Payroll News for Canada, Employment Articles Employment News and Payroll Tips

Payroll News Canada - Employment Articles

July 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

July 2019 - Young Canada Works - Did you know that Young Canada Works (YCW) is a summer job program where eligible employers may benefit from wage subsidies and access to a pool of talented youth with innovative ideas and competitive skills? Positions last from six to 16 weeks and students must work 30 to 40 hours per week. Students with a disability are eligible for part-time work. Click Here to learn more about this program.

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

July 4, 2019 - Quality of full-time employment in Canada on the decline: CIBC - As Canada’s unemployment rate drops to record lows, the quality of the jobs being added to the labour market is on the decline, according to a new report from CIBC Capital Markets. The report, written by CIBC economist Benjamin Tal, also said the labour market gains are doing little to boost Canada’s productive capacity. The number of low-paying, full-time jobs rose very strongly relative to mid-paying jobs, with the weakest performance seen among high-paying industries, (Full Story)

July 2, 2019 - Changes proposed to foreign work permits - The federal government is proposing changes that may help introduce occupation-specific work permits in the Primary Agriculture and Low-wage streams of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) say the intent of this proposal is to provide greater labour mobility to foreign workers, allowing them to leave their employer for another one in the same occupation (or national occupational classification, NOC), without needing to apply for a new work permit each time. (Full Story)

June 24, 2019 - Higher Success for Immigrant Employment Through Wage Funding and Job Skill Training - ECO Canada’s Environmental Immigrant Bridging Program, a pilot project funded by the Government of Canada’s Foreign Credential Recognition Program, is distributing $300,000 in wage funding support to employers for hiring newcomers into their first Canadian work experience, in an environmental role. To date, 100% of the newcomers who have reached the end of the program have maintained full-time employment. (Full Story)

June 13, 2019 - Canada Summer Jobs program faces more legal challenges - The federal government is facing two more legal challenges to its controversial Canada Summer Jobs attestation. Two Christian Bible summer camps have filed challenges after being denied Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) grants in 2019. The move comes despite changes to the CSJ’s funding application which had required applicants to endorse Charter and other rights, including abortion. (Full Story)

June 12, 2019 - Canada's job vacancies rate sets new record: 435,000 jobs go unfilled in Q1 2019 - Canada's private sector job vacancy rate advanced again in the first quarter of the year, reaching 3.3 per cent, up 0.1 percentage point from the previous quarter, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)'s latest Help Wanted report. In total, 435,000 jobs sat vacant for at least four months during the first quarter of 2019. In most provinces, labour shortages were a bigger concern for skilled positions rather than semi-or unskilled ones. (Full Story)

June 11, 2019 - Unemployment is at record low, so why are Canadians so worried about job insecurity, recession and cost of living? - Despite record-low unemployment numbers, 32 per cent of Canadians have reported feeling very negatively about their current job security, according to the latest Forum Research poll published Tuesday. The dour outlook persists in spite of the nationwide unemployment rate hitting a low of 5.4 per cent for the first time since that data was collected in 1976. (Full Story)

June 9, 2019 - How changes to EI region boundaries could affect workers - A federal department is reconsidering the boundaries that determine how workers in different areas qualify for employment insurance. Changes to the 64 EI regions, as they're known, would send political ripples through the country as some workers benefit while others find themselves with tougher hurdles to clear to get benefits. The department said the current review started in October 2018, but there is no requirement at the end for the Canada Employment Insurance Commission, which is responsible for the boundary review, to make any changes (Full Story)

June 7, 2019 - Canada's jobless rate drops to 5.4%, lowest level in 43 years - The Canadian economy added 27,700 jobs in May, enough to push the jobless rate down to 5.4 per cent - its lowest level since 1976. Statistics Canada reported Friday the jobless rate dropped three ticks mainly because there were almost 50,000 fewer people looking for work. That, coupled with the jobs gain, was enough to push the rate to a more than 40-year low. May's job gain comes on the heels of 106,500 added in April, the best month for jobs on record. (Full Story)

June 7, 2019 - Canada adds 27,700 jobs in May, unemployment rate falls to record low - The Canadian economy showed signs of strength in May as it added 27,700 jobs and the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since comparable data become available in 1976. Statistics Canada said Friday the unemployment rate fell to 5.4 per cent, compared with 5.7 per cent in April as the number of people looking for work fell sharply. Economists on average had expected the addition of 8,000 jobs for the month and an unemployment rate of 5.7 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon. (Full Story)

