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

Payroll News Canada - November 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 Software Updates Newsletter Archive

Tip of the Month

November 2015 - Taxable Employment Income - If an employee has personal and living expenses paid for by the employer, these amounts must be reported as taxable employment income. The exception would be if the employee falls under a specific exemption. Additionally, if an employee is provided free or subsidized housing, a taxable benefit that is equal to the fair market value minus any amount charged must also be charged. See the Benefits and Allowances and pages Board and Lodging pages on the CRA website 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

November 12, 2015 - 84 per cent of workers believe employers responsible for supporting their health: Survey - An overwhelming majority of Canadians believe employers are responsible for supporting their employees' physical and psychological health, according to the 2015 Sun Life Canadian Health Index. "It is striking that our results show that 84 per cent of Canadians say that employers are responsible for supporting their employees' physical health and that 86 per cent feel the same way when asked about psychological health," said Kevin Dougherty, president of Sun Life Financial Canada. (Full Story)

November 9, 2015 - Employee benefits still significant cost for employers - Despite cost-containment efforts, employer spending on benefits programs for employees represents a significant cost. The average cost of providing benefits for employees is $8,330 annually per full-time employee, according to a survey by the Conference Board of Canada. More than one-half of organizations - 52 per cent - have reported increases in benefits costs for active employees, averaging 6.2 per cent between 2013 and 2014. (Full Story)

November 4, 2015 - Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance Explained - The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has posted an article on what they look at when determining whether the employment of a barber or a hairdresser is pensionable or insurable, or both, under the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and the Employment Insurance Act (EIA). By law all employers have to deduct CPP contributions and employment insurance (EI) premiums from most amounts they pay to their employees. (Full Story)

November 2, 2015 - Canada Revenue Agency announces maximum pensionable earnings for 2016 - The Canada Revenue Agency announced today that the maximum pensionable earnings under the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) for 2016 will be $54,900—up from $53,600 in 2015. The new ceiling was calculated according to a CPP legislated formula that takes into account the growth in average weekly wages and salaries in Canada. Contributors who earn more than $54,900 in 2016 are not required or permitted to make additional contributions to the CPP. The basic exemption amount for 2016 remains $3,500. (Full Story)

October 30, 2015 - Canada Just Lost The Most Jobs Since The Great Recession, Payroll Report Says - Canada lost jobs at the fastest pace since the Great Recession in August, Statistics Canada’s latest payroll report shows. The survey of payroll employment, earnings and hours found Canada lost 58,600 jobs in August, the biggest single-month drop since 2009, when the country was feeling the impact of the global financial crisis. The survey also showed Canadians’ earnings once again shrank in August, down 0.7 per cent from the month before. Wages have had a volatile year but are still up 0.8 per cent from a year earlier. (Full Story)

October 27, 2015 - Keep Students Safe While Visiting the Workplace - On November 4, 2015, grade nine students (Senior 1 in Manitoba and Secondary III in Quebec) across Canada will visit the workplace of a parent, relative or friend as part of the Learning Partnership’s national Take Our Kids to Work day. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) reminds all organizations involved to make safety a priority on this day and to take extra care to protect the visiting students from any hazards that may be present in the workplace.  In preparation, CCOHS recommends employers take the time to hold a workplace orientation with the students that focuses on health and safety issues relevant to that environment. (Full Story)

October 21, 2015 - Canadian Payroll Association Year-End Seminars Help Pave the Way for an Accurate and Compliant Year-end - For payroll practitioners (and often those in accounting, finance and human resources) year-end can be a stressful time. This is when planning and preparation begins for the last payroll of the year and the new tax reporting year. Employers rely on payroll practitioners to process an accurate and compliant year-end, which can minimize the risk of audits and penalties. The Canadian Payroll Association provides timely and topical year-end compliance seminars throughout Canada. These seminars are available for both members and prospective members. (Full Story)

Provincial Payroll and HR News

(Click a Province to expand the articles)

