Payroll News Canada - Employment Articles

March 2021 - 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.

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Tip of the Month

March 2021 - WCB Coverage for Contractors - With Spring renovation projects already beginning, it's important to consider WCB/WSIB coverage when hiring an individual or independent business contractor. In Manitoba for example, if the contractor does not have WCB coverage, they are considered your worker and you would be liable for their coverage. Manitoba businesses can search the WCB Clearance Request System to check if contractors have their own coverage. Other provinces can refer to the WCB website for their region. Click Here for a list of workers' compensation boards across Canada.

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


Canadian Federal Payroll and HR News

March 8, 2021 - Providing women with the skills and opportunities needed to build a stronger Canada - The Government of Canada is investing over $11 million through the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS) program to help more than 650 young women get the support and skills training they need to find good jobs. These investments support the Government's commitment in the 2020 Speech from the Throne to create an Action Plan for Women in the Economy. The Action Plan will pave the way forward by helping more women get back into the workforce and ensure a feminist response to the recovery. (Full Story)

March 5, 2021 - COVID-19 Could Permanently Shut Canadian Women Out of the Workforce, New Study Shows - Canadian women have long suffered the professional and financial consequences of COVID-19, but new research indicates that this impact could be long-lasting. According to a study published by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) on Thursday, almost half a million women that had lost their jobs since the start of the pandemic have been unable to re-enter the workforce as of January. (Full Story)

March 3, 2021 - Government Announces Wage and Rent Subsidy Amounts to Remain Unchanged Through to June - Businesses, non-profits, and charities that have experienced a decline in revenues while weathering the COVID-19 crisis are eligible for a variety of government support measures including direct subsidies to support workers and pay rent. The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy helps employers retain and quickly rehire workers previously laid off. The wage subsidy, the rent subsidy, and Lockdown Support are legislated to be available until June 2021. (Full Story)

March 1, 2021 - Feds extending EI benefits - The federal government has introduced Bill C-24 to extend the employment insurance (EI) program. EI regular benefits would be extended to a maximum of 50 weeks for claims established between Sept. 27, 2020 and Sept. 25, 2021. Also, self-employed workers using EI would be able to use a 2020 earnings threshold of $5,000 - compared to the previous threshold of $7,555 - for claims established between Jan. 3, 2021 and Sept. 25, 2021. (Full Story)

March 1, 2021 - Liberals' two-year-old pledge to revamp EI, CPP appeals body delayed due to COVID-19 - COVID-19 has all but stalled a promised shift in how Canadians appeal rulings on their requests for federal income supports. The department overseeing the work, Employment and Social Development Canada, says the change won't happen as originally scheduled next month because of pandemic-related risks. (Full Story)

February 25, 2021 - We can't afford to wait. It's time for paid sick leave for every worker in Canada - In advance of the federal, provincial and territorial labour ministers' meeting, provincial and territorial federations of labour are united in demanding that provincial and territorial governments guarantee seamless access to universal, permanent and adequate employer-paid sick days for all workers. More than half of all Canadian workers have no access to paid sick leave. (Full Story)

February 24, 2021 - Increasing Accessibility of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy - The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy has protected over 5 million jobs and helped businesses, charities and non-profits re-hire workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. On October 9, 2020, the government announced the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy to provide direct relief to businesses, non-profits and charities that continue to be economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Full Story)

February 20, 2021 - All the jobs lost in 2020 among workers with wages below Canadian average: report -  Canadians who lost their jobs due to the recession sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic all had something in common: They made $27.81 an hour or less. But the biggest decline in work was among the country's very bottom wage earners, with an hourly wage under $13.91. Those findings are included in a report by CIBC Economics based on Statistics Canada data that shows that all the jobs lost in 2020 were among workers who earned below average wages. (Full Story)

February 19, 2021 - Government of Canada proposes increase to number of weeks for recovery benefits and EI regular benefits to ensure continued support for Canadians who have been hardest hit - The Government of Canada's has announced its intention to introduce regulatory and legislative amendments to increase the number of weeks of benefits available for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) and Employment Insurance (EI) regular benefits. (Full Story)