June 6, 2019 - Federal government delivering funds to boost employment for immigrant women - The federal government will provide funds for 22 groups to help immigrant and refugee women who are visible minorities land and keep jobs in Canada. The organizations that will get a cut of the $7.5-million pilot funding will launch projects over two years that aim to develop and test innovative approaches to help visible minority newcomer women find a job, and succeed and enhance digital literacy so they can succeed in the Canadian labour market. (Full Story)

June 4, 2019 - Canada’s low unemployment rate boosts demand for temporary foreign workers - Some employers looking to hire temporary foreign workers are experiencing significant delays due to an increase in demand this year for migrant workers in Canada. The federal government says the volume of applications is up almost 25 per cent over last year – a development it says is partly because of Canada’s low unemployment rates. (Full Story)

June 1, 2019 - Western Canada: The plight of Canada’s immigrant workers - The Globe’s Kathy Tomlinson has spent months digging into the plight of immigrant workers who come to Canada on the promise of a decent-paying job that could potentially lead to citizenship or the ability to work in Canada long term. The workers she interviewed spent thousands of dollars for the promise of a better life and received nothing and sometimes worse. In April, she told the stories of eager recruits willing to borrow and scrape together as much as $15,000 each to get one of the “guaranteed” jobs offered by just one of many recruiters advertised. (Full Story)

May 31, 2019 - Liberal government expanding program to protect foreign workers in Canada from exploitation - The Liberal government is expanding a program to allow foreign workers who’ve been exploited or abused in Canada to get out from under their employer’s control. Most foreign nationals here temporarily working at low-wage jobs on farms and in the service sector are bound by law to work only for one employer. That has put many at the mercy of bosses who take advantage of their lack of options by underpaying them or making them put up with intolerable working or living conditions. (Full Story)


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


June 28, 2019 - New Hotline To Help Farmers Report Workplace Incidents - Executive Director of AgSafe Alberta, Jody Wacowich, says their employees act as a third party to help farmers and ranchers navigate Alberta's Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) process, and act as a "translator" of the departments' lingo. She says accidents must be reported as soon as possible if they result in a fatality, a worker being admitted to hospital, an unplanned or uncontrolled explosion, fire or flood causing or having the potential to cause a serious incident, the collapse or upset of a crane, derrick or hoist, or if the accident involves the collapse or failure of any component of a building or structure. (Full Story)

June 25, 2019 - Employers likely won’t roll back minimum wage for existing young workers, say business groups - As Alberta’s new minimum wage rate for young workers comes into effect, business groups say fears that current staff members will see their wages docked by employers are overblown. As of Wednesday, it will be legal for employers in Alberta to pay $13 per hour to students under the age of 18, compared to the $15 minimum wage for non-students and adults. (Full Story)

June 24, 2019 - Alberta government looking to speed up job accreditation for foreign workers - The Alberta government wants to ensure that foreign-trained professionals and tradespeople will be dealt with quickly when they seek accreditation to work in the province. The bill would apply to all professional regulatory organizations in Alberta and would cover doctors, nurses, engineers, lawyers, accountants, architects, pharmacists, dentists, psychologists, paramedics, social workers, veterinarians, and electricians. (Full Story)

June 18, 2019 - UCP government reverses controversial pay, overtime rules for wildfire lookout observers - The Alberta government has reinstated pay and overtime exemptions for fire lookout observers, ending arbitrarily imposed interim rules the observers' union said had led to several undetected fires and increased the risk to public safety and property. The exemption effectively reinstates the old pay and overtime system for observers. It expires in two years. (Full Story)

May 30, 2019 - UCP Government announces Open for Business Act, changes to youth wages, banked hours - The new provincial government has stayed true to earlier promises and proposed legislation that would drop the minimum wage for Alberta’s youth in the newly tabled Open for Business Act. Premier Jason Kenney said the bill will include a wage drop for employees under the age of 18 that will take effect June 26, while other changes that affect the way employees calculate banked overtime systems, will take effect come September if passed. (Full Story)

May 30, 2019 - Alberta’s minimum wage cut for teens should just be the start - During the recent Alberta election campaign, with the province’s unemployment rate remaining stubbornly high, the now-governing United Conservative Party proposed reducing the minimum wage from $15 to $13 for workers below the age of 18. And now the government has introduced legislation to make that change, along with changes to overtime pay requirements. (Full Story)

June 28, 2019 - B.C. employers should brace for impact from ESA amendments - Following through on its commitment to modernize the Employment Standards Act (ESA), the BC NDP government passed several additional important changes to the ESA effective May 30. Key changes to the ESA include two new types of statutory leaves: Employees will be able to take “critical illness or injury leave” of up to 36 weeks a year to provide care or support to an ill or injured family member under 19 and up to 16 weeks to provide care or support to family members over 19. This significantly expands leave rights to care for family members. (Full Story)

