Payroll News Canada - Employment Articles

March 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

March 2020 - Minimum Wage Increases in 2020 - Did you know that nine Canadian provinces and territories are slated for minimum wage updates this year? Some regions have been due for an increase for some time, while others will be increasing based on inflation and cost of living indexes. Certain provinces are also under review for changes to their respective rates. Click Here to view the current minimum wages rates and upcoming changes for 2020.

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

Canadian Federal Payroll and HR News

March 06, 2020 - Canada lagging on gender equality, diversity: report - Canada is lagging behind when it comes to gender equality and diversity in the workplace, according to a report from Mercer. Even though 81 per cent of Canadian leaders say their organization provides women equal access to promotion and advancement - compared to 79 per cent globally - they seem slow to take the concrete steps necessary to ensure that their organizations are places where women can thrive, found When Women Thrive 2020 Global Report, based on a survey of 1,157 organizations in 54 countries. (Full Story)

March 5, 2020 - Canadian women make nearly a quarter less than men as gender bias persists - Canadian working women report earning almost a quarter less than male counterparts despite strides by women attaining education and acceptance in higher-paying professions, a new pay equity study shows. Women took home an average pre-tax salary of $51,352 in 2019 compared with $67,704 for men - a 24 per cent gap, according to 755 working men and women surveyed this year. (Full Story)

February 26, 2020 - Extending Employment Insurance sickness benefits - One of the challenges, with so many different events occurring in Ottawa, is that some become overlooked. This occurred last week as the third party opposition Bloc Québécois had their first Opposition Day in the House and tabled the following motion: Mr. Blanchet (Beloeil-Chambly): "That the House call on the government to increase the special Employment Insurance sickness benefits from 15 weeks to 50 weeks in the upcoming budget in order to support people with serious illnesses, such as cancer." (Full Story)

February 26, 2020 - Majority of Canadian employers offering non-insurance benefits - The majority (90 per cent) of Canadian employers now offer at least one non-insurance benefit such as paid time off, employee assistance programs or flexible working. Paid time off was by far the most popular non-insurance benefit for employers of all sizes to offer, with 85 per cent of small (less than 50 employees) and medium-sized employers (50 to 99 employees) offering it. Even more (91 per cent) large employers (100 or more employees) said they're making it available. (Full Story)

February 21, 2020 - Minimum Wage Is Going up in 9 Provinces & Territories In 2020 But Alberta Is Still The Top - Making a living off minimum wage can sometimes be hard, especially if you live somewhere in Canada where that figure is low. You'd probably be hard-pressed to find someone who would turn down a pay increase but sometimes those changes can barely make a difference. For those people, there's good news. Almost every province and territory is getting an increase this year. (Full Story)

February 21, 2020 - Want to attract and keep great employees? Here's how to raise your game - What kinds of benefits do employees really want? Have companies taken the open office concept too far? Those were just two of the questions raised at Help Wanted: HR Strategies That Work, a recent BCBusiness event focused on best practices for human resources and recruiting-and what the future holds for companies and workers. (Full Story)

February 13, 2020 - Government of Canada helps young women prepare for high-demand and well-paying jobs in the skilled trades - To keep Canada's economy strong and growing, workers will need the right skills to fill in-demand and well-paying jobs. The Government of Canada is taking steps to encourage young Canadians facing barriers to explore careers in the trades.Today, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour, on behalf of the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, announced Build a Dream's Career Exploration Expansion project that aims to attract female high school students to careers in the skilled trades. (Full Story)

February 13, 2020 - Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program - The Government of Canada invests significantly in apprenticeship through grants, loans, tax credits, Employment Insurance benefits during in-school training and project funding across various programs. Budget 2018 announced the Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program to encourage Canadians-including those who face barriers, such as women, Indigenous people, racialized persons, newcomers, people with disabilities and youth-to explore and prepare for careers in the skilled trades. (Full Story)

February 13, 2020 - Labour force shortage a unifying challenge in Atlantic Canada according to BuildForce - Labour market forecasts vary by province in Atlantic Canada according to BuildForce Canada's 2020–2029 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast report but the one common issue across all maritime provinces is the impending labour force shortage. (Full Story)

February 7, 2020 - Canadian jobs rose by 35,000 last month, as unemployment rate fell - The economy gained 35,000 new full-time jobs in January as the unemployment rate fell by 0.1 per cent, according to the latest Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey. Provincially, the highest number of new positions were found in Manitoba, New Brunswick and especially Quebec, which saw 19,000 new jobs created. This as 6,500 people found work in Manitoba, albeit mostly part-time employment, while in New Brunswick, the number of new full-time jobs grew to 4,600, says the government agency. (Full Story)

January 28, 2020 - Expert advice to Canadian employers: Five tips to hire a foreign worker when a Canadian is not available - Due to historically low unemployment rates in Canada, more employers are turning to foreign workers to fill genuine labour shortages. If you are a Canadian employer considering hiring a foreign worker, here are five tips to increase the likelihood that your Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application will be successful. (Full Story)

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

March 3, 2020 - CPP Pension Users: Alberta Leaving CPP Could Hugely Impact Your Pension - Is the proposal to break away from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) to form the Alberta Pension Plan (APP) advantageous to Albertans? The advocates of the pullout contend the move has tangible benefits, given the predominantly younger generation. It could mean a dramatic 25% reduction in annual premiums. Some proponents even argue that Alberta is unable to function in a bear market because of government measures. (Full Story)

