Payroll News Canada - Employment Articles

September 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

September 2017 - Step-By-Step Instruction for Completing an ROE - Did you know that Government of Canada provides block-by-block instructions for completing the Record of Employment (ROE)? If you are responsiible for issuing ROEs for your employees, or on behalf of your clients, the CRA's "How to complete the Record of Employment" guide is a useful tool to assist in the task. The guide is offered in both a downloadable PDF format and regular HTML. 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

September 7, 2017 - Canada’s job-growth, employment rates lag behind U.S. - Canadians can be excused for looking with longing at the American job market. Labour markets are one of the most important components of Canada’s economy, through which we allocate one of our most valuable and productive resources – the work, effort, creativity and ingenuity of Canadians. Labour markets match these human skills, supplied by individuals seeking to earn a living, with the demand for labour. In a high-performing labour market, opportunities abound with rapid job growth, low unemployment and high productivity. (Full Story)

August 31, 2017 - Canadian job statistics give little reason for workers to celebrate this Labour Day - This weekend, both Canadians and Americans will enjoy traditional Labour Day fare – picnics, parades and winding down summer vacation. Canadian workers, however, have less to celebrate than their American counterparts, as labour markets in Canada have performed poorly compared with U.S. states in recent years. To properly judge the strength of Canada's labour market, we must look beyond the headlines about how many jobs were created last month or whether unemployment has ticked up or down. (Full Story)

August 24, 2017 - EI beneficiaries drop to 517,200 in June - The number of Canadians receiving Employment Insurance benefits has declined by almost 38,000 people in the 12 months up until June, Statistics Canada reported Thursday. Across the country, 517,200 people were receiving jobless benefits in June. That figure fell by 7,000 from May's level and has now fallen for eight months in a row. The only province where the EI rolls got bigger in June was Newfoundland and Labrador. (Full Story)

August 23, 2017 - The Government of Canada invests in green jobs for youth - Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced that the Government of Canada will invest more than $14 million, which will help Canadian youth get valuable work experience. This year, Environment and Climate Change Canada will take the full funding amount and invest it with employers to hire over 950 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics graduates across the country through the Science Horizons Youth Internship Program. Eligible employers can receive up to $15,000 in wage subsidies to hire an intern. (Full Story)

August 22, 2017 - More Employee Benefits On The Horizon - The year 2017 is seeing significant changes in labour and employment matters across Canada. Several jurisdictions, including the federal government, are amending their labour and employment regimes. With the introduction of Bill C-44, the federal government has adopted significant reforms to the Employment Insurance Act and the Canada Labour Code. While federally regulated employers will want to pay close attention, it is worth noting that these reforms are already trickling down to the provincial level. (Full Story)

August 17, 2017 - Government of Canada helps 220 youth with disabilities overcome barriers to employment - When Canada’s young people get the training and experience they need to be able to find and keep good jobs, our middle class grows and our economy thrives. Today, the Government of Canada announced that it will provide funding to help 220 young people with disabilities overcome barriers to getting a job or going back to school. The youth will attend sessions that are tailored to their needs. These include hands-on workshops that allow participants to improve their essential skills through workshops in planning, communications and teamwork. (Full Story)

August 9, 2017 - These are the jobs that will get you a better raise next year - Canadians can expect to see an average salary raise of 2.3 per cent next year, according to a new survey of employers. That’s just a tick above the actual average raise of 2.2 per cent that companies have registered so far this year, according to research by Morneau Shepell, a human resources consulting company. It’s also comfortably above inflation, which currently stands at around 1 per cent in Canada. (Full Story)

August 4, 2017 - Economy adds jobs for eighth month in a row, though pace of growth slows - The economy extended its winning streak in July, posting its eighth consecutive month of job growth while the unemployment rate dropped to its lowest point since the start of the financial crisis nearly nine years ago. The unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 6.3 per cent, a level not seen since October 2008, as the number of people looking for work declined, Statistics Canada reported Friday. The decrease came as the economy pumped out 10,900 net new jobs for the month. That followed staggering employment growth of 45,300 in June and 54,500 in May. (Full Story)

August 2, 2017 - Investment to Create Jobs, Opportunities and Improve Community Spaces for a Better Quality of Life in Indigenous Communities - The Government of Canada funding announced today is provided through FedNor’s Northern Ontario Development Program and the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program (CIP 150). FedNor’s Northern Ontario Development Program supports projects that promote sustainable community economic development, enhance business development and growth, and facilitate innovation throughout the region. (Full Story)