November 08, 2015 - Alberta supports veterans’ transition to new jobs - The Alberta Government has joined Manitoba and Ontario in allowing current and retired Canadian Forces members to operate commercial vehicles without additional testing. Previously, military veterans were unable to transfer their credentials when they left their military careers. This will allow Albertans to make an easier transition to new, well-paying jobs. (Full Story)

November 03, 2015 - Alberta government reinstates and expands student employment program - Students will soon be able to access more job opportunities as government brings back the Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP). The program will support employers by providing wage subsidies for more than 3,000 student positions starting in summer 2016. STEP will help students gain valuable work experience while helping small businesses and other employers access a new workforce. For the first time, STEP will be available to small businesses. This is an important expansion of the program at a time when having a job is top of mind for so many Albertans. (Full Story)

November 02, 2015 - Provincial incentive program to help businesses create jobs, support families - The Job Creation Incentive Program will support employers in creating as many as 27,000 new jobs a year over the next two years. The program will encourage hiring by providing grants to employers for creating new positions. Grants will be worth up to $5,000 for each new job and employers will be eligible for up to $500,000 in total support - the equivalent of 100 new full-time jobs. Grants will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis. (Full Story)

November 10, 2015 - Taking action to tackle youth unemployment rates - As one of the country's leading employers for young people, Starbucks Canada, in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, is taking a leadership position by committing 10 per cent of its store hires to Opportunity Youth, who are young people ages 16-24 who are not working and are not going to school. Working in partnership with the Province's WorkBC Employment Services Centres, Starbucks will dedicate in excess of 330 jobs for Opportunity Youth in Vancouver over the next three years. (Full Story)

November 2, 2015 - Apprenticeship Recognition Week focus of B.C. apprentices and employers - To recognize the invaluable contribution of apprentices and their employers to the province's economy and labour force, the British Columbia government has officially proclaimed Nov. 2-6, 2015, as Apprenticeship Recognition Week in B.C. The B.C. government and the ITA have been working closely with industry stakeholders across all sectors to expand apprenticeship opportunities, which is a key goal of the B.C. Skills for Jobs Blueprint. The B.C. government launched B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint to re-engineer its education and apprenticeship system so training dollars and programs are targeted to in-demand jobs. (Full Story)

November 6, 2015 - First Nations and female Job Makers strengthen the B.C. economy - This month's BC Job Makers feature both First Nations and women entrepreneurs who are creating jobs and building businesses throughout the province. BC Job Makers gives entrepreneurs a venue to share their success stories, highlighting the strength of the economy. Job Makers ties together inspiration, hard work and a strong desire to be successful. In 2014, women accounted for almost 38% of self-employed people in B.C. - above the national average of 36.4%. Between 2008 and 2013, the number of self-employed women rose 6% in B.C. (Full Story)

November 2, 2015 - Supporting skilled workers for strong communities - Apprentices and skilled workers will now be able to get access to more job opportunities in British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador by improving labour mobility between the provinces. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been signed between the provinces of British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador and labour mobility improvements are effective immediately. Employers will be provided information regarding opportunities to employ workers from the other province; and when appropriate, recruitment may be facilitated for in-demand occupations from the other province. (Full Story)

October 30, 2015 - B.C. Labour Market Outlook shows stable economic growth in 2024 - The fourth edition of the British Columbia Labour Market Outlook (Outlook) is now available on the WorkBC website. Labour market demand and supply are influenced by a combination of trends and they change from year to year. The Outlook provides the most current data available on the kinds of jobs and skills that will be in demand throughout British Columbia between now and 2024. The new report also provides detail on projected job openings in key occupations and industries by region and an updated list of top-opportunity occupations. (Full Story)

October 28, 2015 - Roundtable on access to skilled labour for the manufacturing sector - Manufacturing sector representatives met with the federal and provincial governments today to discuss skilled labour initiatives and human resource planning, as part of a series of roundtables being held over coming months with sectors highlighted in the BC Jobs Plan. B.C. has reached a tipping point where less young people are entering the workforce than older people leaving it. That is why government is taking action now to address this rapidly changing labour market. (Full Story)

