Payroll News Canada - Employment Articles

June 2020 - 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

June 2020 - 10% Temporary wage subsidy for employers - The Government announced a 10% temporary wage subsidy for employers for a period of 3 months. Eligible employers (individuals (excluding trusts), certain partnerships, non-profit organizations, registered charities, or Canadian-controlled private corporations) who pay salary, wages, or taxable benefits to employees, between March 18, 2020 and June 19, 2020, can reduce payroll remittances of federal, provincial, or territorial income tax by the amount of the subsidy. This measure is only applicable to remittances made to the CRA. 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

June 12, 2020 -  StatCan says only 4 in 10 Canadians can feasibly perform their job from home - While news about employees performing more productively than ever as they work from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic is doing the rounds over the internet, new data released by Statistics Canada reveals that only four in 10 Canadians hold jobs that can be reasonably performed remotely. (Full Story)

June 10, 2020 - Significant changes to wage subsidy and CERB programs are required - Small business owners are eager to get back to work, but face significant barriers hiring or recalling staff according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). To get Canada's economy back up and running, the federal government will need to implement key changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). (Full Story)

June 10, 2020 - Loyalty to employers high amid pandemic - Most workers in Canada have remained loyal to their employer throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with just 13 per cent saying their loyalty has decreased, according to a survey released by ADP Canada. Nearly one-third (28 per cent) say their loyalty has increased because of their company's response to COVID-19, and women are more likely to cite increased loyalty than men (33 per cent versus 23 per cent), found the survey of 939 workers between May 15 to May 17, 2020. (Full Story)

June 9, 2020 - Half of Canadian employers have a policy to address benefits during disability: survey - Just half of Canadian employers said they've adopted a formal policy to clearly communicate their approach to disability benefits in the event of a conflict, according to a new survey by Aon. The survey, which was conducted before the coronavirus pandemic, asked Canadian employers about the disability benefits they're offering to their employees and how those benefits are funded and administered. It found 52 per cent of respondents said they have a policy to address benefits during periods of disability. (Full Story)

June 9, 2020 - Jobs For Women To Fall Behind As 1.75 Million Canadians Go Back To Work - A new forecast has good news for the millions of Canadians who lost their jobs in the pandemic: With lockdowns ending, the country is about to see a massive (re-)hiring spree. Canada will add 1.75 million jobs in June and July, U.K.-based Capital Economics predicted in a report issued Tuesday. While Capital Economics didn't break down their forecast by gender, they did break it down by industry, and it showed that industries dominated by men ― particularly construction ― are set to recover faster. (Full Story)

June 8, 2020 - EI premium hikes could be 'job killing', Ottawa warned - As lockdowns get ease and shutdowns get lifted, Canada is starting the delicate task of restarting the economy. Business owners will face many possible challenges as they reopen their doors, including one threat that could emerge as federal lifelines are withdrawn. When the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) are gone, EI will again be the main federal government income support program for workers. (Full Story)

June 8, 2020 - New moms told go work to get EI parental benefits after jobs lost to COVID-19 - Alexis Adams is joyful about the arrival of her third daughter but she is also concerned about how to pay for another maternity leave that is, like her daughter, barely a week old. Adams lost her job in late March when COVID-19 shut down the television show she was working on. She was about 150 hours short of qualifying for employment insurance, which is how the federal government delivers maternity and parental leave benefits. (Full Story)

June 8, 2020 - Pandemic measures expose work-from-home inequality, says Statistics Canada - Women, along with people with higher earnings and those with more education, are more likely to be able to work from home and therefore less likely to suffer a loss of employment income due to measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, according to a new report. Canadians who can work from home, much like those in essential services and those whose jobs allow physical distancing, are less likely to have been laid off or have their hours reduced since the pandemic began. (Full Story)

June 8, 2020 - Good Jobs Gain for Canada in May, but Unemployment Rate Up - Similar to the U.S., Canada managed a big increase in total employment in May, +290,000 jobs according to Statistics Canada. Unlike the U.S., however, Canada's unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted) climbed rather than fell, reaching 13.7% versus April's figure of 13.0%. Contributing to the rise in the unemployment rate was an uptick in the ‘participation rate' to 61.4% from 59.8%. A higher participation rate means more people who formerly weren't looking for work (and therefore weren't counted as unemployed) were back in the jobs hunt. (Full Story)

June 5, 2020 - National unemployment rate hits new record even as economy adds jobs - Canada's employment minister says the federal government is rethinking a key COVID-19 benefit so workers have more incentive to get back on the job, in an effort to maintain a surprising boost in job numbers from May. Statistics Canada reported that the country got back 289,600 jobs in May - which mirrored a similar bump in the U.S. - after three million jobs were lost over March and April and about 2.5 million more people had their hours slashed. (Full Story)

June 5, 2020 - Canada added jobs in May even as unemployment rate hit record high: StatsCan - Statistics Canada reports that the Canadian economy added 290,000 jobs in May, at the same time that the country's unemployment rate climbed to 13.7 per cent. The agency's labour force survey for May said unemployment rate is the highest ever since comparable data became available in 1976, topping the previous high of 13.1 per cent set in December 1982. (Full Story)

June 5, 2020 - Bounce-back or blip? Canada added 290,000 jobs in May - After losing more than three million jobs in March and April, Canada's economy added 290,000 jobs in May, Statistics Canada reported Friday. The data agency reported that 290,000 more people had paid employment in May than in April. The surge means May was the best one-month gain for jobs in Canada in 45 years, although it happened from an admittedly low bar. It also means the economy has now replaced about 10 per cent of the jobs it lost to COVID-19. (Full Story)

June 2, 2020 - Changes to employment status, high-risk jobs affecting Canadians' anxiety levels: survey - A quarter (26 per cent) of Canadians indicated moderate to severe anxiety levels, 23 per cent said they felt lonely occasionally or most of the time in the past week and 20 per cent reported feeling depressed occasionally or most of the time in the past week, according to a new survey by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. The inaugural survey, conducted by global research technology company Delvinia between May 8 and 12, polled more than 1,000 Canadians aged 18 or older. (Full Story)

June 1, 2020 - Canada Pension Plan Reports 3.1% Annual Return - The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) has been weathering the coronavirus pandemic just fine. The CPP earned a return of 3.1% after expenses during the financial year ended March 31, the board that manages the fund's money has reported. Net assets for Canada's national pension plan totaled $409.6 billion as of the end of March, up from $392 billion at the end of the previous financial year. (Full Story)

May 28, 2020 - Canadian companies are creating new jobs because of COVID-19 - As lockdown restrictions across the country continue to loosen, Canadian retailers are no doubt contemplating what the ‘new normal' might look like for both customers and employees. For more and more of these businesses, it involves creating entirely new jobs meant to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Whether these are workers dedicated to taking customers' temperatures, sanitizing store equipment or controlling crowds, it's possible that the demand for these types of tasks could continue to rise if a treatment or vaccine for COVID-19 isn't found. (Full Story)