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

September 6, 2017 - Canadian Payroll Association's 2017 Survey finds Albertans are burdened by debt, despite feeling hopeful about economy - Even though there have been some signs of economic improvement over the past year, most employed Canadians, including Albertans, are no better off when it comes to their retirement prospects. According to the Canadian Payroll Association's ninth annual survey, released today, 47% of working Canadians, and the same percentage of Albertans, report it would be difficult to meet their financial obligations if their pay cheque was delayed by even a single week. Canada-wide, the numbers are even higher for millennials in their 30s (55% would have difficulty) and Gen Xs in their 40s (51%). (Full Story)

September. 1, 2017 - Increasing the minimum wage to $15 can only pay off: Olive - In 2014, the latest year for which statistics are available, Ottawa reported that the income of an estimated 4.5 million Canadians – about 13 per cent of the total population, or more than one in 10 Canadians – falls below the government’s “low income measure,” the broadest definition of poverty. The $15 minimum wage is no longer a debating point, but a hard reality across North America. Alberta has set the pace of reform, with a $15 minimum wage that begins in October of next year, a few months before Ontario’s $15 minimum wage does. Quebec, New Brunswick, B.C. and P.E.I. are also raising their minimum wages, as have several U.S. states and cities. (Full Story)

August 31, 2017 - Opinion: Alberta no longer land of labour opportunity - Go west, young man. Not long ago that was sound advice for a young person struggling to find opportunities in Eastern and Central Canada. While it may still hold true for parts of Western Canada, it’s no longer the case for Alberta, once the pillar of western opportunity. As Albertans celebrate Labour Day, now is a good time to take stock of the province’s labour market. A strong labour market is critical for the prosperity of workers. It matches workers looking for the right job opportunity with employers looking for workers with the right skills. (Full Story)

August 15, 2017 - B.C.’s minimum wage rises to $11.35 per hour on Sept. 15 - B.C.’s lowest paid workers will get a 50-cent raise next month as the NDP government takes its first steps toward a promised $15 minimum wage. The new NDP administration confirmed Tuesday it will honour the B.C. Liberals’ commitment to increase the wage to $11.35 an hour on Sept. 15. Labour Minister Harry Bains described the raise as a “stepping stone” toward fulfilling the NDP’s campaign pledge of a $15 minimum wage by 2021. The NDP government in Alberta has committed to establishing a $15 wage by October 2018, while the Ontario Liberal government intends to reach $15 by Jan. 1, 2019. (Full Story)

August 15, 2017 - Helping Indigenous people find career success - The Alberta government is investing $1.9 million more over two years through a federal-provincial grant to support Alberta Indigenous Construction Career Centres at NorQuest College and Bow Valley College. The centres connect unemployed Indigenous people with employers looking to fill construction-related jobs. The Alberta government contributed $1 million to pilot the project in March 2015. The additional $1.9 million is expected to help approximately 1,700 people. (Full Story)

August 13, 2017 - Alberta's Oil Workers Are Shifting To Renewable Energy Jobs - After nearly a decade of riding Canada's oil boom, drilling contractor Jennifer Turner found herself low on work, like thousands of other employees in the fossil fuel business left jobless following a plunge in oil prices.Today, she helps unemployed oil workers find jobs in the burgeoning solar power industry. She hopes it's part of a broader transition to adopt more renewable energy in the North American nation with the world's third-largest oil reserves. Finding jobs for ex-oil workers is key to smoothing the path towards renewable energy and building public support for that shift, officials and campaigners say. (Full Story)

August 8, 2017 - Alberta student unemployment rate declines, but remains higher than national average - Alberta’s July student unemployment rate decreased over last year’s figure but is still higher than the national average. Last month, Alberta had a 17 per cent unemployment rate for students, compared to 20.7 per cent in July 2016 when the province had the highest rate in the country. Nationally, the student unemployment rate is the lowest recorded since 2008 at 13.9 per cent. The data comes from the latest Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada, released last week, which measured the employment of youth aged 15 to 24 who were attending school full time in March and who intend to return to studies full time in the fall. (Full Story)

July 19, 2017 - Premiers Continue to Focus on Jobs and Economic Growth - Canada’s economic prosperity, competitive advantage and social cohesion rely on a skilled, innovative, adaptable and flexible workforce, and inclusive labour markets that maximize the participation of all Canadians. In recognition of diverse labour markets and provincial and territorial responsibility for skills training and labour market programming, provinces and territories will continue to work collaboratively with the federal government to foster and grow a highly-skilled workforce, support adult and lifelong learning and identify meaningful ways to improve labour market outcomes for all Canadians, including traditionally underrepresented groups. (Full Story)

July 6, 2017 - Government receives WCB review report - The WCB system provides no-fault benefits and supports a safe return to work for injured workers. The last comprehensive review of the WCB system was conducted more than 15 years ago. The 189-page report includes 60 recommendations to government. The WCB review was launched in March 2016 as part of the Government of Alberta’s formal review of agencies, boards and commissions. The WCB system covers nearly 1.9 million Albertans working at over 160,000 employers across the province. (Full Story)