February 17, 2021 - Government of Canada invests in training to help Canadians become certified in the skilled trades - $63.5 million in funding, over five years, has been announced for 68 projects as part of the Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP) 2020 call for proposals. This investment will help certify skilled tradespeople and prepare them to fill available jobs as the economy restarts. The UTIP supports union-based apprenticeship training and works to reduce barriers to participation and success in Red Seal trades. (Full Story)

February 9, 2021 - Canadian Unemployment Is 55% Higher Than G7 Average: OECD - Canada's "economy" is recovering faster than expected, but employment is lagging. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a group promoting trade between 37 advanced economies, published the latest unemployment rates for member countries. The data shows Canada is significantly behind its G7 peers, with only a few OECD countries worse off. Canada is also seeing the unemployment rate rise, while its biggest trade partner is seeing the rate fall. (Full Story)

January 29, 2021 - Government of Canada temporarily waives the one-week waiting period for Employment Insurance claims - EI regulations will be amended to temporarily waive the waiting period for EI claimants who establish a new claim between January 31, 2021 and September 25, 2021. This includes claimants of regular, fishing and special benefits. This temporary change will allow people who are applying for benefits to be paid for their first week of unemployment. It will also help ease their heightened financial stress at a time of great uncertainty. (Full Story)

January 28, 2021 - Extension of employer application period for Canada Summer Jobs 2021 - The employer application period for the 2021 Canada Summer Jobs program is being extended until February 3, 2021, to allow more employers to apply for funding to hire young people. Not-for-profit organizations and private and public sector employers who have not already applied for funding are encouraged to do so today. The 2021 Canada Summer Jobs program has an important role to play in supporting employers and young people during these difficult times. (Full Story)


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


March 8, 2021 - Projected wage increases 'fall short' - Negotiated wage increases for unionized workers are forecast to increase by 1.6 per cent for 2021 - down from an actual increase of two per cent actual in 2020, according to the Conference Board of Canada. Factoring in all the budgeted items - such as negotiated increases, merit, economic, step progression - overall salary increases are expected to be 1.6 per cent in 2021, compared to the increase negotiated for 2020 (1.9 per cent). (Full Story)

February 23, 2021 - 'Essential' not 'critical': Workers surprised to discover they won't receive benefit - Some frontline workers deemed essential under previous public health restrictions say they're frustrated to discover they do not qualify for the recently announced Critical Worker Benefit. The joint federal-provincial program will issue a one-time $1,200 cheque to about 380,000 eligible Alberta workers this spring, meant to act as a sort of retroactive danger pay. (Full Story)

February 19, 2021 - Alberta government changes criteria to include non-profit workers in $1,200 benefit - Frontline workers at some Alberta non-profits will get the $1,200 benefit for serving in critical roles throughout the pandemic after the government appeared to take a U-turn Thursday. When the Critical Worker Benefit application portal opened Wednesday evening, it specifically listed non-profit organizations in the private sector as ineligible. (Full Story)

February 19, 2021 - Non-profits, other employers frustrated by Alberta critical worker benefit program - At Boyle Street Community Services, workers are often in close contact with vulnerable clients. Director of operations Ian Mathieson says throughout the pandemic, employees have driven vulnerable people around, helped lift them off the ground or offered medical care - all without complaint. So, it was with frustration this week that he scrolled through the details of the Alberta government's critical worker benefit program, unable to decipher which of his employees qualify for a one-time, $1,200 pandemic bonus for frontline workers. (Full Story)

February 10, 2021 - Premier Kenney announces one-time $1,200 critical worker benefit for Albertans - Premier Jason Kenney announces nearly half a billion in supports for front-line workers in health-care, retail, education, social services, transportation, warehouses and more who face exposure to COVID-19 on the job. Kenney announced, in partnership with the federal government, a one-time $1,200 critical worker benefit for thousands of employees in both the public and private sector who have worked at least 300 hours between this past October and January. (Full Story)

January 29, 2021 - New online service makes trades verification easier - The Tradesperson Credential Verification Service is part of the Government of Alberta's commitment to reducing red tape. The service gives employers streamlined, online access to verify the credentials of a skilled tradesperson or apprentice. The Tradesperson Credential Verification Service means employers no longer need to request credential verification over the phone. Instead, they can now access this important information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. (Full Story)

