Payroll News Canada - Employment Articles

December 2019 - 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

December 2019 - Taxable Benefits, Year-End Bonuses, Awards and Gifts - According to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), a gift or award that you give an employee is a taxable benefit from employment, whether it is cash, near-cash, or non-cash. However, they do have an administrative policy that exempts non-cash gifts and awards in some cases. Cash and near-cash gifts or awards are always a taxable benefit for the employee. A near-cash item is one that functions as cash, such as a gift certificate or gift card, or an item that can be easily converted to cash, such as gold nuggets, securities, or stocks. Click Here to learn more.

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

Canadian Federal Payroll and HR News

December 6, 2019 - Canada loses 71,200 jobs in biggest employment drop in decade - Canada's job market unexpectedly weakened for a second-straight month, registering the biggest drop in employment since 2009 and casting doubt on the resiliency of the domestic outlook. The economy lost 71,200 jobs in November, Statistics Canada said Friday in Ottawa, following a decline of 1,800 in the prior month. That pares the total number of jobs added this year to around 285,100. (Full Story)

December 3, 2019 - Two-thirds of employers to exceed payroll budgets in 2020: survey - More than two-thirds (66 per cent) of Canada's employers are set to exceed payroll budgets to attract new hires while more than one-third (34 per cent) plan to boost salaries for existing staff in 2020, according to Hays Canada. Nationally, 44 per cent of employers plan to increase salaries by more than two per cent this year, found its survey of more than 3,000 employers and employees. One-third (32 per cent) were unsure and 25 per cent do not plan to offer salary increases of more than two per cent. (Full Story)

November 20, 2019 - These are the hardest jobs to fill in Canada - According to a report from Indeed, many employers are having a hard time filling certain roles in various industries across the country. The rankings are based on the percentage of job postings per position that remained vacant 60 days or more after being posted. According to Bernard, the five hardest job positions to fill in Ontario in ascending order are: civil designer, registered nurse, solutions engineer, senior geotechnical engineer, and senior test engineer. (Full Story)

November 22, 2016 - Payroll Deductions Formulas for Computer Programs - The January 1, 2020, version of Guide T4127, Payroll Deductions Formulas for Computer Programs is now available on the CRA website. This guide contains the formulas you need to determine federal, provincial (except Quebec), and territorial income taxes, Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions, and Employment Insurance (EI) premium deductions. The formulas also allow you to calculate payroll deductions for special cases such as commission, pension income, bonuses, and retroactive pay increases. (Full Story)

November 22, 2019 - Editorial: Will Canadians ever really retire? - I think it's fair to say that retirement security is top of mind for the majority of Canadians. And politicians are listening: it was constructive to see all the major parties coming up with measures to deal with the issue during the most recent election campaign. In my last editorial, I summarized the various election platforms and pressed the point that Canada's workforces, and workplaces, are evolving. (Full Story)

November 14, 2019 - Workers at risk of losing jobs to AI can be retrained for health care, RBC says - A new report says some of the more than one million Canadian workers who could lose their jobs to machines could fill growing gaps in the nation's health-care system with the right training now. The issue is time and money for a sector that previous research suggests doesn't invest as much as other industries do in skills training. (Full Story)

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

December 2, 2019 - Alberta's new farm safety act gets warm response - There were no surprises when the United Conservative government unveiled its new farm workplace safety legislation - and that's one of the things that farm leaders like about it. As promised, the legislation - dubbed the Farm Freedom and Safety Act - will allow farm employers to purchase private insurance (instead of having to have a Workers Compensation Board of Alberta account) and removes the right of farm workers to unionize or bargain collectively. (Full Story)

November 21, 2019 - Alberta overhauls workplace rules for farms, small operations to be exempt - The majority of Alberta farm operations would no longer have to follow employment standards rules or have workplace insurance under a bill introduced in the legislature. The bill also states that farmworkers would no longer have the right to unionize or bargain collectively. (Full Story)

November 8, 2019 - White collar jobs on the rise in Alberta: Statistics Canada - White-collar jobs including ones in the medical and scientific sector are on the rise in Alberta while the oil and gas industry continues to struggle. The latest Statistics Canada labour force survey, released Friday, has Alberta's employment up marginally by 0.3 per cent from September to October. That equates to roughly 14,400 more full-time jobs, however, the province lost 6,700 part-time jobs. (Full Story)