September 6, 2017 - Canadian Payroll Association's 2017 Survey finds B.C. employees challenged by debt, not saving for retirement - Even though there have been some signs of economic improvement over the past year, most employed Canadians, especially those in B.C., are no better off when it comes to their retirement prospects. According to the Canadian Payroll Association's ninth annual survey, released today, 47% of working Canadians report it would be difficult to meet their financial obligations if their pay cheque was delayed by even a single week. The numbers are even higher for millennials in their 30s (55% would have difficulty) and Gen Xs in their 40s (51%). In B.C., 59% live pay cheque to pay cheque, more than anywhere else in Canada. (Full Story)

September 4, 2017 - B.C. workers vulnerable to wage theft, bullying says labour group - A labour advocacy group is calling for changes to B.C.'s Employment Standards Act, saying the current legislation is failing to protect workers including the province's burgeoning tech sector. The B.C. Employment Standards Coalition released a report today documenting 145 stories of alleged abuse or exploitation in the workplace, with a series of recommendations to improve workers rights and modernize employment standards in the province. The Employment Standards Act sets minimum standards for most workplaces, but a number of sectors have been granted exclusion from overtime regulations, including high tech, the service industry and construction. (Full Story)

September 1, 2017 - B.C. celebrates Disability Employment Month in September - This September marks the fourth annual Disability Employment Month in British Columbia and provides an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of people with disabilities in the workforce, and the employers and communities who support their success. By raising awareness about the skills that people with disabilities can bring to the workplace and encouraging businesses to build inclusive, diverse workforces, people with disabilities have more opportunity to contribute to the economy, earn an income, and better support themselves and their families. (Full Story)

August 30, 2017 - WorkSafeBC Young worker survey - Every day, 26 young workers are injured on the job - that's one person every 55 minutes. Starting a new job, especially a first job, can be a little scary, but it shouldn't be dangerous. WorkSafeBC is asking for your help to better understand young workers' awareness of workplace health and safety issues. If you are an employer, please share their short survey with your young workers and encourage them to complete it. If you are a young worker, you can take the survey from the link on their website. (Full Story)

Aug. 29, 2017 - Jobs at stake in B.C.’s minimum-wage hikes, critics say - B.C.'s plan to raise the province’s hourly minimum wage to $15 by 2021 will benefit some workers but will also reduce demand for young workers, increase prices and squeeze margins for small businesses, especially in the food services sector, experts say. The B.C. government announced August 15 that it would raise the minimum wage by $0.50 in September, to $11.35, and to $10.10 for liquor servers. B.C. is the third province to commit to a $15 minimum wage, joining Alberta and Ontario. (Full Story)

August 15, 2017 - B.C. sets sights on $15-an-hour minimum wage, reaffirms commitment to a fair wages commission - The provincial government is making its first move toward a $15-an-hour minimum wage for British Columbia by announcing a 50-cent increase for September and renewing its commitment to a fair wages commission. Effective Sept. 15, 2017, minimum-wage earners will see their pay increase to $11.35 per hour from $10.85 per hour, giving B.C. the third-highest minimum wage among Canada’s provinces - up from seventh position. (Full Story)

July 15, 2016 - Province launches engagement on Canada Pension Plan proposal - The Province is engaging the public to help ensure British Columbians understand the impact of the proposed Canada Pension Plan (CPP) enhancement. Once approved, the enhancement would start in 2019 and be phased in over seven years until 2025. The proposal has two key elements. First, the income replacement rate will be increased from one-quarter to one-third of insured eligible earnings. Secondly, the upper insured earnings limit will be increased to $82,700 in two steps in 2024 and 2025, an increase of about 14% from its projected level in 2023. (Full Story)

August 10, 2017 - Manitoba Makes Progress Toward Offering Pooled Registered Pension Plans - As a result of The Pooled Registered Pension Plans (Manitoba) Act and regulations coming into force on Aug. 1, the Manitoba government is moving forward to make another retirement savings option available to Manitobans, Finance Minister Cameron Friesen announced today. Since many employees and self-employed Manitobans do not have access to a workplace pension, pooled registered pension plans can help people defer their income and save for retirement, while offering investment and savings opportunities at lower administration costs. (Full Story)

August 7, 2017 - Employment numbers bode well for Manitoba economy - Manitoba bucked the Canadian trend in employment in July with a net increase of 4,800 jobs compared to the previous month. It’s a small piece of good news in an otherwise lacklustre economy that’s barely been keeping its head above water in recent years. Statistics Canada announced Friday that employment growth was largely flat in July across the country. But Manitoba did see an uptick. In fact, along with Ontario, Manitoba was one of only two provinces to see significant job increases in July. That alone doesn’t mean much. Job numbers tend to fluctuate from month to month, even when they’re “seasonally adjusted” by StatsCan. (Full Story)

