Canadian Payroll and Human Resource News and Articles - April 2015Canadian Payroll and Human Resource News and Articles - April 2015

Payroll News Canada - April 2015

Welcome to the latest edition of The Payroll News! As always, please feel free to forward this newsletter to your friends and associates who are interested in keeping up with the latest changes in the Canadian Payroll industry. Federal and Provincial news are listed immediately below followed by our Featured Article and other useful topics.

Tip of the Month Federal News Provincial News
Featured Article GrandMaster News Newsletter Archive

Tip of the Month

April 2015 - Businesses Can Use PAD to Pay Taxes Online - Did you know that the CRA allows your business to make tax payments online directly via the pre-authorized debit (PAD) service? This feature is available through My Business Account and allows you to choose the bank account, the amount of the payment, and the specific date or dates for the payments. Click Here for more information.

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

Canadian Federal Payroll and HR News

April 22, 2015 - Extension of compassionate care leave proposed in federal budget - Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver delivered the 2015 federal budget yesterday. Changes included an extension to Compassionate Care Leave. The budget proposed to extend the period for which eligible individuals may receive EI compassionate care benefits from six weeks to six months, beginning Jan. 1, 2016. The benefits are provided to eligible individuals who have to take a temporary leave from work to provide care or support to a family member who is gravely ill and who has a significant risk of death within 26 weeks. (Full Story)

April 21, 2015 - Economic Action Plan 2015 Offers Low-Tax Plan for Jobs, Growth and Security - Minister of Finance Joe Oliver today tabled Economic Action Plan 2015, the Harper Government’s balanced-budget, low-tax plan for jobs, growth and security. One of the plan's mandates is to support jobs and growth by making Canada more competitive and allowing job-creating businesses to thrive; making new and innovative investments that build on the Government’s historic support for infrastructure; and training a highly skilled workforce that responds to the evolving needs of employers. (Full Story)

April 20, 2015 - Businesses use PAD to Pay Taxes Online - The Canada Revenue Agency allows businesses to make tax payments online directly via a pre-authorized debit (PAD) service. This feature is available through My Business Account and allows your business to choose the bank account, the amount of the payment, and the specific date or dates for the payments. (Full Story)

March 12, 2015 - Interest rates for the second calendar quarter - The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) today announced the prescribed annual interest rates that will apply to any amounts owed to the CRA and to any amounts the CRA owes to individuals and corporations. These rates will be in effect from April 1, 2015 to June 30, 2015. (Full Story)

Provincial Payroll and HR News

(Click a Province to expand the articles)

March 20, 2015 - Beware phony websites preying on desperate job-seekers - The Alberta government is warning people to be aware of fraudulent websites posing as legitimate Alberta employers. These sites are appearing on the Internet offering positions in Alberta’s oil patch - jobs that do not exist. A downturn in oil prices means greater competition for work in Alberta and scammers are targeting job-seekers in Canada and beyond. (Full Story)

March 17, 2015 - Aboriginal construction program builds opportunities - A two-year pilot program co-sponsored by the Alberta government, Bow Valley College, NorQuest College, industry and Aboriginal organizations will help more than 600 Aboriginal people train for careers in the construction industry. The Alberta Aboriginal Construction Career Centres pilot will complement other existing programs that support Aboriginal training and employment in trades careers. (Full Story)

March 11, 2015 - Common Business Number Act Bill Introduced - Bill 12 has been introduced and will simplify how Alberta businesses interact with the provincial government. If passed, it will create the authority for Alberta to adopt the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) Business Number system. Currently, government programs use different means to identify business clients. This results in businesses having to use multiple identifiers when dealing with government.  For instance, businesses are issued distinct identifiers when they register their business or open a workers’ compensation account. (Full Story)

