Payroll News Canada - Employment Articles

June 2017 - Welcome to the latest edition of The Payroll News! As always, please feel free to forward this newsletter to your friends and associates who are interested in keeping up with the latest changes in Canadian payroll, employment and HR News. Federal and Provincial news items are listed immediately below followed by our Featured Article.

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

Tip of the Month

June 2017 - Vacation Standards Compliancy and More - With the summer vacation season fast approaching, the Canadian Payroll Association (CPA) reminds employers that they have the responsibility to ensure that employees properly receive their legislated vacation leave and pay. To assist in this regard, the CPA offers a one-day seminar on employment standards in each jurisdiction. Among the topics discussed is statutory holidays and vacations. Click Here to learn more.

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

Canadian Federal Payroll and HR News

June 1, 2017 - Taxpayers’ Ombudsman to release report on CPP/EI rulings issued by the CRA - Next week, the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman, Sherra Profit, will release the results of an examination that looked at Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance (CPP/EI) ruling letters issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The report will highlight the findings and recommendations of the Ombudsman regarding the information that is provided by the CRA when a ruling is made regarding a person’s employment status. A CPP/EI ruling is an official decision made by the CRA that confirms whether a worker is considered an employee or self employed. This decision is important as it determines if the employment is insurable and pensionable, and who is responsible for withholding and remitting CPP, EI and income taxes. (Full Story)

May 26, 2017 - Why the Record of Employment Needs to Be Administered Correctly - The Record of Employment (ROE) is a mandatory form required by the Federal government after an employee experiences an interruption of earnings of seven days or more. An interruption of earnings may happen for a variety of reasons including planned or un-planned absences like termination, sickness and maternity and/or parental leave, which may also require the administration of special payments by employers. Failure to submit an ROE within the legislated timeframe means that employers may be fined for non-compliance and face an increased risk of audit. To complicate matters, administering the ROE remains a top challenge for payroll, accounting and HR practitioners, according to Canadian Payroll Association (CPA) survey results. (Full Story)

May 23, 2017 - Canadian employers and staff don’t see eye to eye on summer perks: survey - Canadian employers are beginning to offer season-specific benefits as summer draws near, but what’s being offered doesn't line up with what employees are looking for, according to a new survey by staffing agency OfficeTeam. The survey, which polled more than 400 human resources managers and more than 300 employees in office environments, found nearly half (46 per cent) of employee respondents said their top summer perk would be flexible working schedules, but only 27 per cent of companies surveyed offer them. (Full Story)

May 18, 2017 - Canadian Employers need longer term workforce planning to stay competitive - Despite the current slack labour market, the greying of Canada's population means that retirement rates are hitting their peak and critical skill shortages continue to emerge. Already, more than half of Canadian organizations report having difficulties finding workers with critical skills. A new Conference Board of Canada report suggests that Canadian organizations need a longer-term view of the factors affecting their workforce and plan accordingly. (Full Story)

May 15, 2017 - Apprentices get help with training and getting certified thanks to new Government of Canada Union Training and Innovation Program - The Federal Government has announced that it is rolling out a plan to support the next generation of apprentices and tradespeople  - particularly women and Indigenous people – get the skills they need to succeed in a changing economy. Apprentices and tradespeople will benefit from this new program that supports union-based apprenticeship training, innovation and enhanced partnerships. These investments will create a more skilled, mobile and certified trades workforce who have access to good quality jobs, which will in turn strengthen Canada’s middle class. (Full Story)

May 10, 2017 - Youth Employment Strategy - The Youth Employment Strategy (YES) is the Government of Canada’s commitment to help youth make a successful transition to the workplace. YES helps youth between the ages of 15 and 30 get the information and gain the skills, job experience and abilities they need to make a successful transition to the workforce. YES includes Skills Link, Career Focus and Summer Work Experience and is delivered by 11 federal departments. Each year, the Government invests more than $330 million through YES to help young people gain the skills and experience they need to find and keep good jobs. (Full Story)

May 5, 2017 - Canadian wages see weakest growth since 1997 - The unemployment rate fell last month to its lowest level since the start of the last major recession, but details within Statistics Canada's latest labour report -- including a record-low for wage growth -- dampened what has otherwise been a strong run for the job market. Job creation cooled down in April and produced a net increase of just 3,200 positions, a figure so low it was statistically insignificant, the agency's workforce survey said Friday. The unemployment rate was lower last month than it had been since October 2008 and 0.6 percentage points lower compared to a year earlier, as fewer youth searched for work. (Full Story)

May 5 2017 - Federal Government Plans to Help Canadian Employers Access Global Talent - Canada’s federal government has announced that it will launch the Global Skills Strategy (Strategy) on June 12, 2017. This program is designed to help Canadian companies source global talent on an expedited basis. It engages both Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), the department responsible for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and Labour Market Impact Assessments, and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the department responsible for the International Mobility Program and Work Permit processing. (Full Story)

April 7, 2017 - Canada: Labour Force Survey, March 2017 - Employment was little changed in March (+19,000 or +0.1%), while the unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage points to 6.7% as more people searched for work. Employment rose in Alberta, Nova Scotia and Manitoba. At the same time, employment fell in Saskatchewan, while it was relatively stable in the remaining provinces. There were more people working in manufacturing; business, building and other support services; wholesale and retail trade; and information, culture and recreation. On the other hand, declines were recorded in educational services; transportation and warehousing; "other services"; and public administration. (Full Story)

