Payroll News Canada - Employment Articles

May 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

May 2019 - Temporary wage subsidy for employers: CRA and COVID-19 - The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has posted a useful website page that provides many of frequently asked questions regarding the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers. The 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers is a three-month measure that will allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted 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

May 4, 2020 - Employment destruction on pace to blow away records in Canada - A report due Friday will likely show employment in Canada was decimated in April as a nationwide lockdown caused mass lay-offs. The country probably lost more than 4 million jobs, a fifth of the labor force and far and away the largest decrease in monthly employment on record, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. That follows the record 1-million decline in March, when the Canadian economy was essentially shut down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (Full Story)

May 4, 2020 - Online Resources to Help Celebrate Safety and Health Week - The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), along with organizations across North America, will be celebrating Safety and Health Week from May 3-9, albeit, a little differently this year. With the physical distancing in place during the pandemic, workplaces will be turning to virtual activities and events to offer helpful tips to their employees and reinforce good practices and the importance of having both physically and psychologically safe work environments. (Full Story)

May 1, 2020 - EI claimants are going weeks without income as federal call system slows to a crawl - There were times this month when Miranda Petrossi and her boyfriend were working four phones at once - calling Service Canada's employment insurance information line over and over, for hours on end, desperately trying to find someone who could tell her why her EI application had been denied after she lost her job due to the pandemic. Petrossi is one of many Canadians who have gone weeks without benefits because of problems with their EI applications - problems they're struggling to sort out now because they can't get anyone on the phone. (Full Story)

April 30, 2020 - Is this the end of Canada's employment insurance system as we know it? - The federal employment insurance system has long been the source of income support to Canadians temporarily and unexpectedly out of work. But in the midst of the unprecedented economic crisis that's come alongside COVID-19, it faulted. And it's since been replaced, temporarily, with something else. Like a storm surge above a levy, the flood of more than two million EI benefit applications in mid-March quickly overwhelmed the federal government's processing system - which was not equipped to handle so many claims at once. (Full Story)

April 29 2020 - How to choose between the Canada wage subsidy and emergency benefit response - It can be difficult navigating the various federal financial aid packages for businesses and individuals who have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) are both meant to relieve financial burden, but individuals cannot be on both programs at the same time. So, which is the right program to be on? And if you're already on one program, can you switch to another? (Full Story)

April 28, 2020 - Staying in Canada after losing your job Losing your job due to coronavirus does not necessarily mean you have to leave Canada - Foreign nationals who lost their jobs due to coronavirus have the added burden of wondering whether they will also lose their status in Canada, and how the loss of employment will affect their Canadian immigration applications. There are options for staying in Canada even after losing your job. If you are in Canada on a work permit, there may be the option to extend your permit, apply for a new one, or change your status to student or visitor- provided you act before your current status expires. Even if your permit has already expired, there may be options to apply to have your status restored. (Full Story)

April 27, 2020 - Government of Canada launches applications for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy - To help employers keep and re-hire workers amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has implemented the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). This important economic measure provides a subsidy of 75% of an eligible employee's weekly earnings, to a maximum of $847 per employee per week, to eligible employers, for up to 12 weeks. (Full Story)

April 27, 2020 - Where each province and territory stands with reopening - There are signs that Canada is starting to flatten its curve in the battle against COVID-19, with modelling data suggesting that some provinces have already passed the peak, prompting leaders in those areas to talk about loosening movement restrictions. New Brunswick has already loosened some of its restrictions and the first phase of Saskatchewan's reopening will begin May 4, while provinces including Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Ontario and Quebec have announced that reopening plans are in the works. (Full Story)

April 27, 2020 - More than 10,000 businesses apply for wage subsidy on opening morning - More than 10,000 businesses have already applied to Canada's wage subsidy program on the morning it launched, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday (April 27). Businesses who lost at least 15 per cent of their revenue in March can qualify for the first month of the subsidy, which will cover 75 per cent of each employee's salary up to $847 per week. (Full Story)

April 27, 2020 - Wage subsidy payments coming May 4 - It took only a few hours for more than 10,000 businesses to apply for wage subsidies after the federal government opened online applications on Monday morning. By 3 p.m. ET, the Canada Revenue Agency told CTV News Vancouver it had received close to 30,000 applications. "For those who qualify, this is going to be a game changer," said Val Litwin, CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce. (Full Story)

April 23, 2020 - More than a third of Canadian workers fear losing job because of COVID-19 - Just over a third of Canadian workers, especially younger ones, fear losing their jobs during the next month because of COVID-19 and just under a third say the current pandemic will have a "moderate or major impact" on their ability to pay bills. Those figures emerge from a Statistics Canada survey answered by more than 4,600 people from all provinces between March 29 to April 3. (Full Story)

April 22, 2020 - Canada Summer Jobs programme temporarily changed due to COVID-19 - The federal government has announced temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs programme in an effort to encourage youth employment during the COVID-19 pandemic. The government projects that the earmarked C$263 million in funding will create up to 70,000 jobs for young people. The Canada Summer Jobs programme is intended to create quality summer work experiences for young people aged between 15 and 30 years by providing wage subsidies to certain employers. (Full Story)

April 17, 2020 - Which benefits am I eligible for during the COVID-19 pandemic? - The COVID-19 pandemic has left millions of Canadians out of work, facing reduced income, unable to pay their bills, or any combination of the above. Governments across the country have responded with an unprecedented suite of measures aimed at helping those most affected by the crisis make ends meet. (Full Story)

April 17, 2020 - COVID-19: 7 key questions on employee privacy - Does privacy take a back seat during a pandemic when it comes to personal employee information? Sort of, but there rules that must be adhered to regarding the collection and dissemination of identifying information, according to a Calgary lawyer. Adam LaRoche, associate at Osler Hoskin Harcourt in Calgary, provided Canadian HR Reporter with answers to seven questions that employers and HR professionals may be asking during the COVID-19 outbreak. (Full Story)

April 16, 2020 - COVID-19 Guidance for High-Risk and Essential Workplaces - To help high-risk occupations and essential services and industries work safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) has developed a series of pandemic guidance tip sheets and made them available for free on their website. These pandemic (COVID-19) tip sheets offer guidance and good practices for specific occupations, industries and services, for both employers and workers. (Full Story)

April 16, 2020 - These jobs are growing despite COVID-19 - The hourly job market is seeing a seismic shift in who's hiring and who's putting recruitment on hold. But despite a bleak outlook, there is a glimmer of hope for hourly workers. Jobs that support food production and supply chains, as well as logistics and warehousing, are growing, according to the latest figures released by job search platform Snagajob. This segment of the labour force is proving vital as the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic. (Full Story)

April 15, 2020 - Canada's March Employment Figures Break Records Toronto Economic Development - Canadian employment figures for March are record-breaking, and the records they are now setting aren't positive. According to the figures released by Statistics Canada, measured during the period of March 15 till March 21, employment fell by more than 1 million in March in Canada, down 5.3% overall. (Full Story)

April 11, 2020 - Additional Details on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy - To help employers keep and return workers to their payroll through the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced the new Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy on March 27, 2020. This would provide a 75-per-cent wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks, retroactive to March 15, 2020. This wage subsidy aims to prevent further job losses, encourage employers to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, and help better position Canadian companies and other employers to more easily resume normal operations following the crisis. (Full Story)

April 9, 2020 - Job numbers plummet in March - The number of employed people in Canada was about 18,178,100 in March, a drop of some 1,010,700 (5.3 per cent) compared to February, according to Statistics Canada (StatCan). And unemployment rose to 7.8 per cent, 2.2 points higher compared to the previous month. Among sectors, accommodation and food services (down 23.9 per cent or 294,400 workers) was the biggest loser followed by information, culture and recreation (down 13.3 per cent or 103,700 workers). (Full Story)

