenient truths of the $15 minimum wage: Business can’t just ‘make more money' - As governments in Alberta, Ontario and B.C. plan to increase their minimum wage to $15 an hour, it’s fair to say the move has stirred up some emotions. On one side, proponents argue it’s a righteous campaign to bring fairness to exploited dishwashers and cashiers. On the other side, free-enterprise types see it as a wrongheaded crusade to force employers to pay workers more than they’re worth. But there are differences between what a minimum wage should do, and what it can do. (Full Story)

January 3, 2018 - Minimum wage hikes could cost Canada's economy 60,000 jobs by 2019 - Minimum wage hikes across Canada this year could cost about 60,000 jobs by 2019, despite the benefits they would bring, the Bank of Canada says in a new report. Researchers at the central bank published a research note over the winter break, attempting to calculate what sort of economic impact a series of minimum wage hikes set to come into force this year will have on Canada's economy. (Full Story)

December 22, 2017 - Government Announces the 2018 Automobile Deduction Limits and Expense Benefit Rates for Businesses - The Department of Finance Canada today announced the income tax deduction limits and expense benefit rates that will apply in 2018 when using an automobile for business purposes. Most of the limits and rates that applied in 2017 will continue to apply in 2018, with two changes taking effect as of 2018. (Full Story)

December 20, 2017 - Government of Canada announces a Pension for Life for Veterans - The Government of Canada is committed to supporting Canada’s Veterans and their families. Canada owes an enormous debt of gratitude to the men and women who have served in uniform and it is our responsibility to ensure that they have access to the resources they need. One of the three key pillars includes income replacement for Veterans who are experiencing barriers returning to work after military service at 90% of their pre-release salary. (Full Story)

December 19, 2017 - Get funding to hire young Canadians for summer jobs in 2018 - Employers can now submit funding applications for Canada Summer Jobs 2018. Canada’s future prosperity depends on young Canadians getting the education and experience they’ll need to succeed in their careers, keeping our economy growing and our middle class thriving. The Canada Summer Jobs program creates summer job opportunities for full-time students aged 15 to 30, allowing them to develop their skills, get meaningful work experience and earn money to pay for next year’s tuition. Employers are encouraged to submit a 2018 Canada Summer Jobs funding application online by February 2, 2018. (Full Story)

December 18, 2017 - Government of Canada helps highly skilled newcomers put their skills to work in Canada - When internationally trained newcomers can get Canadian work experience in their field, they are better positioned to be able to find good jobs, join the middle class, and contribute to the economy. That's why, a new pilot project was announced that will develop mentorship initiatives to help highly skilled newcomers successfully find jobs that match their skills and training. The Government of Canada is investing close to $490,000 over the next two years in the Canadian Work Experience Initiative Evaluation: Mentoring project. (Full Story)

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


January 19, 2018 - New cancer supports for Alberta firefighters - New rules mean firefighters who contract certain reproductive cancers on the job will now be compensated and supported. The Government of Alberta is making sure firefighters who contract ovarian and cervical cancer will receive workers’ compensation benefits and supports, making Alberta the leader in Canada. The minimum exposure period will be 10 years for these cancers. Government is also reducing the minimum exposure period from 20 to 10 years for compensation for testicular cancer. (Full Story)

January 18, 2018 - Edmonton EI claims jump in November, driving Alberta increase - The number of people receiving employment insurance in Alberta increased in November, driven by a significant jump in the number of beneficiaries in Edmonton. Alberta had 63,500 EI claimants last November, up 1.8 per cent from October, Statistics Canada reported on Thursday. The increase was the first recorded in Alberta following 12 consecutive monthly declines, and it was driven by a bump in Edmonton, where the number of beneficiaries rose by 5.9 per cent to 22,530. (Full Story)

January 9, 2018 - WCB Alberta - No increase to claims cost threshold - The Alberta WCB says that the claims cost threshold for no-time-lost claims used in experience rating will remain at $1,400 for claims occurring in 2018. Adjustments to your premiums are based on your claims experience to provide you with incentives to reduce your costs.  For small business employers, adjustments are based on your total number of claims.  For large business employers, adjustments are based on the cost of your claims. (Full Story)

January 5, 2018 - Alberta hasn’t suffered for raising the minimum wage - Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour was a key plank in the Alberta NDP's 2015 election platform. At $10.20 an hour, and $9.20 for employees serving liquor, Alberta's minimum wage was tied for the lowest in Canada when Rachel Notley became Premier in May, 2015, and the province had the dubious distinction of having the highest level of income inequality and the largest gender income gap. Some Alberta workers were benefiting from a provincial economy that has for years produced the highest average wage in the country, but the prosperity of our province was not being enjoyed by everyone. (Full Story)

January 5, 2018 - Alberta’s unemployment rate drops to 6.9% as more people find jobs: StatCan - Canada’s unemployment rate is at its lowest rate in over 40 years, and Alberta was one of the provinces leading the growth in employment last month. Alberta’s unemployment rate fell from 8.5 per cent at the end of 2016 to 6.9 per cent at the end of 2017. Last month in the province, employment increased by 26,000 jobs, mostly in full-time work. Between November and December, the unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points to 6.9 per cent. (Full Story)