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

May 25, 2017 - Bill to make Alberta workplaces healthier - The proposed Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act would help reduce workplace illnesses by giving Albertans unpaid, job-protected sick days. If passed, the bill would allow Alberta workers up to five days of job protection a year for personal sickness or short-term care of an immediate family member. It would also allow for 16 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave for long-term illness or injury. Alberta has some of the oldest workplace legislation in Canada. Both the Employment Standards Code and Labour Relations Code have not been significantly updated in nearly 30 years. (Full Story)

May 24, 2017 - Bill to modernize Alberta’s workplace legislation - Proposed amendments to Alberta’s Employment Standards Code and Labour Relations Code would support family-friendly workplaces and bring Alberta’s standards into alignment with the rest of Canada. If passed, the Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act, would ensure Alberta has modern and fair labour laws that protect the rights of Albertans and meet the needs of today’s workplaces.  The proposed changes are the result of previous government reviews as well as broad consultations with Albertans, employers, business organizations, labour organizations, municipalities, academics, and advocacy groups. (Full Story)

May 24, 2017 - New Alberta labour standards for paid farm workers tabled - Waged farm workers in Alberta will be allowed to unionize and get new rules governing vacation pay and youth employment, under a provincial labour bill tabled Wednesday. The new rules are tucked into Bill 17, the Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act, which went through first reading Wednesday and, if passed, would take effect Jan. 1, 2018. The bulk of the bill is devoted to new employment standards for workers provincewide, relating mainly to parental leave and various types of unpaid leave. It also raises Alberta’s minimum age of work to 13, citing the International Labour Organization’s Convention 138 on youth employment. (Full Story)

May 11, 2017 - Employment training gets Albertans back to work - More than 1,000 Alberta job-seekers around the province will benefit from expanded employment training opportunities through the Integrated Training Program. The Alberta government is investing $10 million over the next two years to support 11 new Integrated Training programs. This will help an estimated 1,100 unemployed or underemployed Albertans gain the skills they need to succeed in today’s changing economy. (Full Story)

May 10, 2017 - More summer jobs created for Alberta students - Nearly 3,000 high school and post-secondary students will gain valuable work experience through the 2017 Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP). The program gives young Albertans the opportunity to develop important job skills while helping employers hire the staff they need. Eligible Alberta employers receive a $7-per-hour wage subsidy to hire students for summer jobs from May to August. Last year, STEP helped approximately 2,700 students acquire work experience with more than 1,100 employers across the province. (Full Story)

May 09, 2017 - Province helps Indigenous people enter trades - The Alberta government is funding a pre-apprenticeship program to help Indigenous people pursue careers in the construction trades. A grant of $500,000 will go toward the Trade Winds to Success Training Society’s 16-week pre-apprenticeship program. It offers classroom and hands-on instruction to students pursuing careers as carpenters, electricians, ironworkers, millwrights, plumbers, steam/pipefitters, welders or insulators. Trade Winds to Success Training Society has graduated 1,264 students since 2006, with a success rate of 86 per cent. (Full Story)

Apr 27, 2017 - New grant trains Calgary women for tech jobs - Status of Women Minister Stephanie McLean announced $100,000 in funding for Making Changes Association to prepare immigrant and Indigenous women for careers in technology. Calgary’s Making Changes will launch a program that trains women for higher paying jobs in the computer networking sector. Adding in job-search skills and on-the-job work experience gives program graduates everything they need to succeed. Status of Women’s first-ever grants program will fund 34 innovative projects by not-for-profit and charitable organizations for a total of $1.5 million in the 2016-17 fiscal year. (Full Story)

Apr 24, 2017 - New projects in the Stony Plain area to spur job creation - The Alberta government is helping communities create jobs and diversify their local economy through the Community and Regional Economic Support (CARES) program. The projects will deliver workshops and webinars to engage Alberta entrepreneurs and expand the capacity of Alberta businesses, help diversify the local industrial base and design a roadmap to a net-zero energy future. Such initiatives are designed to drive economic development, tourism and job-creation opportunities. (Full Story)

May 1, 2017 - Occupational Health and Safety Regulation amendments now in effect - Thirteen changes to the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulation took effect May 1, 2017. Generally, they include changes to streamline, clarify, and update specific policies, but some sections, such as the ones pertaining to rock dust and lead, have been significantly expanded. The changes affect a wide-range of industries, and employers should review them carefully to see what applies to their workplace. Primers are available on the WorkSafeBC website. (Full Story)

April 10, 2017 - Single Parent Employment Initiative - The Single Parent Employment Initiative (SPEI) removes barriers to employment for single parents on income and disability assistance, providing them with the training and supports they need to secure long-term employment. About 17,000 single parents on income or disability assistance in B.C. are eligible for the program. Single parents must have been on income or disability assistance for three months to be eligible for funded training programs. All eligible participants will be assessed by a WorkBC Case Manager to map out supports and services to help participants move off income assistance and find employment. (Full Story)

April 7, 2017 - Students and employers both benefit from co-op education opportunities - Post-secondary students at 16 colleges, institutes and universities throughout British Columbia will benefit from an investment of $1.3 million to raise awareness of the benefits of work experience among employers and students. Each of the 16 public post-secondary institutions will receive $75,000 to support outreach to more employers and increase awareness of the benefits of co-op placements for both employers and students. The Association for Co-operative Education BC/Yukon (ACE) will receive $100,000. The non-profit organization works with public post-secondary institutions in B.C. that offer co-operative education programs. (Full Story)