April 14, 2015 - B.C. auto industry is driving a plan for future jobs - The B.C. automotive sector is gearing up to ensure it has human resource strategies and tools to help well-trained individuals get the skills they need to find a job. Government announced today it has invested just over $100,000 in a labour market partnerships program (LMPP) agreement with the Automobile Retailers Association (ARA) and its automotive industry partners.  The automotive sector employs about 45,000 people throughout the province, with 2,800 active apprentices currently registered in automotive sector-related trades. (Full Story)

March 31, 2015  - High-school students benefit from partnerships in skills training - High-school students in North Vancouver are getting a head-start in hands-on trades training at the Squamish Nation Trade Centre through a new ACE IT Piping Foundation program made possible through a B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint partnership.  B.C.’s Labour Market Outlook to 2022 projects there will be one million job openings, driven by retirements and a growing economy, many of them in skilled trades and technical occupations. Pipefitters and sprinkler system installers are in the top 60 of projected in-demand occupations to meet future labour force needs. (Full Story)

March 26, 2015 - New student aid grants support in-demand occupations - Two new student grants – including expansion of the BC Loan Forgiveness Program to more occupations - will support education and training programs that lead to in-demand careers, as part of the B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint. The BC Loan Forgiveness Program is being expanded to include more health and other specialized occupations. Other changes to the BC Loan Forgiveness Program include ensuring that recipients work a minimum of 400 hours per year at a public health facility in an underserved or designated community or school district for five years, instead of three. (Full Story)

March 12, 2015  - B.C. indexes minimum wage to provincial CPI - The B.C. government is indexing increases in the general minimum hourly wage and liquor server wage to B.C.’s Consumer Price Index (CPI). Going forward, from 2016 onward, the minimum wage will be determined using a formula calculated upon the percentage the B.C. Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased in the previous calendar year. In years where there is a negative CPI change, the minimum wage would stay the same. In addition, this indexing formula is being applied to the period since the last minimum wage increase in 2012. Effective Sept. 15, 2015, the general minimum hourly wage will increase from $10.25 to $10.45 and the liquor server wage from $9.00 to $9.20 per hour. (Full Story)

March 10, 2015  - Skilled trades need more women to train up and tool up - The BC government is appealing to women to become involved in careers in the skilled trades. B.C. is looking at a million job openings between now and 2022, two-thirds of these driven by retirements. With 44% of the million jobs in the skilled trades and technical occupations, it’s a great time for a hands-on career. Though not traditionally thought of as a career path for women, the skilled trades offer the possibility of rich, rewarding careers. About 10.5% of all apprentices in British Columbia are women, up from 8.5% in 2009. (Full Story)

March 19, 2015 - Expansion at MITT will Create More Opportunities to Train for Good Jobs in Manitoba - Students at the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology (MITT) can look forward to a major campus expansion that will include a new welding shop thanks to a $4-million investment by the Manitoba government. Manitoba’s economy is growing and this requires an education and training strategy that ensures our future workforce has adequate training opportunities. This expansion will double the institute’s capacity to train apprenticeship-track industrial welders and give young people more opportunities to learn and develop the skills they need to get the good jobs that are available right here in Manitoba. (Full Story)

March 12, 2015 - Manitoba Government Announces Key Initiatives To Prepare Manitobans For Labour Market - The Manitoba government has partnered with two community organizations to help people with barriers to employment obtain skills and qualifications they need to find work, Jobs and the Economy.  Since 2012, the Manitoba government has invested $591,853 in two programs that are part of the Strategy for Sustainable Employment and a Stronger Labour Market, as well as the Empowered to Change initiative to support parents with young children. (Full Story)

April 17, 2015 - NB Power employees achieve safety milestone - NB Power employees at the Coleson Cove Generating Station have reached 10 years of safe electricity production without a lost-time accident. The safety of the employees, public and environment is a top priority at all NB Power facilities. The milestone is a demonstration of how employees and managers work together to make personal and team safety a priority. (Full Story)

April 2, 2015 - WorkSafeNB encourages all workers to be safety leaders - WorkSafeNB released its 2014 Annual Report this week and is pleased to announce that New Brunswick remains one of the safest places to work in Canada. As a result of this, New Brunswick employers pay the lowest rates in Atlantic Canada. WorkSafeNB is pleased with progress made in 2014. 96% of 3,834 injured workers returned to work or were capable of returning to work following their rehabilitation. (Full Story)