March 2, 2020 - Reducing barriers for skilled newcomers - The Fairness for Newcomers Office was established to remove the barriers associated with the assessment of foreign qualifications. Working with professional regulatory organizations, the office will support fairness for newcomers by ensuring registration practices are transparent, objective, impartial and fair. Provinces such as Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia already have fairness legislation to ensure professional regulatory organizations have fair registration practices. (Full Story)

February 25, 2020 - Alberta employers say stability a key attribute - The past 12 months have been a political and economic roller-coaster for the people of Alberta and the year ahead looks likely to bring a continuing sense of societal unease. So, for these employers judged among the top 75 in the province, the challenge they are facing is ensuring all those who work for them now and in the near future feel a true sense of stability when they walk through that workplace door each and every day. (Full Story)

February 7, 2020 - Edmonton unemployment rises again, now 2nd highest of any Canadian city: StatsCan - Edmonton's unemployment rate rose again in January, up to 8.2 per cent, the second highest of any major Canadian city behind only Windsor, Ont., according to new StatsCan data. The Alberta capital's jobless number grew by 0.2 per cent from December 2019. There were 15,300 more unemployed Edmontonians in January 2020 compared to the previous January, an increase of close to 28 per cent. (Full Story)

March 3, 2020 - Paid leave for workers facing domestic or sexual violence - Up to five days of paid leave will be available for employees impacted by domestic or sexual violence, or parents of a child or dependent impacted by this kind of violence, thanks to new legislation. With up to five days of paid leave from work per year, employees will be able to attend to their needs, or the needs of their dependent children or adults, without the worry of losing income from missing work. (Full Story)

February 20, 2020 - B.C. demand for skilled labour high - The latest forecast from BuildForce Canada reveals construction demands will remain exceptionally high for the next couple of years and peak in the latter half of 2021 based on the number of currently tracked projects in B.C. The province's construction industry will be short 11,700 workers over the next two years and some 23,000 workers short by 2029. (Full Story)

February 19, 2020 - No shortage of seasonal foreign agriculture workers expected in B.C. this year - It appears there won't be a shortage of agricultural workers on Okanagan farms and orchards this season following the first full year of biometric requirements for all foreign workers, and a drop in the number of young people travelling from Quebec and Ontario to pick. As of Dec. 31, 2018, all foreign workers were required to provide biometric information including fingerprints and digital photographs in order to enter Canada. (Full Story)

February 18, 2020 - Revised resource to help employers measure workplace noise - Employers must know the noise levels in their workplace if workers could be exposed to hazardous noise. Measuring Occupational Noise is for employers who want to conduct a noise survey on their own, as well as for employers who have decided they need to hire a professional noise surveyor but want to ensure the person they're hiring is qualified to do the work. (Full Story)

February 6, 2020 - New tool helps British Columbians plan for job success - Students, workers and employers in B.C. have a new tool to help them prepare for a career or plan for staffing with the introduction of the Good Jobs Guide. The Good Jobs Guide uses data from the 2019 Labour Market Outlook to provide a practical resource with examples of real careers and clear pathways for individuals to upgrade their skills or train for new opportunities (Full Story)

February 4, 2020 - Funding available for summer student employment: Morrison - Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison is encouraging employers to apply for funding through the Canada Summer Jobs program, which helps create employment for summer students. As of Jan. 31, applications are now being accepted through the program, according to Morrison. Eligible organizations include small businesses with up to 50 employees, not-for-profit organizations and public sector employers. (Full Story)

January 29, 2020 - Training program helps women secure road-building jobs - Women in the Lower Mainland will get training and work experience in the road-building industry, giving them opportunities for job success and improved lives, thanks to more than $370,000 in provincial government funding. YWCA Metro Vancouver (YWCA), in partnership with the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 115, is delivering the 25-week YWCA Breaking Ground Heavy Equipment Operator Training and Employment Program for Women. (Full Story)

January 23, 2020 - Indigenous communities, ITA build skilled trades workforces - More than 475 people in Indigenous communities throughout British Columbia are gaining skills to succeed in high-opportunity trades careers, with six new two-year training programs. Supported by the Industry Training Authority (ITA), the programs will address community priorities and opportunities with courses ranging from exploratory and introductory trades to construction and electrical training. (Full Story)

February 19, 2020 - Coverage for Contract Workers - When and How to Report Earnings - If your business employs contract labour, you are responsible to make sure your contractors have workers compensation coverage, if needed. Your contractors may have their own WCB coverage. If so, you must make sure they are in good standing with the WCB. Our online Clearances system allows you to look up contractors and request official confirmation of their WCB status. You can access Clearances on our website to look up a contractor. (Full Story)

February 19, 2020 - Return to Work Information if You Are a Healthcare Provider - A Return to Work program is based on the philosophy that many workers can perform safe and meaningful work as part of their recovery process. The key to a successful Return to Work program is a partnership among workers, employers, healthcare providers, and when required, the WCB. Return to work options can involve modified or alternate duties and/or a gradual return to work. (Full Story)

February 14, 2020 - Manitoba Sees Largest Monthly Employment Increase in More Than a Decade - There were approximately 6,500 more Manitobans working in January than the month prior, new monthly employment statistics show, resulting in the province's largest month-over-month increase in more than a decade. According to the latest figures from Statistics Canada, the increase in employment in January was accompanied by a decline in Manitoba's unemployment rate to 5.1 per cent, down from 5.3 per cent in 2019. Manitoba now has the second-lowest unemployment rate in Canada. (Full Story)

