Payroll News Canada - Employment Articles

March 2018 - 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.

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Tip of the Month

March 2018 - Canada Pension Plan Enhancement Podcast From the CRA - The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) provides tax and payroll-relevant information through a series of podcasts aimed at the payroll community and employers in general. The podcasts are free digital audio files that you can stream or download from their website. The current episode finishes their two-part conversation on the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) enhancement with subject matter expert Kevin, of the Business Compliance Directorate at the CRA. Click Here to learn more about this informative information series.

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

March 16, 2018 - Youth Employment Strategy - The Youth Employment Strategy (YES) is the Government of Canada’s commitment to help Canada’s newest workers get a strong start to their careers. YES is delivered by 11 federal departments and agencies and helps young people between the ages of 15 and 30 to get the information and develop the job skills, abilities and experience they need to get good-quality jobs. YES has three complementary program streams: Skills Link, Career Focus and Summer Work Experience. (Full Story)

March 15, 2018  - Historic pay equity legislation will help close gender wage gap - A strong middle class depends on a job market where both women and men have a real and fair chance at success. When Canadian women can count on equal pay for work of equal value, our economy grows stronger, families prosper, and communities thrive. Today, the Honourable Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board of Canada, was in Halifax to highlight Budget 2018 and to discuss how proactive pay equity can help close the gender wage gap. (Full Story)

March 15, 2018 - A Record 399,000 Job Vacancies in Q4 2017 - The number of job vacancies reached a new high in Q4 2017, totalling 399,000 jobs left unfilled in Canada’s private sector, according to CFIB’s latest Help Wanted report. The job vacancy rate - the proportion of unfilled jobs relative to all available jobs in the private sector - reached 3 per cent, well above the 2.4 per cent rate for Q4 2016. Labour shortages continue to put upward pressure on wages, with companies having unfilled jobs expecting to offer an average wage increase that is 0.5 per cent higher than those businesses without such vacancies. (Full Story)

March 14, 2018 - More help for those who need it with the new Canada Workers Benefit - The new Canada Workers Benefit (CWB) is a strengthened version of the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB). The CWB will allow more low-income workers to keep more of their paycheque while they work, encouraging more Canadians to join the workforce. With almost $1 billion in new funding starting in 2019, the proposed CWB will increase both maximum benefits and the income level at which the benefit is entirely phased out. As a result, a low-income worker earning $15,000 could receive up to almost $500 more from the CWB in 2019 than under the WITB in 2018. (Full Story)

March 9, 2018 - Canada adds new jobs overall, but loses full-time work - The economy got a job-creation lift last month that nudged the unemployment rate back down to match its all-time low of 5.8 per cent - but a closer look reveals a rush of part-time work and a big decline in full-time positions. Statistics Canada's latest labour force survey, released Friday, showed the country lost 39,300 full-time jobs and generated 54,700 part-time positions in February. It also found the job gains were driven by an increase of 50,300 in public-sector jobs. (Full Story)

March 9, 2018 - Canada's unemployment rate nudges down to 5.8% in February - Canada's job market added about 15,000 jobs in February, less than expected but enough to nudge the unemployment rate down to 5.8 per cent. Statistics Canada reported Friday that the health-care and social assistance sectors added jobs, while wholesale and retail trade, and manufacturing all shrank. By province, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia added jobs, while Saskatchewan lost some. (Full Story)

February 28, 2018 - Federal budget offers help to seasonal workers in EI 'black hole' - The federal budget will include funding to allow the federal government to work with provinces to help seasonal workers affected by the EI eligibility fluctuations from year to year and can't find alternative employment in between seasons. The funds will be used to develop local solutions between the federal and provincial governments that can be tested to support workforce development. (Full Story)

February 20, 2018 - Retirements drive nation-wide demand for skilled trades workers - Over 250,000 construction workers are expected to retire this decade, according to the latest labour market forecast from BuildForce Canada. Those workers account for 21 per cent of Canada’s construction workforce. To meet labour requirements, 277,000 construction workers will need to be added. (Full Story)

February 1, 2018 - Costs of CPP hike could be 4.5x greater than government projections - The federal government has likely underestimated the negative impact on jobs of the planned Canada Pension Plan (CPP) increases, according to a new analysis from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). Starting in 2019, CPP premiums will rise for five straight years, followed by another two years where the maximum amount of income CPP premiums are levied upon will increase. The CFIB study, done through the University of Toronto's Policy and Economic Analysis Program, found that the CPP hike will initially cost 64,000 fewer jobs, 4.5 times greater than the federal government's projection of job losses. (Full Story)

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

March 15, 2018 - Getting Alberta in the game - The Growth and Diversification Act would help local businesses create jobs and diversify the economy with a new program to support the digital media sector. If passed, the bill would create a new Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (IDMTC) to help Alberta’s businesses compete with other provinces like Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, which already provide similar incentives. The IDMTC would refund Alberta digital media companies 25 per cent of the salaries, wages and bonuses they pay their Alberta employees who work directly to create interactive digital media products. (Full Story)

March 12, 2018 - Help shape Alberta’s new workplace rules - Albertans will have a say on new rules for workplace harassment and violence and joint work site health and safety committees. The new Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act takes steps to protect workers from harassment and violence in all its forms. It also requires joint work site health and safety committees or a worker health and safety representative, depending on workforce size. The input will help shape specific rules around these new requirements to ensure the legislation is fair and balanced. (Full Story)

