Payroll News Canada - Employment Articles

October 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

October 2017 - Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS) - Did you know that Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) uses the models of the Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS) and the National Occupational Classification (NOC, 2011 version) to develop projections of future trends in the numbers of job openings and job seekers for 292 occupational groupings at the national level, covering the entire workforce. Users can search for summaries of projection results by occupation, or industry detailed projection results by occupation or industry. 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

October 12, 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)

October 12, 2017 - Government of Canada promotes innovation for economic growth and jobs in British Columbia and Canada - The Government of Canada is demonstrating its commitment to growing the economy and creating middle-class jobs for Canadians by moving forward with the Innovation Superclusters Initiative. The Initiative will leverage a federal investment of up to $950 million to generate public-private partnerships in innovative industries across the country. Superclusters will energize regional economies and help build a skilled workforce, enhance Canada’s global competitiveness and create thousands of well-paying jobs for this generation and the next. (Full Story)

October 12, 2017 - Government of Canada helps 80 Indigenous youth overcome barriers to employment - Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, announced that the Native Council of Nova Scotia will help 80 young people in Truro, Dartmouth, Liverpool and Sydney overcome barriers to employment, develop essential job skills or return to school. The Government of Canada will provide over $1.1 million in funding for the Helping Youth Prepare for Employment/Education project through the Skills Link program, part of the Government’s Youth Employment Strategy. Through this project, the Native Council of Nova Scotia will provide young Canadians with workshops that are tailored to their needs. (Full Story)

October 6, 2017 - Canada adds jobs for 10th straight month with boost in full-time work - The labour market posted a 10th-straight month of net job gains in September to match the economy's longest monthly streak since the financial crisis almost a decade ago, Statistics Canada said Friday. The national unemployment rate stayed at a nine-year low of 6.2 per cent after Canada added 10,000 net new jobs, including a surge of 112,000 full-time positions. The rise in full-time work more than offset a drop of 102,000 part-time jobs. (Full Story)

October 5, 2017 - Government of Canada highlights National Disability Employment Awareness Month - This October, the Government of Canada joins organizations across the country to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month. During this important month, employers are encouraged to think about how they can make their business practices more inclusive and accessible for Canadians with all abilities. According to a study from Statistics Canada released in 2014, the employment rate of Canadians aged 25 to 64 with disabilities was 49 percent in 2011, compared with 79 percent for Canadians without a disability. (Full Story)

September 29, 2017 - Government of Canada helps Indigenous peoples improve their essential skills - Anthony Rota, Member of Parliament for Nipissing–Timiskaming, announced funding for a project to help Indigenous peoples develop their skills so they are better prepared to join the workforce. As part of the project Literacy and Essential Skills Culture, Confidence and Competence, the Temiskaming Native Women’s Support Group (TNWSG) will work with 160 participants, including at least 90 Indigenous women and 40 Indigenous youth as they develop essential skills to help them get jobs in the mining, security, transportation, and forestry sectors. The TNWSG will also work with 20 employers to ensure that program participants can succeed in the workforce. (Full Story)

September 29, 2017 - Targeted Employment Strategy for Newcomers - The Targeted Employment Strategy for Newcomers will have three components to help newcomers enter the job market. These are: improved pre-arrival supports; a loan program to assist newcomers with costs of getting their foreign credentials recognized, and, assistance to acquire first Canadian work experience in their profession or in a field related to their profession. The Strategy will also test innovative approaches to help skilled newcomers gain critical first Canadian work experience in their professions. (Full Story)

September 19, 2017 - Canadians benefit from new jobs, skills and business opportunities through innovation - Canadians will benefit from new jobs, skills and business opportunities as a result of the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year strategy to turn more promising ideas into market-ready innovations. Through the Innovation and Skills Plan, the Government is supporting the growth of Canadian companies by encouraging the public and private sectors to collaborate in bringing more early-stage research to market. (Full Story)

September 14, 2017 - Canada Employment Insurance Commission announces 2018 Employment Insurance premium rate and maximum insurable earnings - The Canada Employment Insurance Commission (CEIC) today announced that the Employment Insurance (EI) premium rate for 2018 is $1.66 per $100 of insurable earnings for 2018. This represents a 3 cent increase for employees over the 2017 rate, and 4 cents for employers who pay 1.4 times the employee rate. The CEIC sets the premium rate each year based on the seven-year break-even rate, which is a rate forecast to balance the EI Operating Account over a seven-year horizon, eliminating any cumulative surplus or deficit. (Full Story)

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

October 13, 2017 - Classroom funding creates jobs, supports students - Hundreds of teaching and support staff positions are expected to be created this school year, reducing class sizes and increasing individual attention for Alberta students. The Classroom Improvement Fund (CIF) continues the government’s commitment to ensuring teachers remain in classrooms. Across the province, 45 school boards and teachers groups have already agreed on how to spend part of the $75-million improvement fund. It is anticipated this will create more than 225 teaching jobs and 175 support positions. (Full Story)