August 4, 2017 - Employment numbers looking up for Manitoba - Manitoba continued an upward trend in employment in July, and maintained the lowest unemployment rate in Canada, according to information released by Statistics Canada on Friday. StatsCan’s labour force survey for 2017 show the provincial workforce grew by 4,800 in July, a continuation of positive growth that dates back to January. Manitoba’s unemployment rate dropped 0.3% to 5%, the lowest in Canada and the lowest in the province since 2014. (Full Story)

September 1, 2017 - Respectful Workplace Week, Sept. 4 - 8 - All workers deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Respectful and positive behavior in the workplace contributes to individual, organizational and societal well-being and prevents unnecessary suffering. To recognize this and the importance of safe and healthy workplaces that are free from discrimination and harassment, Sept. 4-8 has been declared Respectful Workplace Week in New Brunswick. As an employer, the provincial government is committed to providing a work environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. It is the employer's responsibility to prevent and eliminate harassment in the workplace. (Full Story)

August 10, 2017 - WorkSafeNB launches Let’s Talk Safety - WorkSafeNB asks all New Brunswickers to make safety part of everyday conversation to help young workers stay safe on the job. "By encouraging this daily discussion, we build a culture where young workers feel comfortable asking questions and sharing safety concerns. We let young workers know that safety is a top priority," said Tim Petersen, WorkSafeNB’s acting president and CEO. In New Brunswick, about 1,000 young workers (aged 15-24) are hurt on the job each year - sometimes fatally. Young workers can lack safety experience, be shy or uncomfortable speaking up, or not sure who to ask about a concern. They may not know their rights. (Full Story)

July 20, 2017 - SEED program underway - The Summer Employment Experience Development (SEED) program is underway, with 1,600 students participating. The placements include university, college and high school students. About 68 per cent of students in the program are working for non-profit organizations, nine per cent have placements with municipalities, and 22 per cent are with the private sector; the latter two groups were responsible for contributing 50 per cent of the wages of students they hired. All 1,600 placements have been filled and will be completed by Friday, Sept. 8. (Full Story)

August 21, 2017 - Province to spend $5.5M to help fish plant workers qualify for E.I. - The Newfoundland and Labrador government will spend $5.5 million to help fish plant workers qualify for employment insurance this year. Plant workers logged fewer hours, and in some cases weren't hired at all, because of the declining shellfish resource and heavy ice conditions that delayed the start of the fishery. The money will be administered by the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment to create short-term jobs. Details on how the money will be spent and who will qualify for help will be determined through discussions with processing companies, towns and plant workers. (Full Story)

August 18, 2017 - Provincial Government Calls for Expressions of Interest to Help Newcomers Secure Employment in their Fields - The Honourable Allan Hawkins, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour, today called for the second round of Expressions of Interest for projects that facilitate the assessment and recognition of foreign qualifications. Eligible applicants include regulatory authorities with responsibility for regulating occupations in Newfoundland and Labrador, organizations serving immigrants, and educational institutions. Other stakeholders may be considered, however, the regulatory authority must be a partner in the project. (Full Story)

August 17, 2017 - Camp aims to recruit Indigenous youth to jobs in health care - Indigenous youth from all over the province are in Corner Brook to learn about careers in the medical field and how to get the education they need to work in those jobs. Program director Dr. Carolyn Sturge Sparkes said the week-long Healers of Tomorrow camp is for youth between 14 and 19 and is designed to give them a look at a wide range of health-care jobs. The camp touches on a wide range of health-care professions with short sessions taught by facilitators working in the field. (Full Story)

Sep 7, 2017 - Career and Employment Services - The Career and Employment unit, within the Labour Development and Standards Division, supports the delivery of career and employment development programs in the Northwest Territories. This includes such items as; providing information on labour force development research, planning, and reviews; administering Job Bank for the jobseekers and employers in the Northwest Territories; providing information on career options for jobseekers and career development officers; reporting on employment and career development program outcomes, and more. (Full Story)

September 5, 2017 - WCB Nova Scotia releases 2018 assessment rates - WCB Nova Scotia has announced the employer assessment rates that the 18,800 workplaces it covers will pay in 2018. At $2.65 per $100 of payroll, the average rate remains unchanged, but as always, rates are changing for many employers. Fifty-nine per cent of Nova Scotia employers will pay the same or less than they did last year, while 41 per cent will see an increase. Rates are increasing in the long-term care and home care sectors. In the past two years, WCB rates in home care have increased 25 per cent, while rates in long-term care increased 13 per cent. (Full Story)