March 31, 2015 - Budget faces fiscal challenges, invests in job creation and families - The provincial government tabled its 2015-16 budget today which focuses on the government’s three key priorities: creating the conditions for job creation, facing our fiscal challenges and helping families. Creating the conditions for economic growth and job creation is the government’s number one priority. One measure introduced in the 2015/16 budget is to fund the new Youth Employment Fund which will help 1,500 young New Brunswickers each year obtain work experience and training. (Full Story)

March 20, 2015 - Chair and vice-chair appointed to WorkSafeNB - Dorine Pirie and François M. Angers have been appointed as chairperson and vice-chairperson respectively of the board for WorkSafeNB, starting March 23. WorkSafeNB looks to promote the balance between the rights of injured workers and the financial interests of New Brunswick employers. A comprehensive review of New Brunswick’s workers’ compensation legislation is being undertaken to ensure that governing legislation and policies are appropriate to address the needs and realities of current and future workplace environments, and to strike the right balance between adequate compensation for injured workers and employers’ fiscal interests. (Full Story)

March 18, 2015 - Youth Employment Fund launched to help create jobs - Youth are invited to apply to be matched with an employer through the new Youth Employment Fund. The fund will help 1,500 young New Brunswickers each year obtain work experience and training. Employment counselors will help match young workers with employers and training opportunities. While the placements will be subsidized by the province, employers may provide a top-up. In addition, up to $1,000 will be available for participants to cover costs associated with the job placement such as training, tools, special clothing or equipment. (Full Story)

April 23, 2015 - Provincial Government Releases Job Vacancy Report - Employers, education and training institutions, students and job seekers in Newfoundland and Labrador can now learn more about current trends in the provincial labour market through the release of the 2014 Job Vacancy Report. The Job Vacancy Report provides a detailed analysis of more than 38,000 job advertisements recorded during the last calendar year. This analysis includes regions where jobs were located, key industries, in-demand occupations and education requirements for these occupations. (Full Story)

April 17, 2015 - Deadline Extended for Student Summer Employment Program - Post Secondary - The Department of Advanced Education and Skills is announcing a two-week extension to the deadline for applications to the Student Summer Employment Program - Post Secondary. The new deadline is May 1, 2015. The deadline for the Student Summer Employment Program - High School remains unchanged and is May 1, 2015. The Student Summer Employment Programs provide a wage subsidy to help employers hire students for the summer. (Full Story)

March 24, 2015 - Applications Now Being Accepted for Student Employment Programs - The Department of Advanced Education and Skills is now accepting applications for this year’s summer student employment programs. Private employers and not-for-profit groups throughout the province are able to avail of a wage subsidy under these programs to help them hire post-secondary and high school students for the summer months. The summer student employment programs are delivered by the department’s 27 employment centres located throughout the province. Representing a 20 per cent increase from 2013, 1,855 students were hired through these programs in 2014. (Full Story)

March 6, 2015 - Provincial Government Announces Call for Applications Under Job Creation Partnerships Program - The Department of Advanced Education and Skills is now accepting applications under the Job Creation Partnerships (JCP) Program for the coming year. Interested organizations can access the application form on the provincial government website. Funding is provided through direct contributions to sponsors or through the extension of Employment Insurance (EI) benefits for project participants and may include in-kind or in-cash contributions from sponsors. (Full Story)

March 13, 2015 - Improving Employment Success for NWT Residents - More than 160 delegates attended the first Skills 4 Success Symposium, held on March 10-12, 2015, to discuss how skills and postsecondary education strategies can better align with NWT labour market needs and demands. The Symposium brought together governments, educators and trainers, industry, employers and engaged citizens from across the NWT. The Skills 4 Success Initiative will seek to improve employment success for NWT residents by closing skill gaps for in-demand jobs and more effectively responding to community, employer and industry needs. (Full Story)