October 12, 2017 - Job vacancies soar in Alberta, led by surge in energy sector - The number of job vacancies in Alberta rose by 8,500 in the second quarter compared to the same period last year, Statistics Canada says. The spike marks the second report in a row of year-over-year increases for the province, the agency said in a release on Thursday. There were 50,925 job openings in Alberta from April to June, compared with 42,465 a year earlier, Statistics Canada says. There were 42,845 vacancies in the first quarter of this year. (Full Story)

October 06, 2017 - Edmonton gains 4,000 jobs in September as jobless rate falls to 8.5 per cent - The Edmonton area gained 4,000 full-time jobs in September while employment in Alberta declined by nearly 8,000 positions, Statistics Canada reported Friday. The gains brought Edmonton's unemployment rate to 8.5 per cent in September, down from 8.7 per cent in August, even as the working-age population and the active labour force continued to expand, the city said. (Full Story)

October 4, 2017 - Disability Employment Awareness Month in Alberta - For the first time in our history, Alberta is officially recognizing October 2017 as Disability Employment Awareness Month. The provincial declaration of October 2017 as Disability Employment Awareness Month recognizes that despite the continued barriers to acquiring employment, people with disabilities make a significant contribution to an engaged and innovative Alberta workforce. (Full Story)

September 29, 2017 - Minimum wage increase helps low-income Albertans - Albertans earning minimum wage will be better able to make ends meet when the minimum wage increases to $13.60 per hour on Oct. 1. As the province’s economy continues to recover, Alberta’s lowest-paid workers will see their hourly wage increase to $13.60 from $12.20. This is the third step in the Government of Alberta’s gradual phase-in of a $15-per-hour minimum wage by Oct. 1, 2018. (Full Story)

September 26, 2017 - Minimum wage hike could lead to 25,000 job losses: C.D. Howe report - The NDP plan to boost the province’s minimum wage to $15 an hour next year could lead to the loss of 25,000 jobs, according to new study by a University of Alberta economist. The hourly minimum wage is set to rise to $13.60 Sunday from $12.20 before reaching the final figure Oct. 1, 2018, but in a commentary published by the C.D. Howe Institute, Joseph Marchand said these moves could hurt low-wage staff by reducing employment. (Full Story)

September 25, 2017 - Alberta’s minimum wage hike called 'drastic' but no impacts on employment yet - A new report on minimum wage increases in Alberta adds to a chorus of criticism that the pay bumps for low-income earners are poorly timed and will come with the unintended consequences of killing jobs. The report, to be published Tuesday by the think tank C.D. Howe Institute, suggests that Alberta's plan to lift its minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2018 could scrap 25,000 jobs as employers cut staff to deal with higher labour costs. (Full Story)

October 19, 2017 - Employment Insurance recipients continue to decline in BC and Prince George - About 1,750 people collected benefits through Ottawa’s Employment Insurance program during August. BC continued to see a downward trend in the number of people picking up the funding. When you break it all down, both regions have been experiencing a downward trend for a while. For the year-over-year comparison, there is are larger declines for both regions; 9.3% for Prince George and 8% for the province. The number of beneficiaries was unusually high in the latter half of 2016 thanks to policy changes that came into effect. (Full Story)

October, 16, 2017 - B.C. labour market stumbles in September - Labour market momentum slipped in September with estimated B.C. employment falling by 6,700 persons or 0.3% from August. Employment has eased over the last three months, pointing to weaker hiring. Nonetheless, year-over-year growth in B.C. was strongest in the country by far at 3.6% compared with a national reading of 1.8%. September’s employment pullback reflected a decline in part-time positions that offset a rebound in full-time growth. (Full Story)

October 14, 2017 - Reviews and reforms: the future of B.C.'s employment act - Forget traditional nine-to-five jobs - the workplace has shifted radically in the past generation, prompting a group of British Columbian lawyers and researchers to examine if employment legislation has kept up with the recent boom in precarious work. The B.C. Law Institute is at the tail-end of a three year review of the B.C. Employment Standards Act and is compiling a list of reform recommendations, a draft of which will be available for public input by early next year. (Full Story)

October 13, 2017 - First Nations benefit from driver, trades training - British Columbia is providing $300,000 to the Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association (PGNAETA) to train participants in driver education and foundational trades-training programs. The Indigenous Skills Training Development Fund is providing up to $30 million over three years to support community-driven skills training and education, as identified by Indigenous communities. (Full Story)