March 10, 2018 - Alberta tops country for employment - Albertans show the nation’s highest employment rate, with the province’s industrial and service sectors both posting gains. And the unemployment rate continues to fall, according to latest reports from Statistics Canada. Alberta’s seasonally adjusted number dropped to 6.7 per cent last month, compared with 8.2 per cent a year earlier. The national rate is down to 5.8 per cent - tied for the lowest rate ever -  from 6.6 per cent a year ago. Southern Alberta’s jobless rate, currently 6.9 per cent, compares with Calgary at 7.7 per cent and Edmonton at 6.7. Red Deer is showing marked improvement, dipping to 5.5 per cent from an even nine per cent a year ago. (Full Story)

March 1, 2018 - Research funding supports healthy workplaces - The Government of Alberta is funding innovative research that will focus on improving workplace health and safety in Canada. The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Futures program is providing up to $1 million in funding to eight projects. They will explore new ways to prevent injuries and illnesses, and address hazards that Albertans can face at work. The grants provide opportunities for the province to work with researchers to develop an evidence-based approach in reducing workplace illness and injury. (Full Story)

February 27 2018 - Alberta’s New Employment Standards - In 2017, the Alberta legislature passed comprehensive amendments to the province’s labour and employment legislation. These changes were enacted through: Bill 17: the Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act; and, Bill 30: An Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans. This is the first of three articles summarizing the key amendments. This article outlines changes to employment standards under the Employment Standards Code ("ESC"). The second and third articles outline changes under the Labour Relations Code, the Occupational Health & Safety Act and the Workers’ Compensation Act. (Full Story)

February 14, 2018 - Classroom investment fund creates teaching jobs - Alberta students are receiving more individual attention and a better classroom experience after the government provided funding for hundreds of teaching and support staff positions. The Classroom Improvement Fund (CIF) was created as part of the central agreement reached with the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) last year, providing a dedicated fund to help ensure students have richer learning experiences. It is anticipated the $75-million fund will create over 250 teaching jobs and 200 support positions this year (Full Story)

February 12, 2018 - Ensuring on-site training for Alberta apprentices - A new bidding policy for construction contractors will ensure apprentices receive work experience on all major Government of Alberta-funded infrastructure and transportation projects. Beginning this month, proponents on large-scale, public infrastructure projects will be required to utilize apprentices in the 11 construction-related trades. The new policy requires apprentices to participate on major public projects valued over $15 million, or those that will require at least two years to complete. (Full Story)

February 6, 2018 - 2018 WCB legislative changes - The Government of Alberta has concluded its review of the workers' compensation system and has now passed legislation for enhancements to the system. Some of these changes came into effect Jan. 1, 2018, while others will become effective at different times in 2018. As we work to implement new legislation, we are committed to keeping you informed and consulting with our stakeholders on areas where we need further input. (Full Story)

March 9, 2018 - B.C. continues to lead country in employment numbers - Statistics Canada figures released this morning shows that British Columbia continues to have the lowest unemployment rate in Canada. B.C.'s jobless rate for February was pegged at 4.7 per cent, down one-tenth of a point since January and well below the national rate of 5.8 per cent -  which also dropped one-tenth of a point last month. Since February 2017, the B.C. unemployment rate has dropped four-tenths of a point, from 5.1 per cent. Statistics Canada says the economy added 15,400 net new jobs across the country last month, although most of those positions were part-time jobs. (Full Story)

March 8, 2018 - Premier unveils supports for women building a career in the trades - Premier John Horgan today announced a suite of initiatives to pave the way for women working or entering a career in the building trades through improved workplace supports, services and practices. Less than 3% of working women in the province are in the building trades. A labour-market report released in fall 2017 recommended providing women with workplace supports. It noted that many of the recommended anti-bullying policies and better health and safety practices would benefit everyone on the worksite. (Full Story)

February 28, 2018 - BC JobConnect: Putting Employers in the Driver's Seat - Any employer is concerned about finding that right "fit' - a worker who will have the right skills, as well as that energy, spirit and attitude that contributes to their unique workplace culture. With Canadians rapidly aging out of the workforce, businesses now have to be creative and intentional when looking for talent. This free online tool captures newcomers’ education, work experience and language proficiency, and has almost 600 candidates with a wide range of education levels and skills - from high school diplomas to PhDs, in such industries as IT, engineering, finance, manufacturing and life sciences. (Full Story)

February 15, 2018 - Winning B.C.-led supercluster bid to create thousands of B.C. jobs - British Columbia's innovation ecosystem received a huge boost today with the selection of a B.C.-based digital supercluster consortium to share a portion of $950 million in federal innovation funding, announced Jobs, Trade and Technology Minister Bruce Ralston. Over a 10-year period, the supercluster is projected to fund more than 100 collaborative projects involving over 1,000 organizations to create thousands of new jobs that provide skilled and long-term employment opportunities for people throughout B.C. and Canada. (Full Story)