February 26, 2020 - Consumers warned about risks of using unlicensed online payday lenders - Unlicensed online payday lenders are targeting New Brunswickers, warns the Financial and Consumer Services Commission. The commission is seeing an increase in complaints from consumers about inappropriate behaviour from payday lending businesses that are not licensed to operate in the province. These complaints include reports of intimidating collection practices and aggressive communication methods. (Full Story)

February 20, 2020 - New Brunswick boosting minimum wage - New Brunswick is increasing its minimum wage to $11.70 per hour - up from $11.50 per hour - starting April 1. The increase came after the province's consumer index grew by 1.7 per cent in 2019, says the government. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador harmonize the date of effect of any minimum wage increase to April 1. (Full Story)

February 19, 2020 - Minimum wage to increase April 1 - The provincial government has announced that the minimum wage will increase to $11.70 per hour on April 1, from the current rate of $11.50 per hour. The minimum wage rate is indexed to New Brunswick's consumer price index, rounded to the nearest five cents. The New Brunswick consumer price index grew by 1.7 per cent in 2019. The provincial government and the governments of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador harmonize the date of effect of any minimum wage increase to April 1. (Full Story)

February 9, 2020 - New Brunswick Adds 4,600 Jobs In January - Employment in New Brunswick rose by 4,600 people in the first month of 2020, according to Statistics Canada. The agency's latest labour force survey, released Friday, showed the province added 1,800 full-time jobs and 2,800 part-time positions in January. But the unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.5 percent as the number of people searching for work increased by 5,100 people. (Full Story)

February 7, 2020 - New Brunswick pushing for more immigrants - The Premier of New Brunswick wants to increase the province's population to one million in 2040. Premier Blaine Higgs brought up the province's aging population and labour market shortage during an annual "state of the province" speech, the Canadian Press reports. The premiere referred to the province's population growth strategy released this past summer, which says that nearly 120,000 jobs will become available in New Brunswick over the next decade. (Full Story)

February 5, 2020 - Medical Expenses & Travel: 2020 Guidelines - WorkSafeNB has approved changes to its Medical Expense Travel Policy effective January 1, 2020. If you need to travel outside of your home community (defined as more than 40 km one way) for a medical appointment, WorkSafeNB will provide reimbursement for mileage. If you must travel 80 km one way for a medical appointment, we will provide meal allowances and may provide reimbursement for overnight accommodations (pre-approval required). (Full Story)

January 21, 2020 - Changes to application process for student employment program - The provincial government is changing the application process for the Student Employment Experience Development (SEED) program to focus on non-profit groups, First Nations and municipalities. Under the new process, employers will apply online and applications will be evaluated for eligibility by staff at the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour. MLAs will provide input and recommendations based on the priorities of their electoral districts. (Full Story)

February 26, 2020 - Consultations Begin on the Workers Compensation System - A statutory review of Newfoundland and Labrador's workers' compensation system is now underway, with the consultations process open to workers, employers, key stakeholder organizations and the general public. The review provides a valuable opportunity to focus attention on workers' compensation matters, with the objective of improving the overall system for both workers and employers. (Full Story)

February 21, 2020 - Provincial Government Announces Increases to Minimum Wage - The Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour, today announced four increases to the minimum wage rate from April 1, 2020 to October 1, 2021. As of April 1, 2020, the minimum wage will increase by 25 cents to $11.65. This increase is based on the percentage change in the National Consumer Price Index, since introducing a formula-based approach. (Full Story)

February 24, 2020 - Minimum-wage hike step in the right direction, but $15 would be better, say workers - The provincial government's recent promise to give the wage a bump the minimum wage to $12.65 an hour over the next year and a half still won't be enough, people who earn the figure tell CBC News. The provincial government Friday promised a series of increases to begin in April and end in October 2021. (Full Story)

February 14, 2020 - A $15 minimum wage in Newfoundland and Labrador - it's the right thing to do - While the State of Emergency in St. John's is behind us, the economic insecurity of minimum-wage workers in the province remains. As the public awaits the results of the minimum-wage review, employers' groups appear to be hoping the provincial government has forgotten the robust discussion on the precarious nature of minimum wage work sparked by the record-setting blizzard. (Full Story)

February 7, 2020 - Programs help international students, graduates find work in Newfoundland and Labrador - The Student Internship Pilot Program and My First Job in Newfoundland and Labrador Pilot Program were introduced simultaneously in 2017. The latter is geared toward international graduates from Memorial University and the College of the North Atlantic and provides a 16-week paid placement. Initially planned as two-year pilot projects, the government announced last August nearly $415,000 in funding to extend both programs for an additional two years, carrying them through to March 2021. (Full Story)

January 20, 2020 - Does your employer have to pay you for missed shifts during a state of emergency? The short answer is no - More than 70,000 workers in this province earn less than $15 an hour, and with the living wage in St. John's estimated to be $18.85 an hour, many people are working at two or three part-time jobs. For some, there's a clause in their contract or collective agreement stating they will get paid in a situation such as a state of emergency. But barring that, employers are only obligated to pay staff for the work that they do, explained St. John's lawyer Melissa Royle Critch. (Full Story)

March 2, 2020 - A Tim Hortons employee living with a disability was laid off. The online outcry was swift - Non-profit Inclusion NWT is seeking to clear the air amid a storm of online outrage after one of its clients recently learned he would be laid off from his Tim Hortons job of more than five years - a move that's sparked an outcry on social media, with some calling for a boycott of the uptown coffee shop. Both temporary and permanent layoffs fall under the territory's Employment Standards Act. (Full Story)