September 5, 2017 - Trades Tuition Fees Covered for Apprentices - Government will start covering the cost of tuition for apprentices returning to the classroom for their technical training this fall. The $1.3 million investment was announced today, Sept. 5, by Labour and Advanced Education Minister Labi Kousoulis. The training is a requirement of the apprenticeship program and is needed for apprentices to progress to certification. Apprentices typically complete a six to ten-week block of technical training after every 1,800 hours of on-the-job training, until certification. (Full Story)

September 4, 2017 - Living wage not minimum wage for Nova Scotia, says union leader - Members of several town unions came together Monday during a cool, blustery day to celebrate the community during annual Labour Day celebrations. It’s the first year the celebrations were held at Dickey Park after being held for several years at Victoria Square. Several speakers brought their Labour Day messages to the crowd including Amherst’s deputy mayor Sheila Christie and Coun. Jason Blanch, who said council is there to listen to the community and its ideas. Lawrence McKay of the United Steelworkers of America said Blanch’s offer is something the community should take advantage of by getting the town to pass a resolution urging the province to support a livable minimum wage of $15 an hour. (Full Story)

September 3, 2017 - Stress at work and what you can do about it - Atlantic Canadians facing mountains of work on the job are among the majority of Canadians who feel overworked, according to a survey done by the job-hunting website Monster. In late June, Monster Canada surveyed 1,057 Canadians using LegerWeb, an online panel with about 475,000 members nationally. The results are sobering for business owners and managers eager to retain their staff and keep productivity up. Nationally, almost six in 10 Canadian workers, 58 per cent, reported feeling overworked, and one in four said they had left a job due to stress. (Full Story)

August 23, 2017 - After the summer, safety goes on - For young workers, summer jobs can set safe habits for life. At the end of August, many young workers will have completed their first summer of work. The skills and habits built during these months will continue to shape the way young workers approach workplace safety in the future. Young workers (under age 25) are among the most at-risk groups for workplace injury. Because they are uncertain and eager to please in new roles, young workers can be hesitant to ask questions or refuse unsafe work, which can lead to serious injury. (Full Story)

August 22, 2017 - Government Proclaims Public Services Sustainability Act - Government has proclaimed the Public Services Sustainability Act, Premier Stephen McNeil announced today, Aug. 22. "We are doing what is in the best interest of all Nova Scotians," said Premier McNeil. "This piece of legislation provides for fair wages while letting us invest in the services that benefit all Nova Scotians." The act outlines the amount of new money employers can offer for wages to their employees is three per cent over four years: 0 per cent, 0 per cent, 1 per cent, 1.5 per cent, and 0.5 per cent on the final day of the agreement. (Full Story)

September 7, 2017 - Training on the Job (TOJ) - The Training on the Job program provides a wage subsidy to small and medium sized employers to help them hire and train unemployed or under-skilled workers. The training, which can be up to 52 weeks in length, may be delivered on the job site, at an institution or training provider or as a combination of both. The expectation is that the employer hires the trainee at the end of the training period. (Full Story)

Sept. 6, 2017 - Ontarians living pay cheque to pay cheque, Canadian Payroll Association's 2017 Survey finds - Even though there have been some signs of economic improvement over the past year, most employed Canadians, including those in Ontario, are no better off when it comes to their retirement prospects. According to the Canadian Payroll Association's ninth annual survey, released today, 47% of working Canadians report it would be difficult to meet their financial obligations if their pay cheque was delayed by even a single week. The numbers are even higher for millennials in their 30s (55% would have difficulty) and Gen Xs in their 40s (51%). In Ontario, 49% live pay cheque to pay cheque. (Full Story)

September 4, 2017 - Just remember who foots the cost of raising minimum wage - Ottawa taxpayers aren’t getting the full story on just how big a hit the city will take from planned hikes to the minimum wage in Ontario or how we will be asked to pay for it. And with budget season on the horizon, taxpayers (and the councillors they elect) deserve a little more than the Pablum they’re being fed. Right now, the city estimates the increase in its wage costs at roughly $3.6 million a year by the time the dust settles on the Ontario government’s two-year plan to push the current minimum wage of $11.40 an hour up 32% to $15/hour within the next two years. (Full Story)

August 31, 2017 - Ontario bringing up the rear in job creation - Ontario - the so-called economic engine of Canada - is near the "back of the pack" when it comes to job creation and employment in North America, a new labour market report produced by the Fraser Institute has found. When Fraser researchers looked at five key indicators, including unemployment, the province ranked 44th out of 60 Canadian and American jurisdictions in terms of labour market performance between 2014-16. Charles Lammam, co-author of Measuring Labour Markets in Canada and the United States, said a high-performing labour market means rapid job growth, low unemployment and high productivity. (Full Story)