September 29, 2017 - WorkSafeBC announces preliminary premium rates for 2018 - WorkSafeBC is committed to preventing workplace injury and illness and protecting the lives and safety of all of British Columbia's workers. When work-related injuries or illnesses do occur, the organization works to deliver effective and respectful care and service to support injured workers in their recovery and return to work. In 2018, 63 percent of employers in B.C. are projected to experience a decrease in their industry base rate, 11 percent will see no change, and 26 percent will see their industry base rate increase. (Full Story)

September 15, 2017 - Wage increase for B.C.’s lowest-paid workers effective today - Beginning September 15, 2017, B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will see an increase to their hourly wage by 50 cents, bringing their wage up to $11.35 an hour and up to $10.10 for those who serve liquor. Increasing the minimum wage is one way the government will help make life more affordable for hard-working British Columbians. The increase to the minimum wage is significant as it now gives B.C. the third-highest minimum wage among Canada’s provinces - up from seventh position. (Full Story)

September 12, 2017 - Increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities - The BC government works with the disability and business communities to help ensure people with disabilities have the opportunity for meaningful employment, greater independence and full participation in their communities. One of the actions underway across government include a commitment to increase earnings exemptions by $200 a month, or $2,400 annually for people receiving assistance. (Full Story)

October 17, 2017 - HEPP Makes Changes to Protect Defined Benefit Promise for Current and Future Retirees - HEB Manitoba and the Board of the Healthcare Employees’ Pension Plan (HEPP) today announced changes designed to enhance the long-term sustainability of the Plan’s defined benefit promise. One of the changes affects persons who retire before age 55: current members who reach Rule of 80 (where their age plus employment service totals 80) after Dec. 31, 2019 will receive an actuarially reduced pension if they retire before age 55. (Full Story)

October 17, 2017 - WRHA changes impact 1,300 jobs - Winnipeg's provincially mandated health-facility overhaul is now affecting another 1,300 jobs, the last major staff transition of its first phase. The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) announced Tuesday that the next round of job changes will affect 1,000 St. Boniface Hospital nurses, 250 Health Sciences Centre support staff and 50 Allied Health employees, some of whom must select new working hours. (Full Story)

October 6, 2017 - Manitoba employment on upward trend despite dip in September - Manitoba was hit with its first major job losses in nearly 18 months in September, which drove up the provincial unemployment rate by more than a half a percentage point, new data shows. In its monthly Labour Force Survey report released on Friday, Statistics Canada said the Manitoba economy posted a net loss 5,500 jobs in September, with 5,200 of them being part-time positions. (Full Story)

September 29, 2017 - Province Announces Minimum Wage to Increase Oct. 1 - Manitobans will see a minimum wage increase on Oct. 1 as a result of The Minimum Wage Indexation Act, Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen announced today.  Pedersen noted the increase of 15 cents per hour will raise the current minimum wage to $11.15 from $11.00 and ensure that Manitoba remains competitive with other provinces in its minimum wage. Beginning in 2018, any adjustments to the minimum wage will be announced prior to April 1 to take effect on Oct. 1 of each year. (Full Story)

September 29, 2017 - The importance of inclusive employment - The month of October is once again being proclaimed Disability Employment Awareness Month, which calls upon Manitobans to celebrate the contributions people with disabilities make in workplaces and communities across the province. Manitoba was the first province in Canada to formally proclaim Disability Employment Awareness Month in 2012, and Tracy Williams, executive director of Career Connections Inc. (CCI), can speak to the importance of hiring persons with disabilities. (Full Story)

September 26, 2017 - Province Invests In Job Creation, Economic Development At Local Software Company - The Manitoba government is investing $270,000 in skills training at a local software company specializing in e-commerce and application development. The funding will support the hiring and training of 81 new employees and 10 existing employees over two years. This expansion will enable the company to offer sustainable, well-paying employment opportunities that will contribute to Manitoba’s economy through an annual increase of approximately $4 million in net new wages. (Full Story)

October 18, 2017 - New workplace regulations will aim to prevent violence and protect workers - The provincial government is working with stakeholders to develop new workplace regulations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act aimed at preventing workplace violence and intends to have them in place by April 28 of 2018. This date is the National Day of Mourning for those who have suffered injury, illness or death on the job. While certain occupational groups, such as health-care workers, tend to be more at risk of workplace violence, these regulations will impact all workplaces. (Full Story)

October 13, 2017 - Harmonization of trades, shared IT system aim to reduce barriers for apprentices and employers - A new shared information technology system will be developed by the four Atlantic provinces and Manitoba, allowing people to make the journey from apprentice to certified tradesperson faster and easier. The new Apprenticeship Management Solution will allow people to complete forms, process payments, log hours and complete other tasks online. The initiative is part of the Atlantic Apprenticeship Harmonization Project. (Full Story)