April 7, 2017 - B.C. business leaders join forces on inclusive employment - Twenty-three of British Columbia’s top business leaders have come together to achieve one common goal - to support and encourage meaningful employment opportunities for people with disabilities throughout the province. The consultants will work with the business and disability communities to research, pilot and develop a toolkit of resources, approaches and processes that support increased success rates in the recruitment, hiring and employment of people with disabilities in B.C. (Full Story)

April 6, 2017 - More than 7,000 British Columbians train for local jobs with government support - More than 7,000 British Columbians will be trained by this fall through a wide range of skilled-trades and employment training projects throughout the province, thanks to $45.4 million from the provincial and federal governments in 2016/17. The governments allocated the funding for four training programs to help B.C. job seekers in rural and urban areas get the skills they need to pursue jobs in their communities.  These four programs funded more than 120 training projects for Aboriginal peoples, women, youth, immigrants, older workers, persons with disabilities and communities facing economic changes. (Full Story)

April 6, 2017 - Employment Program of BC (EPBC) - The Employment Program of BC (EPBC) is the province’s one-stop employment program. Its services include self-serve job search services, as well as client needs assessment, case management and other employment service options, for those needing more individualized services, to prepare for, find and maintain sustainable employment. Since the program launched in 2012, EPBC has facilitated employment opportunities for nearly 109,000 people – 85% of which are full-time positions. (Full Story)

April 6, 2017 - Temporary (Income) Assistance - Temporary assistance is designed to help people move into employment as soon as possible. There are a number of programs and supports in place that help people on temporary assistance transition into employment. People who receive income assistance also receive a number of other supports and benefits that help them each month, such as subsidized housing, child-care subsidies, dental and optical care for children, free MSP, free Pharmacare, child and seniors’ benefits, and employment services through the Employment Program of BC. (Full Story)

April 5, 2017 - North Vancouver residents receiving training for local jobs with government support - Up to 202 Vancouver residents are currently receiving the training they need for jobs in their communities, thanks to support from the federal and provincial governments. These programs are funded through the Province’s Employment Services and Supports (ESS) program under the Canada-B.C. Job Fund. ESS funds a wide range of training, from job readiness and essential skills to entrepreneurial and trades training for unemployed or employed low-skilled, non-EI eligible individuals, including youth, women, Aboriginal people, immigrants and those under-represented in the trades. The objective of the ESS program is to prepare British Columbians for entry to, or return to sustainable employment. (Full Story)

May 25, 2017 - Average weekly wages increasing in province - Average weekly earnings in Manitoba grew at one of the fastest paces in the country between March of last year and March of this year, new Statistics Canada data shows. In its monthly payroll employment and earnings report released Thursday, the agency said average weekly earnings for payroll employees in the province- people who work for someone, as opposed to being self employed - rose by 2.4 per cent to $908.32 in March from $886.91 in March 2016. On the jobs front, the agency said Manitoba gained 10,200 new payroll positions between March of last year and March of this year. That boosted the number of payroll employees in the province to 597,500 from 587,300 a year earlier. (Full Story)

May 15, 2017 - Province plans modest boost to minimum wage - After refusing to raise the province's minimum wage last year, the Pallister government is planning to boost the base pay rate by a mere 15 cents effective Oct. 1. On Monday, the Progressive Conservatives introduced a bill that would tie the minimum wage to the annual increase in the consumer price index, rounded to the nearest nickel. That would increase the minimum wage this fall to $11.15 an hour from the current $11. The last increase to the minimum wage occurred in October 2015, when the former NDP government upped it by 30 cents an hour. (Full Story)

May 5, 2017 - Manitoba sheds jobs but unemployment down - Manitoba posted a net loss of 500 full-time jobs last month, but that didn’t prevent its unemployment rate from dipping to the lowest level in the country, new Statistics Canada data show. In its monthly Labour Force Survey report released Friday, the agency said the Manitoba economy shed 2,700 full-time jobs last month. Those losses were only partially offset by the addition of 2,200 new part-time positions. But the province’s unemployment rate still dipped to 5.4 per cent from 5.5 per cent in March because 1,200 workers dropped out of the labour force in April. That meant there were 1,200 fewer Manitobans either employed or actively looking for work. (Full Story)

May 5, 2017 - Manitoba Government Launches Five-Year Review Of The Workplace Safety And Health Act - The province announced today that it is launching a five-year review of The Workplace Safety and Health Act, as required under section 16(3) of the act. "This review will help to ensure our province remains a safe and healthy place to work as well as a competitive and attractive place to do business," said Trade Minister Cliff Cullen.  "We look forward to receiving feedback from stakeholders and members of the public as we work to modernize Manitoba’s workplace safety and health framework." The objective of The Workplace Safety and Health Act is to protect workers, self-employed people and others from risks to their safety, health and welfare related to activities in their workplaces. (Full Story)

April 21, 2017 - The Workers Compensation Act Submissions Made Public - The Workers Compensation Act Legislative Review Committee 2016 (LRC) posted the nearly 100 submissions it received during a recent public consultation at Appointed by the provincial government, the LRC is reviewing The Workers Compensation Act (the Act) to ensure it continues to meet the needs of both workers and employers in Manitoba's changing workplaces. The submissions posted today were received during the public consultation process which ran from November 15, 2016 to February 15, 2017. With the submissions now being public, the LRC will consider supplementary written submissions from any person or organization who made a submission between November 15, 2016 and February 15, 2017. (Full Story)