November 7, 2019 - More funding for skilled trades education - Skills Canada Alberta funding will be increased to $8 million over the next four years, providing young Albertans with additional opportunities to explore rewarding careers in the trades. The increased investment, to $2 million from $1.5 million annually, will help expand exposure to trades and technology at junior high and high schools, and enable more high school and post-secondary students to compete at regional, provincial and national skilled trades competitions with Skills Canada Alberta. (Full Story)

October 28, 2019 - Building Alberta's skilled workforce - The Government of Alberta will triple the amount of annual funding to CAREERS: The Next Generation to more than $6 million a year by 2022-23, providing 6,000 students with paid internships and skilled trades and technologies learning opportunities in elementary, junior high and high schools. The funding top-up will double the number of schools involved with CAREERS to 1,000 from 494, and quadruple the number of learning opportunities for students. (Full Story)

October 28, 2019 - Eliminated summer employment program a surprise for students - Alberta's Summer Temporary Employment Program is being axed - again. The STEP program is no longer being funded after the 2019 program is all paid out. And students across the province have been caught off-guard. Eliminating the program, according to the budget, will save about $32 million over four years. Employers and youth will still be supported by existing programs and services, according to the government's document. (Full Story)

December 5, 2019 - B.C. says bye bye to Medical Services Plan premiums - The last Medical Service Plan premium bills are now in the mail as British Columbians get set to ring in the new year by joining all Canadians in not paying monthly rates for health care. Premiums under the province's MSP will be eliminated starting Jan. 1, saving individuals up to $900 a year. Families stand to save up to $1,800 annually. The total amount of the net tax cut is $800 million. (Full Story)

December 1, 2019 - New law protecting whistleblowers now in force - Current and past government employees who bring forward concerns about serious wrongdoing or who come under investigation have more protection, as the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA) comes into force. The act protects employees who participate in PIDA investigations from reprisals, such as demotion or termination, and ensures employees under investigation are treated fairly. (Full Story)

November 29, 2019 - How to find and keep skilled workers a critical focus of B.C. associations - Finding, keeping and motivating a skilled and enthusiastic workforce is at the top of the of most British Columbia construction contractors' to-do lists. Many contractors, however, are so busy that they don't have time to give HR (human resources) matters the attention it needs, says Andrea Ringrose, education manager of the Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA). (Full Story)

November 27, 2019 - Millworkers now eligible for employment assistance - Canfor workers here idled on Fridays when the sawmill isn't operating can now begin collecting federal employment insurance benefits for the day they aren't on the job. Canfor submitted its application for the program earlier this fall but only received word this month that benefits would be paid effective Nov. 17, company official Michelle Ward says. (Full Story)

November 14, 2019 - Opening doors to trades training for youth, women - New funding is being invested in thousands of youth, women and under-represented groups to get the training and support they need for apprenticeships and employment in the skilled trades. $12.4 million in funding will support seven new programs to help 2,036 women and other under-represented groups access opportunities for pre-apprenticeship training, apprenticeship services and employment. (Full Story)

November 8, 2019 - B.C. adds 15,300 jobs in October, reversing months of losses - B.C. is correcting course following months of job losses stretching back to the summer. The province added 15,300 jobs to the economy in October, according to data released Friday (November 8) from Statistics Canada. The gains helped push the unemployment rate down 0.1% to 4.7% - taking back the country's lowest unemployment rate from Quebec. (Full Story)

November 4, 2019 - Celebrating skilled trades during Apprenticeship Recognition Month - From Nov. 4 to 30, 2019, B.C.'s apprentices are being recognized as their contributions and success in building and maintaining thriving communities throughout the province are acknowledged. More people are entering into skilled trades apprenticeship, and the numbers of certificates of qualification are also increasing in B.C., reflecting the rising number of opportunities and a growing understanding of the value of trades careers. (Full Story)

November 28, 2019 - Province Implementing Changes To Workers Compensation Act - The Manitoba government has introduced proposed legislation that would implement significant changes to The Workers Compensation Act. Proposed changes include: reinstating a cap on maximum insurable earnings; creating an employer adviser office; establishing a schedule of occupational diseases; expanding and clarifying enforcement and collection mechanisms; changing the process for the appointment of board members to the WCB, and; specifying that The Workers Compensation Board is not a government agency for the purposes of The Financial Administration Act. (Full Story)