February 8, 2018 - Delivering fair wages to British Columbians - Over the next four years, British Columbia’s lowest-paid workers will get predictable wage increases – leading to a $15-an-hour minimum wage in 2021. Hard work deserves fair reward. People should not have to work two or three jobs to make ends meet, or rely on food banks to feed their families. Right now, 400,000 people in our province are struggling to get by, while getting paid less than $15 an hour. This has left too many people just one step away from homelessness, despite working hard for a living. That’s unfair, and it’s bad for our communities. (Full Story)

February 8, 2018 - Help is on the way for B.C.’s lowest-paid workers - British Columbia’s lowest-paid workers will earn a $15-an-hour minimum wage by June 2021, Premier John Horgan announced today, endorsing the recommendations of the Fair Wages Commission. The plan to reach $15 an hour provides for an immediate increase of $1.30 an hour on June 1, 2018, to a new minimum wage of $12.65 an hour. Additional increases will take place on June 1 of each year for three more years. By June 2021, B.C.’s minimum wage will rise to at least $15.20 an hour. (Full Story)

March 19, 2018 - Eight steps for your HR strategy - Getting professional about HR is a strategy that pays whether the farm is big or small, and whether workers are family or hired. The labour gap in Canadian agriculture continues to widen and is expected to double by 2025. That’s prompting more farm businesses to focus on recruiting and retaining employees. At the same time, with employment standards constantly changing, and with considerations such as health and safety and workers compensation to think about, some farms are beginning to develop a human resource (HR) strategy to help them find the right people and then to keep them. (Full Story)

March 16, 2018 - Injured on the farm? Farm Safety Program wants to know - The Manitoba Farm Safety Program (FSP) wants farmers to tell it about the injury-causing incidents and near misses that occur on their farms. That information could help others avoid the same mishaps by helping its program do more preventive programming. The only stats available on farm injury are what is reported to the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba (WCB). All farmers are encouraged to sign up for WCB coverage and can do so if they choose, but coverage is only mandatory for farms that have one or more employees. (Full Story)

March 14, 2018 - Province Advises Employers Prosecuted For Workplace Incidents - The Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) branch of Manitoba Growth, Enterprise and Trade is reminding employers to ensure workplaces are safe and workers are adequately supervised to perform their duties, after three employers and a property owner were prosecuted for violations under The Workplace Safety and Health Act.  When a workplace incident occurs, WSH may conduct an investigation and can forward a copy of their findings to Manitoba Justice for review if non-compliance with Manitoba’s safety and health laws were a factor. (Full Story)

March 12, 2018 - Bridging the gap between youth and employment - The Business Council of Manitoba held its second #YouthCEO Career Connections event on March 1 at Neeginan Centre where more than 200 young people, including Indigenous youth and new Canadians, were exposed to the opportunities that are some of the most significant companies in Manitoba. This time, CEOs and their human resource directors would spend about 15 minutes in a circle, and the groups of youth would take turns to talk to each of the companies. #YouthCEO also brought in kids from four northern Manitoba communities. (Full Story)

March 6, 2018 - On-boarding Tips For Increasing The Effectiveness of New Hires - Having an effective onboarding strategy helps to smooth a hire's transition into their new work environment, helping your new hire to excel in their role. Here are 5 onboarding tips for increasing the effectiveness of new hires. 1) Onboarding begins before the first day. As early as in the interview stage, a new hire needs to be aware of their employer's expectations in the role. It should be made clear to the new hire that the employer has a defined plan for success in the role, by describing what that success looks like in the first 3 months, 6 months and even in the first year. (Full Story)

February 22, 2018 - Governments Announce Canada-Manitoba Job Grants - Nearly 3,600 workers at 163 Manitoba companies are receiving valuable skills training through the latest round of Canada-Manitoba Job Grants, Education and Training Minister Ian Wishart announced today. So far this fiscal year, Manitoba workers have benefited from approximately $8 million, a combination of the $4.7-million investment from the governments of Canada and Manitoba and $3.2 million in private-sector contributions. (Full Story)

February 22, 2018 - Province Announces Steps To Promote Safe Working Environment - In light of recent revelations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour in the government workplace, Premier Brian Pallister today announced several measures to ensure government of Manitoba employees work in an environment that is respectful and free of all forms of harassment including sexual harassment. The premier and his colleagues announced five initiatives to ensure all incidents of sexual harassment are taken seriously and addressed, that employees feel safe in reporting such incidents and that there is consistency in policies between political staff and public servants. (Full Story)

March 20, 2018 - Income support and training services for EI claimants affected by gap in benefits - A federally funded program will provide immediate income support and training for New Brunswickers who experience a gap between employment insurance (EI) benefits and their seasonal employment. The Seasonal Worker Program Pilot Project, administered by the Department of Post-Secondary Education Training and Labour, will offer a seven-week training or work experience program for employees in the fisheries, agriculture, forestry and tourism industries in EI Economic Region 09. (Full Story)

March 8, 2018 - Statement on International Women’s Day and New Brunswick’s gender wage gap decrease - Excerpt from a statement that was released by Premier Brian Gallant on International Women’s Day: "Your government recognizes the essential role women play in the social and economic development of our province. The provincial government identified enhancing pay equity as an area of focus in the New Brunswick Family Plan report on advancing women’s equality, and we have taken several steps toward achieving that goal. Three Crown corporations have achieved compliance with the Pay Equity Act of 2009." (Full Story)