October 16, 2015 - Work experience helps increase accessibility in B.C. - Information on accessible Lower Mainland businesses and public spaces is now easier to find thanks to a Job Creation Partnership project between the B.C. government and the Rick Hansen Foundation. More than $240,000 in provincial funding has helped seven people complete 75 accessibility assessments of local businesses and public spaces over the last year. Today, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation Michelle Stilwell and Rick Hansen, CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation, participated in an accessibility assessment at the South Arm Community Centre. (Full Story)

November 6, 2015 - Statistics Canada Reports Province Has Lowest Unemployment Rate In Canada - According to Statistics Canada, Manitoba experienced strong job growth for the third consecutive month and now has the lowest unemployment rate in the country. The October 2015 labour market estimates released today show Manitoba’s unemployment rate was 5.3 per cent last month, well below the national average of seven per cent. The province’s gain of 2,800 jobs last month means Manitoba continues to have the best job growth for total employment and private employment, for the first 10 months of 2015. (Full Story)

November 5, 2015 - Manitoba Government Continues To Focus On Providing Even Better Front-Line Services, Creating More Good Jobs - The passage of Budget 2015 and important legislation that aligns with the progressive values of Manitoba families. The house leader added that Budget 2015 is a plan to deliver on the needs of Manitoba families, more jobs, better roads and stronger front-line services. One of the initiatives is the Youth Jobs Strategy to support more paid work and on-the-job training, and more opportunities for young Manitobans to get good jobs here at home. (Full Story)

November 4, 2015 - Balance and Fairness in the Rates You Pay - The Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba (WCB) is introducing changes to its current rate model to enhance fairness and balance. By moving towards more collective liability, small and medium employers will be protected from the potential of a single claim drastically driving up their premiums. Instead, rate setting for small and medium employers will place more weight on the collective experience of their industry. For larger employers, the rate model will continue to place more weight on their individual claims experience. As well, we're compressing the risk categories so that there's not as much range between the maximum and minimum rates that employers can pay. The size of the range will also be reflective of the employer's size. (Full Story)

October 29, 2015 - Minister Chief Says Yes! To Investing, Creating 4,500 New Jobs In Winnipeg - Economic Development Winnipeg’s YES! Winnipeg aims to bring 4,500 new jobs to the city in the next five years with help from a $675,000 investment from the province. YES! Winnipeg will receive $135,000 per year over the next five years, providing it secures a minimum of $800,000 per year in private-sector support. As of June 2015, YES! Winnipeg has assisted more than 60 clients in expanding operations in Winnipeg. At maturity, these clients are projected to create over 3,500 jobs and generate an investment of $480 million. (Full Story)

October 28, 2015 - Manitoba Government Supporting Women Journeypersons In The Trades To Become Educators - Ten Manitoba women who are leaders in the trades are becoming qualified instructors who can share their knowledge with the next generation of students, Jobs and the Economy. The 10 women are receiving funding from the Manitoba government to complete the technical vocational teacher education diploma at Red River College. Apprenticeship Manitoba organized the forum, with the participation of female apprentices, journeypersons, employers, training institutions, industry associations, members of the board, and government representatives. (Full Story)

November 12, 2015 - Collective agreement signed with non-instructional education group - The provincial government today signed a collective agreement with a group of New Brunswick Union of Public and Private Employees. The group, which consists of 30 full-time equivalent employees, represents development officers, literacy co-ordinators, career counsellors, department heads and deans mainly at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design. The new agreement is for five years and three months. It includes one per cent annual wage increases over the course of the contract. (Full Story)

November 4, 2015 - Premier looks forward to working with the federal government on job creation - Premier Brian Gallant issued a statement of congratulations on the appointment of the federal cabinet, affirming that the government looks forward to working with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his ministers, and his government on creating jobs and growing the economy. MP Dominic LeBlanc was named leader of the government in the House of Commons and he will be a leading voice on many key files affecting New Brunswick, and will be a key ally to the government in efforts to create jobs and make life better for families. (Full Story)