November 28, 2019 - Province Introduces Workplace Safety And Health Amendment Act That Would Streamline And Strengthen Programs And Services - The Workplace Safety and Health Amendment Act would reduce duplication, strengthen penalties for serious workplace infractions and improve the efficiency of services, Finance Minister Scott Fielding announced today. The bill would strengthen deterrents for the most serious contraventions and would better align Manitoba with other jurisdictions.  First offence maximum penalties would increase under the act to $500,000 from $250,000 and to $1,000,000 from $500,000 for a second or subsequent offence. (Full Story)

November 27, 2019 - Government Introduces Legislation That Would Change The Pension Benefits Act - The Manitoba government is moving ahead with reforms to strengthen its current pension benefits legislation and provide Manitobans more flexibility, Finance Minister Scott Fielding announced today. Provincial legislation exists to safeguard employees' rights to benefits promised under employment pension plans.  The proposed changes are based on recommendations from the Pension Commission and feedback from online consultation. (Full Story)

November 27, 2019 - Raising minimum wage for city workers would cost Winnipeg $350K: report - It would cost the city $350,000 to raise the minimum wage all of its workers make to $15 an hour, according to a report set to go before the mayor's inner circle. The executive policy committee will revisit the issue of a fair wage policy, after directing the administrators to look into how much it would cost on Oct. 8. The report said four per cent of current City of Winnipeg employees make minimum wage, which is $11.65 an hour, including part-time casual and summer students. (Full Story)

November 25, 2019 - Province Introduces Changes To Employment Standards Code That Would Improve Supports For Victims Of Sexual Violence And Stalking - The Manitoba government is introducing amendments to The Employment Standards Code that would broaden the current domestic violence leave to include victims of interpersonal violence, Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Cathy Cox, minister responsible for status of women, said today. The changes to The Employment Standards Code would now characterize domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking as interpersonal violence. (Full Story)

November 22, 2019 - Manitoba invites 230 skilled foreign workers and international student graduates - Manitoba issued 230 invitations to apply for a provincial nomination for permanent residence in its 77th Manitoba Expression of Interest (EOI) draw on November 21. This latest draw issued invitations to candidates in the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP)'s Skilled Worker in Manitoba Category, Skilled Worker Overseas Category and International Education immigration streams. (Full Story)

November 13, 2019 - Do You Know How Your Premium is Calculated? - WCB insurance protects you and your employees in the event of a workplace injury or illness. Workers compensation insurance covers wages while your worker recovers, pays for extended healthcare benefits and protects you from lawsuits. We have a video that helps explain it even further. WCB premiums are based on a combination of the risk of incurring claims costs and the value of what is insured. We define risk as the potential cost of future workplace injuries (based on the costs of past claims) and determine value using the assessable payroll of your workforce. (Full Story)

November 13, 2019 - Updated Employer Section of WCB Website - The Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba have recently redeveloped the Employers section of their website to provide tailored information that will help you find what you need faster and easier. The more streamlined employer section of the website will take you to the areas that mean the most to you and your business. With that in mind, they have made the items relevant to your business such as online services, policies, and industry and classification information easier to find. (Full Story)

November 13, 2019 - Report Your Payroll the Easy Way - Report it Online - Each year, all registered WCB employers are required to provide their previous year's actual payroll and their current year's estimated payroll. Historically, this has involved sending a paper form. All registered employers are now invited to submit their payroll electronically via the Online Payroll Reporting Application on the WCB Manitoba website. Employers can also find a frequently asked questions section with extensive information and a simple one page instruction on how to complete the form. (Full Story)

December 3, 2019 - WorkSafeNB has made it easier to report fraud and abuse - WorkSafeNB is committed to protecting the integrity of the worker's compensation system. Fraud and abuse have a significant impact on both the benefits that can be offered to injured workers and the employers across the province. To make the system sustainable for all stakeholders long term, it is important that fraud and abuse are reported when suspected. All reports are reviewed, and if deemed justified, investigated. Each year, WorkSafeNB investigates approximately 100 suspicious claims reported by staff, stakeholders or the public. (Full Story)

December 2, 2019 - N.B. Introduces Workers' Compensation Changes To Lower Rates, Enhance Safety - New Brunswick has introduced legislative changes it says will lower workers' compensation rates and enhance workplace safety. The changes, which were introduced last week, would apply to three different pieces of legislation. Among other things, they would clarify obligations of employers and supervisors respecting worker health and safety, extend the timeframe for prosecutions under the act, and reinforce the employer's obligation to return injured workers to work. (Full Story)