January 4, 2018 - STEP 2018 helps employers hire students - Alberta students will get a leg up in their careers through the Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP). The province’s economy is improving and the government wants to make sure all Albertans benefit from the recovery, including students and employers. STEP gives students the opportunity to develop important skills while helping employers hire the staff they need. Applications are now being accepted for STEP from employers who want to hire students for summer work between May and August. Eligible employers will get a $7-per-hour wage subsidy. (Full Story)

January 2, 2018 - New family-friendly workplace rules in place - Alberta’s new employment standards came into effect Jan. 1, protecting the rights of hard-working Albertans, aligning with the rest of Canada and meeting the needs of today’s workplaces. As part of a commitment to make life better for Alberta workers and their families, the government introduced The Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act, which was passed by the legislature in June 2017. The Employment Standards Regulation was also updated to better protect workers. (Full Story)

Jan 24, 2018 - Jan/Feb issue of WorkSafe Magazine - WorkSafeBC has posted the latest issue of WorkSafe Magazine, featuring articles on committing to road safety at work; tips for snow removal; and ergonomics to bridge the generation gap. WorkSafe Magazine is published by the WorkSafeBC (Workers' Compensation Board of B.C.) Communications department to educate workers and employers about injury and disease prevention, promote positive safety culture, and provide links to WorkSafeBC resources for safer workplaces. (Full Story)

January 18, 2018 - Volume of Employment Insurance beneficiaries continues to plummet in BC - The number of people collecting extra money from Ottawa’s Employment Insurance program in BC is sinking faster than the Titanic. When compared to November of 2016, over 47,000 people collected benefits across the province – a decline of over 16%. The drop was the second fastest decline among all the provinces. Prince George enjoyed a similar fate with a decline of over 18% in the past year. The sharp declines can be pinned to a policy change. In Canada, just under 507,000 people are on EI - a decline of less than one percent from November of 2016. (Full Story)

January 16, 2018 - B.C. employment ends the year on a high note - B.C.’s labour market capped off a strong year with a modest employment uptick and a further decline to an already rock-bottom unemployment rate. Employment rose by 5,600 persons to 2.491 million, up 0.2% from November, following a 0.7% increase the previous month. The Vancouver census metropolitan area (CMA) accounted for the net gain, with a 1.1% increase. Service sectors were the key driver of employment growth, led by health care and social assistance; professional, scientific and technical services; and finance, insurance and real estate. (Full Story)

January 10, 2018 - 2018 High Risk Strategies and Industry Initiatives now online - WorkSafeBC’S High Risk Strategies identify and target industries and employers with a high risk of serious workplace injury and a significant contribution to the serious injury rate. Based on the incidence of serious injuries and work-related deaths, the High Risk Strategies include four industry sectors: construction, forestry, health care, and manufacturing. (Full Story)

January 5, 2018 - B.C. adds 5,600 jobs in December, economists chew over BoC rate hike - B.C. has closed out 2017 with Canada’s lowest unemployment rate after adding 5,600 jobs in December, according to Statistics Canada. Data released Friday (January 5) shows the province made most of its gains in part-time positions, which jumped by 11,800 jobs as the holiday shopping season unfolded. Full-time employment fell by 6,200 jobs but B.C. ended the year with a 4.6% unemployment rate — the lowest among all provinces and a year-over-year decline of 1.2 percentage points — after adding a total of 83,000 jobs throughout 2017. (Full Story)

December 27, 2017 - Medical Services Plan premium cut starts Jan. 1, 2018 - Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums will be cut by 50% on Jan. 1, 2018, marking an important step toward improving fairness for all British Columbians, Finance Minister Carole James said today. In addition to the 50% rate cut, the income threshold for full exemption from MSP premiums under the premium assistance program will also be raised by $2,000, as of Jan. 1, 2018. (Full Story)

December 19, 2017 - Providing enhanced income protection for the people who put food on our tables - Following a year impacted by wildfire, flooding and invasive species, farmers and ranchers around the province can recover some of their lost income with the Government of British Columbia’s new AgriStability Enhancement Program. The program protects farmers and ranchers from margin declines resulting from increased costs or decreased revenue. Payments are made if the farmer or rancher’s current-year margin falls more than 30% below the average of prior years. (Full Story)

January 17, 2018 - New Canada Summer Jobs rules are discriminatory, Manitoba MP says - New rules for organizations seeking government funding to hire summer students are discriminatory and will result in fewer jobs for students, says a Manitoba member of Parliament. Ted Falk, the Conservative MP for the southeast Manitoba riding of Provencher, refers to a new element in the application to receive funding from the Canada Summer Jobs program, which subsidizes summer wages for high school and post-secondary students, requiring applicants to express respect for "individual human rights in Canada," including reproductive rights. (Full Story)

January 12, 2018 - Ottawa tightens rules on housing foreign farm workers - Housing meant for temporary foreign workers employed on a Canadian farm will now have to pass regular inspection before the farm can hire its workers. One of the requirements for farms hiring temporary foreign workers (TFWs) is that the farm provide workers with "adequate, suitable and affordable housing as defined by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation." Whether it’s on-farm or off-site housing, farm employers are required to provide proof it has been inspected by the appropriate provincial/territorial/municipal body or by an authorized private inspector with proper certifications. (Full Story)