April 8, 2020 - COVID-19: PM expands Canada Summer Jobs Program to employ more students - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has temporarily expanded the Canada Summer Jobs Program (CSJP) to employ up to 70,000 more people, but some post-secondary students say that the measure doesn't go far enough and are continuing to call on the federal government to better support them through the COVID-19 pandemic. The CSJP provides wage subsidies to employers from not-for-profit organizations, the public sector, and small businesses to create job opportunities for people aged 15-30. (Full Story)

April 7, 2020 - Amid staggering unemployment rate, public servants handling EI claims are unsung heroes - Canada hasn't seen unemployment rates higher than 20 per cent since the darkest days of the Great Depression. Yet, at the end of the first day of eligibility for the new emergency aid benefit, three and half million Canadians had applied for Employment Insurance or the new benefit. Nearly one quarter of the Canadian labour force is currently out of work - and we're not done yet. (Full Story)

April 6, 2020 - Canadians can now apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit - The Government of Canada continues to take action to support Canadians and their families impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Canada is working day and night to ensure Canadians have access to the CERB in the simplest and fastest way possible. Canadians who have lost their income due to COVID-19 can expect their payment in 3 to 5 business days from when they apply if they are using direct deposit. That means most Canadians who are eligible will receive $2,000 before the end of next week. (Full Story)

April 5, 2020 - Trudeau says help coming for students unable to find summer jobs - Not all out-of-work Canadians qualify for the new Canadian Emergency Response Benefit, and post-secondary students appear to be disproportionately likely to fall through the cracks of this new addition to Canada's social safety net. To be eligible to receive the benefit, applicants must have earned at least $5,000 in the past 12 months or in 2019 as a whole, and must be out of work for reasons directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Full Story)

April 3, 2020 - Canada Pension Plan board president says the retirement fund is safe, despite economic downturn - As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the global economy, the president of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board says Canadians' CPP contributions are safe. "This is one thing they should take off their list to worry about," said Mark Machin. "The fund is in strong shape. It was designed to weather these types of significant market downturns once in a while." (Full Story)

April 2, 2020 - Recent EI beneficiaries to move to federal coronavirus emergency benefit - and many will get a raise - The federal government will automatically move the 2.1 million Canadians who have applied for employment insurance benefits since March 15 to the government's Canada Emergency Response Benefit program, a move that could see many EI beneficiaries get more money every week. The move is being done by a government less concerned with elegant program design and more concerned with getting money out the door fast. (Full Story)

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

April 24, 2020 - $1 billion program to create 5,300 jobs - A new program will provide the energy industry with access to up to $1 billion, creating jobs to immediately get Albertans back to work. The Site Rehabilitation Program - mainly funded by the federal government's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan - will provide grants to oilfield service contractors to perform well, pipeline, and oil and gas site reclamation work. Starting now, the program is expected to create about 5,300 direct jobs and lead to the cleanup of thousands of sites. (Full Story)

April 24, 2020 - Alberta health-care workers can now be redeployed to nursing homes to battle COVID-19 - A new agreement will pave the way for Alberta health-care workers from hospitals and other public facilities to be sent into continuing care facilities hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some nursing homes have been struggling to find enough staff while residents and staff fall ill. The new agreement, signed Friday by Alberta's three main health-care unions and Alberta Health Services, is designed to meet that need. (Full Story)

April 20, 2020 - Relief coming for continuing care pressures - New funding will increase staffing of health-care aides to alleviate pressures in contracted continuing care facilities. Supports include additional funding to allow for: Increased health-care aide staffing levels; A wage top-up of an additional $2 per hour for health-care aides; and Up to 1,000 paid student practicum positions to fast-track certification and get more staff into our continuing care facilities. (Full Story)

April 15, 2020 - Personal protective equipment is reaching Albertans - Personal protective equipment (PPE) is reaching Albertans across the province as the government continues its procurement and distribution effort amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While AHS is working to connect PPE to Alberta's health-care workers, the Provincial Operators Centre is working to connect PPE to non-AHS facilities including, but not limited to, optometrist offices, funeral homes, pharmacies, disability service providers and social service and civil society groups. (Full Story)

April 10, 2020 - Students facing steep declines in summer work due to COVID-19 - Valuable student job opportunities are disappearing as COVID-19 continues to devastate the city's employment market. Practicums, internships, co-op placements and summer work terms designed to help students enter the workforce are drying up as companies slash expenses and let go of workers. Sarah Imran, director of career services at Mount Royal University, said she has seen the school's student job postings drop by 60 to 70 per cent. (Full Story)

April 9, 2020 - 'Shocking to see': Alberta loses 117,000 jobs in March amid COVID-19 - Alberta's economy lost 117,100 jobs in March, the worst recorded single-month change on record, according to Statistics Canada. New numbers released by the federal agency on Thursday reflect the early impacts of the economic toll of COVID-19 on the province as well as the country as a whole, which lost over a million jobs during the same period. (Full Story)

April 8, 2020 - New unemployment numbers could hit levels not seen since Great Depression - The province is predicting unemployment could hit 25 per cent in the coming months, a number not seen since the 1930's. The previous low point for unemployment was 1984 when Alberta reached 12.4 per cent unemployment, according to the province's website. The Conference Board of Canada estimates 26,600 energy related jobs will be lost in March and April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and a crash in world oil prices. (Full Story)

April 7, 2020 - Alberta announces temporary employment standards changes - The provincial government says it is taking immediate action to allow employers in Alberta to appropriately respond to public health measures while allowing employees to remain attached to jobs and have the ability to access federal assistance programs. Employees caring for children affected by school and daycare closures or ill or self-isolated family members due to COVID-19 will have access to unpaid job-protected leave. The 90-day employment requirement is waived and leave length is flexible, the province says. (Full Story)

April 2, 2020 - Nearly half of Edmonton businesses expect to permanently close, three per cent already have: survey - Three per cent of businesses have shut their doors for good because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 47 per cent believe they will have to in the future, according to the latest survey by the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. The results, released Tuesday, also show 86.3 per cent have seen drops in revenue and 60 per cent have had to lay off staff. About 40 per cent of businesses have shut down their offices. (Full Story)

April 1, 2020 - Expanded child care for essential workers - Government is expanding eligibility for select licensed child care centres to provide child care for all essential service workers. In addition to the previously eligible front-line health-care workers, critical infrastructure workers and first responders, child care is now available to anyone who works in the critical areas outlined as essential by government. (Full Story)

March 23, 2020 - Additional financial support for Albertans and employers - More relief is on the way for Albertans and Alberta employers. The government has made three significant decisions that will give Albertans and Alberta employers additional supports as they deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. One of the reliefs includes the deferral of WCB premiums for private sector businesses and support for small and medium businesses. (Full Story)

March 23, 2020 - Premium relief for employers (2020) - The Government of Alberta has recently announced new premium relief measures for private sector employers. Invoices for 2020 premiums have been stopped for the remainder of the year. All private sector employers will have their 2020 WCB premiums deferred to 2021. When the board resumes invoicing for 2020 premiums in 2021, small- and medium-sized private sector employers will have 50 per cent of their 2020 premiums waived. (Full Story)

March 22, 2020 - Child care for core service workers - Government will begin reopening select licensed child care centres to provide child care for core service workers. Children's Services is working with child care providers to open up to 15,000 child care spaces to ensure child care is available for those providing services that Albertans rely on during the COVID-19 pandemic. Child care centres are initially being chosen based on proximity to health-care facilities and will be reopened in a phased approach based on areas of need, starting the week of March 23. (Full Story)

May 4, 2020 - Government creates COVID-19 temporary layoff period - To ease financial hardship on businesses and to keep employees connected with their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, government has extended the temporary layoff period to 16 weeks for COVID-19 related reasons. Previously under the Employment Standards Act, a temporary layoff longer than 13 weeks in any 20-week period (or about three months in a five-month period) was considered a permanent layoff. (Full Story)

