Payroll News Canada - Employment Articles

September 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

September 2018 - Tips and Gratuities - Did you know that Gratuities or tips received by employees are income earned in respect of employment for purposes of the Income Tax Act. However, it must be determined whether tips received in the course of employment are considered pensionable earnings under the CPP and/or are insurable earnings under the EIA. This answer depends on whether the tips are considered to have been paid by the employer (controlled tips), whether they are considered to have been paid by the client (direct tips) or whether they are declared tips in the province of Quebec. Click Here to learn more about the CRA's rules on these items.

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 13, 2018 - Canada Employment Insurance Commission Announces 2019 Employment Insurance Premium Rate and Maximum Insurable Earnings - The Canada Employment Insurance Commission (CEIC) announced today that the 2019 Employment Insurance (EI) premium rate will be $1.62 per $100 of insurable earnings—a decrease of 4 cents for employees compared to the 2018 rate and an effective decrease of 5.6 cents for employers, who pay 1.4 times the employee rate. Each year, the CEIC sets the premium rate based on the seven-year break-even rate, which is a rate forecast to balance the EI Operating Account over a seven-year horizon, including the elimination of any cumulative surplus or deficit. (Full Story)

September 13, 2018 - Small businesses welcome lower employment insurance rate - The lower Employment Insurance (EI) premium rate announced today by the federal government is a welcome reprieve for small businesses, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). The new employer rate of $2.27 per $100 of insurable earnings, a 5 cent reduction over last year, will offset some, but not all of the CPP cost increases coming employers' way in 2019. (Full Story)

September 7, 2018 - Canada loses 51,600 jobs in August, pushing up unemployment rate - Canada's seesawing employment report posted particularly volatile numbers last month that showed big, mid-summer gains in job creation seen in July had essentially been wiped out by August. The economy lost 51,600 net jobs last month in a decrease that helped drive the national unemployment rate to six per cent, up from 5.8 per cent in July, Statistics Canada reported Friday in its monthly labour force survey. (Full Story)

September 6, 2018 - First Ever Major Changes to the Federal Labour Code - Canada's federal labour standards will be getting a face-lift with new legislation being introduced this fall. The changes will mark the first major revision of the code since it was originally written in the 1960's. Among the changes listed in the summary report of consultations was minimum wage reviews and a giving employees a “right to disconnect”, allowing workers to turn off their work-related devices while not on the clock. (Full Story)

September 5 2018 - Minimum wage creep - As students return to school this fall and legislators return from a summer of community barbeques, small business owners have to face increased labour costs. Statutory minimum wage increases are set to occur on October 1, 2018 in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, with Ontario to follow suit on January 1, 2019. These increases are in accordance with a general pattern of increases across Canada over the last few years, with Alberta and Ontario leading the charge towards a $15 per hour minimum wage. (Full Story)

August 30, 2018 - Neutral gender marker option for Employment Insurance applicants - Today, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development announced an update to the Employment Insurance (EI) application that will provide a more inclusive service experience for all Canadians. In accordance with the Government's commitment to promote and protect diversity and the rights and freedoms of all Canadians, EI applicants will now have an additional, non-binary gender “X” option when ‎applying for EI benefits. (Full Story)

August 20, 2018 - Government of Canada announces new supports for workers in seasonal industries - Workers in seasonal industries are an important part of Canada's growing economy. Yet not all Canadians have benefited from the near record low unemployment, and in certain regions there are gaps in support from the Employment Insurance (EI) program. Today, changes were announced to the EI system that will address the serious challenges faced by workers in seasonal industries. Through the new pilot project, an estimated 51,500 workers in seasonal industries will benefit from extra weeks. (Full Story)

August 16, 2018 - Government of Canada announces greater flexibility to the EI system - The Government of Canada is committed to improving the Employment Insurance (EI) system so that it is able to help with the realities of the modern workforce.  When hard-working middle class Canadians become sick or go on maternity leave, they often depend on EI for support. However, those that wished to manage their return to work have had limited flexibility to do so without jeopardizing their benefits. (Full Story)

August 16, 2018 - Why Canada's new stat holiday may not mean a day off for everyone - The federal government is moving forward with plans to add a new statutory holiday to mark the legacy of residential schools in Canada. While a date has not yet been decided for the holiday, it is meant to offer a solemn reminder of the thousands of Indigenous children who were taken from their families, forbidden to practice their culture and subjected to physical, psychological and sexual abuse in the schools. (Full Story)

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

September 12, 2018 - MLA's Report - Minimum wage makes life better - During the 2015 election, Conservatives told Albertans to "look in the mirror." After years of a booming economy, global oil prices were slipping. Alberta was on the brink of the greatest recession in generations. Conservatives had been in power so long in Alberta, they'd forgotten what it meant to have a regular job. During the best times, governments had saved little, built sky palaces and put buddies on boards. When things got tough, they passed the buck and blamed Albertans. (Full Story)

September 10, 2018 - Minimum wage jump to $15 per hour will provide job stability, says Alberta labour minister - The province's phased-in minimum wage hike will hit $15 per hour next month, spurring Alberta's labour minister to shop the change around local businesses Monday. The minimum wage was $10.20 per hour in 2015. Since then, the NDP has phased in increases that reached $13.60 last year. The policy has been criticized by the United Conservative Party, with members arguing it will kill jobs. (Full Story)

September 7, 2018 - Wrapping up another successful STEP season - About 3,000 students have returned to school with more skills, training and work experience than ever before after completing the Summer Temporary Employment Program. More than 1,300 local employers across the province were approved for funding to help them hire talented young workers for the summer. This year's STEP grants came to a close at the end of August and students have returned to school better prepared for their future success because of this program. (Full Story)