April 22, 2015 - Pension Benefits Act Coming into Effect - The updated Pension Benefits Act will come into effect June 1, to increase transparency and access to information for plan members and pensioners. "This will modernize Nova Scotia's pension plan regulatory framework, with the new regulations giving full effect to new forms of pension plans, such as jointly sponsored pension plans," said Finance and Treasury Board Minister Diana Whalen. "The regulations have been updated to harmonize with requirements in other jurisdictions across Canada." (Full Story)

April 10, 2015 - Workplace injuries decline to all-time low in Nova Scotia - Fewer workers were injured on the job in 2014, and four of the five largest industries in the province saw improvements in their injury rate. These results are all signs of continued progress towards building a stronger culture of safety in Nova Scotia, says the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia. In its 2014 Annual Report released today, the WCB reports that the province’s time-loss workplace injury rate dropped to 1.82 time-loss injuries per 100 covered workers, the lowest since WCB first began tracking this measure. (Full Story)

April 7, 2015 - Wages Frozen for MLAs, Excluded Employees - Under amendments introduced to the House of Assembly Act by Finance and Treasury Board Minister Diana Whalen, MLAs' salaries will be frozen for three years.  In addition to the salary freeze, the amendments will eliminate transitional pay to fully pension-eligible MLAs. The wage freeze will also apply to excluded classification employees, however, the amendments to the House of Assembly Act will cover elected officials only. In addition, the public service award will be frozen. The public service award currently amounts to one week's salary for each year of full-time work up to 26 weeks. (Full Story)

March 23, 2015 - Spotlight on Workplace Safety - More young people are learning about workplace safety, fewer workers are being injured on the job, and more high-risk industries are becoming safer. This was some of the progress highlighted at the Safety Services Nova Scotia Workplace Health and Safety Conference. During the conference, more than 500 workers, employers, safety leaders and government officials discussed how they will continue to increase education and awareness to improve workplace safety in the province. (Full Story)

February 2, 2015 - Premiers Approve Plan to Improve Labour Mobility for Apprentices - Canada's premiers have approved a plan that will make it easier for apprentices to move between provinces and territories while completing their training and certification. The agreement will also make it easier for employers to get the skilled workers they need. It will build on work of the Atlantic Apprenticeship Harmonization Project and the agreement signed with Alberta to ensure that both pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship training is transferable between both provinces. (Full Story)

April 15, 2015 - Governments of Canada and Nunavut launch the Canada Job Grant to help Nunavummiut get high quality jobs - The government today announced that Nunavut is accepting employer applications for the Canada Job Grant and encouraged employers to apply. The Canada Job Grant initiative is an innovative, employer-driven approach to help Canadians gain the skills and training they need to fill available jobs. The Canada Job Grant is designed to be flexible enough to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes, in all industries and regions. By requiring employers to invest in their employees, the Canada Job Grant will result in training that leads to guaranteed jobs. (Full Story)

April 21, 2015 - WCB Seeking Policy Consultation - The Workers Compensation Board has approved in principle changes to the policy, Estimating Earning Capacity (POL-116), and is inviting the public to provide feedback on this draft policy by April 30, 2015. The province's WCB is committed to working with stakeholders to develop policies that are consistent with the compensation and workplace safety legislation and remind us that an important part of the policy development process is stakeholder consultation. (Full Story)

March 27, 2015 - A successful year of apprenticeship training - Prince Edward Island’s trades sector has seen a significant year of growth, with 406 registered apprentices completing training programs in 2014-15. Apprenticeship is an industry-led initiative and a partnership with employers, apprentices and training institutions. On an annual basis the province provides an approximate $1.3 million investment in apprenticeship through SkillsPEI. The province has seen positive growth in the number of new entrants to the apprenticeship system, with 265 newly registered apprentices representing 21 trades in the province in 2014/15. (Full Story)