November 28, 2019 - Legislative amendments aim to enhance workplace safety and reduce workers' compensation assessment rates - The provincial government has introduced legislative amendments to enhance workplace safety and protect benefits for injured workers while providing employers with more stable compensation assessment rates. The amendments would apply to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Workers Compensation Act, and the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation and Workers' Compensation Appeals Tribunal Act. (Full Story)

November 25, 2019 - Changes to employment support delivery - The provincial government is changing the way employment programs are offered to better meet the needs of employers, job seekers and communities. To help increase awareness and better promote the reformatted services, the department's 19 regional employment development offices will now be referred to as WorkingNB offices. The department will introduce Workplace Connections, which will repurpose existing wage subsidy programs, and their budgets, and invest in services that are focused on outcomes. (Full Story)

November 18, 2019 - The process to appeal a WorkSafeNB decision is changing - The process to appeal a WorkSafeNB decision is changing. Starting January 1, WorkSafeNB's Decision Review Office (previously known as the Issues Resolutions Office) must review every decision when requested before an appeal can be filed to the Workers' Compensation Appeals Tribunal (WCAT). This refers to any decision made on or after January 1, and excludes decisions under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. In addition, all reviews by the Decision Review Office must be initiated by a worker or employer within 90 days of the original decision. (Full Story)

November 8, 2019 - New Brunswick's unemployment rate drops, but province loses 1,200 jobs - New Brunswick's unemployment dropped slightly to 8.1 per cent in October even as the province shed 1,200 jobs, according to Statistics Canada's monthly labour force report. The province saw 900 new full-time jobs added in October, but it lost 2,200 part-time jobs during the same time period. The number of people in New Brunswick's labour force also dropped by 2,000 in October. (Full Story)

November 6, 2019 - New Brunswick launches program to assist First Nations students become job-ready - New Brunswick launched a new program - FutureReadyWabanaki, - on Wednesday that aims to assist First Nations students become job-ready while supporting employers looking to recruit qualified, experienced employees. The program was announced in Fredericton and will provide on-the-job training prior to graduation to improve job readiness for students in their field of study. (Full Story)

October 24, 2019 - WorkSafeNB announces 2020 provisional average assessment rate - WorkSafeNB has announced a 9.4% reduction in the 2020 provisional average assessment rate. The rate is set at $2.40 per $100 of payroll, down from $2.65 in 2019. The 2020 assessment rate is based on the 2018 year-end audited financial statement with the improvement due to a reduced number of injury claims in 2019 and the declining cost of new claims as of Q3 2019. The 2020 rate announcement also addressed a key recommendation from the July 2018 Task Force on WorkSafeNB report by increasing the funding target from 110% of liabilities to a range of 115% - 125% of liabilities. (Full Story)

November 15, 2019 - Minimum Wage Review Committee Seeks Public Input - The Minimum Wage Review Committee invites stakeholders and members of the general public to provide input into the current review of the minimum wage. The minimum wage rate can have impacts on employees, employers and the overall economy. The committee is seeking input from a wide range of stakeholders and invites members of the public to participate by completing an online questionnaire that will take approximately 10 minutes to complete, or by submitting a written submission. (Full Story)

November 15, 2019 - Provincial Government Launches The Way Forward on Workforce Development - The Way Forward on Workforce Development initiative was launched today - the Provincial Government's plan for strengthening the province's workforce and supporting a productive, knowledge-based economy. Supported by approximately $25 million in government funding, the plan provides an understanding of current labour demands and identifies potential skills gaps and future opportunities for economic growth. It also considers the unique employment needs of Indigenous people, persons with disabilities, youth, older workers, women and newcomers to the province. (Full Story)

November 6, 2019 - Amendment Introduced to Labour Standards Act to Make it Consistent with Federal Changes to Parental Leave Benefit - An amendment to the Labour Standards Act has been announced to ensure that provincial labour legislation pertaining to parental leave is updated to align with recently introduced changes to the Government of Canada's Employment Insurance Parental Sharing Benefit, as of March 17, 2019. An amendment to the act is required to allow workers in Newfoundland and Labrador full access to this leave and to ensure greater flexibility for parents who wish to share their Federal Parental Leave Benefit. (Full Story)