February 28, 2018 - Government provides update on jobs target - The government has surpassed its target of helping to create 10,000 jobs by 2018, announced Treasury Board President Roger Melanson, who is also chair of the Jobs Board. Between October 2014 and December 2017, he said, 15,126 jobs were created in the province. Investments by Opportunities NB contributed to the creation of 3,639 jobs, while the creation of another 3,740 jobs was assisted by the Regional Development Corporation and 787 jobs were created through the Jobs Board Secretariat. (Full Story)

February 26, 2018 - Air Canada to create 227 new jobs in Saint John - Air Canada is expanding its business services centre in Saint John, creating up to 227 full-time jobs over the next five years with support from the provincial government. The airline’s Saint John centre currently has 273 employees. The new jobs are expected to be for business service agents. It is estimated that the creation of up to 227 new jobs would contribute $33.3 million to the province’s GDP over five years and generate $3.5 million in provincial taxes over that same period. (Full Story)

February 13, 2018 - Province announces student summer jobs for 2018 - Almost 2,300 summer job placements are available this year to help provide valuable experiential learning opportunities for students. This year the province is investing an additional $4 million in the SEED program to create 400 new placements for a total of 2,000 jobs. For summer 2018, students were able to register for the SEED program as early as Dec. 15, 2017, a month and a half earlier than last year. Due to the additional investment in the program, the placement duration for college and graduating high school students will be increased to nine weeks from eight weeks and to 14 weeks from 10 weeks for university students. (Full Story)

February 13, 2018 - Student employment program gets $4M injection, though questions linger - One Fredericton student says applying for the Student Employment Experience Development (SEED) program is like playing the lottery — and not in a good way. Brianna Matchett, a student at St. Thomas University, applied for SEED last week and said while the process was easy, it's getting the job that's hard. "I don't have much hope for participating in the program," she said. She said you basically put your name in and hope it gets drawn. (Full Story)

February 8, 2018 - Minimum wage to increase on April 1 - The minimum wage in New Brunswick will increase to $11.25 per hour on April 1. The minimum wage will be indexed to the corresponding increase in the New Brunswick consumer price index, which means in New Brunswick it will increase to $11.25 per hour. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island have harmonized the date of effect for any minimum wage increase to April 1. (Full Story)

February 2, 2018 - Amendments to the Employment Standards Act proposed - The provincial government has introduced amendments to the Employment Standards Act that would include domestic, intimate partner or sexual violence leave, and also update unpaid leave provisions. he amendments related to domestic, intimate partner and sexual violence would allow employees the time and opportunity to make a life change and enhance their safety and security. The Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour will conduct a 60-day consultation, after which the government will introduce regulatory amendments based on the feedback received. (Full Story)

March 16, 2018 - WorkplaceNL beefs up coverage for people in stressful jobs - The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is more than pleased with new rules from WorkplaceNL, which will make it easier for people suffering from work-related mental illnesses to get compensation. The provincial government agency has amended its policy to include incidents that are inherent to a job -  things you can expect to happen when you are on the clock. Previously, traumatic events, common in some professions such as first responders, and were not covered. (Full Story)

March 15, 2018 - New policy broadens coverage for work-related traumatic mental health issues - WorkplaceNL has modernized its mental stress policy (EN-18) to recognize that work-related mental health issues may be caused by exposure to multiple traumatic events. The policy also now includes events that are an inherent part of an occupation, such as first responders witnessing fatalities. The policy is used to determine if workers diagnosed with a specific mental health issue, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), qualify for benefits under the workers’ compensation system. The revisions allow the policy to be applied more fairly across all occupations, including first responders. (Full Story)

March 1, 2018 - Newfoundland increasing income replacement rate for injured workers - The government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced that amendments to the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act will be introduced, enhancing benefits available to injured workers and their families. If the amendments are passed, the income replacement rate (IRR) for injured workers in Newfoundland and Labrador, or their dependents, will increase from 80 to 85 per cent. The IRR is the percentage of a worker’s pre-injury net income that is covered by the workers’ compensation system. (Full Story)

February 27, 2018 Proposed Amendments to Labour Standards Act to Assist Families and Align with Changes to the Canada Labour Code - Proposed amendments to the Labour Standards Act have received second reading in the House of Assembly. The amendments will ensure provincial legislation aligns with recent changes to the Canada Labour Code and recognizes the challenges often faced by young families and those providing care to a sick family member. The proposed amendments will enable working parents to access the new Employment Insurance parental leave benefits which were introduced by the Government of Canada and came into force on December 3, 2017. (Full Story)

February 22, 2018 - N.L.'s indexing of minimum wage will protect jobs: restaurant association - Restaurants Canada applauded the provincial government’s announcement this week that future minimum wage increases in Newfoundland and Labrador will be linked to the consumer price index. On Tuesday, the Newfoundland and Labrador government announced the minimum wage will go up 15 cents an hour, to $11.15, effective April 1 of this year, marking the third time the rate has increased in the past year. The indexing was also announced at the same time. (Full Story)