March 6, 2015 - Matching Island students with job opportunities - SkillsPEI is now taking applications from employers and students for its youth focused career support programs for 2015-16, says Allen Roach, Minister of Innovation and Advanced Learning. Three youth focused career support programs are now open for applications. They include the Post-Secondary Summer Employment Program, a new initiative entitled the Career Prep Program, and the Graduate Mentorship Program. (Full Story)

April 10, 2015 - Ontario Adds 2,000 Jobs in March - Employment in Ontario increased by 2,000 in March as the government's economic plan continues to see results by focusing on the province's greatest strengths - our highly skilled workforce and diverse, innovative economy. This brings the total increase in employment since the recessionary low in June 2009 to 524,500. Ontario's employment recovery from the recession has been faster than in the United States. Eighty-nine per cent of this increase in employment was in full-time positions and 71 per cent in the private sector. Ontario's unemployment rate has declined from a recessionary high of 9.6 per cent in June 2009 to 6.9 per cent in March. (Full Story)

April 9, 2015 - Ontario Investing $55 Million to Help More People Enter the Skilled Trades - Ontario is investing an additional $55 million in three programs that support apprenticeship. This investment will help the next generation of skilled tradespeople access the training, equipment and facilities they need to get good jobs.  As part of a renewed Youth Jobs Strategy, new funding will be distributed to two apprenticeship programs: The Apprenticeship Enhancement Fund and The Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program. (Full Story)

April 7, 2015 - Helping Over 6,000 Skilled Immigrants Find Jobs - Ten new Ontario Bridge Training projects have launched to help more than 6,000 internationally trained people find jobs that match their skills and experience. Over the next three years, these bridge training projects will help newcomers; Prepare for license or certification exams, Get job training, Build clinical and workplace experience and Assess their education and skills. The projects are part of more than 80 active Bridge Training projects across the province that support a wide range of professions such as engineering, health care, business and information technology. (Full Story)

April 2015 - Rate Framework Reform Consultations - The WSIB is seeking stakeholder consultation on a proposed preliminary Rate Framework. The mandate of the Rate Framework Reform consultations is to engage stakeholders in a discussion on a proposed preliminary Rate Framework that is a plausible working model, which aims to address fundamental issues raised by stakeholders, partners and the WSIB itself, with the current employer classification structure and premium rate setting processes. (Full Story)

March 20, 2015 - Ontario Helps Secure 1,400 Jobs in Southwestern Ontario - New strategic partnerships announced this week have leveraged almost $44 million in new investments and helped to create or retain over 1,400 jobs in Southwestern Ontario. Together, the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund and the Eastern Ontario Development Fund have attracted more than $1.3 billion in investment and helped to create and retain more than 31,000 jobs in Ontario communities. (Full Story)

March 19, 2015 - Ontario Increasing Minimum Wage - Ontario is raising the general minimum wage from $11 to $11.25 per hour, effective October 1, 2015. Minimum wage rates for jobs in special categories (liquor servers, homeworkers, students, etc.) are also increasing at the same time. The increase is the result of recent changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) that tie minimum-wage increases to Ontario's Consumer Price Index (CPI). This was recommended by the Minimum Wage Advisory Panel in its final report last year. (Full Story)

March 6, 2015 - Job Opportunities for Young People - Ontario is offering more than 1,900 job opportunities in natural resource management. As part of the Youth Jobs Strategy, Ontario and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry are providing youth with the opportunity to gain skills and job experience through internship and summer programs. Providing youth with summer job opportunities is part of the government's economic plan for Ontario. (Full Story)

April 22, 2015 - WCB Releases 2014 Operating Results - The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board’s 2014 Annual Report has been tabled in the provincial legislature. WCB Chair Gord Dobrowolsky said last year's operating results are a positive indicator of the organization’s continued dedication to improving service to workers and employers in Saskatchewan. For the first time since 2001 and to comply with policy, the WCB will provide a surplus distribution to eligible employers in 2015 as a result of higher than expected investment returns. (Full Story)