May 1, 2020 - Online applications open for B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers - British Columbians whose ability to work has been affected because of the COVID-19 pandemic and are receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) can now apply for the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers (BCEBW) online. The BCEBW is a one-time, tax-free payment of $1,000 for eligible British Columbians. On Monday, May 4, 2020, agents will be available by phone to assist people who need help applying, including those who do not have internet access. (Full Story)

April 25, 2020 - Rent relief on the way for B.C. small businesses - Thousands of small businesses in British Columbia will see their monthly rent reduced by at least 75%, thanks to the new federal-provincial Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRA). Launching in mid-May 2020, the CECRA will see B.C. small businesses receive a total of over $300 million in federal-provincial relief, with B.C. contributing an estimated $80 million. (Full Story)

April 24, 2020 - Additional guidelines for silviculture operators, employees - B.C.'s provincial health officer (PHO) has released an order for industrial camps and guidelines to protect people working in the silviculture sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is to help contractors, tree planting operators and their employees reduce the risks of COVID-19. (Full Story)

April 23, 2020 - Applications for B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers to open May 1 - Temporary relief is on the way for British Columbians whose ability to work has been affected by COVID-19, with applications for the $1,000 B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers (BCEBW) opening on May 1, 2020. The BCEBW is a one-time, tax-free $1,000 payment for British Columbians whose ability to work has been affected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Full Story)

April 14, 2020 - Temporary foreign workers self-isolating in government-managed accommodations - All temporary foreign workers (TFWs) arriving in British Columbia for seasonal farm work will be required to self-isolate in government-managed accommodations for 14 days prior to being transported to farms throughout B.C. during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Province will fund hotel and food-service costs during the 14-day self-isolation period. (Full Story)

April 9, 2020 - B.C. headed for further jobs losses due to pandemic: finance minister - The national job loss numbers released Thursday are just the beginning, as B.C. Finance Minister Carole James expects unemployment to rise further in the province due to COVID-19. Statistics Canada reported unemployment across the country rose to 7.8 per cent in March from 5.6 per cent in February - the greatest change in national jobless figures in more than 40 years. (Full Story)

April 8, 2020 - Feds update wage subsidy and unveil changes to student summer job program - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced another update to the massive wage subsidy program, more help for students, and is forecasting that the March job numbers coming out on Thursday will be grim. In yet another update to the now estimated $73 billion wage subsidy the federal government is in the process of rolling out, Trudeau announced the parameters to qualify are being relaxed. (Full Story)

April 6, 2020 - Revised Workers Compensation Act in effect - Revisions to the Workers Compensation Act, which include renumbering of sections and some minor language changes, are in effect as of April 6, 2020. The revisions do not change B.C.'s laws concerning workers' compensation, occupational health and safety, or employers' assessment premiums. However, materials that cite the Act need to be updated to reflect the new numbering and language of the Act, which includes WorkSafeBC's policy manuals, practice directives, and website. (Full Story)

April 2, 2020 - More than 120,000 jobs lost in B.C. food sector since pandemic began - Restricted to takeout and delivery, almost one in 10 restaurants across the country have been forced to permanently close. That's according to Restaurants Canada, who says 18 per cent more could shutter by the end of this month. And that's having a huge impact on jobs in the sector. According to a survey of its members, Restaurants Canada says about 121,500 people in British Columbia have lost food service jobs since the start of the pandemic. (Full Story)

April 1, 2020 - BC Boosts Pay for Long-Term Care Workers amidst COVID-19 - The B.C. government is taking over as the employer of all long-term care workers in the province in response to the COVID-19 threat in seniors' homes. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said this week that every worker would be hired full-time and paid standardized wages for the next six months. (Full Story)

April 1, 2020 - New wage subsidy means B.C. businesses can keep workers on payroll - Deep Cove Kayak was supposed to open for the season this past weekend. That didn't happen. The company has already been forced to let their part-time workers go, and was preparing to lay off some full-time, year-round staff who've worked for them for over a decade. But, the new federal wage subsidy could save those jobs. (Full Story)

April 1, 2020 - B.C. companies creating new jobs in response to COVID-19 pandemic - British Columbians are responding to COVID-19 by creating new jobs in a variety of fields even as many sectors have been devastated by the pandemic. Businesses are adapting to the new environment by hiring staff to help make homes, workplaces and businesses safer and stop the spread of the virus. New jobs include specialized cleaning services in housing, COVID compliance officers in industries such as construction, and greeters to screen people at nursing homes. (Full Story)

March 31, 2020 - WorkSafeBC continuing to provide services to workers and employers during COVID-19 - WorkSafeBC is continuing to provide services to both workers and employers during the COVID-19 pandemic. While WorkSafeBC offices are closed to visitors, staff are available to help workers and employers by telephone and online. In addition, WorkSafeBC's prevention activities continue. (Full Story)

March 23, 2020 - Protecting jobs during difficult times - The Province has made two significant changes to the Employment Standards Act to better support workers both during the COVID-19 public health emergency and in the long term. Firstly, changes will allow workers to immediately take unpaid, job-protected leave if they are unable to work for reasons relating to COVID-19. Secondly, to better support workers on an ongoing basis, the changes also provide up to three days of unpaid, job-protected leave each year for people who cannot work due to illness or injury. (Full Story)

April 28, 2020 - A temporary foreign worker solution - Mid-March, amidst the initial panicked onset of a COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian borders closed to most international travellers and a swath of the ag sector panicked. They were counting on foreign workers - tens of thousands of them - to fill their ranks for the busy season ahead of them. Without workers from countries like Mexico and Jamaica, many farmers feared their season would be lost. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Canadians were laid off as their businesses closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. So when the Manitoba Co-operator reported these fears on social media, the same question kept popping up - why can't Canadians do those jobs? (Full Story)

April 27, 2020 - Manitoba to ban health-care employees from working at multiple sites - Manitoba is about to become the latest province to ban health-care workers from working at more than one facility - a move intended to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks in personal care homes. Starting Friday, Manitoba health-care workers will only be allowed to work in one care home or other institution, Shared Health systems integration lead Lanette Siragusa said Monday. (Full Story)

April 24, 2020 - Manitoba To Join Ontario In Treatment Of Emergency Benefit As Income - Manitoba will be joining Ontario in ensuring that provincial Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) clients who are receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will have more money in their pockets and continue to receive needed health benefits, Families Minister Heather Stefanson announced today. The federal CERB benefit will be treated as earned income under EIA. (Full Story)

April 24, 2020 - Manitoba employers say they're 'begging' workers to come back instead of filing for federal aid - Some Winnipeg business owners say they're struggling to hire back laid-off employees who are choosing to claim federal emergency money, rather than coming back to work. Siwicki initially laid off more than half of his staff when the coronavirus pandemic first hit and he closed his restaurant. (Full Story)

April 24, 2020 - Province Announces Up To $120 Million For Manitoba Summer Student Recovery Plan - The Manitoba government has launched the Summer Student Recovery Plan, a new wage subsidy program to support high school and post-secondary students employed in the private and non-profit sectors. Under the new program, up to $120 million is available for employers to access a $7 per hour wage subsidy, up to a maximum of $5,000 per student. The program is open to Manitoba students aged 15 to 29, with an employment period from May 1 to Sept. 4. (Full Story)

April 22, 2020 - Province To Provide $120 Million Of Support To Small And Medium-Sized Businesses Harmed By Covid-19 - The Manitoba government is providing up to $120 million to support Manitoba's small and medium-sized businesses that are facing significant challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Manitoba Gap Protection Program (MGPP) is available to any of the approximately 120,000 businesses in Manitoba who have fallen into a gap in failing to qualify for the various federal government assistance programs and wage subsidies created because of COVID-19. (Full Story)

April 22, 2020 - Connecting Canadians To Jobs In Agriculture - Statistics show that each year, more than 15,000 jobs in the agriculture industry remain vacant. A new online portal will help to connect Canadians to available jobs in the agriculture sector. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has launched a new tool to link people to those jobs; especially now with so many people seeing their jobs impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. (Full Story)