May 24, 2017 - New Program Helps NB Immigrants With Professional Credentials - A new program is helping more immigrants in New Brunswick get their professional credentials recognized in the province and the country. The Career Pathways Loan Program will provide loans of up to $15,000 for immigrants living in New Brunswick to help cover the cost of training, testing, licensing and living costs to have their foreign credentials recognized in Canada and New Brunswick. The program is a renewal of a similar program run by the federal government from 2011 to 2015 with much success. (Full Story)

May 24, 2017 - TD to create up to 575 jobs in Moncton with new business services centre - TD will open a new business services centre in Moncton in 2019, which will create up to 575 full-time jobs over a six-year period. In support of the creation of up to 575 new jobs, TD is eligible to receive up to $9 million in financial assistance from the provincial government. Some of the assistance will be come through The Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour who will contribute about $2.1 million through the One Job Pledge program, plus an additional $150,000 through Canada/NB Grant Program for Training. Under the program, employers are eligible to be reimbursed $10 per hour for a maximum of 40 hours for employees who are recent post-secondary graduates; employers pay the employees hired under the program and submit wage claims for participating employees. (Full Story)

May 18, 2017 - Summit on employment and entrepreneurship for people with a disability - A second Economic Opportunities Summit on employment and entrepreneurship for people with a disability has been held in New Brunswick. Discussions focused on actions implemented over the past year, including outstanding commitments from An Employment Action Plan for Persons with a Disability in New Brunswick 2012-2017. Participants also discussed opportunities for further collaboration among partners and stakeholders to promote growth and innovation in supporting people with disabilities. (Full Story)

May 16, 2017 - Rural groups say new student employment structure leaves them at risk - Community groups in Port Elgin and Baie Verte are concerned they might have to cut their summer day camps if the Student Employment Experience Development program continues to run in its new format. The program, known as SEED, has about 2,000 vouchers available for student applicants, province-wide, that are distributed by lottery. Students who receive a voucher can apply to approved businesses and organizations that have half the wages for their summer hires funded by the provincial government. Until the spring of 2016, SEED jobs were doled out by MLAs to the non-profit organizations of their choice. But in the name of "getting the politics out of youth employment," the Gallant government changed the structure to put the onus on the student to apply for a voucher, then find a job in their area of interest. (Full Story)

May 5, 2017 - New Brunswick employment hits 10-month low in April - New Brunswick's uneven job performance continued in April with the substantial loss of part-time work driving employment in the province to a 10-month low. According to Statistics Canada's latest job count, New Brunswick shed 2,800 part-time positions in April, a loss that was only partially offset by the gain of 700 full-time jobs. Overall, employment dropped to 351,600, the lowest number recorded in New Brunswick since last June. (Full Story)

May 4, 2017 - Task force, auditor general to examine workers’ compensation - The provincial government announced today it will establish a task force to examine workers’ compensation in New Brunswick and has asked the auditor general to conduct a value-for-money audit of WorkSafeNB. A discussion paper will be prepared to detail the current environment, facilitate discussion and seek input from stakeholders on how to address the situation and ensure the system appropriately addresses the needs and realities of current and future workplaces, while also striking the right balance between compensation for injured workers and the financial interests of employers. (Full Story)

April 23, 2017 - Helping small businesses to succeed - Recognizing that small business is a vital part of New Brunswick’s economy and communities, the provincial government has taken a series of steps to help them succeed and is committed to ongoing efforts to address their concerns. One area is helping small businesses create jobs through the Youth Employment Fund and the recently-enhanced Student Employment Experience Development program. Economic Development Minister Francine Landry says "We know how hard small businesses work to serve their customers and we value the jobs they create in communities across the province. We are helping them to become more competitive and continuing to reduce red tape. It is our job to create conditions that will allow businesses to thrive and succeed." (Full Story)

April 7, 2017 - 1,700 new part-time jobs pull N.B. jobless rate down slightly - New Brunswick's unemployment rate declined to 8.4 per cent in March as the economy added about 100 full-time jobs and 1,700 part-time jobs, according to Statistics Canada's monthly labour force report released Friday. This time last year, 600 jobs were lost in March, pushing the unemployment rate up to 10.2 per cent in New Brunswick, from 8.9 per cent the month before. The Canadian labour force grew by 19,400 jobs in March, an increase of 0.1 per cent, according to Statistics Canada. (Full Story)

May 15, 2017 - Minister Byrne Announces Hourly Wage Increase for Job Trainers - An increase in the hourly wage for Job Trainers has been announced, With $1 million in federal-provincial funding, the Provincial Government has raised the hourly wage for Job Trainers from $12.25 to $14.80. A further increase to $15.55 per hour will come into effect on July 1, 2017. This brings the rate in line with similar occupations and raises combined federal-provincial funding for the Supported Employment Program to $7.8 million. Job Trainers provide one-on-one support to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians with intellectual disabilities through the Supported Employment Program. (Full Story)