April 10, 2015 - Saskatchewan Maintains Lowest Unemployment Rate - Jobs Increase - Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate was 4.4 per cent in March 2015 (seasonally adjusted), maintaining the lowest rate among the provinces for the 18th straight month, well below 6.8 per cent recorded nationally according to Statistics Canada. Job numbers in Saskatchewan were on the rise this March, up 6,400 (1.1 per cent) over last March, the third highest percentage growth among all provinces. (Full Story)

March 31, 2015 - Saskatchewan Wage Growth Rate Best in Canada - Saskatchewan had the highest percentage year-over-year wage growth in the country in January 2015, up 4.9 per cent over January 2014 (seasonally adjusted), well ahead of the 3.0 per cent growth posted nationally, according to Statistics Canada. In January 2015, Saskatchewan’s average weekly earnings were $987.51 (seasonally adjusted), the third highest among the provinces behind Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador.  Nationally, the average was $947.68. (Full Story)

March 23, 2015 - Saskatchewan’s total workplace injury rate declines again in 2014 - The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) officially released its 2014 injury rates. The data indicates a further decrease in the overall workplace injury rate despite an increase in the number of workers. In 2014, there were 402,894 Saskatchewan workers covered by WCB, over 4,000 more workers than the previous year. In addition to improvements to the overall injury rates, the number of accepted Time Loss claims reported dropped from 10,116 in 2013 to 9,715 in 2014. Time Loss injury rates dropped from 2.54 percent in 2013 to 2.41 percent in 2014. (Full Story)

March 18, 2015 - Training Programs Address Workforce Needs in Saskatchewan - The Government of Saskatchewan is focused on keeping Saskatchewan’s economy strong with a vibrant and growing workforce. Two items (among others) added to The Ministry of the Economy’s 2015-16 Budget enhancements to labour market programs include; increased funding for the Canada-Saskatchewan Job Grant and the addition of $200,000 to the Employment Assistance Program for Persons with Disabilities. (Full Story)

March 13, 2015 - Still the Lowest Unemployment Rate in Canada - Saskatchewan recorded the lowest unemployment rate in Canada for the month of February 2015, according to new data released by Statistics Canada today.  The unemployment rate was 5.0 per cent, compared to a national rate of 6.8 per cent (seasonally adjusted). There were 558,000 people employed, an increase of 100 jobs compared to February 2014 and a record for the month of February.  Other records for the month were recorded for the labour force, 590,700 and full-time employment 457,100. (Full Story)

March 11, 2015 - Government Will Amend Pension Regulations for City of Regina Pension Plan - The Government of Saskatchewan has accepted recommendations brought forward by the Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority (FCAA) to amend pension regulations for the City of Regina pension plan. These amendments, along with amendments being made to the City of Regina pension plan, will bring the plan into compliance with pension law and will result in a pension plan that is more affordable and sustainable. (Full Story)

April 21, 2015 - Yukon government selects provider of vocational services for people with disabilities - The Government of Yukon announced today that Challenge Disability Resource Group has been chosen to provide services to help people with disabilities move into the workforce. Challenge Disability Resource Group will work in close collaboration with existing employment assistance service providers to provide employment services to people with disabilities. The program is targeted to begin in July 2015. In the interim, case management is being provided by the Department of Education’s Labour Market Programs and Service unit. (Full Story)

April 7, 2015 - Express Entry system will help Yukon employers better meet their labour needs - The Government of Yukon has added a new Express Entry system to the Yukon Nominee Program to help Yukon employers find skilled workers faster and at a lower cost. Yukon employers who cannot find Canadian citizens or permanent residents to fill job openings for skilled workers now have access to Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Express Entry pool of candidates. Applicants are drawn from the pool on the basis of nominations through the Yukon Nominee Program arising from valid job offers for permanent, full-time work from eligible Yukon employers. (Full Story)