January 10, 2018 - Province to Consult With Manitobans On The Pension Benefits Act Review - The Pension Commission of Manitoba has reviewed the province’s pension laws in an initiative to update and strengthen the existing pension system. The Pension Commission is required to complete a statutory review of The Pension Benefits Act (PBA) every five years, and report its findings and recommendations to the minister.  The latest review focused on new plan designs, solvency deficiency funding rules, locking-in provisions and access to locked-in pension funds, compulsory pension plan membership, division of pensions on relationship breakdown, clarification and legislative gaps. (Full Story)

January 4, 2018 - Province Supports Creation Of Industry-Based Safety Program For Self-Insured Employers - The Manitoba government is partnering with SAFE Work Manitoba to develop an industry-based safety program (IBSP) for self-insured employers that will facilitate collaboration between a number of Manitoba's largest employers – including municipal, provincial and Crown corporations - to identify gaps and support long-term approaches to reducing workplace injuries and illnesses. (Full Story)

January 22, 2018 - Proposed amendments to the Employment Standards Act - The provincial government is proposing amendments to the Employment Standards Act that would allow for domestic or intimate partner violence leave, as well as provide job protection for people who leave work to care for a family member. Leave provisions for people experiencing domestic or intimate partner violence would allow a leave of absence to, among other things, seek medical attention, obtain support services, relocate temporarily or permanently, and seek legal or law enforcement assistance. (Full Story)

January 22, 2018 - Premier promises $25M to expand job prospects at home for young people - Following a bleak year for youth employment in New Brunswick, the province has earmarked $25 million of the next budget to helping more young people join the workforce. Premier Brian Gallant announced Monday that the money would go to existing employment programs, new measures to help young people get work experience, and to help reduce their financial pressures. The announcement comes after a year in which the New Brunswick youth workforce shrunk - a 2017 labour market analysis by LeBreton indicates the number of young people aged 15 to 24 with jobs fell by 700. (Full Story)

January 5, 2018 - N.B. Adds 4,200 Jobs With Moncton Leading the Way - The New Brunswick economy added 4,200 jobs in November, according to Statistics Canada’s latest labour force survey and Moncton continued to lead the way by adding 600 positions. The Hub City’s employed workforce grew from 80,000 in November to 80,600 in December, and its unemployment rate fell from 6.3 per cent to 5.7 per cent. Saint John did not fare as well. The city lost 400 jobs with its employed workforce falling from 64,500 in November to 64,100 in December. The city’s unemployment rate fell from 6.8 per cent in November to 6.1 in December, but that’s because it’s labour force declined from 69,200 to 68,3000. (Full Story)

January 2, 2018 - New payday loan rules in effect - New rules to protect New Brunswick consumers who take out payday loans came into effect on Jan. 1. The maximum amount payday lenders can charge is now $15 per $100 borrowed, including all charges and fees. This is among the lowest fees in Canada. The new rules also allow consumers to change their minds and cancel a payday loan within 48 hours, without paying any charges. The new rules are similar to those across the country and offer better protection and information to those who feel the need to take out a payday loan. (Full Story)

December 13, 2017 - $28 million invested in wages for early childhood educators - The provincial government announced today an investment of $28 million over four years to support wage increases for early childhood educators beginning in 2019-20. The funding, which will be rolled out over four years beginning in 2019-20, will raise wages from $16 an hour to $19 an hour for trained early childhood educators by 2022-23. According to a recent study by the Conference Board of Canada, New Brunswick has the lowest average wages for early childhood educators in the country. This investment is intended to bring wages for early childhood educators in line with other jurisdictions across the country. (Full Story)

January 28, 2018 - Mind the gap: St. John's wage inequality worst in Atlantic Canada - St. John's has the richest rich in Atlantic Canada, according to the latest census data. And it's nothing to be proud of, says a Memorial University economist. "We definitely should be concerned about it," said Tony Fang. "This situation is only going to get worse if we don't do anything to mitigate or reverse the trend." The numbers show that the gap between the highest salaries and the lowest incomes in St. John's is the highest of the Atlantic Canadian census metropolitan areas, with the top one percent taking home nearly nine times more than the bottom 30 per cent, and nearly seven times more than the bottom 50 per cent. (Full Story)

January 27, 2018 - Deadline fast approaching for Canada Summer Jobs Program - The federal government has cut a long-standing grant program for post-secondary students in Newfoundland and Labrador and groups looking for money to hire summer workers have to go a different route. But the province's Community Sector Council worries not everyone knows about the change or the deadline for applying for money. For the past 24 years, the council and the federal government offered the Student Work and Service Program, or SWASP, where students earned a tuition credit voucher for their community service. (Full Story)

January 25, 2018 - Client service satisfaction surveys - In an effort to further improve client service, WorkplaceNL is now conducting bi-annual client service satisfaction surveys. If you are an injured worker or employer, you may receive a call about WorkPlaceNL services from Corporate Research Associates (CRA), an independent research company with an office in Newfoundland and Labrador. Please be assured that if you are selected for this survey, you will only be contacted once per year. Your individual responses are completely confidential and will not be provided to WorkplaceNL. We will only receive a report on overall survey results which will also be made public each year. (Full Story)