January 18, 2020 - New workers' compensation rates confusing, says business chamber - The rationale behind the new workers compensation rates for 2020 should be clearer, says the NWT Chamber of Commerce. The list of industries published by the Workers Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) shows an average increase from 2019 to 2020 of about $0.30 per $100 of accessible payroll for most jobs. However, government jobs, which are listed under the one category of Government of the NWT and Nunavut and Public Utilities saw their rates rise by more than 60 cents from $1.01 in 2019 to $1.62 in 2020. (Full Story)

February 26, 2020 - N.S. needs better protection for victims of workplace sexual harassment, says lawyer - A Halifax lawyer says it's time Nova Scotia's workplace safety legislation explicitly encompasses sexual harassment so complaints can be investigated sooner by someone who's trained to deal with them. Several provinces have already updated their legislation to include harassment, and others are in the process of doing so, including Nova Scotia. (Full Story)

February 24, 2020 - Celebrating Social Enterprises that Employ Adults with Diverse Abilities - Premier Stephen McNeil proclaimed that the fourth week in February every year will be Social Enterprise Week. The focus this year, from Feb. 23 to 29, will be celebrating organizations that employ adults with diverse abilities who face employment barriers. Social enterprises help adults with diverse abilities gain vocational skills while participating in their local communities. Through training and meaningful employment in areas like woodworking, food services, retail and more, participants work as part of a team and develop valuable social skills. (Full Story)

February 20, 2020 - Province Enhancing Job Protections for Reservists - Canadian Armed Forces reservists make significant sacrifices to help serve and protect the country. The province is taking steps to improve their job protection when they take leave from work to serve our country. New legislation introduced today, Feb. 20, would see the Nova Scotia Labour Standards Code better align with recent federal government changes made to the reservist leave provisions under the Canada Labour Code. (Full Story)

February 20, 2020 - Government Addressing Gender Wage Gap - Nova Scotians deserve the opportunity to grow and thrive in workplaces that value fairness and equality. That is why government is taking action to address the gender wage gap. Amendments to the Labour Standards Code introduced today, Feb. 20, will help ensure that the salary of a woman who may be paid less than her male counterpart doing the same work, will not follow her throughout her career. The amendments will also expand the equal pay provisions currently in the Labour Standards Code to employees who do not identify exclusively, or at all, as men or women. (Full Story)

February 20, 2020 - Nova Scotia seeks to bar employers from asking about past salary to curb gender wage gap - The Nova Scotia government is hoping proposed changes to the Labour Standards Code will make it harder for employers to pay women and new hires a lower salary than men doing the same type of work. The amendments introduced Thursday by provincial Labour Minister Labi Kousoulis will make it illegal for employers to ask prospective employees about their last salary. It will also prohibit employers from ordering staff to keep their salary confidential. (Full Story)

February 19, 2020 - Province Supports Horizon Achievement Centre in Sydney, to Expand Employment Opportunities - Premier Stephen McNeil announced today, Feb. 19, in Sydney that government is investing $2 million to support Horizon Achievement Centre to help adults with diverse abilities access employment training. The centre provides supportive employment and training opportunities to individuals with an intellectual disability or barriers to employment through a variety of social enterprises. (Full Story)

February 13, 2020 - Smaller employers facing skills and labour shortage: report - Canada's immigration system is not meeting the needs of small and medium-sized employers that are facing significant labour shortages, according to a report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB). To address this, 60 per cent of employers have improved working conditions - including salary, vacation and paid time off - to attract more candidates, while 78 per cent did so to retain employees, found the survey of 7,916 employers. (Full Story)

February 6, 2020 - Nova Scotia's minimum wage to rise to $12.55 in April - Nova Scotia's minimum wage will make an historic $1 leap in April, but caveats in the province's plan will still leave Nova Scotian workers stuck in the middle of the pack. Just last year Nova Scotia's $11 minimum wage was the lowest in the country, but the provincial government's plans hope to knock Nova Scotia higher with the $1 raise, bringing the minimum wage rate to a whopping $12.55. (Full Story)

February 6, 2020 - Annual CPI adjustment in March 2020 - Every year, as set out in the Workers' Compensation Act, some WCB benefits are increased by one half of the Consumer Price Index percentage increase, using the annual CPI calculated by Statistics Canada. For some workers and their families receiving a regular monthly benefit, the CPI adjustment for 2020 will appear on the March monthly payment. In previous years, it had appeared on the February payment. (Full Story)

February 4, 2020 - Impact of minimum wage increase in Nova Scotia not expected to be huge - A higher minimum wage is better for the economy, according to a Cape Breton University professor, but expect a minimal impact from the province's $1 per hour hike that will come into effect on April 1. Last week, the province announced it would increase the minimum wage in April to $12.55 per hour - the largest annual increase in the provincial minimum wage since 2010. (Full Story)

January 30, 2020 - Government Announces Largest Increase to Minimum Wage in a Decade - As Nova Scotia's economy continues to grow, government is committed to ensuring all workers can get ahead. That is why, on April 1, Nova Scotia's minimum wage rate will increase by $1 an hour, to $12.55 per hour. This increase represents the largest annual increase to Nova Scotia's minimum wage since 2010. (Full Story)

March 3, 2020 - GN releases Inuit Employment Plans to 2023 - The Government of Nunavut (GN) today released the government-wide Master Inuit Employment Plan and detailed Inuit Employment Plans (IEPs) for all GN departments, Nunavut Arctic College, Nunavut Housing Corporation, and Qulliq Energy Corporation. IEPs were developed using data from the Nunavut Inuit Labour Force Analysis and an analysis of the GN's workforce. IEPs outline opportunities and challenges in Inuit employment and include goals and action plans to 2023. Training, education and career development initiatives to help Inuit employees and casual workers develop their skills and follow a desired career path in the public service are also included. (Full Story)