November 5, 2019 - Discounted Assessment Rate Continues to Address Workers' Compensation Surplus - Effective January 1, 2020, WorkplaceNL will leave the temporary $0.21 discount in place, maintaining the average assessment rate paid by employers at $1.69 per $100 of payroll. The temporary discount is to reduce the surplus in the employer-funded Injury Fund over a number of years. Approximately $16 million of the surplus will be used to pay for a portion of the cost of workplace injuries. This is consistent with WorkplaceNL's Funding Policy. The Injury Fund was 119.5 per cent funded at the end of 2018, above its target of 110 per cent. (Full Story)

November 28, 2019 - Media Release: Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission Release Assessment Rates for 2020 - The Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut (WSCC) have announced the 2020 employer assessment rates. The workers' compensation system provides a form of group insurance. The assessments employers pay are pooled into a fund called ‘the Workers' Protection Fund'. This fund protects individual employers against lawsuits related to workplace injuries and is used to pay benefits and provide services to injured workers. (Full Story)

November 21, 2019 - Few NWT mine staff are women. This group hopes to change things - National group Women in Mining has been around since 2009 but has not, until now, had an NWT chapter. De Beers Canada's Kelly Brenton said opening up in the territory will help create programs that bring more women into the industry. The chapter will try to increase female representation by promoting scholarships and employment initiatives. (Full Story)

October 25th, 2019 - NWT employers commit to offering a Living Wage to their full-time employees - Alternatives North is proud to announce the NWT 2019 Living Wage employers. Living Wage employers are those who are able to commit to offering a Living Wage to their full-time employees. In order to earn a wage that allows for a decent standard of living, each parent in a family of four would have to earn $23.95/hr in Yellowknife, $24.75/hr in Hay River and $23.78/hr in Inuvik working 37.5 hours per week according to Alternatives North. (Full Story)

November 28, 2019 - Health and Wellness Survey for Employers - The Nova Scotia WCB is asking employers to take a 10-15 minute survey to and talk about what their business or organization considers to be important for workplace health and wellness. The brief and anonymous survey is part of an initiative to understand what practices support and enhance workplace wellness initiatives in all types of organizations and workplaces across Nova Scotia. It is designed to be completed by decision-makers who can comment on the measures and practices of their departments and/or their workplaces or organizations. More than one survey may be submitted per workplace or organization. (Full Story)

October 23, 2019 - 1,000th Graduate Connects to Career - Employers across the province are discovering how hiring skilled young workers can benefit their business through the Graduate to Opportunity program. The program has also supported more than 280 diverse graduates in landing full-time jobs in their chosen careers through a diversity bonus. The bonus of 10 per cent is for employers who provide permanent full-time jobs to graduates who identify as members of an under-represented group, including visible minority, Mi'kmaq or Indigenous, a person with a disability, African Nova Scotian, a women in a non-traditional occupation or an international graduate. (Full Story)

October 17, 2019 - Amendments Support Volunteer Firefighters - Firefighters help keep Nova Scotians safe every day, putting their own health and safety at risk. That is why government is ensuring all volunteer firefighters have access to Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) injury insurance coverage. Minister of Labour and Advanced Education, Labi Kousoulis, proposed amendments to the Workers' Compensation Act today, Oct.17, that will ensure all volunteer firefighters have access to WCB workplace injury insurance. This coverage includes access to the cancer presumption. (Full Story)

November 28, 2019 - Media Release: Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission Release Assessment Rates for 2020 - The Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut (WSCC) have announced the 2020 employer assessment rates. The workers' compensation system provides a form of group insurance. The assessments employers pay are pooled into a fund called "the Workers' Protection Fund". This fund protects individual employers against lawsuits related to workplace injuries and is used to pay benefits and provide services to injured workers. (Full Story)

November 12, 2019 - Nunavut MLAs make the case for a living wage - Nunavut's regular MLAs are pushing for the territory to increase its minimum wage to a living wage. Ten of the territory's regular MLAs spoke in favour of adopting a living wage on Oct. 29 and submitted petitions signed by their constituents. The current minimum wage in Nunavut is $13 per hour, but according to PSAC's estimates the living wage would be around $26 per hour. (Full Story)

December 5, 2019 - Attracting and Retaining Millennials Key to Future of Skilled Trades - Employers in the construction sector need to find new ways to talk to millennials if they are going to solve a looming skilled trades shortage. Among the key findings of new research conducted by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development is the insight that young people prioritize independence and want to feel confident they have some control over their lives. Minister McNaughton said construction health and safety programs offer employers an opportunity to address those values. (Full Story)