April 1, 2015 - Yukon Minimum Wage Increase - A reminder for all Yukon employers that effective April 1, 2015, the minimum wage will increase from $10.72 to $10.86 per hour. The minimum wage is calculated in accordance with the Consumer Price Index for Whitehorse and is adjusted every April 1. The Fair Wage paid to people working on government-tendered construction contracts will increase April 1 by 1.3% across all four wage categories. (Full Story)

March 25, 2015 - Yukon government partners with First Nation to create employment opportunities for Aboriginal youth - A pilot project between the Government of Yukon, Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Carcross Tagish Management Corporation will help Aboriginal youth learn skilled trades and gain employment experience. Aboriginal youth are constructing tiny buildings that will be used as retail trailers in the Carcross Commons, part of that community’s broader tourism development goals. The three groups have a shared priority of developing a private-sector economy that creates a sustainable flow of jobs and business opportunities for their communities, their citizens and the territory. (Full Story)

Featured Article

Facing 2015 head-on:

New year trends you'll see in the workplace (Part 2 of 2 - Click Here to View Part 1)
By Barbara Bowes

Human-resource professionals will be more valued -- with the complexity of people challenges continuing, there has been a trend for even small organizations to recognize the value of highly skilled HR professionals to guide them through the maze. There are just too many people issues, changing rules and regulations and unique technology related situations that require this expertise, and so I see the trend continuing.

Cultural change will be given more focus -- change is the name of the game today and will be even more so in the future. While leaders need to keep their eye on the multiple technical factors impacting their business, they will also pay more attention to organizational culture. This means communicating your vision and getting buy-in from staff, communicating and promoting your change initiatives and focusing on ensuring a harmonistic work environment where employees are aligned with your goals.

Health-and-wellness programs will grow -- health-care costs are continuing to soar, causing an increasing financial commitment for employers. Thus, more organizations will focus on devising ways to increase employee cost-sharing. They will also broaden their employee health-and-wellness programming to include more prevention education. The issue of mental health will remain a key topic as will dealing with retirement issues. Smaller organizations will check out fitness memberships as part of their compensation practices. No matter what, illness and absenteeism will be more closely monitored.

Compensation competitiveness will continue to be important -- there are several industry sectors that can expect salary increases beyond the cost of living. This is due to skill shortages, higher educational levels for new entrants and the general war for talent. Smaller organizations in particular will need to start considering incentives to attract and retain employees while at the same time paying attention to internal pay equity. Some will give serious consideration to a pay-for-performance scheme that will require changes to their performance management system.

Technology investments will continue to put pressure on training -- organizations will continue to upgrade their technology for improved production or service, but it will be important to ensure employees are effectively trained to operate their new resources and tools. Employee training in all areas will finally be seen as an investment rather than an expense and designated internal trainers in multiple areas will become the norm.

Every new year brings its own challenges, but wise leaders pay attention to trends in their industry all year long while focusing on the people side of their business. Take time to review the trends and determine how well your organization is equipped to deal with them. Don't wait for a crisis to occur; consult with an HR expert to help you navigate through the maze.

Article presented by permission from Barbara J.Bowes, President of Legacy Bowes Group and president of Career Partners International, Manitoba. She can be reached at

GrandMaster News

The current release of GrandMaster Suite (6.96) incorporates a number of changes and important adjustments to make it even easier to use the program and perform your payroll tasks.

  • Overflow on T4 other boxes now works for eNETEmployer - If you use eNETEmployer Mailbox feature (to upload your pay statements or T4’s to an employee-accessible e-mail address), the program was not creating a second T4 if you had more than eight T4-Other boxes.
  • Audit trail now reports correctly for new employees - Fixed an issue where the Audit Trail report was not showing correct data for new employees if an existing employee was edited.
  • Payroll Profile Report now correctly reports Statistics Canada Code - Fixed an issue where the Payroll Profile report was not displaying the Statistics Canada Code under certain circumstances.
  • Quebec Tax is correctly zeroed for employees in Quebec that have No provincial tax - Fixed an issue where the program was showing taxable income for Quebec employees even though the No Quebec Tax option was checked.

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