March 1, 2021 - New business owners who don't qualify for COVID-19 aid petition Ottawa for help - Small-business owners in B.C. who opened their doors for the first time in 2020 - thereby making them ineligible for COVID-19 government support - are petitioning the federal government to help them keep those doors open. They are asking Ottawa to support new hospitality businesses that are excluded from the emergency wage, rent subsidy and emergency business loan programs because they did not earn revenue in 2019. (Full Story)

March 5, 2021 - Inclusive employment pilot lights the way in Powell River - A new inclusive employment pilot project is providing eligible Powell River residents with on-the-job work experience and skills training while they earn a fair wage in a new social enterprise. Now in its seventh month of operation, 25 people are getting work experience on the project. More than 80% of workers on the project experience developmental disabilities and/or multiple barriers to employment. (Full Story)

March 1, 2021 - Continued support for employers receiving CEWS - WorkSafeBC is continuing to waive premiums for employers who are approved to receive the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) for furloughed workers (employees on leave with full or partial pay). In support of this, a 2021 worksheet is available for employers to calculate the amounts to exclude from assessable payroll for furloughed workers who were eligible for a CEWS subsidy for the 2021 claim periods. Employers need to maintain documentation to identify workers who were furloughed as a result of this provincial health emergency. (Full Story)

February 23, 2021 - Recovery grants support jobs in rural communities - People living in rural communities throughout the province will soon benefit from B.C. government grants that will support new jobs and economic opportunities to help them recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Rural Economic Recovery (RER) program grants will support communities recovering from the economic impacts of COVID-19 and build their economies for the future. (Full Story)

February 8, 2021 - Micro credentials fast track to high-demand jobs - Micro credentials are a key part of a new initiative that will fast-track British Columbians to gain the education and skills they need for high-demand jobs. A total investment of $4 million has enabled 15 public post-secondary institutions to provide short-duration micro credentials for more than 2,000 British Columbians who need to reskill or upskill, so they can take advantage of opportunities in high-demand sectors. These will be especially helpful for those individuals whose employment has been impacted by COVID-19. (Full Story)

February 5, 2021 - Reskilling program helps British Columbians return to work - A new Skills Training for Economic Recovery program will help COVID-19-affected people to get access to new training opportunities for high-demand jobs. Government's $20-million investment is providing short-term skills training to people most affected by COVID-19 so they can develop the knowledge, skills and competencies for good job opportunities while the economy recovers. Almost 2,500 British Columbians will be able to quickly build the skills needed to access jobs that are in demand and get back to work sooner. (Full Story)

February 5, 2021 - B.C. employment growth flattens in January as province adds 2,800 jobs - It appears B.C. is done for the time being with adding tens of thousands of jobs each month. Employment expanded by 2,800 jobs in January - down from the 3,800 jobs added in December, according to data released Friday (Feb. 5) from Statistics Canada. Growth the past two months is a far cry from mid-2020, when B.C. was adding anywhere from 15,000 to 120,000 jobs each month as the economy rebounded from the pandemic. (Full Story)

March 5, 2021 - Manitoba offers tax payment deadline break for some businesses - Some Manitoba businesses are getting a COVID-related deadline break on certain tax payments. The leniency, also offered in March 2020, is due to the financial toll of the pandemic, the province said in a Friday news release. Small and medium-sized businesses - those with monthly remittances of $10,000 or less - had been given until March 31, 2021, to pay their retail sales tax. (Full Story)

March 4, 2021 - Manitoba's new apprenticeship changes come too little too late: industry experts - New changes are making it easier to keep Manitoba's apprenticeship programs up to date, but some experts are wondering why now? The province announced on Wednesday the Apprenticeship and Certification Amendment Act itself was amended - a move that promises to cut down on red tape and delays when updating the program. (Full Story)

March 3, 2021 - Province Introduces Amendments That Would Improve The Apprenticeship And Certification Amendment Act - The Manitoba government is making amendments to the Apprenticeship and Certification Act to modernize the way Manitoba updates Red Seal and provincial training standards and reduce the administrative burden for industry, journeypersons and apprentices. As part of a recent review, the province heard industry frustrations over delays and found red tape is delaying Manitoba's ability to update and harmonize trade standards. (Full Story)

February 10, 2021 - Reporting Contractor Earnings to the WCB - If you hire an individual or independent business without coverage, they are considered your worker and you would be liable for their coverage. You can search the WCB Clearance Request System to check if contractors have their own coverage. If they don't, you are required to include their earnings in your payroll calculations. (Full Story)