December 4, 2019 - Boom time in Sarnia for skilled trades - Union leaders are hunting across Canada for skilled workers as industrial construction ramps up in the Chemical Valley. At least 600 tradespeople are on-site at the $2.2-billion Nova Chemicals project, which includes a new polyethylene plant and expansion of the Corunna “cracker” unit. The Nova project is expected to create 150 full-time manufacturing jobs and up to 1,400 construction jobs, with plant startup slated for late 2021. (Full Story)

December 2020 - WSIB 2020 Premium rates - For the fourth year in a row, the WSIB has been able to offer reductions to the average premium rate for Schedule 1 businesses. The average premium rate has been reduced by 17 per cent for 2020. This represents a premium decrease from a Schedule 1 average rate of $1.65 on every $100 of insurable payroll in 2018 to an average of $1.37 in 2020. The total cumulative reduction to the average premium rate since 2016 is 47.1 per cent. (Full Story)

November 28, 2019 - Ontario Launches Canada's First Job Site Challenge - Ontario is launching a province-wide Job Site Challenge to identify shovel-ready mega sites where automakers or other advanced manufacturers could invest in Ontario by building a large plant, creating thousands of good-paying direct and supply-chain jobs. The Job Site Challenge is modelled on mega site programs that have helped several U.S. jurisdictions, like New York, Tennessee, Alabama and other states, to attract large-scale investments to build auto or other advanced-manufacturing plants. (Full Story)

November 22, 2019 - Supporting Ontario's Safe Employers - Supporting Ontario's Safe Employers is a voluntary program that recognizes employers across Ontario who successfully implement an occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS) in their workplace. Successful employers will be accredited by Ontario's Chief Prevention Officer (CPO). Employers who have received CPO recognition may be eligible to receive premium rebates from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). The WSIB will invest an estimated $140 million in rebates over the next three years. (Full Story)

November 22, 2019 - Ontario To Reward Safe Employers - Ontario will reward its safest employers with an estimated $140 million for excellence in occupational health and safety as part of a first-of-its-kind in Canada program unveiled today. The program, Supporting Ontario's Safe Employers, will formally recognize employers who successfully implement health and safety programs in their workplaces. The financial rewards will come in the form of Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) rebates over a three-year period. (Full Story)

November 8, 2019 - Ontario Increasing Investments in Skilled Trades - Ontario's Government is tackling shortages in the skilled trades by announcing $20.8 million in spending to attract more people to the trades and boost Ontario's skilled workforce. The Government will increase spending on Ontario's Pre-Apprenticeship Training program by $2.5 million this year, giving an additional 200 people exposure to good jobs. The program is free for participants and always includes a work placement. (Full Story)

November 5, 2019 - Workers Compensation Board of PEI announces Surplus Distribution and 2020 average rate reduction - The Workers Compensation Board (WCB) has once again reduced the average assessment rate for Island employers.  The average assessment rate for 2020 will be $1.52 per $100 of payroll which is a six cent decrease from the 2019 rate. The required average assessment rate is $1.60, based on budgeted costs and investment returns, but because of its strong funded position, the WCB was able to apply an eight cent downward funding policy adjustment to achieve a rate of $1.52 for 2020. (Full Story)

October 23, 2019 - Upcoming Changes to Workplace Harassment Regulations - The Workers Compensation Board (WCB) of Prince Edward Island has introduced changes to the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act and Regulations on workplace harassment. In keeping with legislation in other Canadian jurisdictions, the new regulations; Provide a definition of harassment to clarify what is unacceptable behaviour in the workplace and; Set out the requirement for all employers to develop a policy to prevent workplace harassment. (Full Story)

October 23, 2019 - Shortage of workers on P.E.I. has some businesses in 'very competitive' fight for employees - Many businesses are struggling to find the workers they need, according to panellists at a recent presentation in Charlottetown. The discussion was part of small business week events and brought together several experts to discuss the future of the workforce and what employers need to do about it. "It affects every business from the largest business, to the smallest business," said Leah Nord, director of skills and immigration policy for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. (Full Story)

October 18, 2019 - New leave for employees - A new leave will start November 1 to allow employees to take time off work to access services to deal with issues related to domestic violence, intimate partner violence and sexual violence. The leave will provide employees three days of paid leave and an additional seven days of unpaid leave that can be taken intermittently or in one continuous period. To access the leave, the employee must be employed for a continuous period of three months or more. (Full Story)