September 5, 2018 - WCB: Recent changes to the Policies and Information Manual - An Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans received royal assent on December 15, 2017. Bill 30 amends the Workers' Compensation Act and includes a number of new provisions. Although some of the new provisions came into force earlier this year and are reflected in previously published policy documents, the majority came into force on September 1, 2018. This transmittal includes both new policies and policy amendments resulting from Bill 30. (Full Story)

September 4, 2018 - Calgary businesses vow to fight minimum wage increase - Some Calgary businesses are bracing for the next boost to the province's minimum wage - an extra $1.40 per hour that will make Alberta's $15 hourly rate the highest in the country as of next month. The Calgary Chamber of Commerce said it will not let the issue die — even though Alberta's Official Opposition, the United Conservative Party (UCP), has essentially thrown in the towel and promised not to roll back the increases if it forms government next spring. (Full Story)

August 30, 2018 - Study finds Alberta's employment growth numbers buoyed by government hirings - According to a study conducted by the Fraser Institute, a public policy think-tank, Alberta's increase of roughly 33,000 jobs over the last four years masks the ongoing struggles within the private sector. The Illusion of Alberta's Job Recovery: Government vs. Private Sector Employment report indicates that the private sector shed 46, 267 jobs between May of 2014 and July of 2018. The loss was offset by the creation of 78,733 new government jobs in Alberta at the municipal, provincial or federal level during the same time frame. (Full Story)

August 19, 2018 - Alberta low-income earners can benefit from more than a minimum wage hike: experts - A minimum wage increase isn't the only way Alberta's government can help low-wage workers advance economically, according to a Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) representative and a Calgary-based economics professor. The province's minimum wage is set to rise from $13.60 to $15.00 an hour at the start of October. It will be the third increase in as many years. (Full Story)

August 15, 2018 - New report calls on Alberta government to freeze minimum wage - A new study released on Wednesday hopes to change the NDP government's mind about increasing Alberta's minimum wage, saying that jobs could be on the line if the increase remains in place. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business conducted a poll back in February and says that local small business owners demand the government to change its stance on minimum wage. Alberta's minimum wage currently sits at $13.60 an hour following an increase in September. (Full Story)

August 13, 2018 - Rising minimum wage blamed as 25,700 jobs vanish in Calgary's service sector - The service sector has lost 25,700 employees in the Calgary Economic Region (which includes municipalities surrounding the city) since a year ago, according to the city's labour market review for July. Despite gains of about 16,500 jobs in the goods-producing sector, which included about 8,000 new jobs in the oil and gas industry, the accommodation and food services industry lost nearly 9,000 jobs since July 2017, according to the report. (Full Story)

June 27, 2018- Modernized rules increase farm worker protection - On Dec. 1, waged, non-family farm and ranch workers will have similar rights and protections as other workers across Canada. These new changes address workplace hazards, safety training and maintenance of equipment. Prior to the Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act, Alberta was the only province without comprehensive health and safety laws for farm and ranch workers. (Full Story)

September 6, 2018 - Plan for the future with the new B.C. Labour Market Outlook - British Columbians, from students and parents to job seekers and employers, will have the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about career plans by using the 2018 B.C. Labour Market Outlook report. The labour market outlook gives British Columbians up-to-date information so they can make sound decisions for the future. Using the report, students can find viable and promising career paths, employers can be guided in their business planning and educators can ensure programs provide students with skills to thrive in B.C.'s growing labour market. (Full Story)

September 4, 2018 - Workplace standards: what to know and where to go for help - Workers' rights must be protected. Some workers are particularly vulnerable to being taken advantage of in the workplace, such as new immigrants, temporary foreign workers or international students. Many of these newcomers don't fully know their rights, are sometimes too afraid to speak up if they feel something is wrong, and don't know where to turn to for help. (Full Story)

August 27, 2018 - Three social services agreements ratified under new mandate - More than 16,000 employees in the multi-union Community Social Services Bargaining Association have had ratified agreements reached with the Community Social Services Employers' Association of BC. Three collective agreements for Indigenous Services, Community Living Services and General Services cover more than 16,000 employees working in the community social services sector. (Full Story)

August 21, 2018 - One year in, government focuses on workers' safety, rights and prosperity - "One of my first tasks was to create the Fair Wages Commission. Through its work, we now have a reasonable and predictable path to a minimum wage of more than $15 an hour, by 2021. Over the six months ahead, there is an agricultural economist looking at the piece rates for farm workers who harvest by hand – an overly complicated system. The commission is also looking at the difference between minimum wages and liveable wages, and how we can close that gap." (Full Story)

August 20, 2018 - Over 2,100 small business jobs created for youth in B.C. through Canada Summer Jobs - A strong middle class and a growing economy depend on young Canadians getting the skills and work experience they need to succeed. That's why the Government of Canada has nearly doubled the number of quality jobs created through the Canada Summer Jobs program since 2015, creating meaningful, paid work experience for almost 70,000 students per year. (Full Story)

August 17, 2018 - Quarterly updates on progress of High Risk Strategies and Industry Initiatives are now available - WorkSafeBC'S High Risk Strategies and Industry Initiatives identify and target industries and employers with a high risk of serious workplace injury and a significant contribution to the serious injury rate. A quarterly update on the outreach and inspection activities for each of the strategies and initiatives is now available. (Full Story)

July 31, 2018 - July/August issue of WorkSafe Magazine - Read the latest issue of WorkSafe Magazine, featuring articles on the process of preventing industrial disasters; staying safe during harvest season; and how the film industry focuses on mental health. (Full Story)

July 17, 2018 - New webpage for substance abuse and impairment in the workplace - A new webpage is available to help prepare for cannabis legalization and address concerns about substance use and impairment in the workplace. You'll find information about the effects of substance-use impairment in the workplace and the responsibilities of workers and employers to manage impairment. You can also access a primer on how to prepare for cannabis legislation. Physical or mental impairment in the workplace can create a significant risk of injury and death to the impaired worker, co-workers, and members of the public. (Full Story)