January 15, 2018 - Occupational Health and Safety Awareness Survey - WorkplaceNL, in partnership with the Newfoundland and Labrador Statistics Agency, Department of Finance, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is conducting an Occupational Health and Safety Awareness survey. This survey will assess the level of health and safety awareness in workers, supervisors and employers in our province. The results will help WorkPlaceNL to develop programs to address gaps in health and safety education and identify priority areas that require attention. (Full Story)

January 2, 2018 - Proposals Sought to Help Integrate Refugees into the Workforce - A request for proposals has been issued for pilot projects to test new, innovative approaches to further support the integration of refugees into the workforce. The eligibility requirements for the request for proposals can be found online at - www.aesl.gov.nl.ca/immigration.html‎. Supporting the integration of refugees into the workforce is a priority of The Way Forward on Immigration in Newfoundland and Labrador, the province’s collaborative immigration action plan. In this plan, government commits to working with service providers to develop and launch programs aimed at attaching refugees to the labour market more quickly. (Full Story)

December 22, 2017 - Minister Hawkins Announces Projects to Help Newcomers Access Employment in their Fields - The second round of successful applicants for funding through the federal-provincial Foreign Qualification Recognition Agreement has been announced. Foreign qualification recognition is the process of verifying that the knowledge, skills, work experience and education obtained in another country meet established Canadian standards. A partnership agreement between the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Government of Canada allocates $800,000 in federal funding to enhance foreign qualification recognition capacity, helping internationally-trained workers qualify for employment in their fields. (Full Story)

January 16, 2018 - Helping Indigenous people in the Northwest Territories gain vital job skills and experience - A strong economy depends on a strong middle class where everybody has a real and fair chance to succeed. Despite being the fastest-growing segment of the country's population, Indigenous people continue to be under‑represented in Canada's workforce. That is why today, Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories, announced two projects under the Skills and Partnership Fund (SPF): The Taii Trigwatsii (Breaking Trails) project and a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program. (Full Story)

January 10, 2018 - Increase to the Northwest Territories Minimum Wage - Minister of Education, Culture and Employment Alfred Moses today announced an increase to the Northwest Territories (NWT) Minimum Wage. Effective April 1, 2018, the minimum wage will increase from $12.50 per hour to $13.46 per hour. The minimum wage was last increased in the NWT in 2015. Since that time, the cost of living and the average hourly wage have risen. To ensure the NWT’s minimum wage continues to work for employees and employers, the minimum wage rate is reviewed every two years. (Full Story)

January 10, 2018 - Territorial unions campaign for $15-per-hour minimum wage - A new year begins and with it a new hope that the working lives of northerners continue to improve. PSAC North is today announcing that we are starting a new campaign to increase the legal minimum wage. In partnership with other labour organizations across the North, we are calling on all three governments to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2019. As of Jan. 1, 2018, the Government of Ontario increased its minimum wage to $14 per hour (an increase of $2.50) and will be making another raise to $15 per hour in a year’s time. (Full Story)

January 28, 2018 - WCB: Report Speaks to Growing Workplace Safety Culture - In January of 2017, WCB Nova Scotia was pleased to be part of a working group that made important recommendations for Improving Workplace Safety in Nova Scotia's Community Emergency Departments. This week, the Nova Scotia Health Authority released its first progress report on the implementation of those recommendations. The progress report demonstrates important change. It speaks to the ongoing important conversation about health care workplace safety. It shows how real progress can be made when all stakeholders work together, driven by the perspective of protecting the health and safety of those who care for Nova Scotians when they need it most. (Full Story)

January 16, 2018 - Nova Scotia Works Supports Job Seekers and Employers - Since September 2016 more than 22,000 Nova Scotians have received employment services at one of the 49 Nova Scotia Works centres across the province. This is the 18-month anniversary of the province’s revamped employment services system, Nova Scotia Works, formed to better meet the needs of job seekers and employers. Part of Nova Scotia Works success is a result of the rigorous training and certification process each career practitioner must complete. The Nova Scotia Career Development Association has partnered with the province to deliver the certification program which plays a key role in ensuring consistent employment services across the province. (Full Story)

January 16, 2018 - Businesses struggling to find skilled workers says Business Development Bank of Canada - A new study from the Business Development Bank of Canada has found, while business optimism is increasing on a national level, the same cannot be said for Atlantic Canada. BDC says entrepreneurs' investment intentions in our region are down by 14 per cent. "Weaker retail sales of housing starts, declining employment growth, and the winding down of large infrastructure projects in the Atlantic region have depressed economic growth and hurt business confidence," says the report. (Full Story)

January 16, 2018 - Payroll Rebate Approved - Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI) has approved a business development incentive in the form of a payroll rebate for professional services firm Ernst and Young LLP (EY Canada). EY has the potential to create up to a maximum of 150 jobs with the opening in Halifax of its first Canadian-based Global Centre of Excellence for Robotic Process Automation Service. Based on the maximum growth forecast of the five-year payroll rebate agreement, NSBI estimates the company would spend $34,650,000 in salaries. It is also estimated the new employees would contribute provincial tax revenues of $4,065,000 through their income and consumption taxes. The company would be eligible for a smaller rebate if it creates fewer than 150 new jobs. (Full Story)