May 27, 2020 - Federal government expands criteria for Canada Emergency Business Account - Last week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an expansion to the criteria of eligibility for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to make more owner-operated small businesses eligible.  The Canadian government made the changes to the criteria to help protect more jobs and small businesses throughout the country during the Covid-19 pandemic. (Full Story)

May 22, 2020 - These jobs may be most in-demand in a post-pandemic Canada - Let's start with the obvious: It is not a good time to be looking for work. Canada's economy shed nearly two million jobs – a record – in April, on top of one million in March. The national unemployment rate sits at 13 per cent, and would be even higher had 1.1 million Canadians not given up entirely on trying to find a job amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But for every Canadian who stopped looking for work last month, there are two who were still attempting to land some sort of employment. (Full Story)

May 21, 2020 - Air Canada to stop emergency wage subsidy - Air Canada will not continue to use the federal emergency wage subsidy and has instead given employees the option of unpaid leaves, reduced work hours or resigning, the union representing the airline's flight attendants said Thursday. Canada's largest airline said last week it plans to cut up to 20,000 people, or 60 per cent of its workforce, given plummeting demand for air travel during the global pandemic. Air Canada has slashed its flight capacity by as much as 95 per cent due to international travel bans and stay-at-home orders. (Full Story)

May 20, 2020 - Government announces support program for large employers is open for applications - The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action through Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan to support Canadians and protect jobs during the global COVID-19 outbreak. Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Navdeep Bains, today announced the opening of the application process for the government's Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF). The program will support Canada's largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing. LEEFF will help successful applicants keep their operations going. (Full Story)

May 15, 2020 - Government extends the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy - The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action through Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan to support Canadians and protect jobs during the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) helps businesses keep employees on the payroll and encourages employers to re-hire workers previously laid off, and better positions businesses to bounce back following the crisis. It was announced today that the Government will extend the CEWS by an additional 12 weeks to August 29, 2020. (Full Story)

May 15, 2020 - Canada Summer Jobs start rolling out to keep young people working during COVID-19 - A strong workforce includes good job opportunities for youth. That is why the Government is working with employers across the country during this unprecedented time to make sure that young Canadians stay connected to the job market with safe and secure summer employment opportunities. Today begins the hiring period for Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) 2020. Starting today, thousands of opportunities are being posted to the Job Bank website for jobs available across the country. Thousands more will be posted over the coming weeks and months, with a target of approximately 70,000 placements. (Full Story)

May 12, 2020 - Government announces help for employers to meet their labour needs - With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting almost every sector in Canada, temporary foreign workers and their employers are confronted by new challenges in a rapidly changing job market. Many temporary workers with employer-specific work permits lost their jobs this spring. While some have left Canada, others are unable to leave due to international travel restrictions or the reduction in flights available. Under existing rules, to change jobs they need to apply and wait for a new work permit to be issued before starting to work at their new job. (Full Story)

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

June 8, 2020 - Alberta's unemployment rate reaches a record high - The entire country continues to feel the impact of COVID-19 and unemployment rates have reached a record high. A recent Stats Canada labour force survey reveals that Alberta's unemployment rate spiked to 15.5 percent in May, and is amongst the highest in the country. Unemployment in Alberta was 2.1 percent higher in May, than recorded in April of this year. The economic downturn largely attributes to the shutdown of non-essential businesses across the province. (Full Story)

June 6, 2020 - Alberta's unemployment rate rises to 15.5 per cent in May, Edmonton's to 13.6 percent - Alberta's unemployment rate rose to 15.5 per cent in May just as the province began to allow some businesses closed by the COVID-19 pandemic to reopen. That's an increase of 2.1 per cent over the month of April, according to the Labour Force Survey released Friday morning by Statistics Canada. The Labour Force Survey results for May were gathered the week of May 10-16. (Full Story)

May 29, 2020 - Cutting red tape for Alberta job creators - Alberta businesses can now incorporate and get their federal business number and federal tax program account number in one easy step. In addition to streamlining the incorporation application process, the federal business number enables Alberta businesses and non-profits to identify themselves by using one identifier, instead of different registration numbers. (Full Story)

May 29, 2020 - Upgrading of Alberta's skilled workers must evolve: report - Innovation is rapidly changing the construction industry and if Alberta is to remain competitive the old method of training and upgrading skilled trades workers must evolve, says a report prepared recently for contractors, developers, educators, researchers and worker groups in in the province. The report, called Upskilling Alberta's Construction Workforce: A Response to Changing Technology, concludes that if the industry doesn't change, Canadian firms will be outcompeted by those from abroad. (Full Story)

May 26, 2020 - Alberta trims training for barbers - A new apprenticeship path for barbers will streamline training and help get Albertans back to work sooner. Alberta has expanded the hairstylist apprenticeship program to include barber certification, enabling apprentices to choose the path that best meets their needs. The new barber certification path enables apprentices to streamline their training and achieve certification in half the time. Hairstylist apprentices wishing to switch programs or who are currently working as a barber can receive credit for training they have already completed. (Full Story)

May 25, 2020 - Alberta Continuing Care Workers Haven't Received Pandemic Pay Increases Yet - More than a month since a wage-top up for front-line health care aides in Alberta long-term care homes was announced, the union representing long-term care workers there says many on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic still have not received the promised pay increase. Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced the $2 per hour pay increase for health-care aides working at private long-term care homes April 19. The proposed spending amounted to $7.3 million a month. (Full Story)

May 20, 2020 - WCB Alberta Going Paperless - Access your payment information online. WCB is going paperless. Starting this week we'll no longer provide paper copies of your electronic deposits (EFT) statements. Workers, you can access your payment information through the myWCB app or myWCB. Questions? Call us at 1-866-922-9221. (Full Story)

May 8, 2020 - Employee training supports for agri-businesses - In response to COVID-19, the Government of Alberta has created a new Agriculture Training Support Program to help employers in the food supply chain provide necessary training to new Alberta employees. The program is intended to offset costs for COVID-19 safety and training, including the costs for personal protective equipment and to remove any barriers to get Albertans safely working. (Full Story)

May 7, 2020 - Creating new jobs for Albertans - Government is accelerating the procurement process for construction of the Red Deer Justice Centre to get Albertans back to work. Construction of this major project is expected to support 750 jobs. Shortening the procurement process means workers can get shovels in the ground sooner. Vendors identified during the request for qualifications (RFQ) stage will be invited to participate in the project tendering. The invitational bid process is expected to run this month. (Full Story)

June 9, 2020 - New resource for first aid protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic - During the COVID-19 pandemic, occupational first aid attendants (OFAAs) continue to provide treatment to workers as necessary. Because of the possibility of community infection, standard protocols may need to be modified to reduce the potential for transmission. This information sheet provides additional precautions OFAAs can take to include public health directives such as physical distancing, hand hygiene, and disinfection in their procedures. (Full Story)