July 4, 2018 - Province releases Employer Health Tax implementation details - The Ministry of Finance has released an Employer Health Tax (EHT) tax notice, as part of the next steps toward the elimination of Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums and transition to the EHT. The tax notice includes implementation information on effective rates, calculation and scheduling, remuneration, payroll definition, rules regarding instalment payments, locational and threshold rules for non-profits, and other technical implementation details. (Full Story)

September 3, 2018 - Manitoba Small Business Optimism Improves in August - The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its latest monthly Business Barometer, which reveals optimism among Manitoba's small business owners increased in August to an index of 62.4, up from 60.1 in July, and remains slightly above the national average index of 61.6. 13% of businesses plan to increase employment in the next 3-4 months (17% nationally) and 13% of Manitoba businesses plan to decrease full-time employment (12% nationally). (Full Story)

September 2, 2018 - With jobs but no workers, Manitoba community recruits through provincial immigration program - At a time when Canada's refugee and immigration policy is being hotly debated, the small community of Morden has seen its population nearly double in the last decade. Much of that can be attributed to foreign workers recruited to Manitoba under the provincial nominee program. In 2015, Morden had a population of 8,668, an increase of 11 per cent from the 2011 census. The most recent estimates put the population of the city southwest of Winnipeg at about 9,000 people. (Full Story)

August 24, 2018 - Program to help newcomers gain workplace skills - A Winnipeg-based program which helps teach newcomers English is now giving participants the chance to gain hands-on work experience. For the first time, students in Altered Minds Inc.'s Living English program will concentrate on English four days a week and attend a workplace for the fifth. The placements are broken up into four categories: sewing, gardening and farming, leather work, and food preparation. It is funded by Manitoba's Refugee Employment Development Initiative. (Full Story)

August 10, 2018 - Manitoba's unemployment rate holds steady as national average declines - From June to July Manitoba's unemployment rate held at six per cent, while the national unemployment rate declined. According to a report by Statistics Canada, Manitoba added 3,500 full time jobs, while losing 7,000 part time jobs over the past month. These changes, along with a decrease in the size of Manitoba's workforce by 5,000 people, has resulted in the provincial unemployment rate to hold at six per cent, roughly the same as it was in July of 2017. (Full Story)

August 9, 2018 - Province Releases Reports on Sexual Harassment and Respect in the Workplace - The Manitoba government has released two reports looking at sexual harassment, harassment and respectful workplace policies and procedures in the civil service. The first report focuses on what was heard from employees about their experiences with sexual harassment throughout their careers in the Manitoba government.  The second report outlines specific recommendations from an external consultant, MLT Aikins, to improve policies and procedures related to harassment including sexual harassment. (Full Story)

July 31, 2018 - Manitoba not tracking labour complaints from short-term, casual workers - As a proposed class-action lawsuit aims to challenge labour laws that separate employees from independent contractors, a provincial spokesperson says the Employment Standards branch doesn't keep a tally on how many Manitobans share similar concerns. Manitoba receives about 2,000 complaints each year from workers who say employment standards aren't being followed. However, the province doesn't track how many of those complaints come from people who believe they're missing out on wages and benefits because they aren't technically considered employees. (Full Story)

September 13, 2018 - N.B., P.E.I. seek more skilled immigrants while N.S. sticks to original target - Nova Scotia's immigration department is standing by a decision to not seek more skilled foreign workers in 2018 as P.E.I. and New Brunswick have done. Despite leading the Maritime provinces with the number of applicants it could accept when the Atlantic Immigration Pilot was first launched, Nova Scotia is now being outpaced by New Brunswick. Nova Scotia Immigration Minister Lena Diab said her staff have filled 570 of its allotted 792 spots for 2018, and are on track to fill the rest by the end of the year. (Full Story)

September 7, 2018 - New Brunswick loses 1,100 jobs in August, labour force report shows - New Brunswick's economy lost 1,100 jobs and the unemployment rate increased to 8.3 per cent in August, according to Statistics Canada's monthly labour force survey. The province lost 1,700 full-time jobs even as it gained 700 part-time jobs last month. The labour force report, which was released on Friday morning, showed the unemployment rate climbed to 8.3 per cent last month, from 7.5 per cent in July. (Full Story)

August 20, 2018 - Government of Canada announces new supports for workers in seasonal industries - Through the new pilot project, an estimated 51,500 workers in seasonal industries will benefit from extra weeks of EI, including an estimated 7,000 workers in New Brunswick. In addition, the Government of Canada will continue to work with the Province of New Brunswick and other provincial and territorial governments to review the EI system with the goal of modernizing income support for workers. (Full Story)

August 20, 2018 - Some seasonal workers could get up to 5 more weeks of EI under pilot program - About 7,000 New Brunswickers working in seasonal industries could qualify for up to an additional five weeks of employment insurance under a $189-million pilot project announced by the federal Liberals on Monday. The program will be available immediately to eligible seasonal workers in the Madawaska-Charlotte and Restigouche-Albert EI economic regions who start a benefit period between Aug. 5 this year and May 30, 2020. It's designed to address the so-called EI black hole, the gap between when a seasonal worker's employment insurance benefits run out and when the worker's job starts up again. (Full Story)

August 16, 2018 - Regulatory changes to address violence and harassment in the workplace come into force April 1, 2019 - Regulatory changes addressing violence and harassment as workplace health and safety hazards will come into force on April 1, 2019, giving time for employers to complete any necessary risk assessments and put the necessary policies and procedures into place. Under the new regulatory changes, harassment and violence are defined as workplace hazards that affect health and safety. Sexual violence and harassment, domestic violence and intimate partner violence are also included. (Full Story)

August 16, 2018 - Private sector pay equity pilot program a success: minister - A pilot program aimed at expanding pay equity within the private sector is off to a successful start, according to Finance Minister Cathy Rogers. To date, 145 employers have received certificates for successfully completing the government's pay equity learning module. Pay equity is based upon the principle that wages should reflect the value of the job, regardless of whether it is mainly men or mainly women doing the job. (Full Story)