June 26, 2019 - B.C. immigrants earn less, see their work credentials devalued, surveys and census data demonstrate - New Canadians in B.C. earn eight per cent less than workers who are at least third generation Canadian, while immigrants in Vancouver earn 18 per cent less, a new Vancity report has found. The report also shows that B.C. immigrants with the same workplace credentials and language abilities as third-plus generation Canadians earn nine per cent less on average, according to an analysis of census data conducted for Vancity by an independent economist. Meanwhile, newcomers with manual labour jobs are five times more likely than third-plus generation Canadians to have university degrees. (Full Story)

June 25, 2019 - Workplace mental-health training on the rise - Half (51 per cent) of plan sponsors said they have a mental-health training program in place for managers and/or employees, up from 37 per cent in 2018, according to the 2019 Sanofi Canada health-care survey. The prevalence of mental-health training is even higher among plan sponsors with 500 or more staff (73 per cent), as well as unionized employers (69 per cent), those from the public sector (67 per cent), those based in Quebec (66 per cent) and those that receive analyses of their top disease states (63 per cent). (Full Story)

June 25, 2019 - Extending coverage to Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Unpaid Work Experience Program - On April 10, 2019, the WorkSafeBC Board of Directors approved extending coverage under Section 3(7)(b) of the Worker Compensation Act to participants of the Unpaid Work Experience Program. This program was developed by the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction to assist unemployed and underemployed British Columbians gain valuable work skills in a work environment. (Full Story)

June 14, 2019 - It's an 'employment seeker's market' for young workers in B.C. - Employers started hitting up the University of B.C.’s employment centre last September and October looking for this summer’s staff, which was a sign to staff there about the youth employment market. In May, B.C.’s youth unemployment rate was 8.6 per cent, which is a percentage point higher than the same month a year ago, but substantially lower than May 2015 when it hit 13.2 per cent. (Full Story)

June 10, 2019 - Employer Health Tax Needs a Serious Checkup - The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released a new report, The Employer Health Tax: Room for Remedy, as business owners gear up to pay their first bill on June 15 for the new $2 billion Employer Health Tax (EHT). CFIB warns the new tax will cause major pains for British Columbia’s business community. To replace lost revenues from the elimination of Medical Service Plan (MSP) premiums, the BC government introduced the EHT. The new tax imposes an additional cost for employers of up to 1.95 per cent on total payroll. (Full Story)

June 7, 2019 - Unemployment rate sees decrease in May for Northeast B.C. - The Provincial unemployment numbers for the month of May have been released. The unemployment rate in Northeast B.C. saw a decrease last month of 0.7 percent, down to 8.3 percent when compared to April’s rate of 9.0 percent. The estimated number of people working in Northeast B.C. for May is up 200 to 37,700 when compared to April’s numbers of 37,500. (Full Story)

June 6, 2019 - Workplace violence at 'crisis' level for care workers, says Burnaby non-profit - The head of a Burnaby-based non-profit addressed the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health on June 4 on workplace violence in Canada’s continuing care sector. SafeCare BC CEO Jennifer Lyle - speaking on behalf of the Canadian Association of Long-Term Care - said the sector was in a state of crisis. She raised three main concerns: understaffing, lack of resources, and the increasing pressure faced by health care workers. (Full Story)

June 4, 2019 - Amendments to Occupational Health and Safety Regulation now in effect - In early 2019, WorkSafeBC’s Board of Directors approved amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulation. The amendments, which came into effect on June 3, 2019, affect the following sections of the OHS Regulation: Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment - Eye and Face Protection (Part 8); Safety Headgear (Part 8 and Part 34); Construction, Excavation and Demolition - Concrete Formwork and Falsework (Part 20); Blasting Operations (Part 21); and Diving, Fishing and Other Marine Operations - Personal Flotation Device (Part 24). (Full Story)

June 3, 2019 - Public invited to share views on workers’ compensation - A public engagement on British Columbia’s workers’ compensation system and how to shift the system to become more worker centred, as well as how to increase worker and employer confidence, is open for feedback. The public and interested stakeholders are invited to share their views until July 19, 2019. People can submit written feedback by email to Info@wcbreview.ca or by filling in a questionnaire online. (Full Story)