June 8, 2020 - B.C.'s minimum wage bump won't alleviate housing or COVID-19 pressures: advocates - As of June 1, minimum wage workers in the province earn $14.60 an hour, up from $13.85. But low wages, part-time or precarious work, coupled with low vacancy rates and high rents, are significant drivers of homelessness in the North Island region, said Kristi Schwanicke, co-ordinator of the Campbell River and District Coalition to End Homelessness. (Full Story)

June 8, 2020 - WorkSafeBC deferring quarterly premium payments for an additional quarter; release of preliminary base rates for 2021 postponed until fall - WorkSafeBC today announced that it is extending the deferral period for quarterly premium payments for an additional three months, without penalty or interest. In order to ensure account balances are correct, employers will still be required to report their payroll for the first and second quarters by July 20, 2020. The deferral only impacts employers who are required to report payroll and pay premiums on a quarterly basis. Employers who report annually will not be impacted because they do not report payroll or pay premiums until March 2021. (Full Story)

June 8, 2020 - Proposed policy amendments regarding injuries caused by overexertion during accustomed work - Our Policy, Regulation and Research Division is releasing a discussion paper to stakeholders for comment. The paper includes options on proposed policy regarding injuries caused by overexertion during accustomed (familiar) work. At issue is whether policy should be amended to add guidance for injuries caused by overexertion during the performance of accustomed work duties. The proposed policy amendments codify best practices. (Full Story)

June 3, 2020 - PCA embraces B.C. Builders Code - The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) has announced its support of the B.C. Builders Code, a program that aims to make jobsites inclusive and welcoming to all people. Between now and 2029, the province's construction industry will have to offset the retirement of more than 25,000 construction workers. Although B.C. does better than most provinces, women still account for only 6.4 per cent of its construction workforce, while Indigenous people represent approximately 5.7 per cent of B.C.'s construction labour force. (Full Story)

June 1, 2020 - Minimum wage increase takes effect - To support B.C.'s lowest paid workers, the general hourly minimum wage is increasing to $14.60, and the minimum wage rates for liquor servers, resident caretakers and live-in camp leaders are also increasing, effective Monday, June 1, 2020. In 2018, to help make life more affordable for people, government committed to raising the minimum wage following a path of annual increases that are regular, measured and predictable. (Full Story)

May 28th, 2020 - B.C. launches new resource to connect people with jobs in agriculture sector - The BC Government has announced the launch of a new online resource that will connect people with jobs in the agriculture sector. The government said the resource will make it easier to learn about jobs and careers in the sector, while providing farmers, seafood businesses and food processors with a one-stop-shop to support hiring operations. The resource will showcase current job vacancies for crop and seafood harvesters, food processing and farmworkers, agrologists, large machinery operators and marketing specialists, according to the government. (Full Story)

May 26, 2020 - Downtown Eastside supported through skills training, employment - Downtown Eastside (DTES) residents will use their knowledge of the community, while gaining valuable skills and paid work experience to support their fellow residents, though $200,000 from the Canada-BC Workforce Development Agreement. The Eastside Movement for Business and Economic Renewal Society (EMBERS) delivers a variety of skills training for employment programs in the DTES and will work with several DTES peer network organizations that have been successful in the pilot to identify peers who could be included in the project. (Full Story)

May 21, 2020 - Petition demanding paid sick leave in B.C. launched by employment advocacy groups - A new petition circulating this week is calling on the provincial government to pony up and guarantee British Columbians who are ill can take a day off work without taking a financial hit. The petition, created by the B.C. Employment Standards Coalition and the Retail Action Network, demands the province amend the B.C. Employment Standards Act to immediately provide up to 21 days of paid sick leave during the pandemic. (Full Story)

May 19, 2020 - Pandemic pay supports front-line health, social service workers - Health and social service workers delivering in-person, front-line care to some of B.C.'s most vulnerable people will receive a financial boost through temporary COVID-19 pandemic pay. As part of a cost-shared program with the federal government, temporary pandemic pay will support people working on the front lines in B.C.'s health-care system, social services and corrections. This includes workers delivering a range of health and social services to people most vulnerable to COVID-19. (Full Story)

May 18, 2020 - Child care restrictions preventing some from going back to work as economy reopens - As provinces begin the slow process of reopening the economy, a continued freeze on most child care services is shedding light on what experts describe as a child care crisis, one that is preventing parents from returning to the workforce in some cases. With Montreal-area businesses and daycares set to reopen on May 25 and June 1, respectively, Cherie Luague says she's eager to go back to her job of six years at a clothing manufacturer. (Full Story)

June 9, 2020 - Manitoba offers incentive for non-profits hiring summer students - Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister announced a wage subsidy incentive program for non-profits and charities looking to hire students over the summer. On Tuesday, Pallister announced the new non-profit summer student incentive program which will begin on June 16. Under this new program, charities and non-profit organizations will be eligible to receive $6,000 from the province if they hire at least one summer student. (Full Story)

June 6, 2020 - Manitoba's employment rebounds by 13,100 jobs in May as economy reopens from COVID-19 - The latest economic indicators from Statistics Canada show an increase in Manitoba's employment from April to May, a sign the province's careful, measured approach in Phase One of its Restoring Safe Services is working. Total employment in Manitoba increased by 13,100, a 2.3 per cent increase. This follows a decrease of 64,200 positions the previous month and surpasses the nationwide May increase of 1.8 per cent. Manitoba's labour force increased by 13,800 people. (Full Story)

June 5, 2020 - Manitoba's Employment Rebounds By 13,100 Jobs In May As Economy Reopens From Covid-19 - The latest economic indicators from Statistics Canada show an increase in Manitoba's employment from April to May, a sign the province's careful, measured approach in Phase One of its Restoring Safe Services is working, Finance Minister Scott Fielding and Economic Development and Training Minister Ralph Eichler announced today. The latest report from Statistics Canada indicates Manitoba fared better than the national average in key categories. Total employment in Manitoba increased by 13,100, a 2.3 per cent increase. (Full Story)

June 5, 2020 - Employment numbers see slight gain in May - Following a drop of over one million in March and nearly two million in April, employment numbers went up by 289,600 (1.8 per cent) in May, while the number of people who worked less than half their usual hours dropped by 292,000 (down 8.6 per cent), according to Statistics Canada (StatCan). Combined, these changes in the labour market represented a recovery of 10.6 per cent of the COVID-19-related employment losses and absences recorded in the previous two months, says the government. (Full Story)

June 4, 2020 - More action needed to keep migrant workers safe, advocate says after cluster of Manitoba COVID-19 cases - A migrant workers advocacy group is calling for more protections for temporary foreign workers after a cluster of COVID-19 cases in southern Manitoba. "It's unfortunate that we still can't provide the same safety precautions to these temporary foreign workers and migrant farm workers as other workers are enjoying," said Diwa Marcelino, an organizer with Migrante Manitoba. Four people at a southern Manitoba workplace have now tested positive for COVID-19. (Full Story)