February 10, 2021 - Your Assessable Payroll - What to Include - Each year, employers are required to report their payroll to the WCB, which is how we calculate the premiums that you pay. Payroll includes workers' earnings, casual labour earnings and the labour reporting of contract workers' earnings. The amount you report, per worker, is subject to a cap, or a maximum assessable earnings level. You're not charged a premium on the earnings that exceed the cap, which in 2021 is $127,000. (Full Story)

February 8, 2021 - Province Partnering With Opportunities For Employment To Provide Supports For EIA Recipients Facing Employment Barriers - The Manitoba government is investing $1.9 million in a partnership with not-for-profit corporation Opportunities for Employment (OFE) to deliver three programs that will connect Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) participants with training and employment services. This investment will support OFE to connect single parents receiving EIA and others facing barriers to employment with additional tailored supports. (Full Story)

March 9, 2021 - New Brunswick farm groups upset with new restrictions for temporary foreign workers - Agriculture groups in New Brunswick are calling on the provincial government to rethink new restrictions on temporary foreign workers. Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick president Lisa Ashworth says farmers have been told that temporary foreign workers will have to quarantine inside individual bedrooms for 14 days upon arrival. Farmers had been able to quarantine workers together on farms as long as workers were able to remain two metres apart. (Full Story)

March 2, 2021 - Helping workers in New Brunswick develop the skills they need to find good jobs - An additional $1.5 billion has been announced for training Canadian workers through the Workforce Development Agreements (WDAs) with provinces and territories. The Government of New Brunswick has received $22 million to help respond to the increased number of New Brunswick residents looking to re-enter the workforce, particularly those in hard-hit sectors and groups disadvantaged as a result of the pandemic. As the Canadian economy recovers from the impact of COVID-19, workers are facing new challenges. Residents of New Brunswick and all Canadians need access to training and employment supports to develop new skills and find good jobs. (Full Story)

February 23, 2021 - Minimum wage to increase April 1 - The provincial government is increasing the minimum wage to $11.75 per hour on April 1, from the current rate of $11.70 per hour. The minimum wage rate is indexed to New Brunswick's consumer price index, rounded to the nearest five cents. The New Brunswick consumer price index grew by 0.22 per cent in 2020. There are currently about 20,000 minimum wage earners in New Brunswick, or about six per cent of the paid workforce. (Full Story)

February 9, 2021 - New Brunswick temporarily accepting PNP applications from labourers - Eligible labourers in New Brunswick who want to become Canadian permanent residents can now apply for a provincial nomination. Temporary workers working in these types of occupations will be able to apply for New Brunswick's Provincial Nominee Program up until April 30, 2021, according to a media release. (Full Story)

February 2, 2021 - Notice to employers: payments and payroll reports - WorkSafeNB has announced that due to COVID-19, they are not accepting payments or processing Form 100s at their office locations. They say that can pay assessments at the Service New Brunswick branch nearest you, or by choosing one of the following options: with credit card at 1 888 762-8600 or Online at snb.ca. More information is available at www.worksafenb.ca/employers/. (Full Story)

February 19, 2021 - Employers Reminded Minimum Wage Increase Takes Effect April 1 - The Provincial Government is reminding employers the minimum wage will increase by $0.35 cents on April 1, 2021, bringing the minimum wage rate to $12.50 per hour. This represents the third of a total of four increases to the minimum wage announced in February 2020. (Full Story)

February 16, 2021 - Federal Government Temporarily Waives One-Week Waiting Period for EI Claims - The Federal Government is temporarily waiving the one-week waiting period for Employment Insurance (EI) claimants who establish a new claim between January 31, 2021 and September 25, 2021. This includes claimants of regular, fishing and special benefits. (Full Story)

February 16, 2021 - WorkplaceNL safety training certificates extended to April 30 - WorkplaceNL is extending expiry dates of safety training certificates as training courses may not be widely available while the province is under COVID-19 Alert Level 5. Safety training certificate expiry dates will be extended from February 15 to April 30, 2021. During this time, employers and supervisors must continue to assess their worker's competency to ensure safe work. If competency is not satisfactory, action should be taken accordingly. (Full Story)