February 21, 2018 - WorkplaceNL accepting submissions on PTSD coverage - WorkplaceNL has announced that they will be reviewing PTSD coverage in the workers' compensation legislation, including a review across other jurisdictions. WorkplaceNL will accept submissions from interested parties up to March 30, 2018. They are asking that interested parties send submissions by email to (Full Story)

February 20, 2018 - N.L. Liberals want to bump up injured workers' compensation - The Liberal government wants to increase the compensation paid to injured workers in the province. As ServiceNL Minister Sherry Gambin-Walsh announced Tuesday, at a joint news conference with WorkplaceNL, a bill will be introduced in the next session of the House of Assembly to amend the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act. If approved, it would move the existing income replacement rate (IRR) - used in calculating worker benefits - from 80 per cent to 85 per cent. (Full Story)

February 20, 2018 - Amendments Will Increase Income Replacement Rate for Injured Workers in Province - The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced today that amendments to the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act will be introduced in the House of Assembly during the upcoming session, enhancing benefits available to injured workers and their families. If the amendments are passed, the income replacement rate (IRR) for injured workers in Newfoundland and Labrador, or their dependents, will increase from 80 to 85 per cent. The IRR is the percentage of a worker’s pre-injury net income that is covered by the workers’ compensation system. (Full Story)

February 20, 2018 - Provincial Government Announces Minimum Wage Increase and Outlines New Model to Calculate Minimum Wage - The Honourable Al Hawkins, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour, today announced an increase to the minimum wage of 15 cents bringing the rate to $11.15 effective April 1, 2018. The minimum overtime rate will increase to $16.73, 1.5 times the minimum wage rate. The increase, and future increases to take effect April 1 of each year, will be based on the percentage change in the National Consumer Price Index. (Full Story)

February 20, 2018 - Provincial minimum wage to increase by 15 cents - The minimum wage will increase by 15 cents to $11.15 as of April 1, the Newfoundland and Labrador government announced Tuesday, noting that it fulfill a promise made during the last provincial election campaign. The minimum overtime wage will also increase to $16.73, 1.5 times the minimum wage, the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour said in a release Tuesday. All four Atlantic provinces have now harmonized minimum wage increases to April 1 annually. (Full Story)

February 27, 2018 - Alfred Moses: Minimum Wage Increase - "Mr. Speaker, on April 1, 2018, the minimum wage in the Northwest Territories will increase from $12.50 to $13.46 per hour, the third highest minimum wage in Canada. To ensure that our minimum wage continues to work for employees and employers, the minimum wage rate is reviewed by a Minimum Wage Committee every two years. The decision to increase the minimum wage to $13.46 per hour was informed by options and extensive research provided by the Minimum Wage Committee, including current minimum and average hourly wages in other Canadian jurisdictions, as well as social and economic influences specific to the Northwest Territories." (Full Story)

February 5, 2018 - Proposed Revisions to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations - The new Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (“Regulations”) came into force in the Northwest Territories in June 2015, and in Nunavut in March 2016. Over the period of time since they were first made law, employers and workers became more familiar with the Regulations. As the WSCC Safety Officers collaborated and consulted with employers and workers to ensure awareness of the Regulations, certain areas were identified that could be clarified further. Some gaps in the Regulations’ direction and guidance were also identified. (Full Story)

March 14, 2018 - More focus needed to improve workplace injury durations: WCB Nova Scotia - When workers get hurt on the job in Nova Scotia, it’s taking longer to return to work than it has in recent years. The composite duration index, a measure of how long workers are off the job due to injury, was at 115 days at the end of the third quarter of 2017, up from 110 at the end of 2016, according to the province’s workers’ compensation board. There were 4,367 time-loss injuries from January to September of 2017. During the same period in 2016, there were 4,379 injuries. (Full Story)

March 9, 2018 - Atlantic Canada addressing return to work - Atlantic Canadians injured on the job tend to take longer to return to work than those living in most other provinces. To further assist workers as they recover from workplace injury, Atlantic Canada’s workers’ compensation organizations have teamed up to launch a region-wide program, Working to Well. The goal of the shared initiative of WCB Nova Scotia, WorkplaceNL, WorkSafeNB and the Workers Compensation Board of PEI is to keep people connected to their workplace, whenever possible, following an injury. (Full Story)

March 8, 2018 - Resources to Help Nova Scotia Employers Address Sexual Harassment - The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission is introducing new online resources to help employers address and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. The commission has recently seen a significant rise in the number of calls concerning sexual harassment, including from employers asking for advice and training. Through the Safe Spaces Make Great Workplaces campaign, the commission is providing a free online course for employers and their employees, along with a template for a sexual harassment policy which can be adapted by organizations. (Full Story)

February 28, 2018 - Legislation Will Strengthen Apprenticeship System, Make Workplaces Safer - Legislation introduced today, Feb. 28, will better ensure skilled trades work is performed safely by trained and certified tradespersons. It will also ensure a level playing field for all companies and improve safety for skilled tradespersons. Amendments to the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualification Act will give the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency additional tools and authority to enforce certification requirements in the compulsory certified trades. (Full Story)

February 28, 2018  - Province looks to crack down on companies using unskilled workers inappropriately - he provincial government is taking steps to cut down on companies using unskilled or unqualified workers for jobs that require qualifications. The Liberals introduced amendments to the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act on Wednesday that, among other things, give more power to enforcement officers and significantly increase the penalties that could be assessed. (Full Story)