October 12, 2017 - WorkSafeNB decreases 2018 assessment rate for firefighters - WorkSafeNB announced the 2018 assessment rate under the Firefighters' Compensation (FC) Act at $515 per active firefighter. The new rate is effective January 1, 2018. The 25% drop from $690 per active firefighter to $515 will affect approximately 100 municipalities and 70 local service districts that employ full-time and volunteer firefighters. (Full Story)

October 6, 2017 - Bell Canada to create up to 150 jobs in Fredericton - Bell Canada, with support from the provincial government, is establishing a National Service Centre in Fredericton that will create up to 150 full-time jobs over the next five years. The creation of up to 150 new full-time jobs over the next five years is expected to generate an estimated $7.5 million in provincial income taxes and contribute $60.3 million to the GDP over that same period. In support of these jobs, Bell Canada is eligible for up to $3.6 million in support from Opportunities NB, which is a Crown corporation that seeks to attract and support opportunities to grow the economy and create jobs, while providing support services for businesses across New Brunswick. (Full Story)

October 5, 2017 - Provincial government update on pay equity - The provincial government is continuing efforts to implement and maintain pay equity as part of an ongoing commitment to achieving equality for women in the province, and thereby providing a better quality of life for women, children and families. Pay equity is based upon the principle that wages should reflect the value of the job regardless of whether it is a male or female doing the job. Three out of seven eligible Crown corporations have achieved compliance with the Pay Equity Act of 2009. (Full Story)

October 2, 2017 - WorkSafeNB sets 2018 assessment rate at $1.70 - WorkSafeNB's board of directors estimates the cost to manage the workers’ compensation system in 2018 will be $1.93 per $100 of payroll. However, the board has taken action by revising its funding target from 110% to 100%. This allows for a reduction in the amount to be collected from employers by $0.23, resulting in an average assessment rate of $1.70. This represents a 15% increase over the 2017 rate of $1.48. The increase in the average rate is needed because of rising claim costs. The increase was mitigated, in part, by a reduction in administration costs. (Full Story)

September 28, 2017 - Little-known program aids students on EI - Under Nova Scotia’s Fast Forward program, some students enrolled in a post-secondary education program may be eligible for EI if they meet the eligibility requirements. If a student has enough hours from their employment between (university) years and they are at least 12 months out of high school, they could (draw EI), says Cynthia Parsons, a regional manager with Employment Nova Scotia. The university program would have to be full time and industry recognized, Parsons said. (Full Story)

October 17, 2017 - Windsor should bring in foreign workers to solve skilled trades shortage: N.L. company - The vice-president of a Newfoundland and Labrador-based immigration and recruiting firm was in Windsor Tuesday, touting the idea that the region's skilled trade shortage could be solved by bringing in foreign workers. Windsor-Essex misses out on $600 million in economic activity every year because of a skilled trades shortage, according to the region's Chamber of Commerce. (Full Story)

October 19, 2017 - Minister Hawkins Provides Update on Training Initiatives to Support Apprentices, Journeypersons and Employers - A significant milestone has been reached in the government's efforts to maintain a highly skilled workforce. The development of a new $10 million shared IT system that allow apprentices, journeypersons, training institutions, and employers to simply go online to complete tasks that are currently paper-based and can be time-consuming. This online resource will simplify apprenticeship administration, and aligns with government commitments in The Way Forward and the goals of the Cabinet Committee on Jobs. (Full Story)

October 5, 2017 - $15 minimum wage would be a job killer for Atlantic’s youth: CFIB Report - In a news release Thursday, the CFIB said the increase would see up to 29,000 youth job losses across the Atlantic region. "Almost 90 per cent of employees who work for Atlantic Canadian CFIB business members earn above the current minimum wage. However, some important sectors of the economy that employ a large number of young people and students - like retail and hospitality – don’t have the margins to absorb such a huge increase to the minimum wage," Vaughn Hammond, CFIB director of provincial affairs for Newfoundland and Labrador said. (Full Story)

September 25, 2017 - Musculoskeletal injuries are the most common workplace injury in Newfoundland and Labrador - Musculoskeletal injuries account for almost 70 per cent of the lost-time injury claims at WorkplaceNL over the past five years. To raise awareness of the impact of these injuries, WorkplaceNL is observing September 24-30, 2017 as Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention (MSIP) Week. WorkplaceNL’s Health and Safety Advisors work directly with employers and workers to help identify practical solutions to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses across the province. (Full Story)

October 10, 2017 - Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission Launches New e-Services on WSCC Connect - The Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) has released two new e-Services on WSCC Connect. 1) Account Management allows businesses to update their company information. Change your legal or trade name, update your billing address and contact information, and select your preferred language, so that the WSCC always has the most up-to-date information on your organization. 2) Preauthorized Payments allows employers to set up recurring payments to automatically process amounts owing on their accounts, helping them to avoid late penalties. (Full Story)