February 15, 2021 - Government takes heat for pre-lockdown denial of work-from-home to parenting employees - A single mother in St. John's was forced to take annual leave last week because her employer - the provincial government - said her children prevented her from being eligible to work from home. Another employee asked his manager to allow him to work from home last week. He was denied because his child had no babysitter. He was later identified as a close contact of a coworker who tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to quarantine along with his child. (Full Story)

February 13, 2021 - Newfoundland and Labrador rotational workers lose seven-day privileges - Rotational workers in Newfoundland and Labrador who work in other parts of Canada have lost a privilege they fought hard for last year as a result of the current outbreak of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 in the province. All rotational workers, domestic and international, must now isolate for 14 days. (Full Story)

March 4, 2021 - Wage Top Up Program Extended to August 31st - The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is extending the Wage Top Up Program to August 31st, 2021. To support low-wage workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, the GNWT has implemented the Wage Top-Up Program to provide temporary financial assistance to NWT workers aged 15 or over and earning less than $18 per hour. (Full Story)

February 28, 2021 - Criminal records a barrier to employment in N.W.T., says MLA - Each government job posting in the N.W.T. has a caveat - that applicants provide a "satisfactory criminal record check" if they want to be considered for a position. With high crime rates in communities, that requirement could be deterring potential applicants from seeking those jobs, said Tu Nedhé-Wıı̀lıı̀deh MLA Steve Norn. (Full Story)

February 9, 2021 - Yukon and N.W.T. both claim lowest unemployment in Canada. What gives? - Last week, the N.W.T. Bureau of Statistics put out a release celebrating some good news for a change: the territory had the lowest unemployment rate in the country. But there was one, tiny problem - the Yukon claimed the same thing. According to their numbers, Yukon's unemployment rate sat at 5.6 per cent, to the N.W.T.'s 5.8 per cent. (Full Story)

February 8, 2021 - N.W.T. has lowest unemployment in country as hundreds more employed in public sector - The N.W.T. has the lowest unemployment rate in Canada, thanks largely to hundreds of people making the move to public administration, a new release from the N.W.T. Bureau of Statistics shows. The latest update on labour force activity from the bureau shows roughly 700 more people working in public administration this month than in January 2020. (Full Story)

February 1, 2021 - Media Release: Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission Announces New e-Service for Workplace Incident Reporting - Employers in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut can now report workplace incidents and injuries online through the e-Business service, WSCC Connect. Reporting requirements under the Workers' Compensation Acts, Safety Acts and Regulations and Mine Health and Safety Acts and Regulations have not changed. All employers must report workplace incidents, injuries or dangerous occurrences to the WSCC by fully completing an Employer's Report of Incident within three business days. (Full Story)

March 8, 2021 - Nova Scotia Will Reevaluate How Minimum Wage Increases Are Calculated - The Nova Scotia government says it will reevaluate how it calculates minimum wage increases in the province. The decision comes in response to a recommendation from the Nova Scotia Minimum Wage Review Committee, an arms-length body that each year reviews the province's minimum wage increases. (Full Story)

March 5, 2021 - Nova Scotia's Approach to Setting Minimum Wage to be Reviewed - The current approach to setting the minimum wage rate in Nova Scotia will be reviewed in the coming months. The review comes as government accepts the recommendation from the Nova Scotia Minimum Wage Review Committee in its annual report. On Jan. 26, government also accepted the committee's recommendation to increase the rate for minimum wage earners to $12.95 an hour. The new rate increase takes effect on April 1. (Full Story)

March 4, 2021 - Despite overall progress, workplace fatalities increased in 2020 - Acute workplace fatalities hit a tragic high in 2020, according to information released today from WCB Nova Scotia and the Department of Labour and Advanced Education (LAE). Eighteen Nova Scotians died from acute traumatic injuries on the job, the highest our province has seen since 2008. There were also 14 fatalities classified as chronic - 7 related to occupational diseases and 7 caused by health related issues, such as heart attacks. (See backgrounder) (Full Story)

March 3, 2021 - Employer Reminder: Subcontractor reports no longer required - The Nova Scotia WCB is reminding employers that they are no longer required to complete and submit formal subcontractor reports to WCB Nova Scotia. If you hire subcontractors who operate in a mandatory industry that do not have WCB Nova Scotia coverage, you should be including the labour portion of those contracts in your regular payroll reporting to the WCB. (Full Story)