June 22, 2019 - Deals on paid time off for domestic violence 'beginning of a wave,' says expert - Several new deals reached between the federal government and one of its biggest civil-service unions that allow paid time off for victims of domestic violence are the start of a trend, says an academic expert on violence against women and children. Canada currently has a patchwork of legislation that provides for domestic-violence leave. Nationally, the government recently passed legislation allowing federally regulated workers who are survivors of such violence to take 10 days off - five of those days paid and five unpaid. (Full Story)

June 13, 2019 - Canada’s Job Vacancies Rate Sets New Record - Canada’s private sector job vacancy rate advanced again in the first quarter of the year, reaching 3.3 per cent, up 0.1 percentage point from the previous quarter, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)’s latest Help Wanted report. In total, 435,000 jobs sat vacant for at least four months during the first quarter of 2019. In Manitoba, the private sector job vacancy rate remained the same at 2.4 per cent, representing 10,400 unfilled jobs. (Full Story)

June 11, 2019 - Government Proposes Amendments To The Pension Benefits Act - The Manitoba government is committing to introducing legislative amendments in the fall of 2019 that would strengthen the current pension benefits legislation and address the needs of pension members with their desire for more flexibility. The province is committed to encouraging investments in pension funds. The proposed legislative changes to The Pension Benefits Act are based on recommendations from the Pension Commission of Manitoba, and input provided by Manitobans during public consultations in 2018. (Full Story)

May 31, 2019 - WCB's 2018 Annual Report Focuses on Injury Prevention and Volatile Financial Markets - The Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba's (WCB) 2018 Annual Report was tabled in the Manitoba Legislature on May 30th. The report highlights continued gains in reducing workplace injuries, with a time loss injury rate of 2.6* per 100 full time workers, a 26 per cent decrease from 10 years ago. The WCB also released its 2019-2023 Five Year Plan. (Full Story)

June 25, 2019 - Feds proposing changes to Temporary Foreign Workers program - The federal government is looking into potentially changing the country’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program. It announced a 30-day consultation in the Canada Gazette for what it describes as “occupation-specific work permits.” Currently, as CBC News reports, foreign workers under the popular but controversial program are tied to the employer who brought them to Canada and are not allowed to work for anyone else. (Full Story)

June 24, 2019 - Bullying, harassment greatest workplace hazard of our generation - Harassment and bullying have long lived in the shadows as something that happens to other people (usually women). It has usually been the purview of human resources. In recent years that has been changing across Canada. Many thought gender discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment were stamped out in the 1970s and 1980s. (Full Story)

June 7, 2019 - New Brunswick's economy gains 3,000 jobs in May, pushes unemployment rate down - New Brunswick's economy added 3,000 jobs in May, which helped drop the province's unemployment rate to 7.2 per cent, according to Statistics Canada's monthly labour force survey. In April, New Brunswick's unemployment rate was sitting at eight per cent. Meanwhile, the Canadian economy added 27,700 jobs in May, enough to push the national jobless rate down to 5.4 per cent - its lowest level since 1976. (Full Story)

June 4, 2019 - N.B. needs to hire 1,600 nurses in 5 years to keep up with demand - New Brunswick’s nursing shortage was a hot button issue in the capital following the release of a video featuring the head of New Brunswick’s Horizon Health Network John McGarry and his calls for wide-ranging improvements to the province’s health-care system. The Liberals say a recent $8.7-million cut to the provincial nurse training budget doesn't help matters. (Full Story)

June 4, 2019 - Changes to program promoting women in skilled trades deemed a success - Changes to a program that encourages girls to explore careers in trades and technology is credited for almost tripling the number of girls participating compared to previous years. Designed to introduce young women in high school to careers in the skilled trades and technology sector, the events gave students an opportunity to learn more by hearing directly from women from their community working in these trades. (Full Story)

May 29, 2019 - CyberSmart Summit participants aim to train and recruit more industry workers - More than 200 representatives from government, industry and academia are attending a two-day summit in Fredericton this week aimed at training and recruiting more skilled workers to the cybersecurity industry in New Brunswick and around the world. The event is focused on advancing international collaboration in cybersecurity training and skills, job creation and workforce development. (Full Story)

June 25, 2019 - Presumptive Coverage for PTSD Available July 1 - As of July 1, 2019, all workers in Newfoundland and Labrador covered by the workplace injury system will be eligible for presumptive coverage for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for injuries occurring on or after this date. The legislation proclaimed in December 2018, presumes workers to have developed their diagnosed PTSD as a result of a traumatic event or multiple events at work. The diagnosis must be made by a psychiatrist or registered psychologist using the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. (Full Story)