September 28, 2017 - Alfred Moses: Small Community Employment Supports - Minister of Education, Culture and Employment Alfred Moses spoke today about the government's commitment of creating jobs and employment. The Small Community Employment Support program provides $4.2 million in GNWT funding to expand employment and training opportunities in small communities. This includes an additional $3 million that was agreed to be put into the program when the last budget was approved. This program targeted at small communities is just one of many initiatives and programs that the government has in place to support job growth and employment. (Full Story)

September 20, 2017 - Media Release: Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission Releases WSCC OHS App - The Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC), in conjunction with Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), celebrates the release of a new Occupational Health and Safety app. Titled WSCC OHS App – Guide to OHS Legislation, it is organized by topic and aims to make employers’ and workers’ legislated responsibilities under the Northwest Territories and Nunavut Safety Act and OHS Regulations easier to understand. Each topic provides clear summaries, links to resources, and quotes the relevant legislation section. (Full Story)

October 16, 2017 - Program aims to retain N.S. graduates seeking employment - Every year, more than 1,000 students and recent graduates leave the East Coast to find work or school in other parts of the country. Nova Scotia’s Clean Leadership Program is doing its part to stop that. In November, the program requests proposals from companies, government, non-profit organizations and more to submit projects they would like interns working with. Then in January those proposals are juried for quality and environmental impact by the Clean Leadership Program. From there, the program interviews for interns to fill the positions with those projects. (Full Story)

October 13, 2017 - More Support for Businesses and Apprentices - Nova Scotia is embarking on a project that will make it easier for businesses to hire the skilled workers they need once the requirements for six more trades are streamlined across the Atlantic provinces. Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick are working to adopt common entry and completion requirements, trade hours, technical training and exams for automotive service technician, truck and transport mechanic, heavy duty equipment technician, industrial mechanic (millwright), boilermaker and sprinkler fitter apprentices. (Full Story)

October 13, 2017 - First Nations employment education program receives federal funding - Funding for a new program which will help First Nations youth with employment was announced Thursday in Millbrook. The Canadian government is providing $1.1 million in funding to the Helping Prepare for Employment/Education (HYPE) project, which will provide First Nations youth with employment workshops tailored to their needs. The HYPE project will help 80 young people in Truro, Dartmouth, Liverpool and Sydney move into the workforce through a four-week pre-employment workshop program and a 12-week work placement program. (Full Story)

October 6, 2017 - Research Looks at Barriers to Employment by Older Adults - Research is underway to better understand the barriers older adults experience when they are looking for work. The Nova Scotia Centre on Aging at Mount Saint Vincent University is doing the research for government. There are two phases to the initiative. The first is a literature review to understand the issues and research about the barriers. It will be followed by further study of sectors in the province and interviews with employers, older adults and other stakeholders. (Full Story)

October 3, 2017 - Provincial programs provide supports for millennial workers - With an ever-changing job market, millennials deciding where they want to go in the workforce are must find new ways to get steady employment. The good news for them is that Nova Scotia's Skills Canada program is here to help. Among the things Skills Canada provides are a basis for students to search for their perfect career, rather than deal with uncertainty in the labour market. They offer skilled trade career exploration programming as well as the annual Nova Scotia Skills Competition. The federal government is also supporting apprentices through the program, and created the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant. (Full Story)

September 28, 2017 - First Quarter Community Report released - The Nova Scotia WCB has released its First Quarter Community Report. The report includes an overview of activities during the previous quarter, including financial results. They make this information public so stakeholders can review and assess our performance as the year unfolds. (Full Story)

September 27, 2017 - Amendments Improve Access to PTSD Benefits - Government is making it easier for front-line and emergency response workers diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to access benefits. Amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Act introduced today, Sept. 25, will ensure covered workers no longer have to prove their PTSD diagnosis was caused by a workplace incident. (Full Story)

September 8, 2017 - Government Signs Agreements to Help Attract More Immigrants, Fill Labour Shortages - Government has signed two-year agreements with the Cape Breton Partnership and Western Regional Enterprise Network to help employers attract immigrants to fill skilled labour shortages. The Nova Scotia Office of Immigration will work with both organizations to support and advance the employer-driven Atlantic Immigration Pilot to help businesses attract and retain global talent. This is in addition to an agreement with Halifax Partnership announced in July. (Full Story)

September 2017 - Labour Force and Employment Data - The Nunavut government has posted the latest labour force and employment data numbers on their website.  The report shows the 3-month moving average ending in September 2017. For July2017 to September2017, the average number of persons employed in Nunavut was estimated  at 13,400, a decrease of 300persons from the  same period last year. The decrease in employed persons is reflected in the employment rate, which went down to 54.8%- a  decrease of 1.5 percentage points from one year ago. (Full Story)