January 26, 2021 - Minimum Wage Increasing April 1 - Nova Scotia's minimum wage is increasing on April 1. Today, Jan. 26, Labour and Advanced Education Minister Lena Metlege Diab announced that government has accepted the Minimum Wage Review Committee's recommendation that minimum wage increase by 30 cents, plus the national consumer price index, which is 10 cents for 2020, resulting in an overall increase of 40 cents an hour. (Full Story)

March 4, 2021 - Average GN salary rises to $95,984, but Inuit and women continue to earn less - The territorial government's workforce expanded by 132 positions in 2019-20 and the average salary reached $95,984, up by $384 from 2018-19. The average annual salary for Nunavut Inuit, who continue to comprise half of the public service, was $86,478. For non-Inuit it was $106,997. Female employees, who comprise 65 per cent of the territorial government's staff, earned an average of $94,841 while male employees were paid $98,634 per year, on average. (Full Story)

February 1, 2021 - Media Release: Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission Announces New e-Service for Workplace Incident Reporting - Employers in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut can now report workplace incidents and injuries online through the e-Business service, WSCC Connect. Reporting requirements under the Workers' Compensation Acts, Safety Acts and Regulations and Mine Health and Safety Acts and Regulations have not changed. All employers must report workplace incidents, injuries or dangerous occurrences to the WSCC by fully completing an Employer's Report of Incident within three business days. (Full Story)

March 8, 2021 - McNaughton: $23-million plan tackles 'looming crisis' in Ontario skilled trades - The Ontario government is making a renewed pushed to get more people into the trades, spending $23 million to encourage businesses to hire apprentices. The money, part of the government's Achievement Incentive program that was announced on March 5, will give as much as $4,000 to employers for each apprentice hired as they complete their training and certifications. (Full Story)

March 5, 2021 - Ontario Setting Up Apprentices and Employers for Success - The Ontario government is investing $47 million in 2021-22 to hire more apprentices, improve the quality of training and help them complete their training and certification through the new Achievement Incentive Program and the expanded Apprenticeship Capital Grant. These programs are designed to support those who train apprentices, such as businesses, colleges and other training organizations, providing more young people with high quality training that will lead to successful careers. (Full Story)

March 3, 2021 - Ontario Hires 100 Additional Health and Safety Inspectors - The Ontario government has hired over 100 new occupational health and safety inspectors to support business inspection campaigns, and help ensure employees, businesses and the public are protected. The new inspectors have begun a condensed training program, and will begin making field visits, with a mentor, within five weeks of their start date. They are scheduled to be fully trained and deployed by July 1, 2021. (Full Story)

February 20, 2021 - Connecting newcomers to northeastern Ontario with employment opportunities - The federal government recently announced funding to address labour needs of businesses in Northeastern Ontario. Fednor funding for the Northern Policy Institute connects migrant and immigrant workers with workplaces seeking to recruit employees. Nickel Belt M.P. Marc Serré often hears about the need for skilled labour in Northeastern Ontario. (Full Story)

February 5, 2021 - Applications Open for Ontario's New Skills Development Fund - Applications are now open for the Ontario government's new two-year $115 million Skills Development Fund. The fund, which will support workers and apprentices, is specifically designed to address the challenges brought on by COVID-19 and help reduce obstacles to hiring, training and retaining while preparing workers for the province's economic recovery. (Full Story)

March 1, 2021 - Province announces supports for impacted workers - The province is launching supports to help Islanders get through the latest modified red level restricted measures related to COVID-19. The Prince Edward Island Emergency Payment for Workers is a $500 payment for workers and self-employed Islanders who have completely lost their income or will have their hours reduced by at least 12 hours a week from February 28 to March 14, 2021. (Full Story)

February 24, 2021 - Employers can apply for wage support under Jobs for Youth - Employers on PEI can apply for wage support to create summer job opportunities for Island students. The Jobs for Youth Program supports non-profit organizations, municipalities, and public and private businesses with funding to create summer jobs for students aged 15-29 who plan to return to school in the following school year. (Full Story)