December 5, 2019 - Partners in Employment receives provincial funding for employment services in Swift Current - The Saskatchewan government will continue to fund employment services provided by SaskAbilities Partners in Employment in Swift Current. The Ministry of Immigration and Career Training announced the renewal of the annual contract with SaskAbilities Partners in Employment in Swift Current on Nov. 27, which will provide the organization with a funding allocation of $236,290. (Full Story)

December 4, 2019 - WCB approves 2020 premium rates - The Saskatchewan Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) has approved the 2020 average employer premium rate of $1.17 per hundred dollars of payroll. This is the same rate as 2019, marking the first time in 12 years the average premium rate has not dropped. While our average premium rate hasn't changed from last year's rate, average premium rates will go up for some industries and down for others. (Full Story)

December 4, 2019 - Saskatchewan introduces strategy to reduce serious workplace injuries, deaths - A new approach to preventing fatalities and serious workplace injuries was introduced in Canada's prairie province on Dec. 2. The Fatalities and Serious Injuries Strategy is the product of WorkSafe Saskatchewan, which is a partnership between the Saskatchewan Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) and the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety. It tackles high-risk industries and associated tasks. (Full Story)

December 2, 2019 - Introduction Of A New Strategy Looks To Reduce Fatalities And Serious Injuries In The Workplace - Today a new approach to preventing fatalities and serious workplace injuries that looks at high-risk industries and the tasks within those industries was introduced. The three-year Fatalities and Serious Injuries Strategy is the product of WorkSafe Saskatchewan, which is a partnership between the Saskatchewan Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) and the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety. (Full Story)

December 1, 2019 - Increased Parental Leave Included in Amendments to Saskatchewan's Employment Act - Changes are on the way for Saskatchewan's Employment Act after amendments were introduced earlier this week. The amendments will look to increase parental leave by eight weeks, to which the government states the increase will ensure that employees who are entitled to the new shared parental Employment Insurance benefit, have job protection while accessing the benefits. (Full Story)

November 29, 2019 - Saskatchewan to increase parental leave by 8 weeks - Saskatchewan has introduced amendments to its employment standards that will increase parental leave by eight weeks. This will ensure that employees entitled to the new shared parental employment insurance (EI) benefit have job protection while accessing their benefits. The province is also expanding the candidate-public office leave to include employees who are running for election to a Band Council. (Full Story)

November 12, 2019 - Saskatchewan firefighters to get workers compensation for more illnesses - Saskatchewan is expanding workers compensation to cover more cancers diagnosed in firefighters. Prostate, skin, breast, cervical, ovarian and multiple myeloma cancers are to be added to the Workers' Compensation Board list on Friday. The presumptive coverage will cover professional and volunteer firefighters. (Full Story)

November 12, 2019 - Sask. job numbers remain bright spot in troubled economy - Saskatchewan posted another month of year-on-year job growth in October, as the province's labour market remained relatively strong despite sluggish growth forecasts, stubborn trade irritants and continued weakness in the energy sector. Statistics Canada's labour force survey put Saskatchewan's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at just 5.1 per cent in October, down slightly from September and a full point lower than the same time last year. (Full Story)

November 19, 2019 - Lack of WCB rebates disappoints chamber - The Yukon Chamber of Commerce says it's disappointed with the decision of the Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board (YWCHSB) to not release a further rebate to Yukon employers. It said its decision will enable it to keep rates stable and maintain the integrity of the compensation fund. From 2012 through 2018, more than $65 million was distributed to Yukon employers in the form of rate subsidies and rebate cheques, the board noted. (Full Story)

November 15, 2019 - YWCHSB delivers stability to Yukon employers - The Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board (YWCHSB) announced today that in order to continue to keep rates stable and maintain the integrity of the Compensation Fund, rebates will not be distributed to Yukon employers this year. From 2012 through 2018, over $65 million was distributed to Yukon employers in the form of rate subsidies and rebate cheques. The compensation system still has the funds needed to provide excellent care to every Yukon worker injured on the job. (Full Story)

Payroll year-end 2019 and what's new for 2020

Year-end is fast approaching, and with it comes the often daunting tasks of completing the pay run for the current year, completing any necessary 2019 payroll reports, creating and generating T4, T4A and, if in Quebec, Relevés 1, 2 and 25. These forms (referred to as slips) must be provided to employees and contract workers by February 29, 2020. Because February 29, 2020, falls on a Saturday, you have until March 2, 2020, to provide those completed forms to employees.