February 26, 2018 - New Opportunities for People Seeking Work and Employers - A new approach to connecting people from underrepresented groups to jobs in their field is having great success. The New Opportunities for Work program was co-developed in 2017 by the Centre for Employment Innovation with St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish and community partners, on behalf of government. In just a few months, the program has connected 170 people to 104 workplaces, surpassing its goal of helping 150 people. (Full Story)

February 17, 2018 - Government invests $10 million to better help underrepresented workers get jobs - The province has announced its investment of millions in a new project seeking to help people without jobs find new opportunities. The announcement happened Feb. 26 at the Valley African Nova Scotian Development Association in Kentville and revealed the project has received $10 million from the government. The project focuses on helping people who are underrepresented in the workforce - First Nations, African Nova Scotians, racially visible people, people on Employment Support and Income Assistance, persons with a disability, and workers over the age of 55. (Full Story)

February 1, 2018 - Minimum Wage Increasing April 1 - Nova Scotia’s minimum wage is increasing on April 1. As a result of the Minimum Wage Review Committee’s annual review, the minimum wage will increase by the 2017 national Consumer Price Index, resulting in an increase of 15 cents an hour. That means, experienced workers will receive $11.00 an hour. The minimum wage for someone who has less than three months’ experience will also increase to $10.50 an hour. (Full Story)

March 1, 2018 - Northwest Territories set to increase minimum wage; no change in Nunavut - Similar to trends in other areas of Canada, the minimum wage in the Northwest Territories will increase from $12.50 per hour to $13.46 per hour effective April 1, 2018. Minimum wage in Nunavut is currently $13.00 per hour. Minimum wage rates in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut have historically been among the highest in Canada as a result of the high cost of living in northern and remote communities. Higher rates tend to fall in line with the policy objectives of encouraging economic development and creating financial incentives for residents to enter the workforce rather than rely on social assistance. (Full Story)

February 7, 2018 - Call for proposals – training and employment initiatives - The Department of Family Services is now accepting proposals for targeted employment and training initiatives to be delivered in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, starting April 1, 2018. The application deadline is February 16, 2018. Training providers, including non-profit organizations and institutions, municipal corporations, Inuit organizations and societies, can apply for funding to deliver programs in a number of areas including; employment readiness and preparation, essential skills, sector-specific training, training and employment programs for persons living with a disability; and training and employment programs for out-of-school youth aged 15-30. (Full Story)

March 15, 2018 - New Rules Mandating Equal Pay for Equal Work to Come into Effect April 1 - On April 1, 2018, Ontario will become the first jurisdiction in North America to mandate equal pay for equal work between casual, part-time, temporary and seasonal workers, and full-time or permanent workers. These changes are the result of the province's Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 --representing the largest update to Ontario's labour laws in a generation. The government raised the minimum wage to $14 an hour on January 1, 2018, and will further increase it to $15 an hour on January 1, 2019. (Full Story)

March 15, 2018 - Minimum wage bump means $1,500 more a year for low-income workers, economist says - For low-income earners in Ontario, what’s better for the bottom line -  lower income taxes, or a higher minimum wage? Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford calls the Liberal and NDP pledge to increase rates to $15 an hour by 2019 a tax grab. According to economist Sheila Block, the move would mean an extra $1,465 in the pockets of the working poor. The Conservatives, meanwhile, say they will freeze wages at their current $14 hourly rate and eliminate provincial income tax for everyone earning below $30,000. (Full Story)

March 13, 2018 - Ontario Expanding Job-Protected Leave for Survivors of Domestic or Sexual Violence - Ontario is creating safer workplaces with a new, job-protected paid leave of absence when a worker or their child experiences or is threatened with domestic or sexual violence. As of January 1, 2018, a worker has the right to take up to 17 weeks off without the fear of losing their job. Ten days of that leave may be taken a day at a time for things like medical appointments, and an employee may also take up to 15 weeks intermittently for reasons that require more time, such as making moving arrangements. (Full Story)

March 13, 2018 - Employers are firing injured workers unjustly - and getting away with it - Under Ontario law, employers must offer accident victims jobs that are suitable, sustainable and productive for at least a year after they are fit enough to work. If the worker gets fired within six months of returning, their employer must prove to the compensation board that they are not terminating them because of their injury. The Star found 55 cases over the past decade at WSIAT, the highest level appeal for workplace compensation matters, all involving injured workers who were fired shortly after returning to work, but where the compensation board accepted employers’ contention that they had not broken the law. (Full Story)

March 9, 2018 - Ontario Added 15,700 Jobs in February - Employment in Ontario increased by 15,700 jobs in February and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.5 per cent. Ontario is committed to modernizing employment standards and labour laws while helping businesses and the economy grow. This includes raising the minimum wage to $14 an hour on January 1, ensuring part-time workers are paid the same hourly wage as full-time workers, introducing paid sick days for every worker, and enabling at least three weeks' vacation after five years with the same employer. (Full Story)