November 2, 2015 - WorkSafeNB improves privacy protection - WorkSafeNB announced today several new measures to further protect privacy of New Brunswick’s injured workers. The move comes after breaches were identified by the Office of the Access to Information and Privacy Commissioner. One of WorkSafeNB’s new privacy safeguards include the addition of a plain language guide for injured workers and employers regarding privacy. WorkSafeNB operates under New Brunswick’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Workers' Compensation Act, the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission and Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal Act and the Firefighters’ Compensation Act. (Full Story)

October 14, 2015 - WorkSafeNB maintains average assessment rates for 2016 - A continued decline in accident frequency and stabilized claim costs has allowed WorkSafeNB to maintain the average assessment rate for New Brunswick employers in 2016. The rate will remain at $1.11 per $100 of payroll. The provincial workplace accident frequency rate has continually declined over the past few years. The rate has dropped from 3.22 per 100 full-time equivalents (FTE) in 2010 to 2.89 in 2014. The 2016 assessment rate under the Firefighters' Compensation Act (the FC Act) has also been maintained. The rate, which remains at $690 per firefighter, is effective January 1, 2016. (Full Story)

November 5, 2015 - Fostering a Respectful Work Environment - The Provincial Government has released a report following a review of the current Harassment and Discrimination-Free Workplace Policy and Respectful Workplace Program. In order to foster a safe and healthy workplace for the public service, the government is immediately developing an implementation strategy to address the recommendations outlined in the report. (Full Story)

November 2, 2015 - Supporting Skilled Workers for Strong Communities - The Governments of Newfoundland and Labrador and British Columbia finalized a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will assist apprentices in acquiring the work hours and experience they need to advance their careers. The Memorandum of Understanding promotes a mobile workforce between the two provinces and provides apprentices additional opportunities to gain valuable work experience. Through the MOU, apprentices from both provinces will be able to record workplace skills and hours of employment completed to ensure they receive credit toward Journeyperson certification. (Full Story)

October 30, 2015 - Supporting Residents for Stronger Communities - The Provincial Government has completed the final round of Job Creation Partnerships applications for 2015-16 with 89 projects approved representing in total of $3.4 million in funding. These employment opportunities are helping an estimated 430 individuals throughout 80 communities, who are using their skills to support projects in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Job Creation Partnerships program helps people gain the work experience and skills necessary to secure long-term, meaningful employment as they move forward in their careers. Job Creation Partnerships is funded through the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Market Development Agreement. (Full Story)

October 30, 2015 - New online system for workers’ safety training certificates - A new, online Certification Training Registry is now available for all workers, employers and WorkplaceNL-approved training providers and trainers in Newfoundland and Labrador. Starting Oct. 30, 2015, workers' records for required safety training will be electronic instead of paper-based certificates. Workers, employers and OH&S officers can access up-to-date certification training records through a smartphone or any web-enabled device. This allows them to better monitor expiry dates on required training, and ensure workplace compliance with OH&S legislation. (Full Story)

October 14, 2015 - Average Employer Assessment Rate Reduced, Benefits for Injured Workers Highest in Atlantic Canada - Effective January 1, 2016, the average assessment rate charged to employers by the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission (WorkplaceNL) will be reduced by $0.25 to $2.20 per $100 of assessable payroll. Approximately 99.3 per cent of employers will see their 2016 assessment rate decrease or stay the same. The lower assessment rate coincides with record low injury rates. The rate reduction is due to the removal of a $0.25 surcharge that employers pay to cover past unfunded liabilities in the workers’ compensation system. A surcharge has been in place since 1993. (Full Story)

November 5, 2015 - Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission Releases Assessment Rates for 2016 - The WSCC of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut released its 2016 employer assessment rates. New this year, employers can conveniently access the individual subclass rates for all industries for the upcoming year via WSCC Connect, the WSCC’s new e-Business service. The average provisional assessment rate for 2016 will remain at $2.00 per $100 assessable payroll.  This provisional target rate is the rate employers would pay if there was only one rate for all employers, and is the rate the WSCC uses as a starting point when setting individual subclass rates. (Full Story)