April 21, 2020 - Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba 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, Premier Brian Pallister announced today. The Workers Compensation Board (WCB) board of directors has approved and authorized further relief for employers who fund the WCB by returning approximately $37 million in surplus funds. (Full Story)

April 16, 2020 - Payment Relief for Employers During COVID-19 Pandemic - As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the state of emergency declared by the Province of Manitoba, businesses are experiencing dramatic changes as they attempt to apply social distance strategies in the workplace, and in some circumstances, have extended continuance pay or potentially issued temporary lay-offs. Given the economic uncertainties, businesses may be challenged with cash flow and require temporary relief from their WCB payment obligations. (Full Story)

April 16, 2020 - COVID-19 Toolkit for the Workplace - SAFE Work Manitoba is working to support the direction of the Government of Manitoba and Manitoba Health in slowing the progression of COVID-19 (coronavirus) by helping workplaces to take appropriate preventative measures. To support this effort, SAFE Work Manitoba has created a toolkit to provide information about COVID-19 and the workplace. (Full Story)

April 14, 2020 - Manitoba Government To Provide Greater Support And Job Protection For Those Impacted By Covid-19 - The Manitoba government will now compensate health-care workers who are required to self-isolate for 14 days due to possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. The Manitoba government will provide health-care staff paid administrative leave for the full 14-day period of asymptomatic self-isolation. Should a worker become symptomatic during self-isolation, the individual will be compensated by sick leave benefits, pursuant to their collective agreement, the premier added. The province is also proposing new provisions to the Employment Standards Code that would allow employees to be away from work for specified reasons related to COVID-19. (Full Story)

April 9, 2020 - 'We are completely on hold': The Manitoba employment sectors hit hardest by COVID-19 - More than one million Canadians have lost their jobs since the start of the pandemic, according to new numbers released Thursday morning by Statistics Canada. In Manitoba, the impact hasn't been quite as severe as in other provinces but many have found themselves trying to steer through these turbulent times. Wilderness outfitters are among those navigating uncharted waters amid the global pandemic. (Full Story)

April 2, 2020 - Manitoba loses 28K restaurant jobs during coronavirus pandemic, says industry association - As many as 28,000 restaurant jobs have been lost in Manitoba due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey by Restaurants Canada. The non-profit, which represents restaurants nationwide, says the Manitoba numbers are part of an estimated 800,000 foodservices positions that have been lost across Canada since March 1. (Full Story)

March 30, 2020 - Complete List of Manitoba Essential Businesses - Businesses listed as essential services are allowed to remain open whereas all non-essential businesses will be required, by the provincial government to close from April 1 and April 14. As stated in Section 67 of the Public Health Act: "A business listed in the Schedule may remain open. However, if the business allows members of the public to attend at the place of business, the operator of the business must implement measures to ensure that persons attending the place of business are reasonably able to maintain a separation of at least two metres from other persons who are attending the business." Read the following article to see the list of businesses that have been deemed essential services by the Manitoba Government. (Full Story)

March 27, 2020 - Province Announces Temporary Exception To Employment Standards Layoff Rules During The Covid-19 Pandemic - The Manitoba government is adding a temporary exception to employment standards regulations to give employers more time to recall employees laid off as a result of COVID-19, Finance Minister Scott Fielding announced today. Under current employment standards legislation, employees who have been laid off for eight or more weeks in a 16-week period are deemed to have been terminated and are entitled to wages in lieu of notice. (Full Story)

April 29, 2020 - Farm groups oppose new foreign worker restrictions in New Brunswick - Farm groups in New Brunswick say a ban on new temporary foreign workers couldn't have come at a worse time, and will have a major impact on food production in the province. Premier Blaine Higgs imposed the restriction on Tuesday, saying provincial borders need to remain closed with so many serious outbreaks of COVID-19 in surrounding jurisdictions. He said the move does not affect the status of about 1,500 temporary foreign workers currently in the province. (Full Story)

April 28, 2020 - New Brunswick bans temporary foreign workers to curb COVID-19 risk - The New Brunswick government will ban any new temporary foreign workers from entering the province as a way of reducing the risk of COVID-19. Premier Blaine Higgs says an influx of more workers is too much of a health risk, and he called on New Brunswickers and foreign workers already in the province to fill vacancies in the agricultural and seafood-processing sectors. (Full Story)

April 28, 2020 - Further expansion of COVID-19 testing protocols; travel restrictions for temporary foreign workers -
Testing protocols in New Brunswick for COVID-19 are being expanded to capture a wider range of symptoms for the disease. The provincial government has updated its mandatory order under the state of emergency to restrict temporary foreign workers from entering New Brunswick. Premier Blaine Higgs said with so many serious outbreaks of COVID-19 in surrounding jurisdictions, the province's borders must remain closed for now. This restriction does not affect the status of temporary foreign workers currently in the province. (Full Story)

April 27, 2020 - $73B wage subsidy program opens, first payments expected May 7 - Applications opened Monday for a $73 billion wage subsidy program to help businesses that have seen a drop in revenue because of COVID-19. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the first payments should begin to arrive May 7. The support program covers up to 75 per cent of wages for businesses affected by COVID-19. Businesses of all sizes, along with charities and non-profits, are eligible if they have experienced a drop in revenue of at least 30 per cent. (Full Story)

April 24, 2020 - COVID-19: Health and safety measures for workplaces - WorkSafeNB has provided a document that outlines new Health and safety measures for workplaces that will be useful in the fight against COVID-19. It refers to applicable Sections of the Government of New Brunswick Mandatory Order and is aimed at minimizing the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in all workplaces. (Full Story)

April 9, 2020 - Province saw 15,200 officially lose jobs in first month of COVID-19 - The unemployment rate in New Brunswick rose to 8.8 per cent from February to March, for a total loss of 15,200 jobs, Statistics Canada reported Thursday. The 8.8 per cent unemployment rate is an increase of 1.9 percentage points from February.  The statistics are the first to be released since the province declared a state of emergency on March 19 because of COVID-19. (Full Story)

April 9, 2020 - Two must-have services for workers and health care providers - At all times, WorkSafeNB is committed to excellent service delivery. And we've never been more focused on that priority than we are now, during the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that communications and payment delivery are critical to injured workers and health care providers. As such, we recommend registration for MyServices and Direct Deposit. (Full Story)

April 6, 2020 - The new COVID-19 benefit for workers has launched: Here's how to apply - The federal government has, as of April 6, started accepting applications for the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit for workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic. CERB pays $2,000 every four weeks for up to four months to workers who have lost all of their income as a result of COVID-19. The benefit is open both to Canadians who qualify for employment insurance (EI) and those who don't, including employees who don't have enough work hours to meet EI requirements and the self-employed. (Full Story)

March 30, 2020 - New Brunswick starts accepting applications for workers emergency income benefit - The province of New Brunswick is offering a one-time benefit of $900 to help workers or self-employed people who have lost their job because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The province declared a state of emergency and forced many businesses that were not essential services to lay off their employees. (Full Story)

March 26, 2020 - Financial support for impacted workers and businesses - Premier Blaine Higgs outlined economic support measures to help alleviate financial pressures faced by residents and business owners. This includes Income support and Job protection for workers. To support the province's economy, keep workers employed, and help businesses continue to operate, a total of $50 million in assistance is being made available, including: Elimination of interest on WorkSafeNB assessment premiums; Deferring interest and principal payments on existing Government of New Brunswick loans; Up to $25 million in working capital for New Brunswick small business owners; and up to $25 million in working capital for medium-sized to large employers. (Full Story)

March 25, 2020 - New COVID-19 prevention tool for workplaces - The Public Health Agency of Canada, in collaboration with Canadian public health experts, has issued 12 preventive measures for slowing the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces. WorkSafeNB supports these measures and has developed an interactive document to help New Brunswick workplaces evaluate and monitor their activities and responses to these measures. (Full Story)