June 18, 2019 - Jobs biggest reason for outmigration from Newfoundland and Labrador - Why are people leaving Newfoundland and Labrador? For the most part, it’s to find a job. A $22,000 government-commissioned report, released through access to information legislation after a request made by the Tory opposition, found a lack of jobs, a high cost of living and lacking government services as the main reasons people leave Newfoundland and Labrador. It asked expatriate Newfoundlanders and Labradorians for their reasons for leaving the province, what it would take to get them back and whether there is any chance they would return. (Full Story)

June 18, 2019 - The Good And Bad News About Atlantic Canada’s Labour Market - Atlantic Canada used to be a region with too many workers, who then moved to Western provinces to fill jobs there. But as its population grows older and fewer children are being born, it’s now facing a labour shortage, panellists at an event hosted by Statistics Canada in Moncton noted Monday. It’s also facing global pressures from the changing nature of work and advances in technology. (Full Story)

June 13, 2019 - WorkplaceNL meets its 2018 strategic objectives - WorkplaceNL has met all of its 2018 performance objectives in the areas of financial sustainability, leading in prevention through collaboration and innovation, facilitating recovery at work and partnering in client service. WorkplaceNL’s injury fund remains fully-funded for the fifth consecutive year. At 119.5 per cent funded at the end of 2018, it has the funds to cover the costs for current and expected future costs of workplace injury claims currently in the system. The funded position is within the 100-120 per cent desired operating range. (Full Story)

June 6, 2019 - Two-thirds of Yellowknife businesses have 'chronic' vacancies - Seventy percent of businesses who responded are actively hiring, while nearly two-thirds of respondents said their vacancies persist for long enough to be considered "chronic," the chamber said in a news release on Wednesday. The results highlight the struggle of small businesses in the NWT to keep positions filled in the face of higher-paying work at the territorial government or diamond mines, or the lower cost of living farther south. (Full Story)

June 25, 2019 - EI program changes leave hundreds of post-secondary students without funds - Many post-secondary students in Nova Scotia are scrambling to find enough money to go back to school in the fall after changes to a government program that allows people to draw employment insurance benefits while studying. Students in the province's Fast Forward education program don't have to look for work while on EI, and can instead enrol in approved programs to update their skills and training. (Full Story)

June 7, 2019 - Employment Reaches Record High in May - Employment in Nova Scotia reached a new high of 468,900 jobs in May, the highest employment ever recorded in Nova Scotia. New data release by Statistics Canada today, June 7, shows an increase of 14,600 jobs compared with May 2018, resuming a trend of rising employment that started in summer 2018. Employment has grown in nine of the last 12 months. The unemployment rate was 6.5 per cent in May. Unemployment rates have remained below seven per cent in every month of 2019. (Full Story)

June 7, 2019 - Nova Scotia’s job numbers rise in May - Nova Scotia’s seasonally adjusted employment increased by 4,500 in May, rising to a new high of 468,900; 14,600 higher than recorded last May. May’s employment increase more than offset the decline reported in April, according to Statistics Canada data. Employment increased in nine of the past 12 months. Nova Scotia’s labour force also increased by 2,800 in May, rising to 501,600. Unemployment decreased by 1,600 persons and the unemployment rate was down 0.4 percentage points to 6.5 per cent in May. (Full Story)

May 23, 2019 - Wage Exemption for More Income Assistance Clients - With changes to wage exemption rules, clients receiving income assistance who are self-employed or who receive tips, gratuities and commissions, will now have more money in their pockets. As of May 1st, people are able to keep more of this income before seeing a reduction in their income assistance payments. Wage exemptions were first introduced in the fall of 2018 to allow Employment Support and Income Assistance clients to keep more of their income assistance while working. (Full Story)

June 11, 2019 - Nunavut MLA seeks an end to workplace bullying within territorial government - Bullying within the Government of Nunavut remains a big problem, says Gjoa Haven MLA Tony Akoak. GN employees who are being bullied don’t want to go on the record because they worry about losing their jobs. On Pink Shirt Day this past February, nearly all the regular MLAs and ministers wore pink ties or pink tops to show they do not tolerate bullying. (Full Story)

June 10, 2019 - Opinion: A lower minimum wage for youth is easily defended - When the NDP government increased the minimum wage to $15 an hour, it argued that working Albertans - especially single-parent families headed by mothers - needed a reasonable income. The new provincial government hasn’t reduced the minimum wage. The United Conservatives seem to agree that workers need a roof over their heads as well as a fighting chance of supporting a family. (Full Story)