October 26, 2015 - WSCC Launches e-Business Services - The Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) has announced the release of WSCC Connect, our new e-Business services. Engagement with Northerners identified a need for online access to WSCC services. WSCC Connect now delivers on making information easier for employers to access and complete all at their convenience online. WSCC Connect will initially launch with three employer-focussed services: Make a Payment, View Assessment Rates, and Request a Clearance. All registered businesses with the WSCC were mailed a welcome letter and their WSCC Connect code for Creating an Account. (Full Story)

November 13, 2015 - New Graduates, Younger Workers Wanted in the Public Service - The Government is committed to recruiting the next generation of workers into the Nova Scotia Public Service. "Getting that first job is instrumental in keeping young, talented people in Nova Scotia," said Premier Stephen McNeil. "We want young Nova Scotians and their families to know there are good job opportunities for them here at home." A new program, Experience Through Opportunity, announced today, Nov. 13, begins by filling 70 public service positions with new graduates and younger workers. Jobs will be advertised across the province. (Full Story)

November 9, 2015 - Workplace safety essential to growing, sustaining business in Nova Scotia - A group of prominent Nova Scotia leaders discussed the vital role of workplace safety in growing and sustaining a prosperous Nova Scotia at Leadership Matters 2015: A Workplace Safety CEO Summit. The third annual event is a function of Nova Scotia’s Workplace Safety Strategy. The meeting of leaders representing all industries is a chance to discuss the essential role of workplace safety in Nova Scotia’s future prosperity and financial sustainability. Events like this can help inspire real change in the way that workplaces operate. (Full Story)

November 7, 2015 - Hundreds of Apprentices Achieve Certification - More than 400 newly certified journeypersons have joined the ranks of Nova Scotia's highly respected trades professionals. Trade leaders, training partners, government, and members of the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Board celebrated their achievements at a bi-annual event sponsored by industry, the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency and NSCC.  Nova Scotia's apprenticeship system prepares people for jobs in the skilled trades. The Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency is focusing on improving the number of apprenticeship opportunities in the province, and helping apprentices complete their journey to certification. (Full Story)

October 28, 2015 - Keeping Young Workers Safe on the Job - Government is working to keep young people safe on the job. Last week occupational health and safety officers conducted a safety education blitz at 109 retail, service, and fast food businesses across the province. They targeted workers between the ages of 18 and 30 to explain their rights and responsibilities under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. These visits are a part of government's efforts to improve workplace safety. (Full Story)

November 16, 2015 - Inuit Employment Statistics - The Government of Nunavut has released its annual Employment statistics report. The report strives to serve the public by providing timely, accurate data about the public service. The Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA) contains Article 23, with the objective of increasing Inuit participation in government employment in Nunavut to a representative level. This snapshot of employment statistics is reported quarterly in the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut and the statistics represent the Inuit employment level within the GN in several different categories; occupational, community, region, and department. (Full Story)

November 17, 2015 - Ontario Adding Manufacturing Jobs in the Cambridge Region - Ontario is partnering with three Cambridge-based companies to create 130 new jobs and retain over 476 positions over four years. The three companies will receive support through the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund, which helps create jobs and diversify the economy by encouraging regional businesses to be innovative and to pursue new markets. The fund is modelled on the proven Eastern Ontario Development Fund. Together, these two funds have created and retained more than 37,000 jobs and attracted more than $1.5 billion in investment. (Full Story)

November 9, 2015 - WSIB ahead of schedule to eliminate UFL: Witmer - Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is well ahead of a legislated timetable to reach financial sustainability, which will result in lower premiums paid by employers who fund the system and long-term security for the workers who depend on it, WSIB Chair Elizabeth Witmer announced today. On current projections, the WSIB anticipates average rate reductions of between 10 and 15 per cent are possible over a five year period, starting in 2017, according to the WSIB’s 2015 Economic Statement. (Full Story)

November 6, 2015 - Ontario Adds 29,200 Jobs in October - Ontario's economy continues to create jobs, with 29,200 jobs added in October in the midst of a challenging global economy. This brings the total increase in employment since the recessionary low in June 2009 to 559,600. Ontario experienced employment growth in a number of key sectors this month, including trade (+16,400), public administration (+11,500) and manufacturing (+10,800). Ontario's unemployment rate has also dropped to 6.8%, outpacing the national average. (Full Story)