January 27, 2020 - Government of Nunavut holding Apprenticeship Act consultations - The Department of Family Services is holding Nunavut-wide public consultations on the Apprenticeship Act from January to June 2020. Discussions will focus on preparing and supporting Nunavummiut for success by enhancing the quality and delivery of apprenticeship programs. Nunavummiut can go to to provide comments, receive additional information regarding the consultations, and browse points of discussion and community schedules. (Full Story)

January 18, 2020 - New workers' compensation rates confusing, says business chamber - The rationale behind the new workers compensation rates for 2020 should be clearer, says the NWT Chamber of Commerce. The list of industries published by the Workers Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) shows an average increase from 2019 to 2020 of about $0.30 per $100 of accessible payroll for most jobs. However, government jobs, which are listed under the one category of Government of the NWT and Nunavut and Public Utilities saw their rates rise by more than 60 cents from $1.01 in 2019 to $1.62 in 2020. (Full Story)

March 5, 2020 - People kept working, became healthier while on basic income: report - Participants in Ontario's prematurely cancelled basic income pilot project were happier, healthier and continued working even though they were receiving money with no-strings attached. That's according to a new report titled Southern Ontario's Basic Income Experience, which was compiled by researchers at McMaster and Ryerson University, in partnership with the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction. The report shows nearly three-quarters of respondents who were working when the pilot project began kept at it despite receiving basic income. (Full Story)

March 4 2020 - When Your Employee Ghosts: Abandoning Employment - Sometimes employees just kind of stop coming to work, leaving employers scratching their heads and wondering where they stand and what to do. In many cases when an employee stops coming to work they will tie their absence to illness. Ever get this text? "hey can't come in today, am sick." Often an employee will call or text or email in sick for the first few days and then stop communicating. Employers have a right to information from an employee about their health status and accommodation needs as they relate to the job. (Full Story)

February 28, 2020 - Ontario's lost decade of job creation - Ontarians have suffered more than their share of economic pain over the past 15 years. For much of the 2000s, the province's manufacturing sector was struggling and then the 2008-09 recession made things much worse. In the years that followed, the province's recovery was unfortunately tepid. This pain, however, has spread unevenly across the province. Toronto (and its surrounding area) and Ottawa have been spared the worst of the economic damage. (Full Story)

February 26, 2020 - Ontario to test skills micro-certification with pilot program - The government of Ontario has announced that its agency eCampusOntario is launching a pilot project to test a micro-certification strategy that would speed up skills training. Micro-certification is a new model that uses short, focused credentials to verify mastery of a skill or competency, explained a Feb. 4 release. Micro-certification is designed to target high-demand skills, leading to faster hiring. (Full Story)

February 21, 2020 - Editorial: Province's decision to outsource employment services makes us wary - Any time you start talking about privatizing human services, it's bound to raise concern among local government and community advocates. It's a road we've been down many times before - as often as not, the push to privatize is driven more by a desire to save money than to improve, or even maintain, services. Employment services can be broadly described as matching people who need work - in particular those receiving social assistance - with employers. (Full Story)

February 19, 2020 - Ontario construction grapples with workforce shortages - The stakeholders were responding to the recent BuildForce Canada report warning of significant labour shortages in the sector. BuildForce's 2020–2029 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward provincial report said the construction sector will have to hire and retain almost 100,000 new workers in the province over the next 10 years to keep pace with demand. The sector will be most hard-hit by labour shortages this year and in 2024-26, indicated the report, released Feb. 4. (Full Story)

February 14, 2020 - Ontario Moving Ahead with the Reform of Employment Services - Ontario's Government is moving ahead with the reform of the employment services system by introducing new Service System Managers in three prototype regions across Ontario. This approach will: Create an efficient employment service to meet the needs of all clients, including those on social assistance or with a disability; be more responsive to local labour market needs, and; drive results for job seekers, employers and communities. (Full Story)

February 9, 2020 - Ontario's skilled labour crunch could worsen by 2020 - Ontario's construction sector will need almost 100,000 new workers over the next decade to keep pace with the rate of retirement in the industry. A report by BuildForce Canada analyzed the volume of construction spending anticipated in Ontario between now and 2029 and concluded that the industry will need to hire, train and retain thousands across the board in several trades. Over the decade, an estimated 86,300 workers (21 per cent) of the current labour force are expected to retire. (Full Story)

February 7, 2020 - Ontario Continues to Lead Nation in Job Creation - Ontario's government continues to deliver on its core commitment to create and protect good jobs as part of its plan to build Ontario together through a thriving and growing economy. Statistics Canada announced this morning that employment in Ontario increased by 15,900 in January. Since June 2018, employment in Ontario has risen by 307,800. These government actions are lowering costs for businesses in Ontario, allowing them to grow and create jobs, and creating a competitive environment to attract new investment. (Full Story)

February 6, 2020 - We must end the stigma around skilled trades to prepare for the jobs of the future - Often, when we hear "labour shortage," we immediately jump to rural or northern Ontario. Smaller, remote communities with fewer people far from the big city. While it's true that those communities are in significant need of workers, small and medium-sized businesses in urban centres like Toronto are equally as likely to report that they're having trouble finding the employees they need. (Full Story)