June 10, 2019 - Safety not always top priority for small businesses - Unfortunately, not all small businesses place such an emphasis on OHS. In fact, many research papers have found that workplace injury and fatality rates tend to be higher in small businesses than large ones. With 1.12 million Canadian workplaces employing fewer than 50 employees, health and safety needs to be actively promoted among small businesses - especially since they make up 95 per cent of Canadian employers. (Full Story)

July 2, 2019 - Ontario Builds Skilled Workforce with Strengthened Employment Services - Ontario's government is putting people first by improving employment services with a new system that focuses on the needs of local communities, workers and employers to help Ontarians get good, quality jobs. These improvements will help job seekers find and keep good jobs and assist employers in recruiting the skilled workers they need to build the skilled workforce that keeps Ontario open for business and open for jobs. (Full Story)

June 27, 2019 - Ontario Adds Job Creation to Francophone Community Grants - Ontario has infused the Francophone Community Grants Program with $1 million in funding, and is inviting francophone organizations and small businesses to submit applications for projects to help strengthen the sustainability of French-speaking communities. Based on the feedback received from Francophone organizations, businesses and ministry partners in roundtables and meetings held across the province, the government has added an economic development and job creation component to the program. (Full Story)

June 19, 2019 - Plan to fill jobs in Ontario's trucking industry - One of Doug Ford's senior cabinet ministers was in North Bay on Tuesday talking about the trucking industry and the need to help companies find and hire drivers. Economic Development and Job Creation Minister, Todd Smith, was at the local Manitoulin Transport facility to listen to the concerns from the trucking industry, as well as to announce changes to a provincial immigration program to help ease the labour shortage. (Full Story)

June 18, 2019 - Pilot project aimed at protecting workers fears impact of Ford government cuts - Since its 2017 launch, a pilot project tackling workplace abuse has recovered over half a million dollars in unpaid wages for vulnerable workers who could not otherwise afford a lawyer. It has also built legal clinics' capacity to provide employment law support and educated employees about their rights on the job. But the Ford government's 30 per cent budget cut to Legal Aid Ontario threatens to squeeze the initiative's reach. (Full Story)

June 7, 2019 - Ontario Government Continues to Create and Protect Jobs - One year into office, Ontario's government continues to send the message that the province is open for business by creating an environment where businesses can thrive, grow, and create good jobs for the people. Statistics Canada announced this morning that employment in Ontario increased by 20,900 in May. (Full Story)

May 31, 2019 - Ontario Takes Action to Build a Skilled Workforce - Ontario is helping tradespeople and employers better meet the needs of a rapidly changing economy through faster and easier access to the skills needed to find jobs in the skilled trades. Changes to Ontario's apprenticeship and skilled trades system will get local employers the workers they need and get workers the training required for good quality, available jobs. (Full Story)

July 3, 2019 - Secure income pilot project coming to P.E.I. - The Progressive Conservatives will not be funding a study of a basic income guarantee program, says Social Development and Housing Minister Ernie Hudson. Instead, the province will be moving forward to implement a secure income pilot, a means-tested benefit program for individuals with barriers to entering the workforce. The province has allocated $225,000 towards the program in its recently tabled budget. Hudson told The Guardian the program would provide assistance to roughly 400 Islanders, with an anticipated start date of January 2020. (Full Story)

June 18, 2019 - Job vacancies on P.E.I. take a big jump - The number of job vacancies on P.E.I. rose dramatically in the first quarter of 2019, according to a new report from Statistics Canada. The 38 per cent increase on P.E.I., to 1,635, was the seventh highest among the country's economic regions. The increase came while there were still about 8,000 unemployed in the province. (Full Story)

June 9, 2019 - Officials re-examine zones that determine employment insurance for workers in different areas - A federal department is reconsidering the boundaries that determine how workers in different areas qualify for employment insurance. Changes to the 64 EI regions, as they’re known, would send political ripples through the country as some workers benefit while others find themselves with tougher hurdles to clear to get benefits. (Full Story)

June 7, 2019 - Employment on P.E.I. down slightly for May - P.E.I. employment fell by an estimated 700 jobs in May because of declines in part-time work, according to the latest Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada. The unemployment rate on P.E.I. was at nine per cent, down slightly from the same time last year when it was 9.3 per cent. Compared with May 2018, employment was little changed. (Full Story)

June 4, 2019 - Islanders asked to give input on minimum wage for annual review - The provincial government is seeking the input of Islanders on the minimum wage, as the Employment Standards Board of P.E.I. is conducting its annual review. While the board reviews minimum wage each year, it's not guaranteed to change. The board takes several factors into consideration before making a recommendation, said Patricia McPhail, director of labour and industrial relations for the Department of Economic Growth. (Full Story)