October 15, 2015 - Ontario Helps Auto Parts Maker Grow its Business and Create Jobs - Ontario is partnering with Ground Effects Ltd. to create 31 new jobs and retain over 250 positions over three years. The company will receive $760,000 in support from the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund. Modelled on the proven Eastern Ontario Development Fund, the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund is helping to create jobs and diversify the economy by encouraging regional businesses to pursue innovation and new markets. Together, these two funds have created and retained more than 37,000 jobs and attracted more than $1.5 billion in investment. (Full Story)

November 6, 2015 - Prince Edward Island encouraged by employment numbers - The Labour Force Survey released by Statistics Canada today shows 74,400 Islanders were employed in October, an increase of 700 jobs from last month, and a decrease of 100 jobs from one year ago. Prince Edward Island’s unemployment rate increased slightly to 9.9 per cent in October, up from 9.3 per cent in September. The province’s labour force participation rate improved, with 68.2 per cent of Islanders engaged in the labour force (either employed or seeking work) in October, compared to 67.2 per cent last month. The total labour force increased by 500 from October 2014 to total 82,600. (Full Story)

October 30, 2015 - Government and Tremploy renew agreement to support Island workforce - The Government of Prince Edward Island has renewed a contract with Tremploy to deliver services that will help unemployed Islanders develop job skills and strengthen their connection to the workforce. Tremploy will deliver eight Career Bridges and eight Passport to Employment sessions at locations around Prince Edward Island. Career Bridges is a vocational assessment and guidance program for people considering a career change or seeking further training. The program assists participants with career decision making, skills enhancement, job search, and employment maintenance. (Full Story)

October 29, 2015 - SkillsPEI completes six years of labour market programs - Skills PEI, the province’s lead provider of labour market programming, passed a significant milestone this month- completing six years of helping Islanders develop skills and build ties to the workforce. Over the last six years, with SkillsPEI support, more than 20,000 Islanders have been able to access employment counselling, career planning, job search assistance, training, and labour market attachment. Of these individuals, 15,000 have secured employment or have started their own businesses. (Full Story)

October 24, 2015 - Workers Compensation Board eliminates wait period for injured workers - The Workers Compensation Board (WCB) of Prince Edward Island is taking steps to provide more support to injured workers by eliminating a 2 day waiting period before benefits begin. In 2002, the Workers Compensation Act was amended to introduce a three-day wait period following an injury, before benefits commenced. This amount was reimbursed if the worker remained off work for more than four consecutive weeks. The three day wait period was one of the measures taken to help bring the Board into a fully funded position. (Full Story)

October 9, 2015 - Prince Edward Island shows labour market improvements - The Labour Force Survey released by Statistics Canada today shows Prince Edward Island’s unemployment rate was 9.3 per cent in September, down from 10.3 per cent in August. This was the largest monthly decline among all provinces. There were 73,700 Islanders employed in September, up from 72,200 in August. There were 2,700 more people who reported they had full-time work, while the number of people with part-time work decreased by 1,000. (Full Story)

November 6, 2015 - Saskatchewan Economy Continues to Create Jobs - In October 2015, there were 580,000 people working in Saskatchewan, a record high for the month of October according to Statistics Canada. Month-over-month, employment was up 1,400 (0.2 per cent) from September to October 2015 (seasonally adjusted). There were 580,000 people employed, an increase of 600 jobs compared to October 2014. Female employment up 1,200 (+0.5 per cent). Major year-over-year industry gains were reported for information, culture and recreation up 5,000; health care and social assistance up 4,900; and trade up 2,800. (Full Story)

October 20, 2015 - 2016 Premium rates drop - Today, the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) proposed an 8.2 percent drop to its 2016 average premium rate, from $1.46 to $1.34 per hundred dollars of payroll. The announcement was made today in Regina at a WCB Rate Setting consultation with Saskatchewan business leaders. The 2016 rate reduction is the ninth straight drop to the average premium rate and the lowest rate in thirty years. Saskatchewan’s preliminary 2016 average employer premium is 34.6 percent below the thirteen year high of $2.05 in 2004. The 2016 rate proposal means that Saskatchewan could have the fourth lowest average premium rate in Canada next year. (Full Story)