August  19, 2017 - Indigenous people in Ontario to get job skills and experience - A strong economy depends on a strong middle class where everybody has a real and fair chance to succeed. Despite being the fastest growing segment of the country's population, Indigenous people continue to be underrepresented in Canada's workforce. That's why today, the Honourable Bob Nault, Member of Parliament for Kenora, on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, announced funding to help Indigenous people in Ontario get the skills and work experience they need to find and keep good jobs. (Full Story)

August 16, 2017 - Ontario Launches Employer Job Offer In-Demand Skills Stream - A new Canadian immigration stream has been launched by the government of Ontario. The Employer Job Offer In-Demand Skills Stream, which was announced on August 16 and opened the same day, is a pilot for workers in high-demand occupations with a job offer in Ontario. The Employer Job Offer In-Demand Skills Stream is part of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), which allows Ontario to nominate individuals for immigration to Canada based on criteria set by the province. (Full Story)

August 14, 2017 - Ontario's Minimum Wage Hike Puts 185,000 Jobs At Risk, Business Groups Say - The Ontario government's plan for major labour reforms would have significant side effects that would put 185,000 jobs at risk, a coalition of business groups said Monday in releasing part of its analysis on the proposed legislation. The economic analysis commissioned by the Keep Ontario Working Coalition found that Ontario businesses stand to take a $23-billion hit within two years of the implementation of Bill 148, largely due to a minimum wage increase. (Full Story)

August 10, 2017 - Ontario Helping Skilled Workers Train for Green Jobs - Ontario is helping workers thrive in the low-carbon economy with new support for apprentices, skilled trades, and other professionals from the building sector to develop green building skills. This initiative is part of Ontario's Climate Change Action Plan and is funded by proceeds from the province's carbon market. Ensuring that Ontario's skilled workers are prepared for the low-carbon economy is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives. (Full Story)

August 9, 2017 - Canada employment law: Big changes in store in Ontario - Canada employment law: Big changes in store in Ontario - The Ontario Government has proposed legal changes to improve workers’ rights through Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. These include a significantly increased minimum wage, a more robust enforcement program and a new approach to employee misclassification cases. The Bill has passed its first reading and is currently being considered by a legislative standing committee. (Full Story)

August 4, 2017 - Ontario Adds 25,500 Jobs in July - Ontario's economy continues to perform strongly, adding 25,500 jobs in July. There was an increase of 17,600 full-time jobs and 7,900 part-time jobs. Employment in Ontario is up 137,900 jobs, year over year. The province's unemployment rate has been below the national average for 28 consecutive months. The employment increase was led by gains in the information, culture and recreation, wholesale and retail trade and business, building and other support services sectors. (Full Story)

July 21, 2017 - Ontario Creating Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs - Ontario is moving forward with a plan to create more opportunity and security for workers. 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, enabling at least three weeks' vacation after five years with the same employer and stepping up enforcement of employment laws. (Full Story)

September 6, 2017 - EI program more difficult for students living in Charlottetown - A recently-expanded program that allows students to collect Employment Insurance while at college or university on P.E.I. is getting a lot of interest, but it will be more difficult for students in Charlottetown to take advantage of it. The Career Connect program accepts applications from students who are P.E.I. residents, have been out of high school for at least three months, are eligible for EI, and are in an eligible training program. In April, Career Connect was expanded to include university programs. Previously it was aimed at college students. (Full Story)

September 1, 2017 - Couldn’t everyone use a mentally healthier workplace? - When you ask “how are you doing” when passing someone at work, do you really want to know the answer? Prince Edward Island’s DME Group is helping employees tell the truth about mental health and creating a mentally healthier workplace in the process. Employees are encouraged to wear "mood buttons" every day – provided by Partners for Mental Health - that help illustrate to others in the company how each person is feeling each day. (Full Story)

August 4, 2017 - P.E.I. job slump continues in July - Job numbers published Friday morning by Statistics Canada provide further evidence a strong run of job creation has ended. The economy dropped 1,000 jobs in July, and the split between full- and part-time jobs made the news even worse. The number of part-time jobs was up 800, meaning full-time jobs were down 1,800. A drop in the number of people in the workforce meant the unemployment rate actually fell, from 10.2 to 10 per cent. Job numbers had a strong run starting in October when there were 71,200 jobs on the Island. That had risen to 75,000 by May. But those numbers started to fall in June, and dropped to a total of 73,500 by July. (Full Story)