December 2017 - Leaves of absence: Updated rules affecting pension and benefit plans - Effective December 3, 2017, the federal Employment Insurance (EI) rules were updated to permit maternity benefits to be paid for up to 15 weeks, and parental leave benefits to be paid for up to 61 weeks. At the same time, a new adult caregiver benefit is payable for up to 15 weeks, and a child caregiver benefit is payable for up to 35 weeks. The changes to maternity and parental benefits under EI affect all provinces except Quebec, which has its own parental leave insurance program. Quebec employees will be eligible for expanded EI caregiver benefits. (Full Story)

January 22, 2018 - Payroll tax returns due - Payroll tax returns due - The Department of Finance would like to remind Nunavut employers that annual payroll tax returns are due by February 28, 2018. Companies with more than 10 employees are now asked to file their returns electronically. The payroll tax annual return form, available for download at www.gov.nu.ca/finance/information/payroll-tax, can be submitted by email to payrolltax@gov.nu.ca. For more information about payroll tax returns, please call 1-800-316-3324 or email payrolltax@gov.nu.ca. (Full Story)

January 2018 - Employment Assistance Services - The Career Development division and your local Career Development Officer are available to help you connect to a number of career services including labour market information, employment and career counseling, career action planning, resume writing workshops, interview skills and more. Anyone looking for information about the local labour market or who may need assistance in looking for or applying to jobs is welcome to apply for this service. (Full Story)

January 19, 2018 - Ontario Enhancing Safety for Workers in Indigenous Communities - Ontario is helping to protect workers in Indigenous communities through support for an initiative that promotes knowledge of workplace health and safety. The province is investing $281,000 in the G'minoomaadozimin ("We are Living Well") Health and Safety Initiative to support families and create safer workplaces and communities in the Robinson Superior Treaty area. The initiative is headed by the Nokiiwin Tribal Council, a non-profit organization that provides a range of social and community services to six Indigenous communities in that area. (Full Story)

January 16, 2018 - Student employment program accepting applications - The province’s Summer Employment Opportunities (SEO) program now has open job postings for 2018, Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli said today. The SEO program helps Ontario Public Service managers provide up to 5,000 students with the opportunity to gain valuable work experience through supervised summer employment in the Ontario Public Service in ministries and related agencies through centralized program management and administration. (Full Story)

January 15, 2018 - Ontario Enhancing Enforcement to Ensure Worker Rights Are Protected - Ontario is enhancing workplace enforcement, penalties and education to ensure all new worker rights under its plan for Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs are followed. This plan includes raising the minimum wage, ensuring part-time workers are paid the same hourly wage as full-time workers, introducing paid sick days for every worker, and providing at least three weeks' vacation after five years with the same employer. (Full Story)

January 14, 2018 - Ontario's Minimum Wage is Now $14 an Hour - Starting today, people across Ontario will see their wages rise to $14 an hour as the new general minimum wage takes effect. This change will help workers and their families who are struggling to get ahead in a changing economy. As part of Ontario's Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, the minimum wage will increase again to $15 an hour on January 1, 2019, to be followed by annual increases at the rate of inflation. (Full Story)

January 8, 2018 - Ontarians now have paid sick days - the challenge is making sure they take them - Following the introduction of two guaranteed paid sick days for Ontario workers starting Jan. 1, 2018, advocacy groups are gearing up campaigns to make sure workers know their new rights and feel comfortable using them. The two paid days came as part of a set of sweeping changes to the Employment Standards Act. Also included was a stipulation that employers are no longer allowed to demand a doctor's note from their employees following an absence from work. (Full Story)

January 8, 2018 - Injured workers losing out on Ontario’s wage bump. Here’s why - A practice at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board known as "deeming" is forcing injured workers into poverty, labour advocates say. For more than a million low-wage workers, Ontario’s minimum wage hike brings the promise of more money in the bank. But for some injured workers with permanent disabilities, advocates say, it promises precisely the opposite. The wage bump to $14 from $11.60 an hour introduced this month brings fresh urgency to a long-standing debate over deeming at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. It’s a practice Macdonald calls the "biggest issue in terms of forcing people into poverty." (Full Story)

January 5, 2018 - Ontario Added More Than 175,000 Jobs in 2017 - Employment in Ontario increased by 176,300 from December 2016 to December 2017. The increase represents a 2.5 per cent growth in jobs in 2017, just over double the growth rate recorded in each of the previous two years. The Ontario unemployment has been below the national average for 33 consecutive months and below six per cent for the past five months - a first since 2000. (Full Story)

January 3, 2018 - End of Ontario's sheltered workshops program drawing closer - All sheltered workshops in Ontario could stop operating in 2018. The workshops, typically run by not-for-profit organizations funded by the Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS), provide work for people who struggle to find jobs, often adults who have developmental disabilities. Originally, they were created to be temporary places where people would learn job skills. Sheltered workshops are exempt from Ontario's Employment Standards Act (ESA). This means they don't need to follow employment laws, including minimum wage. (Full Story)