April 29, 2020 - Compensation Available for Private Sector Employers with Staff that had to Self-Isolate due to COVID-19 Travel Restrictions - The Provincial Government is providing compensation for private sector employers for continuation of pay to employees who were required to self-isolate for 14-days due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions. This includes individuals who are self-employed. The Government of Canada recently announced supports for businesses whose work has been impacted by the pandemic, including the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). (Full Story)

April 24, 2020 - Changes to Credit Union Regulations Help Businesses Access Federal Relief - In an effort to help alleviate financial hardship on businesses in Newfoundland and Labrador during COVID-19, the Provincial Government has amended the Credit Union Regulations, 2009 to allow credit unions to avail of the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program. The federal initiative, announced on March 27, provides up to $40,000 in commercial loans to businesses to alleviate unusual financial pressures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding is provided to qualifying businesses through an application process designed by Export Development Canada and must be made through the business's primary financial institution. (Full Story)

April 13, 2020 - COVID-19: N.L. puts limits on long-term care workers, as 2 new cases announced - Two new cases of COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador were announced Monday, as Health Minister John Haggie tightened restrictions on workers in the long-term care system. Haggie said long-term care workers can now only work on a single site, and must remain working there to the exclusion of other sites for the duration of the pandemic. (Full Story)

April 9, 2020 - Part-timers bludgeoned as N.L. economy sheds 5,800 jobs - Newfoundland and Labrador's economy lost 5,800 jobs last month, and part-timers took the brunt of that pandemic-driven economic shock. Statistics Canada on Thursday released employment data from March that revealed a loss of 7,000 part-time jobs when compared with February numbers, or a plunge of nearly 20 per cent. (Full Story)

April 9, 2020 - Public Advisory: Information for Income Support Clients Regarding the Canada Emergency Response Benefit - The Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour has received inquiries from a number of income support clients regarding eligibility for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The CERB supports Canadians by providing financial support to employed and self-employed Canadians who are directly affected by COVID-19. However, the Provincial Income Support Program provides financial benefits and other services to eligible low income people with no other means of support to assist in meeting daily living expenses. (Full Story)

April 3, 2020 - More than 10K jobs lost in N.L. food service: industry group - According to Restaurants Canada, a not-for-profit organization that represents restaurant owners and operators across the country, about 800,000 food service jobs countrywide have been lost since March 1 due to COVID-19. That includes more than 10,000 jobs in Newfoundland and Labrador -  and the threat looms of that number ballooning further. (Full Story)

March 24, 2020 - WorkplaceNL reassures injured workers that benefits will continue - WorkplaceNL wishes to reassure its injured worker clients that all wage-loss benefits associated with an active work-related injury claim will continue. Issuing payments to injured workers remains a priority for WorkplaceNL as it operates at reduced capacity in order to practice social distancing. WorkplaceNL will continue to cover medical appointments that do go ahead, as well as prescription medications, related to a client's claim. (Full Story)

April 27, 2020 - Amendments Mean New Requirements for Some Workers to Protect the NWT - Targeted changes have been introduced to keep residents safe, and keep COVID-19 contained in the NWT. Effective immediately, essential service workers and those supporting them; infrastructure workers employed by the GNWT, Municipal Governments, Indigenous Governments and Organizations; and corrections officers returning to the NWT are subject to new restrictions. (Full Story)

April 27, 2020 - Workers exempt from N.W.T. travel ban now face tighter supervision - The Northwest Territories government has introduced new rules for N.W.T. residents returning to the territory, and for essential workers and others who remain free to travel to and from the territory under the COVID-19 travel ban. Although the N.W.T. border has been effectively closed to all non-essential travel since late March, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, exemptions have been in place for mine workers, medical professionals, airline workers and others who regularly enter or pass through the territory for their work or for medical reasons. (Full Story)

April 13, 2020 - Covid-19 measures help drive NWT jobless rate to four-year high - The unemployment rate in the Northwest Territories jumped to its highest level since 2016 last month. On April 9 the NWT Bureau of Statistics reported on data gathered by Statistics Canada during the third week of March, March 15 to 21, the first such report since the beginnings of the federal government's interventions to curb the spread of Covid-19. (Full Story)

April 8, 2020 - WSCC Announces Additional Financial Relief Measures for Employers - Yellowknife, NT (April 8, 2020) - The Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) today announced relief measures for employers who are unable to make their WSCC assessment payments as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Effective April 1, 2020, the WSCC has suspended late payment interest charges and further extended the assessment payment deadline to August 1, 2020. (Full Story)

March 23, 2020 - COVID-19 and the Workplace: Guidance and Risk Assessment Tool for Employers in the Northwest Territories - The Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) has developed a risk assessment tool to guide employers in determining if a worker can safely be on the worksite or not under the current direction of the Chief Public Health Officers. The guidance (available on the WSCC website ) includes recommendations from the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer in NT and practical tools for conducting a risk assessment and establishing a protocol to prevent the risk of transmission by an essential service worker. (Full Story)

April 17, 2020 - Farmers' planting season delayed while foreign workers forced to self-isolate - Hundreds of international farm workers arrived in Nova Scotia earlier this week to assist with the planting and growing seasons. At Charles Keddy's farm he grows nursery crops, such as raspberries, and sweet potatoes. He ships all across North America and while planting season is now underway, but many farmers like Keddy are behind schedule two-to-three weeks. (Full Story)

April 15, 2020 - 1,480 city workers lose their jobs as Halifax slashes workforce - The Halifax Regional Municipality is axing nearly one-third of its jobs and cancelling summer programs as the city grapples with significant shortfalls from the COVID-19 pandemic. Cities across the country are "bleeding cash" and will require significant help from other levels of government to stay afloat, said Mayor Mike Savage. (Full Story)

April 15, 2020 - Nova Scotia farmers anxiously await arrival of temporary foreign workers - Nearly 300 temporary foreign workers from Jamaica will land Wednesday night at Halifax Stanfield International Airport and then head to farms throughout the province for 14 days of self-isolation. At Charles Keddy Farms in Lakeville, N.S., a small crew of local workers was harvesting dormant strawberry plants on Wednesday. It's one of the many jobs normally done every year by temporary foreign workers. (Full Story)

April 10, 2020 - You can now apply for Nova Scotia's worker fund and business grant - Two $20-million funds established to help self-employed and laid-off workers in Nova Scotia who do not qualify for employment insurance are now available online. Applications for the Worker Emergency Bridge Fund and Small Business Impact Grant aimed at helping those impacted by the ongoing coronavirus health crisis went online Friday at 8 a.m. (Full Story)

April 10, 2020 - Province's employment numbers dropped 25,000 in first impact of COVID-19 - New numbers from Statistics Canada give a "pretty ugly" first snapshot of the pandemic's economic impact on Nova Scotia, but business advocates say the current situation is much worse. The Labour Force Survey released Thursday shows the number of employed people dropped by 25,000 in March, or 5.5 per cent, compared to the month before. (Full Story)

April 2, 2020 - Over 24,000 foodservice jobs lost in N.S. due to COVID-19 - Since March 1, about 800,000 foodservice jobs have already been lost nationwide due to COVID-19, according to a survey released by Restaurants Canada. Out of the 800,000, almost 25,000 of those lost jobs are in Nova Scotia alone, and they may never return if conditions don't improve. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many restaurants are struggling to pay rent and bills due in April. (Full Story)

April 2, 2020 - Nova Scotia announces two new emergency funds for workers and businesses - Nova Scotia premier Stephen McNeil announced two provincial emergency funding programs for individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19 on Thursday. The first is a $20 million dollar "worker emergency bridge fund" to help self-employed people and laid off workers who do not qualify for employment insurance (EI). The second funding program is a $20 million dollar called "small business impact grant." (Full Story)