August 15, 2018 - Paid leave for individuals subject to domestic, intimate partner or sexual violence available Sept. 1 - Regulations providing workplace leave for individuals who experience domestic, intimate partner or sexual violence will take effect Sept. 1. The new regulations under the Employment Standards Act allow leave of up to 10 days to be used intermittently or continuously, and up to 16 weeks could be used in one continuous period, of which the first five days would be paid. (Full Story)

August 7, 2018 - Opportunities NB releases first quarterly report on approval and payment information - A report outlining Opportunities NB's approval and payment information for the first quarter of fiscal 2018-19 is available online. The information to be posted includes the approval date for investments, company names, the type of financial instrument used, and the total amount of each investment. One of the reported investment types are Payroll rebates - which are performance based and only given to a company once it has met criteria set out in its agreement with Opportunities NB. The company will receive a payroll rebate annually, based on the percentage of the salary of every job filled that meets the conditions outlined in the agreement. (Full Story)

July 17, 2018 - WorkSafeNB task force report submitted - The workers' compensation task force was announced in May 2017 to identify short-term solutions and establish a long-term plan to ensure the system is transparent, accountable, predictable and sustainable. The 28 recommendations in the report address rate-setting, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Tribunal, occupational health and safety, return to work, rehabilitation, benefits, governance and the three-day waiting period. (Full Story)

July 10, 2018 - More than 2,000 summer jobs filled through SEED program - More than 2,000 students are working in non-profit, private sector and municipal government jobs this summer with support from the Student Employment Experience Development (SEED) program. Of the 2,056 people participating, 1,334 are university students, 229 are college students and 493 are students who graduated from high school this year. (Full Story)

August 30, 2018 - New Call Centre to Create up to 500 Jobs in St. John's - The Governments of Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada are teaming up to provide a $1.725 million investment to S&P Data, which will support the establishment of a 500 person in-bound contact centre in St. John's. Over the next five years, it is expected that the S&P Data contact centre will generate up to $131 million in economic activity. With the St. John's location scheduled to open in November 2018, the company is presently recruiting employees. (Full Story)

August 29, 2018 - WorkplaceNL minister, industry meeting on safety, compensation matters - Due to recent changes to occupational health and safety and workers' compensation policies, the WorkplaceNL minister is meeting with industry to discuss changes and work towards improving safety. Within the past several months, the income replacement rate for injured workers in Newfoundland and Labrador was increased from 80 per cent to 85 per cent of their pre-injury (before tax) net income. (Full Story)

August 20, 2018 - Government of Canada announces new supports in Newfoundland and Labrador for workers in seasonal industries - Workers in seasonal industries are an important part of Canada's growing economy. Yet not all Canadians have benefited from the near record low unemployment, and in certain regions there are gaps in support from the Employment Insurance (EI) program. Through the new pilot project, an estimated 51,500 workers in seasonal industries will benefit from extra weeks of EI, including an estimated 9,500 workers in Newfoundland and Labrador. (Full Story)

August 20, 2018 - Working on improvements to help injured workers - In Newfoundland and Labrador, injured workers are entitled to receive wage-loss and health-care benefits as prescribed under the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act and Regulations. If a worker or employer is not satisfied with a decision on a claim, the first level of appeal is internal to WorkplaceNL (which administers the act). The independent Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Review Division then handles the second level of appeal. (Full Story)

August 9, 2018 - Newfoundland and Labrador job vacancy rate declines slightly - The national job vacancy rate rose to 3.1 per cent in the second quarter of the year, but in Newfoundland and Labrador, where the labour market is weaker than the national average, the rate dropped ever so slightly and sits at 1.5 per cent, second-lowest in Canada behind only Prince Edward Island. According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business's (CFIB) help wanted report, there were 2,300 vacant jobs in the provincial market as of the second quarter. (Full Story)

August 7, 2018 - Minister Continues Dialogue with Industry on Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Matters - The Honourable Sherry Gambin-Walsh, Minister of Service NL and Minister Responsible for WorkplaceNL, attended a meeting yesterday that provided an opportunity to discuss workplace health, safety and compensation issues in the fishery, hospitality and fabrication industries, including recent changes to the workplace compensation system. Within the past several months, the income replacement rate for injured workers was increased from 80 to 85 per cent of their pre-injury (before tax) net income. Additionally, WorkplaceNL modernized its mental stress policy to recognize that work-related mental stress issues may be caused by exposure to multiple traumatic events. (Full Story)

August 3, 2018 - Federal and Provincial Governments Announce Agreement to Give Workers the Tools They Need to Find and Keep Good Jobs - The Governments of Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada have signed agreements that will see Canada provide the province with over $900 million over six years to invest in their workers. This includes the province's nearly $80 million share of the additional investments announced in Budget 2017. This increase means an estimated 13,000 more workers in Newfoundland and Labrador will benefit over the six years. (Full Story)

July 30, 2018 - New Immigration Categories Enable Newcomers to Establish Businesses, Create Jobs - The Provincial Government today announced the introduction of two new categories under the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Nominee Program (NLPNP) - International Graduate Entrepreneur and International Entrepreneur. The International Graduate Entrepreneur category is open to graduates of Memorial University and College of the North Atlantic who wish to create or co-own and manage a business in the province. The International Entrepreneur category is open to prospective immigrants who wish to settle in the province and be engaged in the daily operation of a business they create, join or take over. (Full Story)

July 23, 2018 - Provincial Government Provides Updates on Job Creation Partnerships Projects - The Provincial Government continues to support job creation and economic growth through the Job Creation Partnerships (JCP) program. To date this fiscal year, 168 projects employing 780 people have been approved totalling $7.5 million. Budget 2018 allocates $10.5 million to the program through the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Market Development Agreement. Applications are being accepted until September 28, 2018. The JCP program supports projects that provide individuals eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) with opportunities to improve their employability through work experience. These projects benefit the participants as well their communities. (Full Story)