June 3, 2020 - Not everyone happy with Manitoba essential workers' bonus - The province of Manitoba is distributing $120 million to workers who have been on the front lines during the COVID-19 crisis. The money will see about 100,000 essential services employees receive checks of around $1,000 each under what the province calls a ‘hero pay' program announced last month by the province and the federal government, which is providing about three-quarters of the money. The final amount of the payment will depend on how many people apply for it. (Full Story)

June 2, 2020 - Low-Income Frontline Workers Can Apply For Provincial Payment - Low-income frontline workers will be eligible for a one-time payment from the provincial government. Eligible positions cover industries like health care, social services, justice, transportation, and essential retail. The payment is available to workers employed on a part-time or full-time basis since the start of the provincial state of emergency on March 20 until May 29, who either worked a minimum of 200 cumulative hours or would have worked that amount but were required to self-isolate under public health orders. (Full Story)

June 2, 2020 - Manitoba government workers agree to five unpaid days off - Thousands of Manitoba Government employees will be on the receiving end of COVID-19 induced austerity in the coming months. The Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU) agreed to five days of unpaid leave for 6,250 MGEU members after the province offered a choice between temporary unpaid leave and layoffs. (Full Story)

May 28, 2020 - Province Launches Online Tool To Help Match Employers And Students For Jobs - The Manitoba government has launched Student Jobs MB, a new and exciting online tool dedicated to matching students looking for job opportunities to employers with workforce needs throughout the province, Premier Brian Pallister announced today. Student Jobs MB is simple and free to use, allowing students to be matched with and to apply for multiple jobs with the click of a button. The technology is safe and secure, and designed to protect user privacy. Private-sector employers, not-for-profit organizations and governments are able to post jobs and connect directly with students. (Full Story)

May 26, 2020 - Government Enhances Youth Employment And Skills Program - The federal government has announced an investment of up to $9.2 million to enhance the Youth Employment and Sills Program (YESP) and fund up to 700 new positions for youth in the agriculture industry. This additional funding will help the agriculture industry attract Canadian youth, ages 15 to 30, to their organizations to assist with labour shortages brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Full Story)

May 21, 2020 - WCB Returns $37 Million Surplus to Provide Financial Relief to Employers - The Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba is returning a $37-million surplus to provide financial relief to eligible employers in the province. This is the second year the WCB has returned surplus funds to eligible employers while still maintaining the lowest assessment rate in Canada. In making this decision, the WCB's board of directors considered the long-term financial projections in conjunction with maintaining rate stability and still protecting the workers compensation system against risk, uncertainty and market volatility. (Full Story)

May 20, 2020 - Government Expands Eligibility For Canada Emergency Business Account - Farmers will benefit from this week's announced expansion of eligibility to the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). The federal government changed the eligibility to ensure farmers without payroll can now access the $40,000 interest-free loan, up to $10,000 of which is forgiven if the rest is repaid by December 31, 2022. For those farmers who are still unable to access CEBA, they can turn towards the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund. (Full Story)

May 19, 2020 - Manitoba government proposes 5 days of unpaid leave for 1,000s of employees to cut costs - The Manitoba government wants about 6,250 civil servants within core government departments to take five days of unpaid leave to cut costs during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter Tuesday morning to employees, the government asked that they take the five days off to avert temporary layoffs. The proposal, along with details on which government employees are eligible, would be cleared up at the bargaining table and staff meetings, says the letter sent on behalf of Michael Richards, deputy secretary of cabinet, and Charlene Paquin, civil service commissioner. (Full Story)

May 13, 2020 - Province Helps Connect Manitoba Businesses With Personal Protective Equipment - The Manitoba government has partnered with the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, the Manitoba and Winnipeg Chambers of Commerce, and North Forge Technology Exchange to support the development and launch of an online marketplace to connect Manitoba businesses with non-medical grade personal protective equipment (PPE) and other materials needed for businesses to operate, Premier Brian Pallister announced today. (Full Story)

June 9, 2020 - More city jobs on the line with Saint John 'workforce adjustments' - Saint John councillors have approved letters to the police and transit commissions announcing further funding cuts for next year. That brings $1.3 million in total budget cuts to police and $850 thousand to transit. The move is part of $6 million in across the board city "workforce adjustments" to be implemented by the end of this year. (Full Story)

June 8, 2020 - Three-month deferral of premiums comes to an end - In March, to do our part to help New Brunswick businesses and provide financial relief during these unprecedented times, WorkSafeNB deferred assessment premiums without interest charges for three months, from March to May 2020. Monthly premium payments will resume late June.  WorkSafeNB will collect deferred premiums owed in three equal amounts in June, July and August. Employers who pay premiums annually, and still have a balance owing, must also resume payment at this time. (Full Story)

June 5, 2020 - Employment numbers are up in N.B. as businesses reopen - Employment numbers are up in New Brunswick as businesses reopened during the province's recovery phases in May. The number of people employed increased by 17,000, according to information released by Statistics Canada on Friday. Employment increases among lower-wage workers were up by 21.8 per cent. New Brunswick's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped 0.4 percentage points from April to May as more people returned to work. (Full Story)

May 22, 2020 - Temporary foreign workers to be allowed back into N.B. again - Temporary foreign workers will be allowed back into the province starting May 29, Premier Blaine Higgs announced Friday. They were banned from the province April 28 as part of efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The move caused a storm of criticism from farmers and fish-plant operators that rely on the workers. Higgs said after consultations with public health authorities, he is convinced it's now safe to drop his opposition to allowing the workers into the province, as long as safety measures are respected, including quarantining for 14 days. (Full Story)

May 21, 2020 - Interprovincial travel guidelines for New Brunswick-based employees - To provide some context for the purpose of this guide respecting out-of-province travel for New Brunswick-based employees, the province currently allows workers from other provinces who enter New Brunswick to work without the need to self-isolate for 14 days. This permission is conditional on the employer submitting an Operational Plan for interprovincial workers that must meet specific conditions and infectious disease prevention measures during the out-of-province employee's first 14 days of work in New Brunswick. (Full Story)

May 20, 2020 - Premier Announces $500 Per Month Wage Top-Up For Essential Workers - Frontline workers in various sectors, including the care industry, will receive a wage top-up of about $500 for 16 weeks, Premier Blaine Higgs announced Wednesday. The first phase of this program will cover employees in early learning and child care facilities, home support, special care homes, community residences and group homes, homeless shelters and food banks, and domestic violence outreach and transition homes. Workers must be full-time and earn $18 an hour or less to be eligible. (Full Story)

June 8, 2020 - N.L. mining industry gets pandemic help in form of payment deferrals and waived expenditures - The Newfoundland and Labrador government on Monday announced measures to assist mining, mineral exploration and quarry industries in the province, aimed at helping business find its footing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The government's announcement included deferring rental and fee payments and waiving mineral expenditure requirements for 2020. (Full Story)