February 18, 2018 - The ripple effect of Ontario’s minimum-wage increase - The economic impact of Ontario's minimum-wage hike on the province's lowest earners has received a great deal of attention, but the effect is felt more broadly by employers who face labour cost increases. Ontario increased its minimum wage to $14 from $11.60 on Jan. 1 and plans another hike – to $15 an hour – next year. As predicted, some businesses responded immediately by reducing hiring, cutting employee work hours, reducing benefits and charging higher prices. (Full Story)

February 15, 2018 - Ontario Supporting Workplace Health and Safety - Ontario is partnering with universities, professional associations and research groups on projects that will help support workplace mental health, advance our understanding of occupational diseases and prepare workers to deal with equipment hazards. These projects are part of the Occupational Health, Safety and Prevention Innovation Program (OHSPIP), which supports workplace-focused innovation projects and collaborative partnerships that lead to improvements in occupational health and safety in Ontario. (Full Story)

February 7, 2018 - Ontario Improving Apprenticeship System to Prepare Skilled Workforce for In-Demand Jobs - Ontario is ensuring that the apprenticeship system meets the changing demands of the economy by giving apprentices the skills they need to succeed and providing employers with the talent they need to thrive. The province is improving the apprenticeship system by building on its current strengths. The goal is to develop a system that provides end-to-end supports for apprentices and employers and responds to the needs of a changing economy and workforce. (Full Story)

March 16, 2018 - Job fairs connect job seekers with employers - Mike Annear of Kings County Construction will be among dozens of employers with a booth at the upcoming SkillsPEI job fairs in Charlottetown, Summerside, Montague, and O’Leary between April 9 and 19. Mike says he looks forward to the annual job fairs as a chance to put faces of Island job seekers to their names. The province’s investment in construction involves developing a worker recruitment plan and funding for the Trade HERizons (link is external) initiative led by Women’s Network PEI, which aims to increase the number of women in trades. (Full Story)

March 9, 2018 - Turning dreams into reality through Self Employ PEI - Corporate restructuring pushed Roy Abraham toward entrepreneurship, but he credits the Self Employ PEI program – and a conversation with his priest -  for helping get his business off the ground. Self Employ PEI assists clients through the Canada-PEI Labour Market Development Agreement during their first year of operation, offering up to $1,000 for a business planning consultant to assist with financing or marketing plans.  Through Self-Employ, the province has helped over 300 Islanders set up businesses in the last two years. (Full Story)

March 1, 2018 - WorkPEI connects job seekers with work opportunities - WorkPEI is helping to make the labour market easier to navigate for employers and for people looking for jobs on PEI. WorkPEI (link is external) is a provincial government service that matches employers with jobs seekers – both those living on the Island and those interested in moving here. Its latest metrics showed 1,806 resumes on file with 748 employers and 484 job openings listed. (Full Story)

February 23, 2018 - Summer jobs with government pay off twice - The Government of Prince Edward Island offers a wide range of summer employment opportunities each year – allowing college and university students the opportunity to earn money for education and to experience workplaces that range from the office to the wilderness. Students interested in summer work with the government should begin exploring opportunities soon. While the Island weather is still wintry, government departments and agencies are already beginning to put their summer employment plans into place. (Full Story)

February 20, 2018 - Retired but wanting to work? Passport to Employment can help - Retirement from decades-long careers left Jo-Anne White and Paulette Pitre thinking about returning to the workforce. Now they are training for the Island’s vibrant and fast-growing tourism industry through SkillsPEI’s Passport to Employment program. Passport to Employment (link is external) helps unemployed, eligible workers aged 55 to 64 develop job search and employment skills to re-enter the workforce. (Full Story)

February 13, 2018 - Family violence: Guide will help employers respond - Violence in families affects those inside and outside the family – and now a new guide will help businesses better support employees who are dealing with family violence. Addressing Family Violence - A Guide for PEI Workplaces helps employers recognize the signs of family violence, assist employees, and prevent family violence from escalating into the workplace. Addressing Family Violence - A Guide for PEI Workplaces was first developed for government employees and was recently updated to be a resource for any workplace in Prince Edward Island. (Full Story)

March 9, 2018 - Free career safety education being offered to Sask. youths - The high number of Saskatchewan youths being injured in the workplace was the catalyst for a new career safety education program that is being celebrated as the first of its kind in North America. The Saskatchewan Safety Council and WorkSafe Saskatchewan partnered in 2013 to address the number of youth injuries and fatalities in the province’s workplaces. That year there was one workplace fatality and 876 youth, aged 14 to 21, lost time because they were injured at work, according to the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board. (Full Story)

February 23, 2018 - Strong Average Weekly Earnings Growth - Average weekly earnings in Saskatchewan were up 2.7 per cent year-over-year in December 2017, the second highest percentage increase among the provinces and ahead of the national increase of 2.3 per cent. Month-to-month, Saskatchewan led the country in growth with an increase of 1.6 per cent, above the national increase of 0.2 per cent. December’s average weekly earnings were $1,033.57, third highest in the nation and above the national average of $992.87. (Full Story)

February 21, 2018 - Saskatchewan construction employment in a state of flux - The construction employment outlook in Saskatchewan is showing a slowing pace ahead of new opportunities."The Saskatchewan construction industry has seen significant expansion over the past decade, with overall employment levels more than doubling between 2002 and the 2014 peak," states BuildForce Canada’s recently released 2018–2027 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast. “However, the collapse in oil and gas and commodity prices led to declines to 2016, but employment levels stabilized in 2017." (Full Story)