March 20, 2020 - WCB Nova Scotia partners with Province to defer employer premiums until July, 2020 - WCB Nova Scotia is committed to doing our part to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on Nova Scotians. Working in partnership with the Government of Nova Scotia, we will defer all employer premium payments for three months. Late fees and interest will not be charged until further notice. (Full Story)

April 28, 2020 - COVID-19: Workplace pandemic planning - As of April 28, 2020, 49,686 confirmed cases of COVID-19, a novel coronavirus, have appeared in all provinces and territories with the exception of Nunavut, with the highest number of cases in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. As COVID-19 has now impacted the day to day lives of most Canadians, as well as the daily operations of Canadian businesses, there is a constant reminder that there is potential for both individual infection and workplace disruptions to become a tangible and serious risk. (Full Story)

April 28, 2020 - N.W.T. and Nunavut continue to have highest workplace death rate in country - A ceremony in the N.W.T. would normally mark April 28 as the National Day of Mourning for workers killed and injured in the workplace, but COVID-19 physical distancing guidelines make that impossible this year. Instead, the Northern Territories Federation of Labour and the N.W.T. and Nunavut Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) are asking northern residents to have a moment of silence at noon to honour those killed in workplace accidents. (Full Story)

April 22, 2020 - How COVID-19 affects the workplace - Employers have a responsibility under occupational health and safety legislation in Nunavut to maintain a safe and healthy work environment for their workers. Any worker exhibiting signs of COVID-19 and anyone who has been advised by a health official to self-isolate or be quarantined must be advised by their employer to stay home. (Full Story)

April 8, 2020 - Nunavut government calls teachers back from the South - In the wake of school closures due to COVID-19 and recent spring breaks, right now, around 85 of Nunavut's teachers are in the South - and the territorial government wants them to come back. This week, the Nunavut government said it wants all teachers to be ready to work should classes resume on April 21. (Full Story)

April 30, 2020 - Ontario Providing Employers with Workplace Safety Guidelines - The Ontario government is ensuring employers have the safety guidelines they need to protect workers, customers, and the general public from COVID-19 as it prepares for a gradual reopening of the provincial economy. The government safety guidelines released today will provide direction to those working in manufacturing, food manufacturing and processing, restaurant and food service, and the agricultural sector. (Full Story)

April 30, 2020 - Health and Safety Association Guidance Documents for Workplaces During the COVID-19 Outbreak - The Ontario government works closely with four provincial health and safety associations (HSAs) to help set, communicate and enforce the Occupational Health and Safety Act. In partnership with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, the HSAs have released a series of more than 60 technical sector guidance documents to further support employers and employees in remaining safe in the workplace during the COVID-19 outbreak. (Full Story)

April 29, 2020 - Ontario expands list of workers eligible for 'pandemic pay' - The provincial government has expanded its temporary "pandemic pay" to a number of other front-line workers, including paramedics. The announcement comes just days after Premier Doug Ford announced that about 350,000 healthcare workers in the province would receive a $4 an hour pay bump for the next 16 weeks along with a monthly lump sum payment of $250 in recognition of the important work they are doing during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Full Story)

April 28, 2020 - Employers permitted to suspend DC pension contributions, says FSRA - The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario has confirmed it will permit a suspension of employer contributions to defined contribution pension plans on a temporary basis. However, any change to either employer or employee contributions can only be on a go-forward basis and must be supported by an amendment to the plan text, said the regulator. (Full Story)

April 28, 2020 - Many Ontario workers are trying to refuse work due to COVID-19 fears - but the government isn't letting them - Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, workers who fear contracting the virus have filed more than 200 work refusals. But the Ontario Ministry of Labour has not upheld a single one, after quietly establishing an internal committee to oversee inspectors' enforcement efforts during the pandemic. Work refusals in Ontario spiked to a high point in mid-March, when there were 83 in a single week. (Full Story)

April 25, 2020 - Pandemic Pay Provides Support for Frontline Workers Fighting COVID-19 - To provide additional support for frontline workers fighting COVID-19, the government is providing a temporary pandemic pay of $4/hour worked on top of their regular wages. In addition, the government will be providing monthly lump sum payments of $250 for four months to eligible frontline workers who work over 100 hours per month. The pandemic pay will be effective for 16 weeks, from April 24, 2020 until August 13, 2020, and is expected to support over 350,000 frontline workers. (Full Story)

April 21, 2020 - New funds for COVID-19 community programs coming, wage subsidy launching April 27 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is setting up a $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund to help charities and non-profits keep up their work assisting Canada's most vulnerable through the COVID-19 pandemic. And, as of Tuesday companies who have been eyeing the 75 per cent wage subsidy for employees will be able to get an estimate of how much money they'll be able to claim once the application portal opens next Monday. (Full Story)

April 9, 2020 - Ontario lost 400,000 jobs in March, but more dire figures may still be on the way - New employment data released by Statistics Canada shows that Ontario lost more than 400,000 jobs in March, but there are concerns the figures don't yet reflect the full scope of the economic calamity wrought by the novel coronavirus. The staggering losses were reported Thursday by Statistics Canada in the agency's March labour survey, which is based on interviews with more than 100,000 people every month. (Full Story)

April 9, 2020 - Young People Are Losing Their Jobs Faster Than Anyone Else In Ontario Right Now - March was a dire time for workers in Ontario, and particularly young ones. Statistics Canada's March Labour report is out and there's no doubt it's been a rough month. The report released April 9 shows Ontario's unemployment rate has jumped significantly over the last few weeks, and more among 15- to 24-year-olds than any other age group. StatsCan published its latest Labour Force Survey on Thursday, and it makes for stark reading. (Full Story)

April 6, 2020 - Help wanted! Jobs are available in southwestern Ontario despite COVID layoffs - It may sound paradoxical but as millions of Canadians apply for employment insurance benefits to deal with layoffs resulting from the pandemic, there are still companies in southwestern Ontario looking to hire workers. In fact, some companies in the region are having trouble filling positions because many people don't know there are jobs out there in which to apply. (Full Story)

April 4, 2020 - Are you looking for work and need to make some money during this unprecedented time? - Ontario jobs during COVID-19 are available in the province's food and agriculture section and Doug Ford wants people to apply for them. There are positions at grocery stores, farms and industry organizations. On April 4, Premier Doug Ford tweeted that the province's food supply chain is looking for people to work in positions whether it be cashiers at a grocery store, a chicken farm manager or an advertising sales representative. (Full Story)

April 3, 2020 - Ontario cuts essential workplaces list to limit COVID-19 spread - The Ontario government ordered more workplaces closed - including bricks-and-mortar cannabis shops and some industrial construction sites - in a stepped up campaign to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Public health COVID-19 models show that many people could die by the end of the month unless more stringent social distancing measures are taken. (Full Story)

March 26, 2020 - WSIB announces $1.9 billion in financial relief for Ontario businesses - The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), in conjunction with the Government of Ontario, has developed a financial relief package worth $1.9 billion to help employers reduce the financial burden of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation. All employers covered by the WSIB's workplace insurance are automatically eligible for the financial relief package. This means that businesses can defer premium reporting and payments until August 31, 2020. (Full Story)

April 29, 2020 - Dozens of city employees called back to work in Charlottetown - Upwards of 40 employees are back at work this week for the City of Charlottetown; in parks and on streets, cleaning up and repairing winter damage. The pandemic has made it the day-to-day details a tricky business this spring. Extra measures include additional cleaning of surfaces and ensuring workers are maintaining physical distancing. (Full Story)

April 24, 2020 - Government provides further financial updates - Finance Minister Darlene Compton has provided an update to the province's financial and economic position. Since government announced initial financial supports for Islanders in response to COVID-19, more than 30,000 applications for individual support and 2,000 applications from businesses have been processed. Finance Minister Compton welcomes the oversight the Auditor General will offer to ensure programs and services developed to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are delivered to meet their intended targets, and Island taxpayer dollars are spent responsibly. (Full Story)