June 6, 2020 - Newfoundland and Labrador gets back 10,000 jobs in May, but unemployment still rises - Newfoundland and Labrador regained 10,000 jobs in May in what the Conference Board of Canada described as an “especially strong” part of a nationwide rebound, and expectations are the numbers for June will show even more improvement. Still, with unemployment actually up in the province, the opposition Progressive Conservatives are calling on Premier Dwight Ball's government to formulate “a detailed plan with concrete actions” to help speed the recovery of the province's labour market from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Full Story)

May 23, 2020 - Pandemic adds new complication to old staffing problem, says fish plant owner - A fish plant owner from Corner Brook says his plants are short on workers this season, and he says COVID-19 and employment insurance are to blame. Bill Barry, CEO of the Barry Group of Companies, which owns several fish plants across the province, said some of the issues with staffing relate to fears around the pandemic but the majority of the problem has been building up over the years. (Full Story)

May 21, 2020 - Advisory: WorkplaceNL defers assessment payments from employers until August 31, 2020 - To continue to help businesses in the province during the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic, WorkplaceNL is further deferring the collection of assessment payments from employers until after August 31, 2020 (from June 30, 2020), and waiving interest charges or penalties. The deferral will be applied to all existing payment plans and post-dated cheques. Employers do not need to contact WorkplaceNL. (Full Story)

May 19, 2020 - With 29,000 jobs lost, workers in N.L. are navigating their way through COVID-19 - Lynn Gambin, an associate professor of economics at Memorial University, said of the 29,000 jobs lost in April, the data shows the biggest declines came in foresting, fishing, mining and oil and gas. Some of the bigger declines were also seen in construction, and the wholesale and retail industry, leaving a large impact on the province's economy. As the province continues through Alert Level 4 of its reopening plan under the COVID-19 pandemic, Gambin said, positive signs for businesses and workers could start to show. (Full Story)

June 8, 2020 - Young people hardest-hit as NWT employment rate tanks - New figures from the NWT Bureau of Statistics show the territory's employment rate dropped slightly to 62.2 percent in May – the lowest since the bureau began collecting such data in 2001. The employment rate is the percentage of NWT residents aged 15 or over who are in work. Among youth aged 15 to 24, the employment rate has cratered from 46 percent to 31 percent in the space of the past year. (Full Story)

May 28, 2020 - Wage top-up - a boon for 242 N.W.T. workers - won't outlive COVID-19 crisis - A wage top-up for people earning less than $18 per hour will expire as planned after four months. Finance Minister Caroline Wawzonek made the announcement in the legislature Wednesday. "We certainly can't have every single program that moves forward under COVID[-19] move forward forever," Wawzonek said. "There will not be sufficient money to do that." (Full Story)

May 12, 2020 - GNWT Provides Funding for Low Wage Workers - The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) will allocate up to $6.2 million to temporarily top up wages for workers making less than $18 per hour. Under this program, businesses are asked to apply for temporary funding to increase the wages of their employees who make less than $18 per hour, for a maximum of 16 weeks between April 1 and July 31, 2020. The program is available to all workers in the NWT that are currently earning less than $18 per hour and are over 15 years old. (Full Story)

May 11, 2020 - Many hundreds have lost jobs, NWT employment report states - Labour force figures for April, published late last week, are the first to capture in any detail the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the territory's job market. The bureau says roughly 300 jobs were lost in transportation and warehousing, 200 in utilities, 200 in the mining and resource sector, and 200 in educational services. (Full Story)

May 10, 2020 - NWT employment rate in April falls to lowest level in 10 years, GNWT says - The employment rate in April in the NWT fell to its lowest level for that month in 10 years, according to the Labour Force Survey released by the NWT Bureau of Statistics on Friday. Sectors will the most job losses were in transportation and warehousing, utilities, forestry, fishing, mining, oil and gas and educational services. (Full Story)

June 5, 2020 - WCB Nova Scotia offers workplace tools for safe reopening - As cases of COVID-19 across the province slow and economic restrictions lift, more Nova Scotia workplaces are beginning to reopen, and those that continued to operate are adjusting to a broader range of activities. No matter the scenario, workplace safety is more important than ever. WCB Nova Scotia is committed to helping employers and workers during this time, and we've adapted our social marketing campaign to support safe working practices across all industries. (Full Story)

June 5, 2020 - Summer farm jobs not for university students, says student union president - Acadia Students' Union president Brendan MacNeil says university students who are without summer jobs due to the pandemic shouldn't be expected to take available work on farms. At a time when unemployment is at its highest in living memory in this province, many farmers are not able to get their crops in because Nova Scotians won't take the jobs on offer. (Full Story)

June 4, 2020 - Technological innovations in the workplace can increase anxiety for employees: advocate - Many Canadians may not be aware that mental illness is considered a disability. During National AccessAbility Week, one of the digital conference's guest speakers brings his expertise on the subject to help break barriers of mental health-related disabilities, primarily in the workplace. The theme for his session will be the new ways technologies, like artificial intelligence, are moving closer to replicating the human brain and how its use in the workplace may affect employees on a larger scale. (Full Story)

May 29, 2020 - WCB Nova Scotia announces further support for employers during COVID-19 - Employers who have frontline workers contract COVID-19 due to their work will not have the costs of those workplace injury insurance claims impact their industry rate or individual experience rating, the Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) of Nova Scotia announced today. “Workers and employers on the front lines of this pandemic are facing unprecedented challenges arising from COVID-19,” said Stuart MacLean, CEO. (Full Story)

May 27, 2020 - Province to create 2,000 construction jobs by green-lighting 200 projects - Up to 2,000 local jobs will be created as Nova Scotians get back to work on more than 200 infrastructure projects across the province. The province is investing up to $230 million to improve infrastructure and help get the economy moving again. Premier Stephen McNeil announced today, May 27, stimulus spending directed toward shovel-ready projects, including investments in roads, bridges, school repairs and museum, courthouse and hospital renovations. (Full Story)

May 16, 2020 - Temporary Foreign Workers exploited in many cases, SACPA told - Recent major COVID-19 outbreaks at the Cargill High River and the JBS Brooks meat processing facilities have put the spotlight on how Canadian companies and employers treat Temporary Foreign Workers, says Marco Luciano, director of Migrante Canada, and the sight it reveals is not pretty. He said unequal power relationships between employers and migrant workers, whom he referred to as being “indentured” because they are forced to serve only one employer while working in Canada, leads to abuses and exploitation in many instances. (Full Story)

May 8, 2020 - Nova Scotia lost 50,000 jobs in April amid COVID-19 - Fifty thousand jobs were lost in Nova Scotia in April, reflecting the devastating economic impact of the first full month of public health orders to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Full-time employment plummeted in the province by 38,000 positions in April, while there were 11,800 fewer part-time jobs, according to the Statistics Canada monthly Labour Force Survey released Friday. The unemployment rate rose to 12 per cent from nine per cent in March. The dismal data picks up where March left off, when Nova Scotia shed 25,000 jobs compared to February. (Full Story)