December 20, 2017 - Ontario Enhancing Workplace Health and Safety - Ontario is enhancing protection for workers by increasing the maximum fines for individuals and businesses that don't meet workplace health and safety standards. As of December 14, 2017, the maximum fines for an offence under the Occupational Health and Safety Act increased from: $25,000 to $100,000 for an individual or unincorporated business (which had not changed since 1979), and from $500,000 to $1,500,000 for corporations (which had not changed since 1990) (Full Story)

January 29, 2018 - Revised WCB Policies - The PEI WCB has announced that changes have been approved to the following policies: Review of Benefits (POL-85) and Optional Coverage (POL-125). The Workers Compensation Board of PEI website provides a summary of the amendments is included in the History section of each policy. The WCB thanks all stakeholders who participated in the consultation process. (Full Story) and (Full Story)

January 20, 2018 - Workshop offered by Workers Compensation Board of P.E.I. - Workers Compensation Board of P.E.I. (WCB) encourages business owners, senior level managers, human resource and safety advisors to attend a Lunch and Learn on the theme "$afe Business, $mart Business." Lori Wakelin, the board’s health and safety consultant, will deliver the one-hour session on Jan. 31. She will cover how WCB rates are set, how claims affect rates, and the importance of having a good occupational health and safety program, as well as a return to work program. (Full Story)

January 19, 2018 - Need a tech job? Come to PEI - She may have left Prince Edward Island for the bright lights of Toronto, but to get the career and lifestyle she wanted, Emily Coffin came right back home. Her family moved to the Island when she was 11 and starting seventh grade. After high school Emily studied computer programming at Holland College, but she wasn’t sure that it would lead to any local job prospects. (Full Story)

January 18, 2018 - P.E.I. labour market tightening, and that's good news for workers - There are more job vacancies on P.E.I. and fewer unemployed, according to Statistics Canada - and that adds up to good news for Islanders looking for work. Job vacancy is a relatively new thing for StatsCan to track, going back to just the start of 2015. While the history is short, the most recent report, covering the third quarter of 2017, shows the highest number of job vacancies yet in the second and third quarters of the year. (Full Story)

January 11, 2018 - 'A huge success': Pilot project helps address worker shortage on P.E.I. farms - A pilot project connecting Prince Edward Islanders in need of jobs with work on farms has had an added bonus. The Harvest and Prosper Project ended in December, but some of the participants have been offered full-time employment this winter, helping fill a void on P.E.I. farms. The Harvest and Prosper project helped newcomers, people on social assistance or disability support, to find short-term work in the agriculture industry without affecting any benefits they were receiving. (Full Story)

January 9, 2018 - Sexual harassment policy among updates needed to P.E.I.'s Employment Standards Act, group says - The P.E.I. Working Group for a Livable Income is calling on the provincial government to begin a full review of the Employment Standards Act. The modern workforce had changed since the last comprehensive review of the act about a decade ago, the group said at a news conference Tuesday. There have been updates to the legislation over the years, but the group said the government needs to take a closer look at the legislation to fix and add policies that will protect all the diverse needs of Islanders. (Full Story)

January 5, 2018 - P.E.I. adds 900 jobs in December - Prince Edward Island saw 900 more people working in December, but also saw the unemployment rate increase by one percentage point to 9.8 per cent, according to the recent labour force survey from Statistics Canada. More people were looking for work in December, which led to the increase in the unemployment rate. Looking at year-over-year data, employment in Prince Edward Island rose 3.9 per cent in 2017, which was an increase of 2,800 jobs. All of these gains were in full-time work, while part-time employment ended the year down by 11.5 per cent. (Full Story)

December 29, 2018 - P.E.I. job numbers growing, but wages stubbornly low - ages on P.E.I. are down over the last year as a percentage of the Canadian average, despite a number of strong economic indicators. While the number of jobs is up and the unemployment rate is down, wage earners on the Island - already with the lowest pay in the country - have continued to lose ground against wage earners in the rest of Canada. According to the latest report from Statistics Canada, last October the average Island weekly wage was $823.16. While wages rose across the country, on P.E.I. they fell to $818.13. (Full Story)

January 23, 2018 - Sask. job climate slowest in 20 years, says temp. agency worker - Saskatchewan's employment rate dropped two years in a row recently - a first since 2000, according to an overview of the province's 2017 labour market published by Sask. Trends Monitor. The drops are small, but a two-year slump is rare - and, if it continues, the labour market is in deep trouble, according to Doug Elliot, the statistician behind the report. No one is broadcasting a year of surging unemployment, but the current job climate is still difficult to navigate for those on the hunt for work. (Full Story)

January 21, 2018 - Automation poses major risk to Sask. jobs: Report - The risk of job loss due to automation in the work place could be around the corner in Saskatchewan according to one policy research company. A report from C.D. Howe Institute puts the province among the highest at risk for job loss as automation becomes more common. A key factor is Saskatchewan’s dependence on natural resources, like potash, and workers falling behind on technology. (Full Story)