February 20, 2018 - Saskatchewan’s 2017 total workplace injury rate declines again - Saskatchewan’s 2017 total workplace injury rate declines again Total injury rate drops 5.4% from 2016, however no change in time loss injury rate 2017 total injury rate was 5.25% Time loss injury rate remains at 1.86% 57% of rate codes have a lower total injury rate than in 2016 88% of Saskatchewan employers achieved zero injuries REGINA, SK – The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board released its 2017 injury rates today. The total workplace injury rate for 2017 was 5.25 per cent, a 5.4 per cent drop from 2016. (Full Story)

February 10, 2018 - Sask. economy adds jobs but labour force shrinks: StatsCan - Saskatchewan’s economy added 1,500 jobs over the last 12 months, with an increase in full-time employment offsetting a decrease in part-time positions across the province, according to Statistics Canada. At the same time, the number of people working or looking for work in the province declined by 5,400; overall, the unemployment rate fell to six per cent from 7.1 per cent in January 2017, the government data bureau reported Friday. (Full Story)

February 9, 2018 - Second Lowest Unemployment Rate in Canada - Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate was 5.4 per cent (seasonally adjusted) in January - tied for the second lowest rate among the provinces and below the national rate of 5.9 per cent according to Statistics Canada. There were 560,100 people employed, 1,500 more jobs compared to January 2017, including an increase of 4,900 full-time jobs. Employment in Saskatchewan was up 1,100 from the previous month (0.2 per cent), the highest percentage increase among the provinces (seasonally adjusted).  There were 6,200 full-time jobs created month-over-month. (Full Story)

March 13, 2018 - Yukon’s minimum wage set for review - The Yukon NDP is accusing the government of only calling for a review of the territory’s minimum wage now to save face ahead of a review of MLA salaries. Community Services Minister John Streicker has announced that the territory will be reviewing its minimum wage in the next six months. The Yukon’s minimum wage is currently $11.32 per hour. It will increase to $11.51 on April 1, because of current rules that tie it to the Whitehorse consumer price index. (Full Story)

March 8, 2018 - Yukon workers' compensation website breach affects 270 people - The Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board (YWCHSB) says there was a "highly concerning" breach on their website last year. More than 270 people who signed up for the website's library feature may have had their email addresses and names accessed by an "unknown party," said a news release from the YWCHSB issued on Thursday. The YWCHSB says "The system used to host the YWCHSB website does not host any claimant or employer information. The system is physically separate from YWCHSB facilities and other information systems,". (Full Story)

February 27, 2018 - Government of Yukon announces minimum wage review - Minister of Community Services John Streicker announced today that he will ask the Employment Standards Board to conduct a review of Yukon’s minimum wage. The review will follow recent increases and announced increases to the minimum wage in other Canadian jurisdictions that will see Yukon’s minimum wage drop to 7th place in Canada by May 2018. (Full Story)

Featured Article: On-boarding Tips For Increasing The Effectiveness of New Hires

Having an effective onboarding strategy helps to smooth a hire's transition into their new work environment, helping your new hire to excel in their role. Here are 5 onboarding tips for increasing the effectiveness of new hires.

1) Onboarding begins before the first day. As early as in the interview stage, a new hire needs to be aware of their employer's expectations in the role. It should be made clear to the new hire that the employer has a defined plan for success in the role, by describing what that success looks like in the first 3 months, 6 months and even in the first year. This will not only give the employee a target and goal in the position, but will also help the employee to understand the scope role.

2) Always be prepared for a new hire's first day. The hire should have every opportunity to hit the ground running. Setting up any necessary IT, ordering business cards, and planning out time spent with the hiring manager and team members during the transition are some examples of the detailed planning that should go into being prepared for their first day. Most importantly, have a plan for bringing your new hire up to speed, it is important not to overload an employee on their first day, but there should also be a structure for acclimating the hire into their new work environment on their first day. Introducing the employee to the team, as well as to key stakeholders in the company is an important part of making the employee feel welcome. I recommend that every new hire is announced to the organization, as well as directly introduced to their team and key members of the organization in all departments.

3) Onboarding a new hire is a team effort. Having one person be solely responsible for bringing a new hire up to speed not only slows down the employee's ability to catch up, but it also restricts the employees learning by secluding them to only one employee's mentorship. This way the new hire will inherit the best aspects of each of the employees in their team.

4) Give your employee the opportunity to connect with their team. It is often recommended to have a set time a place for lunch that employees can eat together and talk about life outside of work. Creating a social scenario where team members can interact and really get to know each other outside of the workplace welcomes the new hire and helps everyone on the team get comfortable with the new addition to the team.

5) Mutual feedback is essential at all stages of employment, but is crucial throughout the first six months to a year of a new hires transition. It is important to ask your employees regularly if there is anything else that they need to be successful. Let your employee know when they are doing a good job, and provide helpful tips so that they can continuously improve.

Article by Graeme Burke, Recruitment Consultant at The Headhunters - Suite 350, 530 Kenaston Blvd. Winnipeg, MB R3N 1Z4. Graeme can be reached at This article was originally published by Smart Biz.

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