July 31, 2018 - WSCC responds to recommendations from the Office of the Chief Coroner of the Northwest Territories - The WSCC has responded to the recommendations made by the Office of the Chief Coroner of the Northwest Territories following the coroner's investigation into the death of David John Vinnicombe, a worker who was fatally injured at a worksite near Inuvik, Northwest Territories on June 28, 2016. The WSCC encourages all employers to regularly review their Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) programs and to participate in independent audits to measure their safety progress. (Full Story)

September 13, 2018 - More Leave Time for Nova Scotia Employees and their Families - Government is making changes to the Labour Standards Code to provide employees with more time to support and care for their families. The changes, introduced today, Sept. 13, enhance combined pregnancy/parental leave, parental leave and caregiving leave. This aligns with recent federal changes to employment insurance benefits. (Full Story)

September 5, 2018 - Atlantic Canada needs labourers: study - Labour shortages are a fact of life across Canada, says Pierre Cléroux, vice-president, research and chief economist at the Business Development Bank, and it's going to be that way for some time to come. And as hard as it may be to believe, considering the chronic high unemployment in this region, Cléroux said a BDC study released Wednesday shows the problem is more acute in Atlantic Canada than in any other region in the country. In an interview, Cléroux said the labour shortage in Atlantic Canada is not likely to improve for at least 10 years. (Full Story)

September 4, 2018 - WCB Nova Scotia releases 2019 employer assessment rates - WCB Nova Scotia employer assessment rates will remain stable in 2019. The average assessment rate has been $2.65 per $100 of payroll for the past 15 years. Individual assessment rates will be changing for some employers, based on both their business and industry safety records: 56 per cent of Nova Scotia employers will pay the same or less in 2019 than they did this year, while 44 per cent will see an increase. (Full Story)

August 29, 2018 - Expanded Program Connects Youth to Resource Sector Jobs - Students looking to gain work experience and explore careers within their community, now have more opportunities through the new Career Rising program. The Career Rising program is delivered in partnership with the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council, providing skills development camps and work experience within the agricultural and resource sectors. The program supports dependents of clients receiving income assistance through the Employment Support and Income Assistance program and youth in care (ages 15 to 19). (Full Story)

August 22, 2018 - Nova Scotia injury rate steady in first quarter: WCB - According to the Workers' Compensation Board of Nova Scotia, in the first quarter of the year, while there's been progress in the long-term, workplace injuries continue to affect workers, employers and their families. There were 1,331 time-loss injuries from January to March of 2018, which is down slightly from the same period in last year (there were 1,342 injuries). The injury rate for Q1, which is calculated as the number of injuries per 100 WCB-covered workers, is 1.76. (Full Story)

August 8, 2018 - More Jobs for Nova Scotia Students - Students across the province are gaining valuable work experience through additional jobs supported by the provincial government. Two-hundred new positions were added to the Co-operative Education Incentive Program this year for a total of more than 700 work placements. Wage subsidies are also being provided for another 800 jobs with non-profit community organizations through the Student Summer Skills Incentive Program. (Full Story)

August 2, 2018 - New Immigration Stream to Address Labour Market Demands - Innovation and immigration are two key ingredients that will be used to respond to the province's unique labour market needs through the creation of a new, responsive stream. The new Labour Market Priorities Stream is a flexible and innovative approach to addressing market demands by proactively seeking skilled professionals in specific sectors where there are recognized needs. (Full Story)

September 6, 2018 - Nunavut Employers Grant - The Department of Family Services is accepting applications for the Nunavut Employers Grant, for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The Grant encourages employers to provide training or professional development to Nunavummiut, leading to a new position, a promotion, increased pay within the organization, or regular employment. The Grant covers two-thirds of the eligible costs for each trainee, and funding is subject to availability in the form of a reimbursement to the employer based on the successful completion of training. (Full Story)

August 24, 2018 - N.W.T. doing 'much better than last year' at recruiting teachers, despite national shortage - As Canada faces a nationwide shortage of teachers, the Northwest Territories is also feeling the strain to fill teaching positions in time for the school year. Yet despite the scarcity, concerted efforts across the territory have been getting real results, according to the territorial government and teachers' association. NWT Teachers' Association president Fraser Oliver said the Northwest Territories is doing "much better than last year." He estimates over one hundred new teachers came North this year. (Full Story)

July 13, 2018 - Inuit employment, staff retention a focus for Nunavut's new HR department - It's a need for more training, staff retention, respect in the workplace and higher Inuit employment rates that is leading the Government of Nunavut to set up a separate department for human resources. The last time the GN had a dedicated department for human resources was in 2012. When that department was then dissolved, HR roles were divided, so that recruitment and training around Inuit employment in the GN were handled by EIA, while Finance dealt with general staffing and human resources needs for existing staff. (Full Story)

September 14, 2018 - Innovative project helps Indigenous people become job-ready - Ensuring Indigenous people have the essential skills they need to benefit from job training and to launch their careers is a key priority of the Government of Canada. Strong literacy and essential skills provide the foundation for learning all other skills and enable people to better find and keep jobs, and to adapt and succeed at work. Part of the Going the Distance project led by the Further Education Society, this pilot is helping Indigenous people to improve their essential skills and to prepare for jobs in the tourism and hospitality sectors. (Full Story)

September 13, 2018 - Ontario Businesses Won't Give Up Fight Against Minimum Wage Increase - Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has lost the battle against minimum wage increases set in motion by Katherine Wynne, but the business lobby group will likely win the war against minimum wage workers with Doug Ford on its side. In a news release entitled "Ontario Chamber Calls on Provincial Government to Immediately Repeal Bill 148" dated Aug. 30, 2018, OCC framed its campaign against the previous provincial Liberal government's legislation for a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour on Jan. 1, 2019 as public-interest advocacy for prudence in public policy making. (Full Story)