January 18, 2018 - Number of EI beneficiaries in Saskatchewan rises during November - More people in Saskatchewan were receiving employment insurance (EI) benefits in November 2017 than the previous month. Statistics Canada reported Thursday the number of beneficiaries in the province for the month rose to 18,360, an increase of 4.0 per cent from October. The monthly increase was spread across the province, with the number of people receiving benefits rising 7.2 per cent in Regina and 4.3 per cent in Saskatoon. (Full Story)

January 17, 2018 - Province launches new job training, won't give details on number of people accessing such programs - On the heels of the province ending the year with one of the highest unemployment rates - 6.2 per cent - in the country, Saskatchewan’s largest job-finding website, the government-run Saskjobs.ca, is partnering with a national employment bank to "provide enhanced services for users." According to a government press release, the partnership with the National Job Bank will help employers and applicants advertise, recruit and find jobs. (Full Story)

January 16, 2018 - Saskjobs.ca Partnering with the National Job Bank to Provide Improved Services - Saskatchewan’s largest job-matching website, Saskjobs.ca, is partnering with Canada’s largest job search website, the National Job Bank, to provide enhanced services for users.  This partnership will improve how employers and job seekers can advertise, recruit and search for Saskatchewan jobs. (Full Story)

January 5, 2018 - Saskatchewan unemployment rate on par with national average - Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate remains to be among the best in the country, entering 2018 at 6.3%. The province also added 5,000 jobs over the month of December, much of those full-time positions. Premier Brad Wall says the amount of opportunity in Saskatchewan has increased significantly. With the Youth Unemployment rate sitting at 11.8%, Premier Wall says there is incentives in place to keep Saskatchewan`s kids in the Province. (Full Story)

January 5, 2018 - Should Saskatchewan raise its minimum wage? - While some business groups are concerned about the prospect of any increase in the minimum wage, "living wage" activists maintain that wages should be increased to meet the cost of living. As of Jan. 1, Ontario's minimum wage is $14 an hour, up from $11.60. Alberta plans to increase its minimum wage to $13.60 in October. Many provinces are expected to hike their minimum wages by the end of the year. (Full Story)

January 5, 2018 - A Decade of Solid Job Growth and Strong Growth in December - December’s job numbers show Saskatchewan had the second highest percentage employment growth rate among the provinces between 2007 and 2017 and added 5,000 jobs in December, starting the year from a position of strength. There have been 62,700 jobs created over the last decade in Saskatchewan, a 12.4 per cent increase, well above the national rate of 9.8 per cent. (Full Story)

January 2, 2018 - Unions call for more enforcement of labour rules - Yukon union leaders say changes are needed to prevent contractors on government projects from paying workers too little or refusing to pay overtime. Jeff Sloychuk, a representative for the Yukon Carpenters Union Local 2499, said there’s not enough enforcement of the territory’s Employment Standards Act, and contractors in violation only get caught if an employee makes a formal complaint. Sloychuk believes the Yukon government should have an officer do random checks of contractors’ pay stubs while a project is ongoing. (Full Story)

January 19, 2018 - Mine production would mean about 165 jobs - Alexco Resource Corp. is moving toward bringing its Keno Hill Silver District back into production this year, says a senior company official. Brad Thrall, Alexco’s chief operating officer, told the Star today the company has to reach a few milestones before it makes a final decision. Should Alexco go back into production, it would need about 160 to 170 employees dedicated to the Keno Hill project, he said. Thrall said there are currently 40 employees working in the silver district, 65 to 70 per cent of them Yukoners. (Full Story)

January 4, 2018 - Employer's Payroll Return and Contract Labour Report (EPR) - Each year, registered employers are required to submit a report of their previous year's payroll and contract labour costs along with an estimate of the upcoming year's payroll. This is done using the Employer's Payroll Return and Contract Labour Report (EPR) form. The payroll reported on an EPR is used to calculate the amount an employer is required to contribute to Yukon’s workers’ compensation system for the upcoming year. Employer contributions ensure there are sufficient funds available to care for workers who are injured or become ill in Yukon workplaces. (Full Story)

Featured Article: What is wage compression?

According to HR Daily Advisor, “Pay compression is the situation in which an organization has negligible differences in pay between people who have differing skill sets and/or experience levels. It often happens when current employee pay raises don't keep up with increases in the market pay rate-resulting in a situation in which new hires are hired in at levels similar to employees who have been with the organization for many years.”

What causes pay compression?

  • When supply and demand is out of sync, when the need for a particular skill set exceeds the availability.
  • When your internal compensation structure becomes stale and out of alignment with the external market data.
    In Ontario, many refer to the impact of pay compression following the recent minimum wage increase, where a long-time employee now has to work with someone who was just hired two weeks ago and is already making the same wage.

The HR Daily Advisor also says that, “Pay compression can also occur when there is some type of disconnect in how the pay structure is designed and how it works in reality. For example, if a sales team has a high level of pay that is at-risk and is meant to be rewarded only when specific goals are met, on paper this should result in pay variability in which those with the most expertise and skill will be paid more than those with less. But in some cases, these types of incentive pay structures don't result in much pay variability at all, regardless of the skill level and years of experience for the individuals on the team. This can be a form of pay compression.”