April 22, 2020 - How P.E.I.'s biggest employers are trying to prevent workers from spreading COVID-19 - While the P.E.I. government looks to ease back coronavirus restrictions, possibly as early as May 1, some of the biggest employers in the province are gearing up for a season like no other, installing equipment and developing protocols meant to prevent an outbreak from spreading among hundreds of staff. As an example of just how far things can go wrong, consider the Cargill meat-packing plant south of Calgary, responsible for one-third of Canada's beef processing. (Full Story)

April 16, 2020 - What are the rules around essential workers coming to P.E.I.? - People working in essential industries and services are still being allowed to come to P.E.I., but have to follow strict rules when in the province as a precaution to help impede the spread of COVID-19. On Thursday, the province asked anyone planning to travel to P.E.I. to call ahead to let officials know the nature of the visit. If the purpose of the trip isn't deemed essential, they will not be permitted to come to the Island. (Full Story)

April 15, 2020 - Essential workers to get salary top-up, eligibility for emergency benefit expanded - Part-time and seasonal workers are now eligible to claim the $2,000 Canada Emergency Response Benefit, and new money is coming for front-line workers. Now, workers who are earning up to $1,000 a month, such as contract or gig economy workers, or who have seasonal employment and can't find a job due to COVID-19, as well as those who are running out of employment insurance, can now apply to collect the CERB for up to four months.  (Full Story)

April 14, 2020 - P.E.I. MP 'hopeful' emergency benefits for seasonal workers coming soon - Island Liberal MP Wayne Easter says he is "hopeful" seasonal workers will soon be able to qualify for $500 per week under the Canada emergency response benefit, or CERB. The federal government started issuing CERB payments a week ago to Canadians who were forced to stop working because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who qualify can expect payments for up to 16 weeks. (Full Story)

April 9, 2020 - 1/4 of P.E.I.'s jobs could disappear by May - The P.E.I. government is preparing for a peak of 20,000 COVID-19-related job losses in the province in May, then projecting for the impact on employment to diminish throughout summer, with an estimated 2,000 jobs lost to the pandemic by August. The projections are included in a 2020 economic outlook issued by the province. (Full Story)

April 9, 2020 - P.E.I. drops 2,100 jobs in March, bigger losses expected to come - The Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada suggests P.E.I. was not yet feeling the biggest impact from the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March. The report shows a historically-excellent 8.6 per cent unemployment rate for March. That's up from 8.0 per cent in February, but an improvement over the 8.9 per cent from March of last year. The survey was taken March 15-21, in the midst of the declaration of the public health emergency on the Island, and just as businesses were being shut down. (Full Story)

April 9, 2020 - Province deems Easter Bunny an essential worker - Premier Dennis King today declared the Easter Bunny an essential worker under the Public Health Act after consulting with Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison. "I have spoken with the Easter Bunny to let him know that he can carry out his duties this weekend, delivering eggs to Island households during the pandemic, as he provides a very important essential service, especially to Island children." said King. (Full Story)

March 25, 2020 - WCB P.E.I. defers employer assessment due dates until June 30 - The Workers Compensation Board of P.E.I. is continuing to take steps to support Island workers and employers during the pandemic of coronavirus (COVID-19), including deferring payroll audits. In addition to deferred audits, benefit payments are continuing to be processed. As a result, WCB will defer all assessment due dates related to 2020 employer payrolls. (Full Story)

March 23, 2020 - Reminder of minimum wage increase - As announced last fall, Prince Edward Island's minimum wage will increase by 60 cents to $12.85 per hour on April 1, 2020.  The Employment Standards Board reviews minimum wage annually and provides their recommendation to government after the review is complete. To read the board's report, visit Minimum Wage Order (Board and Lodging). (Full Story)

May 1, 2020 - Going back to work may mean paying back CERB benefits for some employees - Monday, May 4 will mark the first phase of the re-opening of a select few types of businesses and services in Saskatchewan, after nearly two months. That also means, that some employees who were previously laid off, and receiving the CERB (Canadian Emergency Response Benefit) may be going back to work as well in the coming weeks. The subsidy is expected to last about three months retroactive from March 15 to June 6. (Full Story)

May 1, 2020 - Why reopening the economy is just the start of even more headaches for already struggling businesses - Saskatchewan was the first to pull the trigger on lifting the pandemic-induced economic shutdown, a move a week ago that brought equal degrees of hope and anxiety to individuals and businesses both within the province and around the country. Its reopening is gradual, starting with medical services such as dentists being allowed to see patients, then golf courses will open, followed by provincial parks in June. Quebec followed suit, in much bolder fashion despite having the highest death toll in the country and a stubbornly high rate of new COVID-19 cases. (Full Story)

April 30, 2020 - Temporary Wage Supplement For Lower Income Essential Workers For Vulnerable Citizens - Workers helping Saskatchewan's vulnerable citizens through the COVID-19 pandemic will have their salaries topped up by a cost-shared $400 per month temporary wage supplement. Recognizing the vital work they are doing, this supplement will apply to an estimated 35,000 lower income, essential workers at senior-care, group homes, childcare facilities, and emergency and transition shelters. (Full Story)

April 29, 2020 - To reopen the economy, put curbs on the CERB - The Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was an early and critical element in the federal government's response to the COVID-19 crisis. The government first announced the CERB in late March, promising $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who have lost their incomes as a result of the pandemic. In mid-April, it expanded eligibility to make the CERB available to people earning up to $1,000 per month and to workers whose EI benefits had run out. (Full Story)

April 27, 2020 - Sask. NDP calls for pay top-up for frontline workers - Saskatchewan NDP leader Ryan Meili wants frontline workers in the province to receive a wage top-up. Specifically, he feels low-income essential workers who are at a significant risk during the pandemic should be receiving a "much-deserved raise" while putting in long hours and extra work in stressful circumstances. (Full Story)

April 25, 2020 - Sask.'s reopening strategy could present safety issue for workers with disabilities, says consultant - A Saskatchewan woman who is particularly susceptible to viruses says she's worried the provincial reopening strategy may put people with disabilities in a difficult spot with their employers. She says the Saskatchewan plan to ease restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic presents an issue for people with disabilities: just because a business can reopen, she says, doesn't mean that everyone is safe to be at that workplace. (Full Story)

April 16, 2020 - Threshold changed for Canada Emergency Business Account loans, commercial rent help is coming - The federal government has changed the eligibility threshold for Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loans. Previously, to be eligible, a minimum payroll of $50,000 and a maximum payroll of $1 million was required. During his media briefing Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government has now made CEBA available to businesses who spent between $20,000 and $1.5 million in payroll in 2019. (Full Story)

April 9, 2020 - Emergency Support Program For Saskatchewan Small Businesses - Saskatchewan small businesses will receive additional provincial support to help deal with current COVID-19 challenges through the new Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment (SSBEP). The $50 million program will provide financial support to small and medium-sized businesses that have had to temporarily close or significantly curtail operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Full Story)

April 9, 2020 - March employment down about 20K in Saskatchewan as COVID-19 pummels economy - Employment cratered by about 20,000 last month in Saskatchewan, according to one of the worst jobs reports the province has seen in decades. Seasonally adjusted data released by Statistics Canada on Thursday showed that 20,900 fewer people were working in Saskatchewan in March, compared to February. On a year-on-year basis, employment was down 19,300 compared to March of last year. (Full Story)

April 6, 2020 - Saskatchewan has lost 25,000 food-service jobs during pandemic - Saskatchewan has shed 25,000 food-service jobs since the coronavirus pandemic began around March 1, a survey by Restaurants Canada shows, and those jobs might not return if current conditions continue. Saskatchewan's $2.4 billion food-service industry represents three per cent of the province's GDP and is the province's third-largest private-sector employer. (Full Story)