February 5, 2021 - Unemployment rate on P.E.I. dives to 2nd lowest rate in Canada - The unemployment rate on P.E.I. fell two full percentage points in January, dropping it well below the national average, which rose, and second only to Saskatchewan. The P.E.I. rate fell from 9.9 per cent to 7.9 per cent. Nationally the rate rose 0.6 to 9.4 per cent. The rate was down due to both strong growth in jobs and large numbers of people leaving the labour force. (Full Story)

February 8, 2021 - Changes to the WCB's Employer's Initial Report of Injury (E1) form - To continuously improve our customer service, the Saskatchewan Workers' Compensation Board has made changes to the online E1 form. The new features of the online E1 form include: A document upload feature, Fewer required fields, Fewer questions, and an enhanced dashboard that gives the users a better view of what E1s are submitted and saved. When you submit your E1 form online, the form is automatically entered into the WCB system, which eliminates delays that can occur if mailed. (Full Story)

February 5, 2021 - Saskatchewan Records Lowest Unemployment Rate in Canada - The Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey released today shows Saskatchewan's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in January 2021 was the lowest among the provinces at 7.2 per cent, and well below the national rate of 9.4 per cent. Saskatchewan's seasonally adjusted employment grew by 2,200 jobs (+0.4 per cent) on a month-to-month basis. (Full Story)

February 3, 2021 - Ensuring Job Protection for Employees Accessing Benefits Under the Federal Recovery Program - The Government of Saskatchewan announced amendments to The Employment Standards Regulations that will extend job protection to employees looking to access the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and Caregiving Benefit. The amendments ensure employees that are accessing the new federal recovery benefits will have jobs to return to after taking leave due to a COVID illness or caring for a family member. (Full Story)

February 3, 2021 - Standardized Personal Protective Safety Equipment Increases Workplace Safety and Encourages Economic Growth - Saskatchewan has made amendments to The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 1996 that will standardize the workplace requirements for first aid kits based on the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standard Z1220-17 guidelines. (Full Story)

February 15, 2021 - Government of Yukon and Liard First Nation sign job training agreement - Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn and Liard First Nation Chief Stephen Charlie have announced an agreement to provide heavy equipment operator training. The agreement delivers on the Government of Yukon's commitment under the Yukon Resource Gateway Program to provide training opportunities in the community. (Full Story)

February 9, 2021 - Yukon and N.W.T. both claim lowest unemployment in Canada. What gives? - Last week, the N.W.T. Bureau of Statistics put out a release celebrating some good news for a change: the territory had the lowest unemployment rate in the country. But there was one, tiny problem - the Yukon claimed the same thing. According to their numbers, Yukon's unemployment rate sat at 5.6 per cent, to the N.W.T.'s 5.8 per cent. (Full Story)

Jan. 28, 2021 - Yukon employers to receive $10-million in rebates from Workers' Compensation Board - The Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board is issuing $10 million in rebates to employers this month. Employers with an account in good standing will receive rebate cheques based on the total premiums paid in 2020. According to Heather Avery, Workers' Compensation Board spokesperson, employers with outstanding assessment rate payments will see the rebate funnelled directly into their accounts. (Full Story)


Work-Life Balance When Returning to Work

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has transformed the workplace. In the "new normal" created by the pandemic, employees have increasingly worked from home. This has led many workers to stay connected to one another via video and phone calls, text messages, and emails rather than in-person meetings. As a result, these workers have done their part to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and continue to provide valuable contributions to their respective businesses.  

Although the pandemic is ongoing, many businesses are beginning to let employees return to their previous workspaces. The workplace of the past is gone, however, as these businesses are implementing social distancing guidelines and other safety measures to guard against the spread of COVID-19. In addition, this work environment requires employees to adjust their everyday expectations, particularly when it comes to maintaining a healthy work-life balance.  

How Has the COVID-19 Pandemic Affected Work-Life Balance? 

Having the opportunity to work remotely during the pandemic enabled employees to show that they can help their respective businesses thrive, even in the middle of a crisis. Yet, remote employees may have inadvertently struggled to maintain a healthy work-life balance during the pandemic, due to the fact that they worked exclusively from home.  

The pandemic forced many workers to drastically modify their work habits and environments, to the point where they may have spent long hours completing work tasks at home. This may have caused remote workers to feel overly stressed about work, to the point where they may have struggled to enjoy time with family.  