June 26, 2019 - Revise your 2019 payroll estimate online - The Saskatchewan WCB is reminding businesses that they can revise their 2019 payroll estimates online. At the beginning of the year, companies are required to submit their estimated payroll for 2019 to the WCB. These estimates should be as accurate as possible, but if the actual payroll will be 50 per cent higher than the initial estimate, you need to update it to avoid a six per cent penalty of the assessed difference. If your payroll estimate is still correct, you do not need to make any changes. (Full Story)

June 18, 2019 - New Income Support Program Launched For People In Need In Saskatchewan - The Government of Saskatchewan announced details today of a new income support program that will help people receiving income assistance overcome challenges, earn more income, become more self-sufficient and start a career. The new program, called Saskatchewan Income Support (SIS), will begin accepting applications from new clients on July 15, 2019.  The new program will be simpler, transparent, client-friendly and have new features that will help transition clients to greater independence and a better quality of life. (Full Story)

June 7, 2019 - Saskatchewan’s Minimum Wage Increase To Take Effect In October - The minimum wage in Saskatchewan will increase to $11.32 an hour from $11.06 an hour on October 1, 2019. The increase was calculated based on an indexation formula the province has used since 2011. Increases to the basic and spousal income tax exemptions, the dependent child tax credit and the Saskatchewan low income tax credit allow the province’s minimum wage earners and other low income earners to keep more of their money. (Full Story)

June 7, 2019 - 14,300 More Jobs In May - For the tenth consecutive month Saskatchewan has more people working in the province than it did a year ago.  New employment figures were out today showing there are 14,300 more people working in Saskatchewan than in May of 2018 (unadjusted).  There were 586,100 people employed in May, 2019. Job growth continues to be largely driven by the private sector which has added 8,900 jobs since May 2018. (Full Story)

May 16, 2019 - Job Leave Provisions Are Now In Force - Changes to maternity, parental, adoption and interpersonal violence leaves, as well as a newly introduced critically ill adult leave, are now part of Saskatchewan’s employment laws. Some of the changes were introduced, in part, to allow Saskatchewan residents to fully access benefits available through the federal Employment Insurance program, such as an extended parental leave or time to care for a critically ill loved one. (Full Story)

June 27, 2019 - Fresh funding will help train Yukon workers - The federal and Yukon governments have reached an agreement to provide $45 million to the territory to train workers. The $45-million investment will be over six years, which started in the 2017-2018 fiscal year. It will end in 2022-2023. The Yukon is getting approximately $18 million from Workforce Development Agreement and over $27 million from the Labour Market Development Agreement. This was signed in April. (Full Story)

June 6, 2019 - Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health And Safety Board Prepared For The Future - At its annual information meeting today, the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board (YWCHSB) discussed its 2018 annual report and highlighted its work to modernize the Workers’ Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The 2018 annual report highlights YWCHSB’s success in bringing the Compensation Fund—which provides compensation to injured workers - to very near its target range of 121 to 129 per cent. (Full Story)

May 16, 2019 - Yukon businesses scramble to fill jobs amid labour shortage - It's a perennial problem in the Yukon: businesses scrambling to hire workers as tourist season is about to kick off. The situation is so dire that some restaurants around Whitehorse have had to cut back hours. Blake Rogers, executive director of the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon, said business groups have already gone to trade shows in Alberta and British Columbia in a bid to drum up more workers. He said there is also work for people who aren't looking for full-time work. (Full Story)


New rules governing unpaid interns

In December 2017, legislative amendments, introduced as Bill C-63, to Part III (labour standards) of the Canada Labour Code (the Code) to limit unpaid internships in the federally regulated private sector to only those that are part of an educational program were enacted but did not come into force. On June 8, 2019, the federal government posted proposed regulations to extend standard health and safety protections to unpaid interns and to enact supporting regulations regarding limitations to internships.

Once the Standards for Work-Integrated Learning Activities Regulations are passed, the Canada Labour Code will recognize interns in two ways:

  1. Students undertaking a work-integrated learning placement with an employer to fulfill the requirements of an educational program may be unpaid, but they will be entitled to certain labour standards protections prescribed in regulations. Students registered in secondary, post-secondary and vocational educational institutions, or their equivalents outside of Canada, will be covered.
  2. All other individuals undertaking placements with employers to obtain knowledge or experience will be treated as employees and will, therefore, be covered by all labour standards protections, including the right to be paid at least the minimum wage.