May 10, 2017 - Minister Byrne Recognizes Enhancements to Job Creation Partnerships Program - Advanced Education, Skills and Labour minister Gerry Byrne has recognized enhancements to the valuable Job Creation Partnerships Program. This program supports projects that provide Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who are eligible to receive Employment Insurance with opportunities to gain work experience and improve their employment prospects. It is supported by $7 million through the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Market Development Agreement. (Full Story)

May 3, 2017 - Minister Recognizes Success of Transitions to Work Pilot Program - Advanced Education, Skills and Labour minister Gerry Byrne attended a graduation ceremony for the Transitions to Work Pilot Program in Corner Brook and was inspired by the dedication and enthusiasm of the graduates. Transitions to Work was implemented in January 2017 through the merger of the former Employment Transitions and Sector Skills programs. It provides Newfoundlanders and Labradorians with the support they need to secure entry-level employment and financial independence. Compared to the two previous programs, Transitions to Work enhances pre-employment support and job search assistance and introduces new approaches to job placement services. (Full Story)

May 1, 2017 - Provincial Government Announces Projects to Help Newcomers Secure Employment in their Fields - The Honourable Gerry Byrne, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour, today announced the first successful applicants for funding through the federal-provincial Foreign Qualification Recognition Agreement, which will help newcomers secure employment in their fields. The agreement is supported by $800,000 in federal funding to be allocated over a 24-month period, helping achieve a key commitment in The Way Forward on Immigration in Newfoundland and Labrador to enhance foreign qualification recognition. (Full Story)

April 27, 2017 - WorkplaceNL reports workplace injury rates for 2016 - The lost-time incidence rate due to workplace injury or illness in Newfoundland and Labrador remained at an all-time low in 2016, at 1.5 per 100 workers. This rate includes over 3,500 new lost-time claims accepted by WorkplaceNL in 2016. The rate has improved dramatically from a high of 5.2 per 100 workers in 1989. However, given that the rate has dropped only modestly from 1.6 to 1.5 in the past five years, WorkplaceNL recognizes that it will be increasingly challenging to lower the rate even further. (Full Story)

April 18, 2017 - Provincial Government Enhances Application Process for Job Creation Partnerships Program - The Provincial Government is enhancing the application process for the Job Creation Partnerships Program by extending the submission deadline to September 15, 2017. This will allow the program to be more responsive to emerging needs throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, including rural and remote areas. Job Creation Partnerships support projects that provide Newfoundlanders and Labradorians eligible to receive Employment Insurance (EI) with opportunities to gain valuable work experience and improve their employment prospects. These projects provide benefits to the participant as well as their community. (Full Story)

May 31, 2017 - Release of the NWT Apprenticeship, Trades and Occupational Certification Strategy - The Department of Education, Culture and Employment would like to announce the release of the NWT Apprenticeship, Trades and Occupational Certification Strategy 2017-2022. This Strategy aims to improve employment success for NWT residents and more effectively respond to employers’ skill needs. The five year NWT Apprenticeship, Trades and Occupational Certification Strategy outlines how the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT), guided by the Department of Education, Culture and Employment will strengthen the existing apprenticeship and occupational certification program in the NWT. (Full Story)

May 5, 2017 - NDP Pressed on minimum wage review - What at one point looked like an automatic review of Yukon’s minimum wage will now be up to the government to decide. Minister of Community Services John Streicker told the legislative assembly April 27 his department has a policy to review the minimum wage if it ever drops to sixth-highest in Canada. Yukon’s $11.32 an hour is currently fifth in the country. If British Columbia, which is in the middle of an election campaign, follows through with a plan to raise its rate to $11.35 in mid-September, Yukon would drop to sixth. (Full Story)

April 10, 2017 - Employment Up By 300 Jobs In The NWT Compared To February - The employment rate in the Northwest Territories has risen to 66 per cent, up from 65 per cent in February. Of 32,400 residents over 15 years of age, 21,400 were employed according to data from the NWT Bureau of Statistics. That’s an increase of 300 persons from the previous month. Compared to this time last year, there were 1,000 fewer people employed in the NWT. Most of the job losses were in full-time positions. According to the NWT Bureau of Statistics, the Yukon had the highest employment rate nationally at 73.9 per cent, followed by the Northwest Territories and Alberta, who both had an employment rate of 66 per cent. (Full Story)

May 16, 2017 - Pilot program launched to support workers with concussion-related injuries - The Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia has launched a pilot project to determine how to best support workers who have sustained a concussion. The pilot project will determine the appropriate resources needed for concussion management, create a consistent treatment protocol and develop a concussion management protocol. The goal is to improve worker outcomes and helps ensure a safe and timely return to work, the WCB said. (Full Story)

May 11, 2017 - Young Cape Bretoners are creating their own job opportunities - More and more young people who want to live and work in Cape Breton are creating their own jobs, says the head of the region's economic agency. Eileen Oldford, CEO of Business Cape Breton, said numbers are up for people between 25 and 35 seeking help to establish a business. In the last six months, Business Cape Breton has accumulated a wait list of 40 clients seeking business advisory services. Business Cape Breton will roll out a new mentorship program next month - to encourage even more young people to turn to them for help. (Full Story)

April 26, 2017 - Changes to Occupational Health and Safety Act Take Effect in June - Changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act that will help keep Nova Scotians safe at work will take effect on June 12. The amendments, passed in April 2016, better define when, how, and what injuries and incidents must be reported. They give government additional tools and authority to enforce safety requirements for those who put people at risk of serious injury or death by repeatedly disregarding safety regulations. Government will continue to work with stakeholders between now and June to encourage further awareness and understanding of the changes. (Full Story)