July 27, 2017 - Looking for a job? Farmers are looking for workers - There are lots of farm jobs available on P.E.I. right now, says the provincial Agriculture Sector Council. Farmers are having a hard time finding workers, says the council. Chiel Middelkamp said Middelkamp Organic Produce, which he runs with his brother, is one of the farms short on labour. In addition to using regular channels, the agriculture sector council posts jobs on its website as well as on Twitter. "These are great jobs and great people to work for," said Robin MacLeod, administrative coordinator of the P.E.I. Agriculture Sector Council. (Full Story)

July 27, 2017 - Revised WCB Policies - Changes have been approved to the following WCB policies: Travel and Related Expenses (POL-03) and Self-Employment Program (POL-11). Details about the revisions are included in the History section of each policy. The WCB thanks all stakeholders who participated in the consultation process. Visit the following link to learn more about the changes. (Full Story)

July 26, 2017 - Resources increased for Workers Compensation Appeal Tribunal - Injured workers on Prince Edward Island will soon see reduced wait times for appeals to their claims. The Office of the Worker Advisor – which is part of the Department of Workforce and Advanced Learning’s Labour and Industrial Relations division – has added temporary resources to process files faster. If an injured worker is not satisfied with a decision of the Workers Compensation Board, they can get advice and information from the worker advisor, and if necessary the worker advisor can represent an injured worker’s appeal to the Workers Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT). (Full Story)

July 19, 2017 - Women on P.E.I. earning 81% of what men do - Women's employment income in Canada is just 71 per cent of men's, whereas Island women are making 81 per cent of what Island men make. Much of that can be attributed to men's employment income lagging behind the national average. Median Canadian employment incomes for 2015 were released by Statistics Canada last week. The income numbers include wages, salaries and self-employment income. They show a median Canadian income of $33,670, while on the Island it is just $26,950. (Full Story)

September 7, 2017 - Unemployment creeps to 6% - Unemployment continues to plague the Fort. While not as bad as the two per cent increase experienced in 2016, Fort Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate has crept to 5.98 per cent, a 0.10 per cent over 2016. According to the city’s full 2017 Municipal Census released last week, both full time and part time employment figures experienced a dip in the past year. In 2017, 38 per cent of the city’s population are employed full-time (down from 40.3 per cent in 2016) and part-time work is narrowly decreased by 0.4 per cent, from 6.7 last year to 6.3 this year. More than two per cent of people are unemployment and actively seeking work. (Full Story)

September 5, 2017 - Sask job vacancy rate increases slightly - After a year of almost no change, Canada’s private sector job vacancy rate edged up 0.2 percentage points to 2.6 per cent - or 329,900 jobs - in the second quarter of 2017, according to the latest Help Wanted report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). In Saskatchewan, the private sector job vacancy rate edged up from record lows in 2016 to 2.2 per cent representing 7,500 unfilled jobs in the province. While gaining 0.1 percentage points from Q1 the vacancy rate still remains well below previous peaks. In contrast, in Q2 of 2014, Saskatchewan’s private sector job vacancy rate was at 3.7 per cent representing 13,000 unfilled jobs. (Full Story)

August 24, 2017 - Number of Saskatchewan EI beneficiaries declines in June - The number of people in Saskatchewan receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits dropped in June. Statistics Canada reported Thursday that 18,470 people received EI benefits during the month, a decrease of 0.9 per cent from May. Declines were recorded in both Saskatoon, 3.7 per cent, and Regina, 2.6 per cent. On a year-over-year basis, the number of people receiving EI was up 7.8 per cent, the lowest year-over-year increase since January 2015. The number of initial and renewal claims in June declined by 0.8 per cent from the previous month to 7,200, but is up 6.0 per cent when compared to June 2016. (Full Story)

August 4, 2017 - Saskatchewan's economy sheds 400 jobs in July - The latest numbers show Saskatchewan’s economy lost 400 jobs in July. Full-time employment in the province fell by 2,700 compared to the previous month, Statistics Canada said Friday. The decline was partially offset by the addition of 2,300 part-time positions. On a year-over-year basis, Saskatchewan shed 1,400 jobs, despite gaining 1,600 full-time positions. The province’s unemployment rate ticked up 0.1 percentage points to 6.6 per cent between June and July. The unemployment rate in Regina rose to 5.4 per cent from 5.1 per cent, while Saskatoon’s jobless rate remained unchanged at 8.4 per cent. (Full Story)

August 4, 2017 - Unemployment inches up in Saskatchewan during July - A decline in full-time employment and an increase in the number of people in the workforce pushed Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate up slightly in July. Statistics Canada reported Friday the province’s unemployment rate last month was 6.6 per cent, up from 6.5 per cent in June. There were 400 less people working in the province last month as 2,700 full-time jobs were lost. That was offset by a gain of 2,300 part-time positions. The number of people in the workforce increased by 400 during the month. (Full Story)