October 18, 2017 - Ontario Seeking Input on Employment and Labour Law Rules - Ontario is seeking public input to help make workplaces fairer for workers in industries that currently have exemptions, special rules or exclusions. Starting today, people across the province can have their say on important decisions related to employment standards such as wages, hours of work and public holidays. The first phase of consultations focuses on eight occupations currently exempt from minimum employment standards. (Full Story)

October 18, 2017 - Bill to Create Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Passes Second Reading - Today, Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 passed second reading after debate in the Ontario Legislature. The bill, if passed, would create more opportunity and security for workers in a number of ways. One way would be by raising Ontario's general minimum wage to $14 per hour on January 1, 2018, and then to $15 on January 1, 2019, followed by annual increases at the rate of inflation. (Full Story)

September 28, 2017 - Minimum Wage Increases for October 1, 2017 - Ontario is increasing its minimum wage rates - the lowest rate that can be paid by employers to employees. On October 1, 2017, the general minimum wage will rise to $11.60.  Special minimum wage rates that apply to liquor servers, students under 18, hunting and fishing guides, and homeworkers will also increase at the same time. The most recent increase to the general minimum wage was made last October, when the rate increased from $11.25/hour to $11.40/hour. (Full Story)

September 27, 2017 - Ontario Taking Steps to Increase Employment for People with Disabilities - Ontario has established a new Employers' Partnership Table to advise the government on innovative ways to connect more people with disabilities to jobs and businesses to talent. The Employers' Partnership Table supports an important pillar of Access Talent: Ontario's Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities by engaging employers as champions of inclusion in the workplace. The expert advice supplied by members will move the strategy forward, helping to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities across diverse economic sectors and regions. (Full Story)

September 21, 2017 - Newcomers to Canada could fill northern Ontario's employment gap, rural job agency says - Newcomers to Canada have skills that could help fill employment gaps in places like northern Ontario, and now a provincial agency is working to make that happen. Oliver Pryce, coordinator of the Rural Employment Initiative (REI) at the Newcomer Centre of Peel in southern Ontario, said he has a large database of clients willing to move north for work. Newcomers to Canada need employment to fully settle in the new country, he said. But many can only find work outside their training and specific skill set. (Full Story)

September 20, 2017 - $760 million to remain in the Ontario economy following latest WSIB rate cut - For the second year in a row, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is lowering premium rates. The three per cent reduction to the average rate for 2018 was announced at today’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) for stakeholders. Over 300,000 businesses and organizations in Ontario pay premiums for the WSIB’s workplace injury and illness collective liability insurance coverage. (Full Story)

September 18, 2017 - Ontario Helping People Understand Workplace Rights and Responsibilities - Ontario is supporting employers and employees by raising awareness of workplace rights and responsibilities through the new Employment Standards Training and Education Program. The program will provide grants to non-profit organizations that will help develop projects that educate vulnerable workers or small- and mid-sized businesses on their rights and duties under the Employment Standards Act. Eligible non-profit organizations can apply for the grant online. The application deadline is 4 p.m. on October 30, 2017, and successful applicants will be announced in 2018. (Full Story)

October 18, 2017 - Creating jobs for Islanders - Maureen Peters likes a challenge, and she gets plenty in her role as Prince Edward Island's worker advisor. She acts as a free legal service - funded by employers - that helps injured workers and their families navigate the Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB) appeals process. It is very busy but equally rewarding work, says the Clyde River native who is also a new mom. Promoting safe workplaces and protecting worker’s rights is a big part of making sure the Island workforce can thrive. An active, engaged workforce enables local businesses to be more productive and expand, creating jobs for Islanders. (Full Story)

October 11, 2017 - Harvest and Prosper fills farm jobs - Islanders needing jobs are helping meet the agriculture sector’s workforce demands during its busy harvest season. Harvest and Prosper is a program supported jointly by the Prince Edward Island government and industry groups. It has opportunities for up to 50 newcomers and social assistance and disability support clients, and also coaches and mentors participants to overcome future barriers to employment. (Full Story)

October 6, 2017 - WorkPEI connects employers with the talent they need - WorkPEI specializes in connecting skilled people with businesses in need. They help job seekers by allowing them to create online resumes, searchable by hundreds of employers looking to fill vacancies on PEI. Job seekers also find it convenient to use their online resume to apply to jobs. Employers post vacancies to WorkPEI’s job board, which are shared to WorkPEI’s Facebook and Twitter channels, which have 12,000 followers (and are still growing). (Full Story)