March 2, 2020 is also the deadline for employers to file their T4, T4A summaries and slips to the Canadian Revenue Agency and Relevés (RLs) and summaries to Revenu Québec.

Don't forget to send T4s or RLs to any employees you paid in 2019 who are no longer working for you.

You must file your Part XVIII and Part XIX information return electronically by using the CRA Internet file transfer (XML) or Web Forms applications. Internet file transfer (XML) option allows you to transmit original, amended or fixed returns (T4/T5) with a maximum file size of 150 MB. All you need is a Web browser to connect to the Internet, and your software will create, print, and save your electronic information returns in XML format.

The new CRA XML specifications for the 2020 filing season are now available here.

For filing electronic returns with Revenu Québec, that information can be found here.

The XML specifications assist you in creating your XML file by identifying what the CRA/RQ can accept in the file. You only require the XML specifications if you are creating your own XML files.

You will also need to check the wage and benefit information for each employee to make sure you can account for all the wages and benefits you paid and provided to them throughout the year, leading up to the final paycheck. If any wages or benefits aren't accounted for, add these to their last 2019 paycheck.

You should also review your employees' and contractors' personal information to ensure you have the correct names, addresses, and Social Insurance Numbers for every employee you paid in 2019.

If you pay your employees by cheque, perform a payroll bank reconciliation through December 31, 2019, including identifying outstanding checks, comparing territorial or provincial and federal payroll tax withdrawals from your bank account to the amounts on your tax liability records. If you've paid employees this year through different providers or by direct deposit, you'll need to reconcile your records through December 31, 2019 (including identifying outstanding payments) and compare payroll remittance withdrawals from your bank account to the amounts on your remittance liabilities records.

Several guides that help with completing the slips, summaries and filing have been updated and should be consulted.

  • RC4120(E) Rev. 19, Employers' Guide, Filing the T4 Slip and Summary
  • Guide T4001, Employers' Guide - Payroll Deductions and Remittances
  • Guide T4130, Employers' Guide - Taxable Benefits and Allowances
  • Guide RC4157, Deducting Income Tax on Pension and Other Income, and Filing the T4A Slip and Summary
  • Guide T4005, Fishers and Employment Insurance
  • ED-425-V Tax Preparers' Guide: RL Slips
  • Guide to Filing the RL-25 Slip: Income from a Profit-Sharing Plan, RL-25.G-V
  • Guide to Filing the RL-1 Summary: Summary of Source Deductions and Employer Contributions, RLZ-1.S.G-V
  • Guide to Filing the RL-1 Slip: Employment and Other Income, RL-1.G-V
  • RL-2 Slip - Retirement and Annuity Income, RL-2.G-V

All of your-end tasks should be finished before you do any pay runs for the new year. You should verify that the pay periods and payroll tax rates, contribution and premium rates are set correctly for 2020. You should also update employee tax profiles for 2020 by reminding your employees to complete new federal and territorial or provincial TD1 forms for 2020 if their personal information or allowances have changed. If there are no changes, make sure their claim amounts are updated with the 2020 basic exemption amount.

The Canada Revenue Agency has issued the 2020 version of its publication T4127(E) Rev. 20/01, Payroll Deductions Formulas. The guide is intended for use by payroll software providers and by employers which manage their own in-house payroll functions.

The updated publication outlines the federal, provincial and territorial tax changes that will affect payroll deductions for 2020 and sets out the formulas to be used to calculate federal, provincial, and territorial tax amounts to be paid by employees.

For Quebec, the payroll deductions for 2020 can be found in Guide for Employers: Source Deductions and Contributions, TP-1015.G-V.

All the end of the year and what's new for 2020 are being updated in PaySource in this and future releases. PaySource also has a year-end checklist and links to the CRA and Revenu Québec Forms and Guides. Don't forget to login to PaySource and access these useful resources. Not a subscriber, take a free trial.

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

Software Updates

eNETEmployer (Current Release)

  • Improved upload to eNETEmployer feature in cases where employee name doesn't match the user display name
  • Year End - Year End tax tables will be automatically applied for all new payrolls with a January 2020 pay date.

GrandMaster Suite (Current Release)

  • Corrected an issue where the additional pay was paying out base earnings from previous pays.
  • Added a new deduction for Ontario's HOOPP Pension: code 180.
  • Year End - The year-end tax table update will be available during or before the week of December 16, 2019.

GrandMaster II

  • Year End - The year-end tax table update will be available during or before the week of December 16, 2019.

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