Also, the pandemic has put a major strain on businesses and employees alike. Some companies were forced to lay off or furlough workers, as the pandemic resulted in significant financial losses in a short period of time. Meanwhile, workers may have felt increased anxiety during the pandemic, since they may have been uncertain about their future with their respective businesses. In these instances, workers may have felt obligated to work extra hours to show they are valuable contributors to their businesses - which may have resulted in an unhealthy work-life balance.  

How to Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance When You Return to Work 

There is no surefire formula to maintain a healthy work-life balance when you return to work. But, there are several things that you can do to develop a work-life balance that ensures you feel great both at work and at home, such as: 

  • Establish Priorities: Figure out what tasks to get done at work and explore ways to complete these tasks on schedule during your workday.
  • Set Aside Personal Time: Take regular breaks throughout the workday, so you can give your body and mind time to recharge.
  • Stick to a Work Schedule:  Develop a work schedule and stay with it. 
  • Enhance Your Workspace: Build a workspace where you feel like you can maximize your productivity and feel comfortable throughout the workday.

Use the aforementioned tips, and you'll be well-equipped to achieve a healthy work-life balance. 

This article is reprinted by permission from Employment Professionals Canada, who provide Temporary Staffing Agencies, Employment and Hiring Solutions, Employee Training and Development, HR Consulting Services, and Job Placement Agencies in Canada . Read the original article.


Software Updates

eNETEmployer (Current Release)

  • You can now generate employee self-service user accounts for all active employees only in the current payroll. You can do this by choosing the Generate Employee User Accounts button in the Setup Employee screens in both the Payroll and HR modules. Previously, you could only generate employee self-service accounts from the Employers tab's Users screen (and the latter button would generate the accounts for all employee types, regardless of their status).
  • You can now also create employee self-service accounts for individual employees via the "Create User Account" button in the Setup Employee screens in both the Payroll and HR modules.
  • Added a read-only column to show the employee's self-service account user name. This column is shown in Setup Employee screens in both the Payroll and HR modules.
  • Added additional support for COVID T4 boxes.
  • Added an "Update Rates" button to the button bar in the Employee - Earning Items screen. This allows you to update the rates for multiple employees in one step.
  • Added a "P Value" item to the Functions screen. This allows you to override a single variable value by defining it as a P Value, instead of having to override the whole function expression.
  • In conjunction with the new P Value feature above, both the Deduction & Benefits Items and Accumulator Items screen now have a P Value column so that you can specify a P value override.

GrandMaster Suite (v16.08)

  • Fixed an issue when uploading to eNETEmployer where values overlapped. This would occur when multiple "Other" boxes were filled and the program was not creating a second form to display the overflow T4 data. A second T4 form is now created as needed for overflow situations.
  • Corrected a problem where some of the optional boxes were not appearing on the upload or in the XML file.
  • Corrected a problem with T4 self-sealing mailers where some of the boxes were misaligned.
  • Corrected a problem with XML file where data that was over six "Other" boxes would overflow prematurely.
  • Corrected a problem with COVID boxes where the table would overflow if you had multiple Additional pay runs. For example, if you processed more than 9 payroll periods between March 15 and May, the extra run(s) would not be added.
  • Corrected a problem with COVID boxes where "Box 71 - Indian (exempt income)" was not being checked for COVID processing.
  • Corrected a problem where the T4 XML and the T4/T4A Summary Report was displaying values from other boxes.

GrandMaster II (v16.04)

  • Added the COVID boxes to T4's and XML files.
  • Fixed an issue when uploading to eNETEmployer where values overlapped. This would occur when multiple "Other" boxes were filled and the program was not creating a second form to display the overflow T4 data. A second form is now created as needed.
  • Corrected a problem with some of the optional boxes not appearing on the upload or in the XML file.
  • Fixed a problem with the "Other" boxes at the bottom of the T4 when you exceeded 6 boxes. Normally, the program should overflow and create a new T4 to continue with the Other boxes. The issue was that if there was not a 7th Other box, you would end up with a not-required T4.
  • Corrected a problem with the XML file as above, where the overflow was not correct when you exceeded 6 "Other" boxes.
  • Fixed an issue where incorrect COVID box totals were being displayed on the T4 Summary.
  • Corrected a problem with COVID boxes where the table would overflow if you had multiple Additional pay runs. For example, if you processed more than 9 payroll periods between March 15 and May, the extra run(s) would not be added.


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