September 14, 2017 - WHMIS Guide Available for Island Workplaces - A new resource is available for employers and workers on changes to Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems (WHMIS). Amendments to the federal Hazardous Products Act and Hazardous Products Regulations requirements for WHMIS came into effect in 2015. The amendments, referred to as WHMIS 2015, reflect the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). (Full Story)

September 8, 2017 - Input sought on minimum wage review - Islanders are invited to provide input to the annual minimum wage review. Minimum wage on Prince Edward Island is currently $11.25 per hour, the highest in Atlantic Canada. The Employment Standards Board reviews the minimum wage rate each year. The Employment Standards Board makes recommendations to government on the minimum wage rate based on economic factors in the province, as well as input received from the public and stakeholders. Prince Edward Island’s minimum wage has increased 38 per cent since 2008. By comparison, inflation has risen 11 per cent during that time. (Full Story)

October 19, 2017 - More people in Saskatchewan receiving employment insurance - The number of people in Saskatchewan receiving regular employment insurance benefits rose during August. Statistics Canada reported Thursday that 18,400 people were receiving EI during the month, up 1.9 per cent from July. The agency said most of the increase was in rural areas. Saskatchewan was the only province to record an increase in the number of EI beneficiaries in August. Statistics Canada said 6,750 initial or renewal claims were made, a drop of 6.5 per cent from the previous month. (Full Story)

October 17, 2017 - WCB proposes drop in premium rates for 11th year - The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) has proposed a drop in its 2018 average premium rate from $1.24 in 2017 to $1.19 in 2018 per hundred dollars of payroll, representing a decrease of four per cent. The announcement was made today in Regina at the WCB’s annual rate setting consultation with Saskatchewan employers, workers and other stakeholders. (Full Story)

October 16, 2017 - Small Businesses in Saskatchewan Make a Big Impact - Saskatchewan’s small businesses contributed almost a third of the province’s gross domestic product in 2016 at 31 per cent. Small businesses are those with fewer than 50 employees, and account for more than 98 per cent of all businesses in Saskatchewan.  The province has 129 small businesses per thousand people, the highest rate in Canada and above the national average of 105. In 2016, Saskatchewan’s more than 148,500 small businesses employed 31.1 per cent of the province’s workers and paid out more than $6.2 billion in wages and salaries - 25.7 per cent of the province’s total payroll.  As well, the wages paid in this sector grew by an average of 3.1 per cent, the second fastest growth rate among Canada’s provinces. (Full Story)

October 10, 2017 - Sask. economy remains slow despite some promising signs - There are signs of good news, but the big indicators- employment, capital investment, GDP - are struggling. One indicator of that is the province’s stagnant labour market. Year-to-year employment numbers for September were down 0.2 per cent this year, the fourth month in a row with a year-over-year decline. What may be more troubling is what the numbers suggest in regards to the prospect of those unemployed re-entering the work force. (Full Story)

October 6, 2017 - Unemployment Rate Drops in September - Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate in September was 6.2 per cent (seasonally adjusted), down from 6.4 per cent a month ago and 6.9 per cent from September 2016. here were 1,600 full-time jobs created in Saskatchewan year-over-year, while part-time employment decreased by 3,000 for a net employment decline of 1,400. Nationally, the unemployment rate in September was 6.2 per cent. (Full Story)

October 3, 2017 - Sask. minimum wage fight more nuanced than it appears - Saskatchewan’s indexed minimum wage increased to $10.96 an hour on Sunday - the same day Alberta hiked its rate to $13.60 an hour on its march to a $15-an-hour minimum wage by next year. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the minimum wage in Saskatchewan is close to where it needs to be, given that majority of those on it aren’t teenagers working part-time. According to the Parkland Institute think tank, 74 per cent of Alberta minimum-wage earners are not teenagers. Thirty-five per cent are 34 years or older, 36 per cent are post-secondary graduates, 60 per cent are women, 51 per cent work full-time, 62 per cent do not live at home with their parents and 58 per cent work for a large corporation defined as 100 employees or more. (Full Story)

October 2, 2017 - October Proclaimed Disability Employment Awareness Month by the Province - October has been proclaimed Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM) by the Government of Saskatchewan. Diverse workplaces enhance the labour force and create social and economic inclusion for people experiencing disabilities.  Proclaiming the month provides the opportunity to share the benefits that an inclusive labour market has on Saskatchewan businesses and communities.  DEAM also provides awareness for the strategies, services and resources available to employers, educators and job seekers. (Full Story)

September 29, 2017 - Minimum Wage Increase to $10.96 Effective Sunday - Saskatchewan’s minimum wage will increase from $10.72 to $10.96 on October 1, 2017. The 2.2 per cent increase, which was announced in June, was calculated based on a weighted average of the increases to the Consumer Price Index and the Average Hourly Wage for Saskatchewan. The increase will have the greatest impact on nearly 50,000 minimum wage and low-wage earners in the province.  Of that group, 62 per cent are women and 35 per cent are youth aged 15 to 19.  Thirty-two per cent of low-wage earners are students. (Full Story)