April 25, 2017 - Payroll Rebate Approved - Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI) has approved a business development incentive in the form of a payroll rebate for MUFG Fund Services (Halifax) Limited, a contracting entity that has the potential to create up to a maximum of 100 jobs in its expansion of business operations in Halifax. Based on the maximum growth forecast of the five-year payroll rebate agreement, NSBI estimates that MUFG could spend $22 million in salaries. It is estimated the new employees would contribute provincial tax revenues of about $2.5 million through their income and consumption taxes. As a result, the company is qualified to earn up to a maximum of $1,554,000 through the payroll rebate agreement. (Full Story)

May 26, 2017 - Become a summer student - Nunavummiut students, there’s still time to apply to the 2017 Summer Student Employment Equity Program (SSEEP). The final deadline is July 14, 2017. The SSEEP is offered every year to encourage continuous learning and foster youth development for secondary and post-secondary students. Participating students develop their skills and improve their employability after graduation. Students can apply if they: are currently enrolled in a post-secondary program; are in grade 10 or above; have attended a post-secondary program or recognized apprenticeship trade school one year before the student application deadline. (Full Story)

May 09, 2017 - QIA to push hard for Inuit employment at Mary River - With Inuit employment at the Mary River iron mine dropping to just 100 people, or 12.5 per cent of the workforce, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association’s big priority this year is to work with Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. on Inuit training and recruitment. That 12.5 per cent number represents a big drop from the level of Inuit employment reported for 2014 - 20.3 per cent - and well down from the 16.7 per cent level reported for the period between January and June 2016. It’s also a long way from the minimum Inuit employment target that the QIA and Baffinland agreed to for 2016, a target that was then carried over to 2017: 25 per cent. (Full Story)

June 1, 2017 - Ontario Introduces Legislation to Create Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs - Ontario introduced legislation today to create more opportunity and security for workers through its plan for Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs, including hiking the minimum wage, ensuring part-time workers are paid the same hourly wage as full-time workers, introducing paid sick days for every worker and stepping up enforcement of employment laws. The Changing Workplaces Review estimated that more than 30 per cent of Ontario workers were in precarious work in 2014. This type of employment makes it hard to earn a decent income and interferes with opportunities to enjoy decent working conditions and/or puts workers at risk. (Full Story)

May 31, 2017 - Ontario Raising Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour - Ontario is proposing the largest increase to the minimum wage in the province's history, raising it to $15 per hour, as part of a plan to create better jobs and fair workplaces. This will give more than a quarter of employees in the province a pay increase and will help ensure that more workers are benefitting from Ontario's economic growth. The government's plan is to increase the minimum wage to $14 per hour on January 1, 2018, and $15 per hour on January 1, 2019, followed by annual increases at the rate of inflation. Half of the workers in Ontario who earn less than $15 per hour are between the ages of 25 and 64, and the majority are women. (Full Story)

May 30, 2017 - Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs - Ontario is taking historic action to create more opportunity and security for workers with a plan for Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs. This includes hiking the minimum wage, ensuring part-time workers are paid the same hourly wage as full-time workers, introducing paid sick days for every worker and stepping up enforcement of employment laws. To help safeguard employees and create fairer and better workplaces, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced today that the government is moving forward with a landmark package of measures. (Full Story)

May 30, 2027 - Proposed Changes to Ontario's Employment and Labour Laws - The Ontario government has announced its intention to introduce proposed legislation, The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. The legislative proposals include broad ranging amendments to Ontario's Employment Standards Act and Labour Relations Act. While the province's economy is strong and growing, the nature of work has changed, leaving many workers struggling to support their families on part-time, contract or minimum-wage work. These legislative changes seek to create more opportunity and security for workers across Ontario. (Full Story)

May 19, 2017 - Strengthening and Modernizing Workplace Pensions - The government is implementing a new framework for defined benefit pension plans. The changes will help ensure retirement income security for workers and retirees is protected while helping keep workplace pension plans affordable, enabling Ontario businesses to grow and compete. To help ensure benefit security in the event that a pension plan is not fully funded and the employer is bankrupt, the government will be increasing the monthly guarantee provided by the Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund for a plan member's pension by 50 per cent, to $1,500 from $1,000. (Full Story)

May 19, 2017 - Making Workplace Pension Plans More Sustainable - Ontario is moving forward with changes that will help ensure workers' retirement benefits are protected and maintained, while enabling business to grow and be more competitive. Changes will help keep defined benefit pension plans healthy and sustainable. Employers will continue to be required to ensure pension funds are appropriately funded and to pay into a reserve to protect benefits for workers and retirees. In addition, employers will also be required to make additional contributions should the plan's funded status fall below a certain level. (Full Story)

May 11, 2017 - WSIB Has New Way to Measure Workplace Health and Safety - The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has developed a new tool, the Health and Safety Index, to measure the overall health and safety of Ontario’s workplaces. The Health and Safety Index is based on five categories of data in prevention, worker empowerment, workplace culture, enforcement and injuries. The WSIB will use data gathered up to April 2017 to set a baseline and will publish new data along with the overall measure annually starting in summer 2018. (Full Story)