January 31, 2020 - Record increase in the level of new jobs in Ontario last year - Despite the strong job gains in 2019, five out 15 Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) in Ontario saw a drop in employment, with the largest declines in Peterborough, Thunder Bay, and St. Catharines-Niagara. The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) has released its annual publication on Ontario's labour market and it shows Ontario's economy created 210,000 net new jobs in 2019, the largest increase in the level of employment on record. (Full Story)

January 27, 2020 - Government Funding Close to 400 Trainees in Sarnia - Ontario is addressing a potential labour shortage in the skilled trades by investing in programs that will prepare people in Sarnia for careers in the petrochemical, nuclear and other local sectors. The funding supports more than 380 students in Lambton College's six in-class training programs, including its newly accredited construction boilermaker apprenticeship program. (Full Story)

February 27, 2020 - New program launched to help newcomer women enter P.E.I.'s workforce - A new program helping newcomer women in P.E.I. join the workforce is launching in Charlottetown and Summerside next month. The first group for the Newcomer Work Ready program will run for four months and is being delivered by the Confederation Group. The program is funded by the federal government and managed by Skills PEI. (Full Story)

February 11, 2020 - Complete review of Employment Standards Act to benefit Island workforce and employers - A thorough review of the Employment Standards Act will take place to ensure it is current and meets the needs of Islanders across the province. The Employment Standards Act outlines rights and obligations of employees and employers and sets minimum standards to ensure individuals are treated fairly in the workplace. The last time the act was reviewed was in 2006. (Full Story)

February 27, 2020 - P.E.I. government asks Ottawa to return province to single EI zone - P.E.I.'s Minister of Economic Growth and Tourism Matthew MacKay has written to his federal counterpart in Ottawa, asking her to return the province to a single zone for calculating employment insurance benefits. In a letter dated Jan. 27, 2020, MacKay asked federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough to "consider amendments to the employment insurance regulations to return Prince Edward Island back to one economic region." (Full Story)

February 14, 2020 - Millenial employees on the rise within P.E.I. civil service - In two years, the proportion of millennial employees working within P.E.I.'s civil service has almost doubled, rising from seven per cent to 13 per cent. The latest annual report from P.E.I.'s Public Service Commission, tabled last month, found the proportion of permanent employees who are under the age of 35 is growing. (Full Story)

February 13, 2020 - P.E.I. seeks inputs on employment standards review - Prince Edward Island is seeking input from employers and employees to improve its Employment Standards Act. Last reviewed in 2006, the act outlines the rights and obligations of employees and employers and sets minimum standards to ensure individuals are treated fairly in the workplace. The province did make changes to its employment standards in 2010, looking at paid vacation, sick pay and overtime. And in 2019, P.E.I. introduced new leaves for workers subjected to violence in their personal lives. (Full Story)

February 11, 2020 - Facing 'job crunch,' P.E.I. lowers age for summer work program - The P.E.I. government has lowered the age for eligibility of its summer jobs program from 16 to 15 for 2020. Jamie Fox, the minister responsible for the Jobs for Youth program, said the change aligns the program with federal policy, and helps solve a worker shortage in the province. "We do have a job crunch, you know, there's unemployment rate where we need to put people into the workplace," said Fox. (Full Story)

February 7, 2020 - Resident Care Worker Program expands to Eastern PEI - A new Resident Care Worker (RCW) program in Souris will address the need for more skilled workers in rural PEI, while also providing rural residents the opportunity to study and gain meaningful employment closer to home. RCWs are an integral part of the health system, working in numerous facilities across PEI in acute, long term, and homecare settings, many of which are in rural areas. (Full Story)

February 4, 2020 - Employers report high satisfaction with Workers Compensation Board - The results of the 2019 Employer Survey are in and the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) is pleased to report that this year's survey shows high results, scoring 85 in its service satisfaction index, up 3 points since 2017 and the highest level ever recorded. The index is a measure of employers' satisfaction with a variety of service dimensions, including effectiveness, fairness and service delivery. (Full Story)

January 31, 2020 - Preparation Underway for Upcoming Workplace Harassment Regulation Changes - New workplace harassment regulations will come into effect on July 1, 2020, and the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) of Prince Edward Island has developed educational materials and sessions to support employers and workers. To help prepare for the changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations on workplace harassment, WCB has created a guide that will help employers, supervisors, and workers understand their responsibilities to ensure they are in compliance. (Full Story)

January 31, 2020 - P.E.I. lowers age limit for Jobs for Youth program - Prince Edward Island has made several changes to its Jobs for Youth Program in response to feedback from the 2019 participants including: The minimum age of eligibility for students has changed from 16 to 15; The application deadline for employers is now March 31; Employers approved for funding will be posted online in May; Students can now apply directly to employers for positions that interest them, and; WorkPEI will assist students and employers with recruitment, application and hiring processes. (Full Story)

January 30, 2020 - Island students and employers benefit from Jobs for Youth - Island students can apply for a summer job through a program that gives them valuable work experience and allows employers to benefit from their energy and talent. The Jobs for Youth Program, delivered by the Employment Development Agency, offers employers a wage subsidy to create summer employment opportunities for Island students aged 15-29 who plan to return to school in the following school year. (Full Story)

March 6, 2020 - 19 Consecutive Months Of Strong, Steady Job Growth In Saskatchewan - Jobs continued to grow in February for the 19th consecutive month.  Saskatchewan saw an increase of 4,900 jobs over February 2019, with 569,700 people employed, a record high for the month of February. For the eighth consecutive month, Saskatchewan saw year-over-year increases in off-reserve Aboriginal employment, which was up 5,900 jobs.  Aboriginal youth employment also increased by 2,500 jobs (up 39.1 per cent) for the seventh consecutive month of year-over-year increases. (Full Story)