September 2017 - Average Assessment Rate for 2018 Announced​ - As part of a continuing multi-year plan to reduce its overfunded position and ensure the actual cost of the compensation system is reflected in the rates paid by employers, the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board is today announcing a 3 per cent increase in the average assessment rate for 2018. Next year the average assessment rate will rise to $1.93 from the current rate of $1.87, an increase of 6 cents. (Full Story)

August 30 2017 - Yukoners check out job opportunities at Eagle Gold mining project - Dozens of people turned out for a career fair, organized by the Nacho Nyäk Dun First Nation at Yukon College in Whitehorse Tuesday, to apply for jobs and ask about future opportunities at the Eagle Gold mine project north of Mayo, Yukon. It's probably a first for a mining company and its various contractors to participate in an event like this at Yukon College, according to Jennifer Byram, a vice-president at Whitehorse based Pelly Construction. (Full Story)

Featured Article: Employees struggling to balance work and eldercare

A recent Conference Board of Canada report titled, “The Juggling Act: Balancing Work and Eldercare in Canada” indicates that over one-quarter of employed Canadians provide care and assistance to an elderly family member, which may lead to significant physical, emotional and financial pressures.

The report shows that employees who struggle to balance work and eldercare can experience elevated stress levels, absenteeism and work interruptions, which translate into missing work, taking and making phone calls related to eldercare, and worrying about the care recipient while at work.

Eldercare pressures are compounded when caregivers also have childcare responsibilities. Nicole Stewart, Principal, Total Rewards Research, The Conference Board of Canada states,

"In addition to caring for aging parents, many Canadians are also still caring for their children. This dual responsibility results in a significant amount of physical, emotional, and financial pressure. Many in the sandwich generation are also juggling their own responsibilities as employees.”

It is estimated that eldercare obligations cost Canadian organizations an estimated $1.28 billion per year in lost productivity concluding that Canadian organizations have a role to play in helping employees balance work and eldercare obligations. This requires employers to find positive strategies to deal with the issue and support his or her employees. Unfortunately, only a minority of Canadian organizations have eldercare leave programs, among other strategies.

The report further states that eldercare strategies can benefit employers through retention and reduced absenteeism.

In the report, the Conference Board of Canada examines how providing eldercare affects both employees and employers and presents a range of accommodation solutions and best practices for implementing an eldercare strategy.

The report provides the following broad guidelines for organizations looking to develop an eldercare strategy:

  • Assess the extent to which eldercare obligations are already affecting employees. Creating space for discussion about eldercare can help employees feel more comfortable discussing their circumstances and needs.
  • Consider measures that are already in place. Employee assistance programs offer helpful services to employees with caregiving obligations.
  • Align strategies with needs. Increased workplace flexibility alone may not speak to the needs of employees most burdened by eldercare obligations. Days off, reduced work hours or a short period of leave may be more beneficial.
  • Be flexible in terms of response. Organizations should make reasonable efforts to find accommodation solutions that work for both parties.
  • Prioritize managerial and organizational support. The supportiveness of an employee's direct manager often determines the extent to which an employee will avail themselves of eldercare accommodations.
  • Keep communication open and adjust accommodations as necessary. Accommodations may need to be modified as eldercare obligations can be unpredictable and change over time in the intensity of care required.

Employers should make reasonable efforts to find accommodation solutions that work for both parties.

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

Software Updates

GrandMaster Suite (v11.05)

  • Corrected a problem with Utility Program (UTHISREW) with WCB maximum Assessable Earnings.
  • Corrected a problem with employee deduction view not resolving the correct table rate.
  • Corrected a problem with Utility Program (UTHISREW) when multi province in one pay period the second province was ignored and rates did not get applied.
  • Corrected a speed issue with dated positions.

GrandMaster II (v12.04)

  • Corrected a problem with Upload to eNETEmployer.
  • Fixed issue where the Statistic Canada Report on Hiring would not print or export to the screen.
  • Adjusted program setting where the Record of Employee was defaulted to Export for the Web.


  • Adjusted program where the Journal Entry accumulator calculation was recording the amount after payout.
  • Fixed the error where the Pay Register report displayed incorrect text when the CPP current amount was zero.
  • Changed the calculation to use the "Quebec Taxable" instead of the "Taxable" when the business account type is Quebec.
  • Fixed issue where the Reversal Special/All pay types were not calculating correctly for multiple earnings items of the same code with different distributes/rates.
  • Added the pay sequence number to the Pay Date column header in the Employee Profile Report. This now allows additional pays to have their own column.
  • Added a user-definable "Notes" section to the Employee-Pay Parameters screen.
  • Added a "Last Emailed To" column in the Email Statement report to show who/where the most recent pay stubs were sent.
  • Numerous French language updates.

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