May 10, 2017 - Protecting New and Young Workers on the Job - As summer job season begins, Ontario has launched inspection blitzes to ensure new and young workers, such as summer student employees, are safe on the job and know their rights at work. From May 1 to August 31, 2017, Ontario workplace inspectors and officers are visiting workplaces that typically hire new and young workers, such as food services and retail trade, to ensure that employers are complying with provincial health and safety and employment standards laws, including training requirements, minimum wage, hours of work and overtime pay. (Full Story)

May 5, 2017 - Ontario's Unemployment Rate Lowest in 16 Years - Ontario's unemployment rate was 5.8 per cent in April - the lowest it has been since 2001. The unemployment rate fell by 0.6 per cent, from 6.4 per cent in March. Compared with a year ago, employment in Ontario is up by 87,000 jobs, or 1.2 per cent. Over the last three years, Ontario's real GDP growth has outpaced all G7 countries, supported by the government's strategic investments. Exports and business investments are increasing and the unemployment rate continues to decline. (Full Story)

April 24, 2017 - Ontario's Basic Income Pilot - Ontario is launching a pilot project to assess whether a basic income can better support vulnerable workers, improve health and education outcomes for people on low incomes, and help ensure that everyone shares in Ontario's economic growth. Ontario's March 2016 Budget was the beginning of the process toward designing the Basic Income pilot. That Budget announced a commitment to create a Basic Income pilot project to test the model in Ontario. (Full Story)

April 18, 2017 - Getting More People Started in Trades - Ontario is supporting more than 1,200 pre-apprentices in 67 training programs this year, to help them gain job skills and experience, and prepare them for successful careers in the skilled trades. Pre-apprenticeship training helps people develop trade-specific knowledge, job skills and the work experience they need for careers in high-demand trades, such as carpentry, plumbing, or cooking.  Local programs accept a wide range of trainees, with many projects focused on groups that are under-represented in the skilled workforce, such as new Canadians, women, and Indigenous people. (Full Story)

May 19, 2017 - Team Youth Trucking expands student jobs - More young Islanders will have the chance to earn money and gain experience in the fast-growing trucking industry. The new Team Youth Trucking initiative will create jobs for youth in a variety of trucking-related businesses across the Prince Edward Island. Modelled off the successful Team Seafood initiative, it is a partnership between government and the PEI Trucking Sector Council where participants learn about the industry for 10 weeks by assisting with things like dispatching and helping drivers and mechanics. (Full Story)

May 5, 2017 - P.E.I. jobs recovery holding - The number of jobs on P.E.I. grew again in April, even as more people entering the workforce pulled up the unemployment rate. There were 800 more jobs in April as compared to March. At the same time, however, another 1,000 Islanders entered the workforce, driving up the unemployment rate from 10.1 per cent to 10.3 per cent. After losses in 2016, a jobs recovery began in November. April's performance was the strongest in the generally upward trend of the last six months. Full-time jobs, which fell below 60,000 last June and remained there the rest of the year, have been above 61,000 all through 2017. (Full Story)

April 25, 2017 - Career Connect expands access to higher education - Islanders with an active Employment Insurance claim can now get the training they need to obtain long-term, meaningful employment. Eligible Islanders can apply to receive their Employment Insurance while attending post-secondary training -- including universities – through the new Career Connect program. Applicants must be Island residents, have an active Employment Insurance claim with the federal government, and be enrolled in studies full-time. Career Connect is offered through Skills PEI and is part of the Labour Market Development Agreement with the federal government. (Full Story)

April 25, 2017 - Satisfaction Survey Continues to Provide Valuable Information - The Workers Compensation Board (WCB) is pleased to release the results of the 2016 WCB Injured Worker Survey, which continues to show positive results in the service satisfaction index. The index is a composite measure of injured workers’ overall experience with the WCB, as well as their satisfaction with a variety of service dimensions including fairness, decision making and service delivery. In the fall of 2016, over 500 injured workers participated in the survey conducted by the independent research company, Corporate Research Associates. (Full Story)

June 1, 2017 - Saskatchewan should join in improving employment standards - The past two weeks have seen a series of new policies unveiled to improve working conditions across Canada. And while we should celebrate the progress being made elsewhere, we should also ask how long Saskatchewan workers will be required to put up with less as new standards emerge to deal with the evolution of employment relationships. In Ontario, a provincial report on changing workplaces was released just last week, reviewing how labour and employment laws could keep up with changes in the economy as a whole and employment structures in particular. (Full Story)

May 25, 2017 - Second Highest Weekly Earnings Growth Among Canada's Provinces - On a year-over-year basis, Saskatchewan’s average weekly earnings saw a 2.6 per cent increase in March 2017 (seasonally adjusted), the second highest among Canada’s provinces, according to new figures released by Statistics Canada today. The province’s average weekly earnings grew by 1.1 per cent, compared to the previous month, above the national increase of 0.2 per cent and also the second highest increase among the provinces. (Full Story)

May 5, 2017 - Job Numbers Hold Steady in April - April job numbers show there were 560,100 people working in Saskatchewan, unchanged from a year ago. Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate in April was 6.2 per cent (seasonally adjusted), below the national average of 6.5 per cent. The unemployment rate for Saskatchewan youth was 10.4 per cent (seasonally adjusted) in April 2017, second lowest among the provinces.  Nationally, youth unemployment was 11.7 per cent. (Full Story)