March 4, 2020 - Language Training Investment Helps Newcomers Access Employment - Today, Immigration and Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison announced over $500,000 is being allocated to English for Employment programming to assist newcomers to overcome language barriers and engage in the labour force. English for Employment programming assists those with a low English proficiency in developing their language skills, with a focus on supporting their capacity to find and maintain employment in Saskatchewan. (Full Story)

March 3, 2020 - Investment to engage older work force - The Government of Saskatchewan is moving forward with its 2020 Targeted Initiatives for Older Workers (TIOW) program in an effort to increase the engagement of older workers in Saskatchewan's labour force. The program is aimed at workers aged 55-64 who are currently unemployed and are legally entitled to work in Canada, but lack the skills needed to successfully secure employment. (Full Story)

February 25, 2020 - Resumes Wanted for 'Imagine Employment Program' - Giving employment opportunities to those who may not otherwise get them, Moose Jaw Families for Chance is looking for individuals interested in the Imagine Employment Program. Katie Statler, Community Coordinator with Moose Jaw Families for Change explains. "We offer job-readiness skills, on the job training, and support for people of varying abilities. " The program will offer a safe and supportive environment for individuals seeking employment at the cafe, with job duties, hours worked, and goals being tailored to each individual. (Full Story)

February 11, 2020 - Firefighter occupational disease coverage expanded - Recent amendments to The Workers' Compensation Act, 2013 (the Act) have expanded the list of occupational diseases covered by the rebuttable presumption for firefighters. The expanded list now includes six additional cancers that were not previously covered by the WCB. "The added cancers recognize the changing demographics among firefighters, with half of the additional cancers impacting females," said Phillip Germain, CEO of the Workers' Compensation Board. (Full Story)

February 7, 2020 - Job numbers continue to increase in Saskatchewan - Stats Canada says Saskatchewan's job growth is remaining steady, with 3,900 new jobs introduced in the province last month compared to January of 2019. While the unemployment rate sat at six percent in January, job numbers were up by 1,200 compared to December of 2019. Some of the employment highlights in January include a 5,000 job increase for off-reserve Aboriginal employment, and employment of women increased by 4,800 jobs year-over-year. (Full Story)

January 29, 2020 - Sask. NDP won't commit to banning replacement workers - The provincial NDP is hesitating to take a position on so-called "anti-scab" legislation for Saskatchewan, a day after its federal cousin promised to introduce such a bill in the House of Commons. The Saskatchewan Party government's position on the issue is clear. It plans to stick with the status quo. David Forbes, labour critic for the Saskatchewan NDP, said the NDP will have a "complete package" on labour rights ready before the upcoming provincial election, which is expected this fall. He said the possibility of legislation on replacement workers will be examined in that context. (Full Story)

February 28, 2020 - Government is ‘short-changing' minimum wage workers: White - The Yukon's minimum wage workers deserve better than $13.71 an hour, NDP Leader Kate White said Thursday. The new wage, up $1 from the current one, will take effect April 1, the territorial government said last week. Speaking from Dawson City, White said the increase is inadequate. "It's simply unacceptable that someone working full-time at minimum wage can't afford to live in the Yukon," she said. (Full Story)

February 28, 2020 - No jobs yet for OFWs in Yukon - Bello - The government warned Filipino jobseekers wishing to work in Canada that there is no job opening in the Yukon territory, following reports received by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office about a fraudulent scheme luring Filipinos to work in that country. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the scammer uses the name of a website of a legitimate Yukon human resources practitioner to dupe unsuspecting Filipinos. (Full Story)

February 27, 2020 - Yukon's minimum wage hike nears 'danger zone,' says chamber of commerce - Yukon's minimum wage is set to go up by a dollar in April - and according to the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, that will put the territory close to an economic "danger zone." The minimum wage is adjusted every year in Yukon relative to the Consumer Price Index. This year's standard two per cent increase will be coupled with an additional 75 cents per hour, to $13.71 starting on April 1. (Full Story)

February 26, 2020 - Don't raise minimum wage any further, says president of Yukon Chamber of Commerce - The Yukon government should not raise minimum wage any more for the sake of the economy, according to the president of Yukon Chamber of Commerce. "That seems palatable from what I've heard from the employers," Peter Turner said. "But if we continue to accelerate into this danger zone of beyond what currently would be $14 an hour, then we got some real problems." Minimum wage will hit $13.71 per hour in April, an increase of $1 - the highest of any territory. (Full Story)

February 21, 2020 - Yukon's minimum wage to rise - The territory's minimum wage workers can look forward to an extra $8 per day. The Yukon's minimum wage will rise to $13.71 per hour on April 1, up from $12.71, the territorial government said Thursday. That will make it the fourth-highest in the country. This change represents a two-per-cent increase based on the 2019 Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Whitehorse plus an additional 75 cents. (Full Story)

February 19, 2020 - Yukon's minimum wage increasing to $13.71 per hour - Yukon's minimum wage will increase to $13.71 per hour on April 1, up from $12.71. This change represents a two-per-cent increase based on the 2019 Consumer Price Index for Whitehorse plus an additional $0.75. The Government of Yukon approved the increase following an order made by the Employment Standards Board. (Full Story)

Coronavirus fear… in the workplace

The Coronavirus COVID-19 is coming. That's what many news stories and the World Health Organization (WHO) have been telling us for weeks. In fact, they've now declared a "public health emergency of international concern."

The virus, a deadly flu-like disease thought to spread mainly from person-to-person has now been found in at least 65 countries, including Canada. At the same time, there is no known vaccine available for protection.