June 8, 2020 - Nunavut's employment rate tumbles 17.3 per cent compared to last year - Nunavut realized a 17.3 per cent drop in its employment rate from March to May when compared with that same period one year earlier, fresh data from Statistics Canada reveals. The territory's employment rate stood at just 45 per cent during the recent stretch when the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the economy. A year earlier, the territorial employment rate was recorded at 54.4 per cent. (Full Story)

June 4, 2020 - Income assistance unlikely for those receiving CERB - Nunavummiut who are receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) are “most likely” not eligible to receive income assistance, says Jarrett Parker, director of Income Assistance with the department of Family Services in Nunavut. Income Assistance (IA) is a territorial program aimed to help individuals and families to meet their basic needs when they are unable to provide for themselves, explained Parker. (Full Story)

May 28, 2020 - Nunavut government announces COVID-19 wage top-up for essential workers - Starting next week, the Government of Nunavut will top up wages for eligible essential workers across the territory through a new program. The program, dubbed the Nunavut Essential Workers Wage Premium, will launch on June 1. That means workers making less than $20 an hour will be able to receive an extra $5 per hour, Hickes said. Workers making between $20 and $25 per hour will also receive a top-up to bring their wages to $25 an hour. (Full Story)

May 28, 2020 - COVID-19 Department of Finance services update - The Government of Nunavut (GN) is launching a new program, the Nunavut Essential Workers Wage Premium. Through it, the GN will fund eligible employers to pay their lower-wage workers more for the hours they work. Employees who earn $20 or less per hour will be able to receive an extra $5 per hour. Employees who earn between $20 and $25 per hour will receive enough to bring their wages up to $25 per hour. Funding will be available for employers to support this higher pay for up to 16 weeks. (Full Story)

May 19, 2020 - Nunavut government clarifies who is eligible to receive emergency response benefit - The Government of Nunavut is clarifying who can apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. Nunavummiut who received income assistance as their sole income in the last year are not eligible to receive the CERB, the Department of Family Services said in a public service announcement. The CERB is a temporary federal income support benefit that provides people who have stopped working due to COVID-19 with $500 a week, for up to 16 weeks. (Full Story)

June 11, 2020 - Front-line hospital workers left out of Ontario pandemic pay - Linda Powers has been on the front line of COVID-19 for months. Working in an Ottawa hospital, Powers is a physiotherapist who sees some patients who are suspected to be carrying the virus. She's often up close with patients who are relearning how to walk after being bedridden for long periods of time, and also does chest physiology work to help patients clear their lungs - work that is dangerous and necessary when dealing with a respiratory virus. (Full Story)

June 10, 2020 - Ontario expands emergency benefit to prevent 'costly' layoffs - The Ontario government is expanding its social safety net for Canadians who have been forced to work fewer hours or have been laid off temporarily as a result of COVID-19. The province amended its Employment Standards Act (ESA) and extended leave benefits to non-unionised workers. In the new regulation, workers whose hours have been cut or whose roles have been eliminated temporarily during the pandemic will be placed on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave. (Full Story)

June 10, 2020 - 8 questions about Ontario's emergency leave legislation - With new rules recently introduced by the Ontario government reclassifying employees temporarily laid off to those who are on leave, what are the new implications and regulations employers have to consider as part of pandemic recovery? Canadian HR Reporter spoke with Ashon Simpson, labour and employment lawyer at Achkar Law in Toronto, about the ins and outs of the new employment regime. (Full Story)

June 8, 2020 - Understanding Ontario's new layoff rules - COVID-19 has had a drastic impact on employment relationships across Canada. These extraordinary circumstances have necessitated unique considerations for how employers can reduce their labour costs, including by placing employees on a temporary layoff, reducing hours or imposing reductions in compensation, among other things. (Full Story)

June 5, 2020 - Here's what you need to know about Ontario's amended employment act - The coronavirus presents a stark choice: stay cooped up at home or venture outside and potentially contract and spread the virus. In Ontario, the government temporarily amended the Employment Standards Act this week, to abolish the layoff period during the COVID-19 pandemic entirely. In practice, this dramatically extends the length of legal layoffs. (Full Story)

June 2, 2020 - Ontario amending employment standards to make temporary layoffs part of new emergency leave - The Ontario government is amending the Employment Standards Act to make temporary layoffs which occurred after March 1, 2020 part of new emergency leave provisions put in place in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Normally, employees are legally considered terminated after 13 weeks of a temporarily lay off and are therefore entitled to severance pay. With so many employers forced to put workers on some type of furlough arrangement, the concern is that many businesses wouldn't survive the need to suddenly pay severance to the parts of their workforce they can't afford to pay during the pandemic. (Full Story)

June 1, 2020 - Ontario Extending Infectious Disease Emergency Leave for Workers during COVID-19 - The Ontario government is taking steps to help ensure that as the economy gradually and safely reopens workers will have jobs to return to and businesses will be protected from incurring unsustainable termination costs. Today, the government announced that it has enacted a new regulatory amendment that will put non-unionized employees on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave during the COVID-19 outbreak any time their hours of work are temporarily reduced by their employer due to COVID-19. (Full Story)

May 22, 2020 - Ontario Helps People Impacted by COVID-19 Get Back to Work - As the economy gradually reopens, the Ontario government is helping people affected by COVID-19 get back to work. The province is investing in Ontario's first Virtual Action Centre, an online counselling and training portal, to support laid off and unemployed hospitality workers, and is helping apprentices by providing grants to purchase tools, protective equipment and clothing for their trade, along with forgiving previous loans to purchase tools. (Full Story)

May 15, 2020 - Emergency COVID-19 wage subsidy program extended to end of August - The government's emergency wage-subsidy program will be extended to the end of August to help employers keep their workers on the payroll during the pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today. The program - which covers 75 per cent of an eligible company's payroll, up to a maximum of $847 per week per employee - originally was set to expire next month. (Full Story)

May 13, 2020 - Voluntary Redeployment of Education Workers to Fill Staffing Shortages - The Ontario government is working together with the province's education sector to voluntarily place available employees in staffing roles needed at congregate care settings during the COVID-19 outbreak. This initiative is part of the government's ongoing efforts to redeploy broader public sector workers to areas where they are needed most, such as hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes, women's shelters, and homes serving those with developmental disabilities. (Full Story)

June 5, 2020 - More than one million jobs lost in Ontario since pandemic was declared - Ontario has lost more than one million jobs in the last three months since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared. According to Canada's national statistics agency, about 64,500 jobs were lost in the month of May in Ontario, bringing the provincial unemployment rate to 13.6 per cent. At least 59,000 of those jobs were held by full-time workers. (Full Story)

June 12, 2020 - P.E.I. passes labour law changes allowing for self-isolation sick leave - Changes to the province's labour laws were passed in the legislature on Wednesday, providing unpaid sick leave for workers required to self-isolate or quarantine due to the current pandemic. The legislation is in line with changes made to labour legislation in other provinces, although P.E.I. is later than most in enacting the changes. The legislation will provide for unpaid sick leave for workers required to be absent from work due to an emergency. (Full Story)