March 30, 2020 - Sask. WCB offers relief measures for employers - Sask. WCB offers relief measures for employers Premium penalties waived for employers effective April 1 until June 30, 2020 during the COVID-19 crisis Regina, Sask., March 30, 2020 - The Saskatchewan Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) is introducing additional relief measures for employers who are unable to pay their WCB premium payments. Effective April 1 until June 30, 2020, the WCB will waive penalties and interest charges for late premium payments. The Government of Saskatchewan announced various measures to support provincial business owners during the COVID-19 crisis. (Full Story)

March 25, 2020 - Government Clarifies Allowable Business Services, Limits Gatherings To 10 Person Maximum - To reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Saskatchewan is limiting the size of public and private gatherings to a maximum of ten people.  Additionally, clarity is being provided to Saskatchewan businesses surrounding the operations of allowable business services, in consultation with the Chief Medical Health Officer. (Full Story)

April 29, 2020 - CERB will not be clawed back from social assistance, Yukon government announces - The Yukon government has back-pedalled on clawing back the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) from social assistance recipients. Minister of health and social services Pauline Frost announced the change at a media briefing on April 27, confirming that the CERB, a $2,000-a-month federal fund available to Canadians who have lost work because of COVID-19, would now be exempted. (Full Story)

April 27, 2020 - Canada Emergency Response Benefit to be exempted from Yukon Social Assistance - Yukoners receiving Social Assistance benefits will not experience a reduction if they receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Currently, under Yukon's Social Assistance Regulation the CERB would qualify as unearned income and result in a reduction in the total amount of Social Assistance benefits. Forthcoming changes under the Civil Emergency Measures Act will fully exempt CERB payments from April to June 2020. (Full Story)

April 15, 2020 - Yukon daycares can access further funding during pandemic - The territory's early childhood learning centres and family day homes are getting more funding to keep services going during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Yukon government announced on April 6, that it will subsidize wages and certain building expenses through the Direct Operating Grant. The government hopes this funding will be enough so daycares don't have to charge service fees to families. (Full Story)

April 9, 2020 - Yukon businesses to receive relief funding - Yukon businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic will receive funding from the Government of Yukon to cover fixed business costs, including rent, utilities and business insurance. The Yukon Business Relief Program will help Yukon businesses that have experienced a 30 per cent reduction in revenue and require immediate relief. Eligible businesses can apply for a grant of up to $30,000 per month to cover fixed costs from March 23 to May 22, 2020. (Full Story)

April 7, 2020 - Struggling mining industry can't access federal wage subsidy, advocates say - While last week's boost to the new Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) was supposed to prop up struggling businesses - and the workers they employ - during the COVID-19 pandemic, it's doing nothing for the North's now stagnant mining industry, mining advocates say. A vast majority of companies aren't eligible for the subsidy. As a result, Ottawa is being called upon to change requirements so that those in the northern mining industry, and their employees, can benefit. (Full Story)

March 27, 2020 - Yukon provides paid sick leave for workers amid pandemic - In support of employers and employees amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Yukon is providing paid sick leave for employees who are sick and required to self-isolate for 14 days. This rebate, paid to employers, will cover a maximum of 10 days of wages per employee. The province is also making a temporary change to the Yukon Nominee Program so nominees who experience layoffs or reduced work hours will not be issued the standard 90-day notice to find new employment. (Full Story)

March 26, 2020 - New financial support for Yukon businesses and workers - The Government of Yukon today announced economic supports related to COVID-19. A new rebate program for Yukon employers to benefit workers and self-employed individuals in response to the economic impacts of COVID-19 was announced by Minister Pillai today. The Paid Sick Leave Program allows Yukon workers or those self-employed who are without sick leave to stay at home if they are sick and required to self-isolate for 14 days and still meet their basic financial needs. All eligible Yukon employers and self-employed individuals may apply. (Full Story)

Managers can learn from supervising remote workers during the coronavirus

Managers are facing the sudden challenge of supervising a self-isolating workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There have been lots of tips, many questions and stories of hilarious failures.

But managers going the extra mile to effectively manage their employees virtually may actually hone critical management skills and develop habits with benefits that will outlast the current crisis.

Advancements in technology and the shift towards less physical work have long led to predictions that virtual work would rapidly become common. Even before COVID-19, some workers have taken advantage of the opportunity to work remotely.

According to the Conference Board of Canada, a majority of Canadian employers permit virtual work on an ad-hoc or part-time basis. However, the proportion of employees who mainly virtually has not risen as expected.

An estimated 10 per cent of Canadians were working virtually in 2001 - that figure rose to only 11 per cent in 2017.

The modern office came of age in the ‘60s

The well-entrenched norm of the modern office was popularized in the 1960s. At that time, there was a need for traditional documentation and communication, as well as a push for work standardization.

All of these reasons are mostly obsolete in 2020. Yet old-fashioned management norms prevail: presenteeism, performance evaluations based on (overtime) hours worked, ad-hoc hallway communications, excessive meetings and attachment to inefficient technology.

The opportunity to work from home is largely sought-after. In the United States, 86 per cent of those who have the option to work virtually have opted in. Research also suggests advantages to the organization: virtual work has been associated with greater commitment, satisfaction and well-being.

The greatest barriers to working virtually have been identified as managerial resistance, an unsupportive work culture and the limitations of technology. Interestingly, one of the common concerns of managers is employee productivity, whereas the main concern of employees is working too much and at all hours.

The fundamentals

Research and mainstream management advice mostly agree on the fundamentals of effective virtual management:

  • Communicating effectively: All communication is complicated by perceptions and assumptions. Language, tone and communication channel contribute to ambiguity. Effective managers make the effort to set communication norms, communicate regularly, keep everyone in the loop, confirm common understanding and take care not to waste employees' time.
  • Structuring work: Employees need an unambiguous understanding of what they are expected to accomplish, when they should be finished and, sometimes, how they are expected to do it. Effective managers clearly and explicitly structure tasks, set objectives and schedule checkpoints. When and where an employee works on their tasks is often not relevant.
  • Performance by objectives: If objectives and expectations are reasonable and clear, employees are motivated to meet their goals efficiently. Managers interested in effectiveness should measure performance through met objectives, not hours.
  • Leverage technology: A major barrier to effective virtual work has always been technology. Advances in technology and evolving communication norms provide managers with an opportunity. Effective managers learn to leverage the best technology, match the tool to the task and are open to trying new things.
  • Positive culture: Employees base a lot of their expectations, behaviour and perceptions on the implicit norms and perceived values of the work environment. Effective managers build and exemplify a positive culture of trust, collegiality, transparency, accountability and inclusivity. A positive work environment also includes time for socializing and getting to know one another.
  • Respect personal time: Pervasive technology has led to the blurring of work-life boundaries. When work interferes with personal life, it creates the pressure of always being "on," risking overwork and burnout. Effective managers establish reasonable expectations and boundaries for themselves and their employees.

Researchers agree that managing virtually is harder, but the nature of the effort is the same as that for effective face-to-face management.

Why is managing virtually more difficult?

A brief review of management textbooks and executive education offerings shows that the skills required for effective virtual management overlap almost perfectly with managing in a traditional setting. Why is it harder then?

It could be that in a traditional workplace setting, long-established norms encourage management practices and habits that are not as effective as they could be. Why change what isn't broken?

One of the key skills of effective managers is self-awareness and lifelong learning. A self-aware manager understands their own strengths, weaknesses and instinctive managerial tendencies and habits.

Critical self-reflection can be an impetus for change and growth. Great managers question their abilities and put considerable effort into improving themselves. The current work-at-home disruption has forced many managers to face their limitations, try new things and rethink everyday activities that have long gone unexamined.

Virtual work is not appropriate for all tasks and jobs, but the key skills for managing virtually are relevant to all managers. The skills, habits and, importantly, new perspectives developed during the past and upcoming weeks may actually serve as a crash course in effective management.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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