September 7, 2018 - Employment numbers in Ontario fell by 80,000 last month - After two consecutive monthly increases, employment numbers in Ontario fell by 80,000 in August and the Ontario unemployment rate rose 0.3 percentage points in August, to 5.7%. Those are the latest figures from the Government of Canada's most recent Labour Force Survey (LFS). That said, the survey also found that full-time employment held steady compared with the previous month, with year-over-year gains totalling 172,000 (+3.0%). In the 12 months to August, part-time work decreased by 93,000 (-6.7%). (Full Story)

August 20, 2018 - The difference between employee disagreements and harassment - Harassment is something employers must take seriously, and whenever an employee complains of workplace harassment, action must be taken. But what qualifies as a harassment complaint? There is a difference between workplace harassment and employee disagreements, especially if a big part of the problem is a particular employee who just doesn't get along with people. (Full Story)

August 30, 2018 - Business group calls for ‘full repeal' of Ontario's new workplace protections - The umbrella body representing 60,000 Ontario small business owners is calling on the provincial government to fully repeal the most sweeping changes to workplace protections in decades - including a higher minimum wage, equal pay protections for temporary workers, and paid emergency leave days. The legislation introduced under Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne last year was aimed at strengthening protections for vulnerable workers and resulted in a $2.60 increase in the minimum wage to $14 an hour in 2018, and a bump to $15 by 2019. (Full Story)

August 17, 2018 - Canada-Ontario Job Grant More Successful Than Ever - A program to help employers hire and train staff is proving to be increasingly popular. The Canada-Ontario Job Grant provides direct financial support for employers (up to $10,000 per person) who wish to purchase training for their workforce. It is available to small, medium and large businesses with a plan to deliver short-term training to existing and new employees. (Full Story)

August 16, 2018 - Minimum wage and jobs increase together - When the Liberal government announced that Ontario's minimum wage would jump to $15, there were fears that minimum wage earners would lose jobs. The Bank of Canada estimated that between 30,000 and 140,000 fewer jobs would be created. Fast forward ten months, and Ontario has seen its lowest unemployment rate in almost two decades. 60,000 jobs were added in July alone. (Full Story)

August 12, 2018 - Ontario's employment boom defies minimum-wage naysayers - In spite of some predictions to the contrary, Ontario's sharp minimum wage increase hasn't killed its labour market. Business owners and economists fretted the 21 per cent wage hike, which took effect Jan. 1, would cause a slowdown. But the latest employment report shows the province's jobless rate fell to 5.4 per cent in July, the lowest since 2000, and lower than every other province except British Columbia. (Full Story)

September 12, 2018 - P.E.I. government scrapping scandal-plagued immigration program - P.E.I.'s Economic Development and Tourism Minister Chris Palmer says the decision to scrap a scandal-plagued immigration program came down to low retention. The government of P.E.I. announced on Wednesday morning it would no longer accept applicants to the entrepreneurship stream of the provincial nominee program. The program allowed potential immigrants to gain permanent residency after paying a $200,000 deposit as long as they established a business. (Full Story)

September 7, 2018 - P.E.I. job numbers slip after 3 record months - The total number of jobs on P.E.I. fell slightly in August, after three consecutive record-setting months, according to a Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey released Friday morning. Total jobs dropped from 76,500 to 76,200. A drop in the number of people looking for work led to a lower unemployment rate, from 9.5 per cent to 9.3 per cent. This is the fourth month in a row the rate has been below 10 per cent. (Full Story)

September 4, 2018 - Labour trend shortage will continue on P.E.I.: business organization - With many small businesses across P.E.I. facing labour shortages, more business owners are facing challenges and limitations as they try to keep the doors open by doing the work themselves. Erin McGrath-Gaudet, the director of PEI and Intergovernmental Policy for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business says it's a trend has slowly gained momentum over the past decade. (Full Story)

August 28, 2018 - Hundreds of job opportunities await on WorkPEI - For anyone planning a move to Prince Edward Island, or current residents looking for work, the first stop in finding a job should be There are currently more than 660 job postings on the site that represent 1,500-plus actual job openings. Of the listings in July 2018, three quarters were offering full-time work and more than half were for permanent positions. Job seekers can also create an online resume on WorkPEI to be seen by more than 1,000 Prince Edward Island member employers. (Full Story)

August 20, 2018 - Thousands of P.E.I. workers to benefit from return of EI pilot project - The federal government announced a new pilot project Monday morning to provide an additional five weeks of employment insurance coverage for some seasonal workers. The government estimates 2,600 workers on Prince Edward Island will benefit from the program. $189 million has been allocated to implement the new pilot program. The five additional weeks of EI support are available to eligible employees across the province. There's also new money for skills training and other employment supports. (Full Story)

August 17, 2018 - New EI requirements have some Islanders scrambling for more work - A rare increase to the number of working hours required to receive employment insurance has left some Islanders trying to find more work, just as many seasonal jobs wrap up on the Island. For more than a year, Islanders living outside the Charlottetown region have needed just 420 hours of work to qualify for EI. This month, the number of qualifying hours jumped to 490, as the area's unemployment rate fell below 12 per cent. (Full Story)

July 8, 2018 - Workers Compensation Board announces new grant program - A new grant program is now available through the Workers Compensation Board. The program will provide financial supports to help fund innovative workplace solutions and training and educational opportunities for Island employers and workers. Organizations can apply for funding under two streams - workplace innovation and training and education. (Full Story)