June 9, 2020 - May unemployment up but P.E.I. sees some job growth - About 11,600 people are without work as P.E.I.'s unemployment rate has grown to 13.9 per cent as of May. In the latest labour force survey from Statistics Canada, P.E.I. saw its unemployment rate grow 3.1 percentage points in the last month, from 10.8 per cent. The increasing unemployment is almost certainly due to the public health restrictions due to the coronavirus (COVID-19 strain) pandemic. (Full Story)

June 6, 2020 - Pandemic economic recovery passing P.E.I. women by - While the P.E.I. labour market as a whole has fared better than the national market in the COVID-19 pandemic, the same cannot be said for Island women. Statistics Canada released the Labour Force Survey for May on Friday morning. More women found themselves out of work than men at the height of job losses in April, and fewer were able to get back to work as the economy began to recover in May. (Full Story)

June 5, 2020 - Islanders pour back into labour market as jobs start to reappear - Prince Edward Islanders were busy looking for work in May as jobs started to return to the P.E.I. economy. Statistics Canada released the Labour Force Survey for May Friday morning. The Island economy added 2,600 jobs last month, suggesting the effects of pandemic shutdown on the economy may have been at its worst in April. (Full Story)

June 3, 2020 - New P.E.I. workplace harassment regulations in effect as of July - With new workplace harassment regulations coming into effect on July 1, the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) of Prince Edward Island wants to ensure that employers are prepared for the upcoming changes. Since announcing the new regulations last October, the WCB has developed many resources to support employers and workers through the transition, including a guide to workplace harassment regulations, templates that employers can adapt for their own organization and frequently asked questions. (Full Story)

June 1, 2020 - Workplace Harassment Regulations Come Into Effect July 1 - With new workplace harassment regulations coming into effect on July 1, 2020, the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) of Prince Edward Island wants to ensure that employers are prepared for the upcoming changes. Since announcing the new regulations in October 2019, the WCB has developed many resources to support employers and workers through the transition, including a Guide to Workplace Harassment Regulations, templates that employers can adapt for their own organization, and Frequently Asked Questions. (Full Story)

May 29, 2020 - ‘99 per cent commitment' on EI eligibility for workers drawing CERB, says P.E.I. premier - P.E.I. Premier Dennis King said he has received a “99 per cent commitment” from the prime minister that Employment Insurance will be available in the fall for many workers who have been receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). During Question Period on Friday, King was asked by his Progressive Conservative colleague Sidney MacEwen about seasonal workers whose EI benefits may run out by the fall. (Full Story)

May 27, 2020 - Provincial projections warn P.E.I.'s unemployment could hit 23,900 by end of May - The province's updated economic projections suggest the Island could see 23,900 out of work as of the end of this month due to the coronavirus pandemic. This total is 3,700 more than a previous projection released by the Department of Finance in April. The Province also revealed that a total of $225 million has been borrowed since the beginning of the pandemic. (Full Story)

May 14, 2020 - Employer assessment due dates deferred until September 30 - In an effort to support employers and workers, the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) is announcing a further deferral of assessment due dates related to 2020 employer payrolls until September 30, 2020.This means that covered employers will not have to pay WCB premiums until September 30, and will not be charged interest or penalties during this time. Employers are asked to submit any revisions to their 2020 payroll estimates to the WCB before August 15th to ensure that it is reflected on their September statement of assessment amounts due. (Full Story)

May 7, 2020 - Province announces support for essential workers, small business and fisheries - The Province of Prince Edward Island announced additional investments to support essential workers, small businesses, and the fishing and aquaculture industries as the province moves into its renewal phase of the pandemic. This includes a wage top-up for certain essential workers, support to help businesses ensure the health and safety of their staff and customers and new programs to help impacted fishers. (Full Story)

June 11, 2020 - Saving skilled-trades jobs starts now - Manufacturing is one of the country's most important economic sectors and it has huge potential for Canada's future economic growth and prosperity. The manufacturing industry accounts for $174 billion of Canada's GDP and 68 per cent of its merchandise exports. All of this adds up to 1.7 million well-paying jobs. Technology has changed the way products are being manufactured. To grow and compete, the metal manufacturing industry has modernized itself by installing CNC machine tools and automation. (Full Story)

June 8, 2020 - NDP calls Sask. minimum wage hike an 'insult' to workers - The Saskatchewan NDP is calling the provincial government's planned minimum wage increase an "insult" to workers. The Saskatchewan Party government announced last week that the minimum wage would increase to $11.45 per hour - an increase of 13 cents per hour - on October 1, 2020.  Opposition leader Ryan Meili is instead demanding a $15 an hour minimum wage. (Full Story)

June 6, 2020 - Different perspectives on Sask. job stats - The Government of Saskatchewan says the latest employment figures from Statistics Canada, as bleak as they are amid the COVID-19 pandemic, put this province above most others. However, the opposition New Democrats think otherwise. In a media release, the government said the unemployment rate for May of 12.5 per cent (seasonally adjusted) was the second lowest among the provinces. The national jobless rate is 13.7 per cent. It added the province gained 600 more jobs compared to April. (Full Story)

June 5, 2020 - Saskatchewan's Minimum Wage To Increase In October - The provincial government has announced that the minimum wage will increase to $11.45 per hour on October 1, 2020.  This will be the 12th increase to minimum wage since 2007. Saskatchewan's minimum wage is calculated using an indexation formula, which helps ensure that all people benefit from the economic prosperity of the province. The indexation formula gives equal weight to changes to the Consumer Price Index and Average Hourly Wage for Saskatchewan. (Full Story)

June 5, 2020 - Temporary wage supplement extended to more workers -  More workers who are helping Saskatchewan's most vulnerable citizens through the COVID-19 pandemic will soon be able to apply to the Saskatchewan Temporary Wage Supplement Program. The program is being expanded to include anyone, regardless of income level, who is working at licensed public or private long-term care facilities, which are under public health orders restricting visitations. (Full Story)

May 28, 2020 - Employers need to get serious about preventing workplace injuries in the home during pandemic, expert says - As Canadian workers toil away at home during the coronavirus pandemic, often hunched over laptops in awkward positions for hours, employers must prepare themselves for the emerging problem of workplace injuries sustained at home, a health-care professional says. Doug Pattison, a chiropractor who practises in Regina and Lumsden, Sask., has dubbed it "work-from-home syndrome." (Full Story)

May 15, 2020 - Applications Now Open For Temporary Wage Supplement For Lower-Income Workers At Essential Care Facilities - Eligible lower-income workers helping Saskatchewan's most vulnerable citizens through the COVID-19 pandemic can now apply to the Saskatchewan Temporary Wage Supplement Program. For each eligible worker, the temporary wage supplement is $400 for each four-week period, up to 16 weeks, for the period from March 15, 2020 to July 4, 2020.  To be eligible, a worker must earn a wage less than $24.00 per hour at an eligible essential care facility, in the four-week period for which the worker has applied for the supplement. (Full Story)