This is certainly a very unsettling announcement and it is spreading fear.

And while we are focused on the growing concerns regarding the spread of this illness, we are also seeing in plain view the catastrophic results a disease such as this is creating on the world economy. Airlines are shutting down schedules, manufacturing supply lines are being disrupted and the stock market has tanked. In some cases, schools and public places have been shut down, competitions and group gatherings of all kinds have been cancelled. Even here in Winnipeg, it is reported that medical supply stores are sold out of face masks despite health professionals saying there's no real benefit to wearing them.

Emotionally, if you are following those daily ‘breaking news" casts, you can literally feel the level of personal fear rising. For investors, the fear is all about the market crash spiraling out of control and wiping out their savings.

For global businesses, increasing fear has them scrambling to protect their supply lines, manage their employee and ex-pat issues in foreign countries, restate production projections and literally rewrite their plans for future revenue.

At the same time, that so called "breaking news", the continual updates and alerts we see on television and hear on the radio are also serving to feed the fears of employees and the general public alike.

Part of this fear is the sense of powerlessness and lack of control that people experience. People feel under attack and can't do much about it. The fear then turns into a sense of anxiety and stress that spills over to relationships both at home and in the workplace. Overall, fear such as this is disorienting and may even reach the point where people begin to panic and/or become paralyzed.

While health professionals suggest that Canadians and Manitobans are not at high risk to contract the coronavirus, the situation does provide an opportunity to educate the workforce and deal with even the slightest of fears before any big issue arises. Take time to review the following strategies and determine what might work best for you.

Respond with knowledge

While we are hearing continual news about the Coronavirus, people are still confused about the definitions of an epidemic versus a pandemic, how the virus spreads, the value of face masks and the "how-to" of hand washing. Help employees separate fact from fiction and fear by inviting a health professional to provide a learning session to help employees understand what Coronavirus is and know how to recognize its symptoms versus the common flu. Invite questions for clarification. Remind staff to practice regular hand hygiene and proper cough etiquette.

Engage in scenario planning

With such widespread impact on businesses, management must take time to brainstorm and build scenarios with respect to the impact of their business. Will this require a slowdown in specific lines of business and if so, what will the impact be on your employees? What steps can you take to mitigate the risk? What are your timelines? How long can you wait before taking action? Work closely with your HR professionals and legal advisors to assist in employee planning should there be a need for major change.

Communicate honestly

Your employees need to trust you so it is important to be honest at all times. If there is an impact on your business, let them know as soon as possible and let them know what you are going to do about it. Communicate frequently through news updates, posters, face to face meetings and lunch room updates. If there will be challenges, be open, honest and offer real concrete solutions. Take time to listen to employees as they often have excellent suggestions. Keep in mind that one of the greatest fears employees might experience is the fear of job loss leading to financial difficulties. And, these fears are very real.

Review your HR Policy manual

Work with your HR professional to determine if your leave and illness policies are robust enough to handle a crisis in your organization. Do you have flexible work policies that will allow employees to work at home? Are there any temporary policies that could be put in place to help alleviate the issues that might arise for your organization? Are there workplace health and safety policies and procedures in place to help in a crisis situation? Keep in mind that most policies have not been written with a Coronavirus in mind and therefore, when reviewing your strategies versus your policies, be sure to employ a "risk management" mindset.

Focus on stress solutions

Alert management to the symptoms of fear and stress and ensure they deal with issues as soon as possible. Set up buddy systems to assist those individuals experiencing more stress than usual. Bring in a mental health and stress trainer to conduct brief group stress relief sessions. Focus on keeping things in perspective, lowering stress levels and helping employees stay healthy and protected. Remember, that allowing employees to succumb to fear will seriously impact your work productivity.

Be careful with disclosures

Remember that much information circulating in your workplace might simply be misinformation and so it is extremely important that management develops a strategy and guidelines for disclosing information should an employee illness arise at work. Keep in mind that management also has to consider the fear factor as well as employee privacy issues and in the case of the coronavirus, the public health issues must also be taken into consideration.

Workplace fear and anxiety is a challenge in and of itself but when something like the coronavirus begins to dominate the headlines, fear can catapult to the red zone danger level. Therefore, it is important to "nip it in the bud" and help employees focus back on every day common sense solutions for workplace fear and anxiety.

Article presented by permission from Barbara J. Bowes, FCPHR, CCP, M.Ed., President of the consulting firm Legacy Bowes, author of eight books, a radio personality, a speaker, an executive coach and workshop leader. She is also chairwoman of the Manitoba Status of Women. She can be reached at

Software Updates

eNETEmployer (Current Release)

  • Improved the size and display of the Edit window in various HR and Recruitment screens.
  • Changed the default T4 year to 2019.
  • Added and cheque Register export option in the Reports screen.
  • Increased the employee's transaction's message to span two rows on the old pay statements.
  • Added the ability to create custom training courses in the HR Training feature.
  • In the HR Training Quizzes screen, you can now delete multiple highlighted rows and sub rows in one step.

GrandMaster Suite (v15.04)

  • T4's - Fixed an issue where erroneous values (left over from the PPIP Insured Earning box) were sometimes displayed in the province address box.
  • T4A's - Removed the company's Business Number from Recipient BN box.

eNETInbox (Current Release)

  • During the upload process, the program now skips employees whose names do not match (instead of stopping the upload procedure).
  • You can now edit an employee's display name so that they will match the uploaded name.
  • Added the ability to sort the list by last login (in the Info column).

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