September 14, 2018 - Positive Feedback for Saskatchewan Labour Market - The numbers are in and Saskatchewan saw a surge in full-time employment within the province hinting towards a strong labour-force within the province. Statistics Canada released a report stating there was an increase of 2800 full-time jobs compared to last August and a year-over-year comparison shows jobs were up by 1500. Although overall job positions are increasing, that is not to say that all of those positions are being filled by local Saskatchewan residents. (Full Story)

September 14, 2018 - Canada funding Indigenous forestry jobs in Saskatchewan - Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, Amarjeet Sohi, announced $400,000 for the Meadow Lake Tribal Council to sustain over 400 jobs near its NorSask Forest Products facility in Meadow Lake, Sask. Funded through the Indigenous Forestry Initiative (IFI), part of the Government of Canada's Softwood Lumber Action Plan, the contributions will support Meadow Lake Tribal Council in its efforts to enhance safety, capacity and production efficiencies. (Full Story)

September 7, 2018 - Unemployment rate inches up in Saskatchewan despite job gains - The unemployment rate inched upwards in Saskatchewan during August as job gains were offset by more people entering the workforce. Statistics Canada reported Friday 1,400 new jobs were created in the province during the month, all full-time positions as 900 part-time jobs were lost. There was little change in the number of people employed from a year ago, with 1,200 more people working last month than in August 2017. (Full Story)

September 7, 2018 - 2,800 New Full Time-Jobs Year-Over-Year - Today's Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey report shows that full-time employment in Saskatchewan increased by 2,800 jobs compared to August 2017.  Year-over-year jobs were up by 1,500. Employment increased by 1,400 jobs in Saskatchewan month-to-month (seasonally adjusted), compared to a loss of 51,600 jobs nationally.  Saskatchewan's unemployment rate was 6.7 per cent (seasonally adjusted). (Full Story)

September 4, 2018 - Study shows Sask. workers saddled with high debt, low savings - A new survey by the Canadian Payroll Association (CPA) shows Saskatchewan workers faring the worst nationally when it comes to economic indicators such as savings and debt. The survey, released today, also shows Saskatchewan employees have one of the lowest outlooks on the future of their province's economy. The tenth annual survey found that half of Saskatchewan employees live paycheque to paycheque, the highest proportion nationally. It also found that only 35 per cent of Saskatchewanians think their local economy will improve, compared to 43 per cent of Manitobans and 60 per cent of Albertans. (Full Story)

August 24, 2018 - Campaign calling on health care workers to report workplace violence - A campaign raising awareness of violence against health care workers in Saskatchewan is calling for health professionals to report violent incidents instead of considering them a regular part of the job. Right now, SASWH gets incident report information from the Saskatchewan Workers Compensation Board, but Cripps said on-site reports would be more valuable because they provide “in-the-moment” information that could be used to more clearly identify problem areas. (Full Story)

August 10, 2018 - Saskatchewan loses 4,200 jobs in July - Fewer people were working in Saskatchewan in July as the economy shed 4,200 jobs. Statistics Canada reported Friday the province lost 7,700 full-time positions during the month. That was offset by gains in part-time positions. There were 567,800 people employed during July, little changed from a year ago, with the number of people in the labour force declining by 2,400 to 607,800. (Full Story)

July 19, 2018 - EI beneficiaries continue to decline in Saskatchewan - The number of people in Saskatchewan receiving employment insurance benefits continues to fall. Statistics Canada reported Thursday 16,900 people received regular EI benefits during May, a drop of 1.7 per cent from the previous month. On a year-over-year basis, the number of recipients has dropped by 10.7 per cent. (Full Story)

September 8, 2018 - Yukon unemployment rate hits record low of 2.3 per cent - New jobs numbers from the Yukon Bureau of Statistics paint a rosy picture - the territory's labour force has grown since last year, and unemployment has hit a record low. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in August was 2.3 per cent, down significantly from a year ago, when it was at 7.4 per cent. Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate also dropped over that period, but not as dramatically - from 7 per cent in August 2016 to 6.2 per cent in August 2017. (Full Story)

September 6, 2018 - Public input sought on proposed expanded leave benefits - The Government of Yukon is seeking input from families and employers on recent changes to federal employment insurance benefits for parental leave and leaves for family caregiving purposes. The public is asked for their feedback on whether to align leave allotments available within Yukon's Employment Standards Act with these changes. (Full Story)

September 3, 2018 - Some thoughts on Labour Day and the living wage - The idea that workers should be paid a ‘living wage' is not a new one, emerging with the rapid expansion of industrial capitalism in the late 19th century. The concept was taken up by early trade unionists as a principle to guide wage bargaining with employers. Most provincial minimum wage laws were introduced following the First World War. However, they only applied to women, were set on an industry-by-industry basis, and averaged one-half to two-thirds of the fair wage laws applied to male dominated industries. (Full Story)

August. 20, 2018 - Ottawa announces extended EI pilot for seasonal workers in Atlantic Canada, Quebec and Yukon - Seasonal workers in certain areas of the country will get up to five more weeks of employment insurance benefits under a $189-million pilot project announced Monday by Ottawa. An estimated 51,500 workers - in parts of Atlantic Canada, Quebec and Yukon - will benefit from the extra weeks of employment insurance. (Full Story)

No place for harassment in the workplace

Be proactive, join the 'You-Too' movement

It's almost one year since the #MeToo movement burst onto the scene and created an explosion of public awareness about sexual harassment in the workplace. Over this time, women, one after another, have shared their stories and helped us recognize and accept that this behaviour really happened and continues to happen.

Actually, the #MeToo movement has literally opened the floodgates as more and more women bravely continue to come forward with their stories. It's shocking and exhausting to listen to these stories, but there is no way around it, these are real stories with real hurt and real personal damage.

Frankly, up to now, Manitobans might be feeling a bit smug that we've avoided a local #MeToo news blitz. But, believe me, the silence was broken recently with the explosive accusations of harassment, sexual harassment and racism being experienced by women in our northern communities. There's no doubt, megaprojects and the literal invasion of external workers into any community will certainly change the dynamics.