Moreover, pay ranges are typically adjusted each year, perhaps 3 percent to 4 percent in the current market. Then you have people in the company getting 3.5 percent to 4 percent pay raises each year. So the pay scale moves up in this slow, regular process, and people remain at the same relative point on the pay scale. So you can be in a job for 10 years, a good performer, getting 4 percent a year increases and not even be at the midpoint in the salary range, because the range keeps moving up pretty much at the same rate.

Pay compression problems

According to HR Daily Advisor, pay compression can cause problems for employers. For example, it can lead to:

  • Employee frustration and turnover: Employees may feel they're being undervalued by not getting paid much more than new hires. This is especially troublesome when it's the best employees who decide to jump ship.
  • Loss of productivity from employee discouragement: Who wants to welcome a new hire to the team when you learn that that person is already earning more than you?
  • Hindering recruiting efforts: This happens when there is a disconnect in the organization about what the appropriate pay rates for a given level of experience might be versus what the market is really paying. If a current employee with x years of experience has not been receiving pay raises commensurate with market rates, then the organization may try to hire a new person at that experience level at the same rate as the current employee-only to discover that a new hire may not be willing to come on board at that rate.

How can you address pay compression?

This is a very complex issue and solutions are not straightforward, however, there are steps that employers can take to first determine what pay rates are more appropriate and then move toward better pay equity. Before you find yourself in a situation like that, you should look closely at your salary ranges at least every other year. Do a full assessment of the pay structure and see where there are inconsistencies. Assess areas where pay differences do not make sense within the business structure.

Here are some other recommendations:

  • Compare pay levels with the overall business vision and goals, and see what needs to change to get pay levels back in alignment with those goals.
  • Compare in-house pay levels with market levels for the same roles, and see where there are discrepancies.
  • Reconsider how to use incentives and at-risk pay. As noted above, at-risk pay may be one culprit behind pay compression because the at-risk amount may vary significantly (giving the illusion of pay differences on paper), but the real amount paid may not vary that much from person to person. This often occurs if the at-risk pay is too easy to achieve, thus nearly everyone gets the full amount, resulting in no variability. It can also occur when the at-risk portion is too difficult to achieve, creating a situation where many employees are only paid the base rate, and the at-risk amount is serving no purpose.
  • Review changes in job descriptions over time, and assess whether or not pay changes have kept up with responsibility changes.
  • Assess whether there are discrepancies that may appear to be discriminatory that have evolved over time, such as gender-based pay differences.
  • After the entire pay structure has been assessed, work out a plan to bring employee pay and benefits in alignment with the market and with organizational goals. This plan may take time to implement. Once it is corrected, take steps to avoid pay compression in the future by monitoring market pay rates and keeping current employees at appropriate levels.

Also, it is never recommended to tell employees not to talk about their pay. This type of policy is not an option.

What if you're already suffering from pay compression? Your pay compression problem may necessitate increases. You probably won't have to make adjustments for every job in the whole organization, but sometimes you'll have to do it for certain job groups that happen to be very competitive. Ignoring the problem because you do not have the funds is not a good strategy.

If you are in the situation of compression because the funds have just not been available, honest talk about what individuals are paid and a plan on how to make adjustments over time can help. Create a schedule and then keep your word and implement it.

Another option is to ask what can help with an employee's loyalty other than pay? Sometimes this could be a mentoring or developmental opportunity or a more flexible work schedule. Explore this possibility with an open mind.

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

Software Updates

GrandMaster Suite

  • The current release of GrandMaster Suite includes the 2018 tax changes.
  • Corrected problem with QPIP for Quebec when over maximum.
  • Corrected a problem with importing hours and rates when the Report Viewer was on.
  • Adjusted Nova Scotia's minimum TD1 down from 11,481 to 8,481 (UTFIXPD1 utility will need to be run to reset to $8481.00, anyone not using basic will need to be edited back).
  • Corrected a problem with EI doubling up when creating T4's if using YTD's option.
  • Corrected problem with T4A's using background forms.
  • Corrected a problem with the Quebec TD1 base amount that was not being incremented correctly. This could have caused minor issues with some other provinces such as adding an new employee and applying last year's base rate.
  • We have a reported problem with Quebec QPIP amounts not correct when paying large sums. This is being worked on now.
  • Corrected a problem with the Employer's EI was not calculating at the reduced rate.
  • Corrected an issue with the WCB/WSIB assessable earnings when multi provinces.
  • Corrected a problem with EI - when an employees hit the max or a large adjustment was made to the EI, the program would not calculate the company portion and would not post the EI calculation to the history or JE.

GrandMaster II

  • The current release of GrandMaster II includes the 2018 tax changes.

eNETEmployer

  • Fixed issue where the Journal Entry report was showing a question mark instead of the distribution item name in certain cases.
  • The pay-statements and pressure-sealed reports now display the background image (if selected) instead of the "Interim" watermark when the payroll is not yet closed.
  • You can now print, modify and save reports that are not yet closed.
  • Fixed an issue where generating a T4A would generate an error in certain cases.
  • Adjusted the number of times a user can fail their login, before the account will be disabled.

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