April 20, 2017 - EI numbers in Sask. are down for the fourth straight month - Employment insurance numbers in Saskatchewan are down for the fourth straight month, according to Statistics Canada. In data released Thursday, 770 Saskatchewan residents came off EI between January and February, which is a change of 4.1 per cent. Last year during the same time frame 2,140 people went onto EI. The number of unemployed people in the province has been steadily declining. In March, unemployment decreased by 2.6 per cent compared to the same time last year. (Full Story)

April 12, 2017 - WCB Releases 2016 Operating Results - The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board’s 2016 Annual Report was tabled in the provincial legislature today. Chair Gord Dobrowolsky said the WCB remains fully funded, with sufficient assets to cover the future costs of all claims in the system at December 31, 2016. Saskatchewan’s total injury rate decreased in 2016 from 6.30 percent to 5.55 percent per 100 workers which surpassed our annual target of 5.90 percent. The goal for 2016 was a time loss injury rate of 2 percent. At 1.86 percent, it was exceeded. (Full Story)

April 7, 2017 - 2,000 Jobs Created in March - There were 2,000 jobs created in March 2017 in Saskatchewan when compared with March 2016. March was the second consecutive month with year-over-year job creation. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.0 per cent in March, third lowest among the provinces, unchanged from February and down 0.2 percentage points from last March.  Nationally, the unemployment rate was 6.7 per cent. (Full Story)

May 8, 2017 - National Aboriginal Day becomes a statutory holiday in Yukon - Today, the Government of Yukon’s Bill 2 to amend the Employment Standards Act was passed after third reading of the National Aboriginal Day Act and assented to by the Commissioner of Yukon Doug Phillips. The legislation creates National Aboriginal Day as an annual statutory holiday in Yukon beginning on June 21, 2017. The government received overwhelming support from Yukoners who responded to a survey last year in favour of making National Aboriginal Day a statutory holiday in Yukon. (Full Story)

May 6, 2017 - Yukon Employment Standards - Yukon employers must follow employment standards (rules). These rules apply to foreign workers and to workers who are Canadian citizens. These rules include: Minimum wage, Hours of work and overtime pay, Paid vacation, General holidays, and Time off for illness or a death in the worker’s family. For jobs in Yukon, these rules are written in two laws: Employment Standards Act and Canada Labour Code. The Employment Standards Act and the Canada Labour Code apply to full-time and part-time workers. (Full Story)

Featured Article: Consequences Of Improper Administration Of Employee Benefits

Throughout an employee's time with an employer, there are many occasions where the employer will be required to have the employee complete forms or other documents for third parties, or where the employer must complete forms themselves for third parties. We have encountered employers who either delay or completely disregard these requirements. Failing to meet these requirements are risky and potentially costly oversights! Below we will identify the consequences for the employer if these documents are not completed, completed inaccurately, or are not completed in a timely manner.

When an employee commences their employment, the employer typically provides the employee with the documents necessary to enroll in the workplace health and benefit plan. But what if those forms are not provided or properly completed? In these circumstances, there are a number of cases that found the employer liable for the losses that an employee suffered when these documents were not completed. For example, employers have been liable for:

  • Compensating an employee for long term disability benefits when the employer did not enroll the employee in the long term disability plan.
  • Paying benefits to an employee that should have been received for the death of the employee's spouse when the employer lost the employee's enrollment forms for optional dependent life insurance.

The employer's obligations do not end when the employee is hired. Employers have been required to pay all employee health claims where an employer did not properly deduct premium amounts from employee pay and send these amounts to the insurer, despite having been reminded several times to do so. Because the employee no longer had coverage for health claims, the employer was required to reimburse the employee for these amounts.

Similarly, employers are very likely liable when they do not inform employees of their rights to benefits, such as medical expense reimbursements, or long term disability benefits. Failing to provide employees with the forms necessary to apply for those benefits in a timely way can also expose an employer to liability.

There are other circumstances where an employer may be punished for failing to complete documentation. For example, a failure by an employer to complete a Workers' Compensation Board (Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission in the NWT and Nunavut) Report of Accident will result in the employer having to pay a fine, one which increases for each day that the report is late.

A failure by an employer to remit monies deducted from employees for income tax, CPP and EI premiums could result in the employer being assessed both penalties and fines. Similarly, an employer's failure to file a Record of Employment within five days after the date the employee stopped working could also result in a fine.

While administrating employee benefits can be a tedious task, it is the employer's obligation to do so with care and diligence. The failure to properly fulfill those obligations can result in serious consequences to the employer.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances

Article presented by permission from Glenn D. Tait, of McLennan Ross LLP.

Software Updates

GrandMaster Suite

  • Coming Soon: July Update - Watch for our mid-year tax update that will be posted shortly.

GrandMaster II

  • Coming Soon: July Update - Watch for our mid-year tax update that will be posted shortly.


  • Added a new cheque layout format - available on the Reports screen.
  • Changed the "Business Account" gross calculation to include all taxable items. These items will now appear on the pay registers.
    Added 'Earning Units' to the Options screen. This new item is not activated by default. You can activate this option and then deactivate the Earnings option of you wish to view only employee hours.
  • Add a Show All Employees option to the Options screen. This allows you to view employees who are marked as "terminated" and "on leave" in the various payroll tables.
  • Added an earning hours column to the Employee Profile Report.
  • Improved client backup performance and security.
  • Enhanced program performance by reducing memory consumption.
  • Fixed error when setting a new user's privileges before an initial save.
  • Added the Address 2 column to the Name and Address screen.

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