The Regulations published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, Volume 153, Number 23: Standards for Work-Integrated Learning Activities Regulations clarify when an internship can be unpaid by establishing the process to be followed and specify the applicable labour standards protections, among other considerations.

Specifically, and as stated in the Regulations, the following will be established:

1. The process for determining that a student placement can be unpaid

The proposed Regulations would prescribe that for a student placement to begin, the student would be required to provide the employer with documents issued by the educational institution that contain the following information:

  • the name and address of the educational institution;
  • the name of the student and the program of enrolment;
  • the name and address of the employer for which the activities would be performed;
  • a description of the work-integrated learning activities that fulfill requirements of a program;
  • the start date and either the end date or the total number of hours of the work-integrated learning activities; and
  • the title and contact information of the program administrator.

Furthermore, the proposed Regulations would establish what educational institutions are covered by the legislative provisions. For post-secondary and vocational educational institutions, the proposed Regulations would incorporate by reference the Directory of Educational Institutions in Canada, which provides a list of recognized educational institutions in Canada. The Directory is maintained by the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials, in close collaboration with competent authorities responsible for education in the provinces and territories.

2. The labour standards protections for students in work-integrated learning

The proposed Regulations list the labour standards protections under Part III that apply and specify how these provisions are to be adapted. The proposed labour standards protections include:

  • a limit of 40 hours/week and 8 hours/day, with at least one day of rest per week;
  • the right to a modified work schedule;
  • 9 general holidays within a calendar year;
  • maternity-related reassignment;
  • protected leaves (i.e. personal leave, leave for victims of family violence, leave for traditional Aboriginal practices, bereavement leave, medical leave and leave for work-related illness and injury); and
  • protections against genetic discrimination and prohibited reprisals.

The proposed Regulations would also include a few additional labour standards protections that were recently introduced under the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 (Bill C-86) and that will come into force September 1, 2019, including:

  • unpaid breaks for every period of 5 hours of work;
  • unpaid breaks for medical reasons or nursing;
  • 96 hours' advance notice of a schedule; and
  • 8-hour rest periods between shifts.

The proposed Regulations also include protections against sexual harassment, until the related provisions under Part III are consolidated into a new framework for the prevention of harassment and violence under Part II (under Bill C-65, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code [harassment and violence], the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1). This will ensure that there is no gap in coverage for students in work-integrated learning. The violence and harassment provisions are expected to come into force in 2020.

3. Related administrative requirements

The proposed Regulations would specify record-keeping requirements with respect to students in work-integrated learning. The employer would be required to keep, for at least three years after the placement, the documents issued by the educational institution as well as written records such as hours in the workplace, general holidays granted and days of any leave taken.

Impacts and costs of the changes on employers

The proposed Regulations are expected to entail limited compliance and administrative costs for employers in the federally regulated private sector. Some small administrative costs would also be carried by educational institutions. A substantial portion of these costs would be related to the record-keeping requirement for determining that a student placement is a formal part of an educational program.

The total anticipated cost is $418,018, which can be broken down as follows:

Educational institutions would be required to issue documents that contain a set of prescribed details about any unpaid placements. This would entail anticipated administrative incremental costs of approximately $37,882.

Employers in the federally regulated private sector would assume an initial compliance cost arising from the need to familiarize their human resources personnel with the changes introduced by the proposed Regulations, such as the labour standards protections that unpaid students would receive. The present value of this one-time incremental cost is estimated at about $243,885.

Employers in the federally regulated private sector hosting unpaid students would also carry incremental administrative costs of approximately $136,251 due to the need to verify and file documentation for the new record-keeping requirements introduced by the proposed Regulations.

Since employers in the federally regulated private sector are already required to keep records about their employees, the record-keeping requirements for students participating in work-integrated learning would not impose an additional administrative burden, with the exception of the filing of the documents issued by the educational institution.

Anticipated benefits

The proposed Regulations are expected to foster a work environment where employers, students and educational institutions can leverage work-integrated learning opportunities more confidently. The proposed Regulations are, therefore, anticipated to promote a culture of trust and accountability conducive to stable and productive workplaces. The proposed Regulations would:

  • Enable students in unpaid work-integrated learning to enjoy, for the first time, a set of important labour standards protections;
  • Clarify the status of students in unpaid work-integrated learning roles in the workplace, and related employer obligations; and
  • Remove ambiguity by ensuring that any other intern is paid and enjoys full labour standards protections.

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


Software Updates

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GrandMaster Suite v14.01

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GrandMaster II v14.01

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