October 15, 2015 - Government Introduces New Essential Services Legislation - Amendments to The Saskatchewan Employment Act Part on essential services were introduced today by Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan. The amendments are the result of a working group comprised of public sector employers, the unions that represent their workers and government representatives, working co-operatively.  When passed, the amendments will enable Saskatchewan’s essential services legislation to address the concerns raised by the Supreme Court of Canada in its January 30, 2015 decision.  The Supreme Court did recognize in that ruling that essential services must be maintained while respecting workers’ rights to take job action. (Full Story)

November 2015 - Employment Statistics - The Yukon WCB website has posted Employment Statistics for October 2015. Yukon’s unemployment rate in October 2015 (4.8%) decreased by 0.5 percentage points compared to September 2015 (5.3%). Yukon’s labour force in October 2015 (20,900) increased by 100 compared to September 2015, the number of employed increased by 300 to 20,000 and the number of unemployed decreased by 100 to 1,000. (Full Story)

Featured Article

Playing politics

Managers need training to deal with workplace conflicts - (Part 2 of 2 - Click Here to View Part 1)
By Barbara Bowes

It is well-known the role of human-resource managers has helped to make organizations stronger, but the true responsibility for managing day-today conflict lies with managers. And if this is the case, what should managers be focusing on and what skills do they need? The following will assist you to evaluate where your managers fit. Managers need to be able to:

  • Understand and assess the personality traits of their employees, their management colleagues and their executive team. They need to be aware of the flashpoints that could cause conflict.
  • Understand their own personality traits, acknowledge and accept the role their own ego plays in their view of success.
  • Exhibit well-developed communications skills so they can structure difficult conversations in a clear, objective way.
  • Be confident in holding informal and formal one-on-one conversations with individuals who are in conflictual situations.
  • Understand, identify and practise effective relationship building so as to create powerful political alliances that lead to collaboration and cooperation between all parties within the organization.
  • Recognize tension, stress and conflict signals and deal with them before they ignite into a large scale conflict.
  • Demonstrate the ability to mediate and deal with conflict effectively and to manage a toxic employee or leader with firmness, dignity and respect, and,
  • Make sure all employees understand their roles and responsibilities and that expectations for them are clearly spelled out.

Part of the issue of conflict in the workplace is many managers are still being promoted to their new roles directly from a technical position and without any management or leadership training. Of course, larger organizations have their own internal training programs, but small and midsized businesses do not. I often see these organizations sending their manager to a one-day seminar hoping they can absorb all the content and can apply it the next day.

Unfortunately, this is nothing more than throwing training at a problem. That’s because in most cases, the conference booklet is most likely stored away and never looked at again. In other words, these leaders are learning to lead by the seat of their pants, learning from mistakes and making mistakes!

And yes, you can bring in a facilitator or mediator to hold a special daylong meeting to discuss issues, but it is what happens when you get back home and back into the conflictual situation that counts. As a result, I recommend a slower, more practical approach where individuals meet on a more frequent basis to discuss and learn from each other.

The most effective program offers separate modules outlining the various aspect of leadership accompanied by self-assessments and tools that can be applied back at work. In addition, if conflict is a fairly significant issue in your organization, specialized training in conflict management is required and everyone should take the program so that an organization-wide methodology can be developed.

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

Software Updates

GrandMaster Suite v7.07

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GrandMaster Suite v7.06

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  • Hours Entry - Fixed an issue where the hours entry was bringing through the full salary rate instead of the hourly rate when you entered time in hours entry using the salary earning code.
  • Hours Entry - Fixed an issue where the overtime earning was not resolving correctly if the earning was set to Always On for the employee.
  • E.I. Calculation - Fixed an issue where E.I. was not being calculated if you keyed time to a different province other than the employee's tax province.

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