Yet, let's look at the positive. These challenges have served to awaken leaders to accept the reality of sexual harassment and harassment in the workplace, as well as the risks to their reputation. And, at the same time, it has clearly identified the need for a complete review of what's going on in their organization and how their institutionalized cultural environment contributes to these challenges.

For instance, the Manitoba government recently completed two sexual-harassment surveys of their employees. A large number of employees participated both through in-person facilitated meetings as well as surveys. Participants were asked to share their experiences of sexual harassment as well as commenting on policies and reporting processes.

The results are being used to develop a plan to transform the government workplace culture.

With this in mind, I want to suggest a new movement. I'll call it a "You-too" movement. In other words, I would like to see all organizations being proactive in taking this issue seriously before an unfortunate situation arises as is the case we are seeing right now.

Therefore, the "You-Too" movement would see every organization do a "deep dive" into their cultural environment to see where and how they can transform their work environments so that all employees have an environment where they feel safe from all kinds of harassment and where respect, diversity and inclusion are honoured. The "You-Too" movement asks that you not wait until there is a crisis, but instead, join the movement to review and realign your workplace.

OK, where does one start? The following guidelines will give you a good beginning"

Start at the top: And I mean the top. This includes the board, if you have one, as well as the executives in private organizations and/or not-for-profit organizations. Boards and their members set the tone for their organization. They are the ones that establish the organizational climate and the values that executives carry out. When realigning boards and executive roles, organizations need to ensure the diversity of its leaders not only represent the broader range of values represented in our province, but truly understand the issues faced by their workers and customers.

Realign your competencies: Up to this point in time, and in many cases, technical skills have been more valued than people skills when recruiting for senior executives and/or board members. In my view, this is what has contributed to a lack of attention to, and acceptance of, the potential people problems that can arise. Human-resource professionals can certainly attest to the fact that getting leaders to focus on HR issues has always been a struggle. Therefore, when advertising for senior leaders, search committees must include skills and experience in dealing with human-resource issues in general, but also the more specific skills related to a true understanding of harassment, diversity and racism.

Conduct a policy review: Policies are often considered dry and boring, and as a result, updating them is often neglected. Not only are the frequent updates, changes to employment standards and workplace safety not updated, corporate policies are often not well written and not well understood. Not only that, employees are given a cursory glance at the beginning of their tenure and never set eyes on a policy again. Policies, as poor as they are, become institutionalized, become part of the culture and set the scene for unexpected challenges. So, as part of the "You-Too" movement, get your policies updated.

Management training: It's the manager's job to know the HR policies inside and out, and to apply them consistently and effectively. They need to know how to handle situations as they arise, and they need to bring to the leader's attention policy issues and behaviours that contradict the type of culture they are trying to create. This means ongoing training and frequent discussions regarding the nuances of applying their policies within a diverse, multicultural work environment.

Employee training: Our experience as human-resource professionals and workplace investigators demonstrates that most employees do not fully understand the meaning of harassment, sexual harassment, bullying and/or racism. Yes, they superficially understand the words, but they don't truly realize and/or accept the kinds of behaviour that contributes to the issues, nor how their behaviour damages another party. Since individuals live by their own personal cultural norms, they are shocked when accused of misbehaviour. Thus, training is extremely important. I also see this training being more in-depth than a quick one-hour online demonstration that doesn't allow for multiple examples unique to an organization. And, I see the need for ongoing repeat training as well as a review of specific policies related to this issue.

Consultative resolution: Up to this point, our Canadian culture seems to pit one person against the other when attempting to resolve workplace situations. There is a focus on who is right and who is wrong. I would like to suggest that where possible, and when appropriate, that organizations take a more mediated and consultative approach to workplace challenges. For instance, our Indigenous culture has shown us that healing circles and restorative justice efforts can be effective, and I am confident there are opportunities to apply these techniques to help improve our corporate organizations. Consider making this part of your "You-Too" movement.

The #MeToo movement has literally opened up our eyes to the serious workplace issues of harassment, sexual harassment and now racism that have been lurking in the dark. These issues are there, they are real and must be dealt with. I applaud those individuals who have stepped forward with their complaints. I also applaud those organizations that are finally stepping up to the plate and doing something. Yes, it will take time, but at least something is now being done. So, as a leader, don't wait until a crisis rocks your organization, join the "You-Too" movement and ensure that your workplace is a safe place to work.

Article presented by permission from Barbara J. Bowes, President of Legacy Bowes Group, the author of eight books, a radio personality, speaker, an executive coach and workshop leader. She can be reached at

Software Updates

GrandMaster Suite (v13.04)

  • Corrected a problem with Workers Compensation report where the report was not being forwarded to the screen when requested.
  • Corrected issue where the Username and Password were sometimes grayed out working with email pay stubs.
  • Changed Workers Compensation report to include employees that had a WCB code, but a zero rate.
  • Corrected a problem with deduction code 99 where the second parameter was being overlaid by the 4th parameter.
  • Corrected issue where the program asked for file name when importing an ODBC file with hours.
  • Corrected a problem with printing benefits on pay stubs with background.
  • Corrected issue where the system asked for a default date when importing a comma delimited file with defined dates.
  • Fixed issue where warnings were being given on terminated employees about rate changes when calculating a pay.


  • Enhanced accuracy for auditing and failed user login reporting.
  • Recruitment can now be used as a standalone module.
  • Added new icon fonts for the wrap, font size and reset buttons.
  • Increased the size of the wrap, font size, and reset icon fonts.
  • Disabled row editing and group deletion in the Transactions page.
  • Added messages when copy to clipboard is selected in the Recruitment module.
  • Improved support for Recruitment webpage display on mobile devices.
  • Changed the report viewer to use a PDF document viewer instead of HTML. The PDF can now be printed and downloaded directly from the viewer dialog.

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