May 22, 2020 - Essential workers to receive income support from Government of Yukon - A new program will support workers for the delivery of essential services during COVID-19. The Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program will provide low-income essential workers with a wage subsidy of up to $4.00 per hour to a maximum of $20.00 per hour for up to 16 weeks. All services identified as critical or essential in the Guidelines for the delivery of critical, essential and other services are eligible. Employers may choose when the 16 week benefit is applied between March 15, 2020, and October 3, 2020. (Full Story)

May 22, 2020 - Funding to help Yukon employers hire students for critical and essential services - The Government of Yukon is providing $750,000 to help Yukon employers create new summer employment for graduating and postsecondary students in critical and essential services. This funding is in addition to recent funding supports announced through the Yukon Essential Worker Income Support Program. The Staffing Up labour market funding program together with the Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program will provide employers with up to $20 per hour for each new student position hired into critical and essential service positions, to a maximum of 40 hours per week and 16 weeks of employment. (Full Story)

Planning for the return to work

Create checklist, consider phased-in resumption of working towards the new normal

It's been a challenging few months. We're all waiting to burst out of our shells as we start on the journey to economic recovery. Finally, the mandate for business closures is being gradually lifted, albeit in phases.

This slow return to normal reminds me of the poplar tree leaves in my yard. I saw them starting to bud in late February and now they are ready to burst into their fine greenery. It gives me a sense of the coming weather and the freedom and beauty of summer. I'm sure those waiting for the opening of outdoor recreation, campgrounds and seasonal day camps feel the same.

However, freedom and responsibility are two different things. Our health professionals are reminding us that while it is great to finally be out and about, we must still maintain social distancing and other preventative health procedures. After all, the COVID-19 virus is still with us.

With this in mind, organizational leaders and business owners are also being reminded of the responsibility they hold for ensuring their employees feel safe as they return to work. This will require many physical adjustments for those reopening their doors, as physical/social distancing in many instances may be hard to achieve.

It also means leaders will need to focus on a number of emotional and psychological issues as employees re-enter the work world.

Let's look at two of the key issues and discuss how they might be addressed.

First and foremost, there are many employees who remain fearful of returning to work. Many were sent home owing to personal vulnerabilities - but have these issues been addressed? If not, how will they be addressed?

Still others, such as essential workers, have now reached a point of exhaustion and their personal needs must be addressed. This calls for a good deal of return-to-work planning and the need to focus on the emotional and physical well-being of employees.

Leaders must also quickly address the personal safety issues that arise in their workplace. This may mean staggering the return of employees so that large groups are minimized.

It might mean changing the physical arrangements for specific employee worksites, and the distribution of masks and hand sanitizer etc. It will mean increasing the cleaning and sanitizing of the workplace and work equipment.

For some, it will also mean they will have to implement some kind of employee health-screening device for when they arrive at work each morning. No matter what, each of these elements represents change.

On the other hand, everyone knows fear can be debilitating because it creates a "flight or fight" syndrome and paralyzes a person's actions and behaviour.

Organizations can't afford this type of issue and so the first step leaders must take is to help employees overcome this fear.

This is done through a variety of communication strategies that provide sufficient sharing of information, beginning with the initial notification of the call to return to work.

The communication needs to outline the safety procedures the organization has put in place to protect workers as well as all of the orientation and/or "reboarding" processes employees will need to go through as they return to work.

Secondly, leaders must recognize and accept that returning to work is another "change issue" employees will be encountering. Some may go through the change cycle quickly, while others will stall and struggle. Still others will not be able to adapt. No matter what, your employees will experience some sense of loss that must be recognized and addressed.

Keep in mind that while the layoffs or work-at-home mandates came upon workers suddenly, employees have now created a normal work-at-home routine, which they now have to break. Also, some employees will be called back to work while their child-care resources may not yet be available, which will cause more havoc in their lives.

No matter what, every employee at some point will experience shock, denial, panic, self-doubt, and anxiety before they move to the stage of acceptance and letting go their "not-so-old" way of doing things.

As a result, leaders and management must be very sensitive to the signs of stress and be able to quickly take steps to address any issues that arise. At the same time, they need to be fully aware of their own stress signals so they can stay strong themselves.

Part of the return-to-work planning should include an assessment of the potential emotional state of employees and the development of a plan to address this. My preference is to have a counsellor on site for a period of time to keep a watchful eye on the environment and to invite employees to share their concerns. My experience shows that a two-week timeframe is often enough to curb any fears and anxiety.

Leaders and managers must also present a strong, knowledgeable front and be consistent in applying any new parameters. This means management must undergo training so they are fully aware of all of the specific steps taken in the workplace to protect the safety of employees.

There will always be anomalies in how things are applied and/or unique issues that will arise, but these leaders must also be fully aware of employment legislation, as well as workplace health-and-safety legislation.

The two key issues dealt with in this article are only the tip of the iceberg of a return-to-work plan. In fact, employers should be using a return-to-work checklist that outlines all the tasks needed to be undertaken to effectively return their employees to work.

This includes examining the nature of programs/services/products being offered and a schedule for returning to productivity, floor plans that enable social distancing, staffing resources required for each stage of workflow, workplace health-and-safety protocols, employee screening, and general recall procedures.

COVID-19 has challenged every organizational leader but it has also served to raise awareness of the importance of planning, not just the typical strategic plan for the future but also for business continuity.

While no one expects a trauma such as COVID-19 or damage from floods or fires, having at least a basic plan will enable you to get back to work as soon as possible.

Article presented by permission from Barbara J. Bowes, President of Legacy Bowes Group and a professional speaker, author, radio personality and management consultant. She can be reached at

Software Updates

eNETEmployer (Current Release)

  • Added Audit Report - This report shows important changes that have been applied to each employee based on the report range you choose. Changes include bank account updates, status changes, etc.
  • Improved the accuracy of the CPP calculation for employees with a partial CPP maximum for partial year when an employee turns 18 or 70.
  • Added Employee Profile export report. This report exports the contents of the Employee Profile report to a .CSV spreadsheet.
  • Updated the payroll calculation to only include paid employees that have non zero gross amount.
  • The user's email address is now preserved when an administrator reset's the user's privileges.
  • Modified the user privileges so that changing bank accounts is associated with the "pay view/edit" privilege instead of the "personal" privilege.
  • Modified the user privileges so that "switch payrolls" privilege is associated with the "'view employees pay info" privilege.

eNETInbox (Current Release)

  • Launched, the program's official new website and login portal.
  • Updated the branding to match the new website.
  • The upload procedure (from GrandMaster software) now populates eNETInbox's "Email" field (in the Options Window) with the employee's email address.

GrandMaster Suite (v15.05)

  • Fixed an issue where maximum EI premiums for the province of Quebec was being under deducted by 4 cents.

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