October 12, 2017 - Board stays on target as rates rise moderately - With an eye on returning the organization’s funded position to its target range, the Board of Directors of the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board (YWCHSB) will increase most assessment rates in 2018, with one rate group seeing a small decrease. These increases continue the Board of Directors’ multi-year commitment to ensure assessment rates reflect the actual cost of caring for workers injured in Yukon workplaces. (Full Story)

October 4, 2017 - Government of Yukon tables Bill to amend the Workers’ Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act - The Government of Yukon today tabled Bill No. 8, which will amend the Workers’ Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act to better support and care for Yukon workers who are most at risk from suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The proposed amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Act would establish the presumption that a PTSD diagnosis for an emergency response worker is work-related. Emergency response workers include paramedics, firefighters and police officers. (Full Story)

September 20, 2017 - Employer Payroll Revisions - The Yukon WCB has issued an important reminder for employers about payroll revisions; when an employer’s actual payroll is determined to be more than 125% of the estimated payroll declared on the Employer’s Payroll Report, the employer will be subject to a penalty and an interest charge on the amount of payroll above 125% of the estimate. (Full Story)

Featured Article: Employee discounts a taxable benefit or not?

This article includes an update on the government position (see below).

While the Canada Revenue Agency's (CRA) Income Tax Folio S2-F3-C2, Benefits and Allowances Received from Employment and the Employers' Guide Taxable Benefits and Allowances previously said employee discounts are “not usually considered a taxable benefit,” an updated version says, “The value of the discount is generally included in the employee's income.” Moreover, employee discounts for merchandise should be treated as a taxable benefit. The change is effective as of the 2017 tax year.

The CRA said that when an employee receives a discount on merchandise-as a benefit of their employment-the value of the discount should be included in the employee's income at tax time. However, there is no taxable benefit if the discount is also available to the general public or to specific public groups.

The onus is on the employer to keep track of how much an employee saved with discounts in a given year, as they typically file T4s (statement of remuneration paid) with the CRA for each of their workers.

Retail Council of Canada vice-president Karl Littler recently told a parliamentary committee the change could create an “administrative nightmare” for employers who would normally offer retail staffers discounts on goods, or give hospitality workers a free meal.

Those organizations might look to scrap those discounts rather than face the challenge of tracking who owes what.

Littler in an interview with CBC News added , “I don't quite know what that means. If you give the same discount to everybody all year long then there's really no employee discount? I don't know how long would be long enough, and to whom? Red-headed veterans? It does strike me as a bit of an artifice.”

Employers will need to review their employee discount policy to comply with the new directive and inform employees.

Update as of October 11, 2017

Although the new version of the tax folio and employers' guide stands, the federal government insists that employee discounts will not be taxed despite what the tax folio suggests. National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier insists the updated CRA guidance document was only intended to help employers understand their tax-reporting requirements.

Therefore, employee discounts remain a non-taxable benefit, at least for now.

However, the government has indicated that they intend to restore the original words on October 11, 2017, and hold an internal review on the wording change, which will be followed by a consultation on the issue with industry groups. The Income Tax Folio was removed from the CRA's website on the same day and a note had been added indicating that the folio is under review and employers should continue to follow current practices consistent with the information in the 2016 version of the CRA's T4130 Employer's Guide as follows:

If you sell merchandise to your employee at a discount, the benefit he or she gets from this is not usually considered a taxable benefit. However, we consider discounts to be taxable in all of the following situations:

  • You make a special arrangement with an employee or a group of employees to buy merchandise at a discount. 
  • You make an arrangement that allows an employee to buy merchandise (other than old or soiled merchandise) for less than your cost. 
  • You make a reciprocal arrangement with one or more other employers so that employees of one employer can buy merchandise at a discount from another employer.

If you determine the discount is taxable or you sell merchandise to your employee below cost, the taxable benefit is the difference between the fair market value of the goods and the price the employees pay.

We will keep you updated.

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

Software Updates

GrandMaster Suite (v11.06)

  • Modified the printing of Pay Stubs with a background to allow for page overflow.
  • Provided a “Default Load” for correct setting when printing pay stubs using a background.
  • Removed the ability to generate EFT, CSB, Telpay EFT reports until you have closed the pay sequence.
  • Adjusted an issue where an error would appear when creating a new row on the Print Year End Forms screen.
  • Changed the cheque number so that it will not increment every time the cheque report is generated.
  • Fixed an issue where the program would pause for an extended period when you double-clicked the Generate Report button.

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