Payroll News Canada - Employment Articles

September 2020 - Welcome to the latest edition of The Payroll News! As always, please feel free to forward this newsletter to your friends and associates who are interested in keeping up with the latest changes in Canadian payroll, employment and HR News. Federal and Provincial news items are listed immediately below followed by our Featured Article.

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Tip of the Month

September 2020 - Extension to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) - The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) gives financial support to employed and self-employed Canadians who are directly affected by COVID-19. Eligible workers can receive $2,000 for a 4-week period. On August 20, 2020, the Government of Canada extended the CERB from 24 weeks to 28 weeks for workers who: stopped working due to COVID-19 or, are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits or, have exhausted their Employment Insurance regular benefits or Employment Insurance fishing benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020. Click Here to learn more.

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

Canadian Federal Payroll and HR News

September 10, 2020 - Back in the office: How some employers are preparing for return of workers - Some companies continue to have employees do their jobs from home as the pandemic persists, but others are edging closer to fully bringing their workers back to the office. For commercial realtor Cushman and Wakefield/Stevenson in Winnipeg began phasing in employees in May, starting with 20 employees, said firm president Aaron DeGroot. Now, approximately 85 out of 100 employees are back. (Full Story)

September 7, 2020 - Employment rises by 246,000 in August - Canada saw overall employment rise by 246,000 (1.4 per cent) in August, compared with 419,000 (2.4 per cent) in July. Combined with gains of 1.2 million in May and June, this brought employment to within 1.1 million (5.7 per cent) of its pre-COVID February level, says Statistics Canada. All of the employment increase in August was in full-time work, and employment increased in every province except Alberta and New Brunswick, with the largest gains in Ontario and Quebec. (Full Story)

September 4, 2020 - Employers must pay wages to foreigners who don't have social insurance numbers - Canada's immigration department has specified that Canadian employers must pay foreign workers even if they do not yet have their Social Insurance Number (SIN). Though workers still have to apply for the SIN within three days of starting employment, they do not have to get their number to start working but they have to give it to their employer within three days of receipt. (Full Story)

September 4, 2020 - Canada added 246,000 jobs in August, but employment still 1 million short of pre-COVID level - Canada's economy added 246,000 jobs in August, a figure that pushed the jobless rate down 0.7 percentage points to 10.2 per cent. Statistics Canada reported Friday that most of the new jobs recorded in the month were full-time work. The figure was in line with what economists had been expecting. August's number brings the four-month total of new jobs to almost two million since May. But because of the plunge in March and April, Canada still has 1.1 million fewer paid workers than it did in February, before COVID-19 hit. (Full Story)

September 3, 2020 - Canada Revenue Agency increases flat rate amount for meal claims, and reasonable amount for meal benefits and allowances - Today, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, announced that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has increased the amount that employers can use to determine whether an overtime meal or allowance, or the meal portion of a travel allowance is taxable, from $17 to $23. The CRA has also increased the rate at which transport employees and other individuals can claim meal expenses, using the simplified method (a flat rate per person), from $17 to $23 per meal. (Full Story)

August 28, 2020 - Supporting Canadians through the next phase of the economy re-opening: Increased access to EI and recovery benefits - The Government of Canada is continuing to take significant and decisive action to support Canadians and protect jobs during the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was an important and necessary temporary response to support Canadians who had to stop working due to the pandemic. As we safely restart Canada's economy, the Government will be transitioning to a simplified Employment Insurance (EI) program, effective  September 27, 2020, to provide income support to those who remain unable to work and are eligible, and introducing a new suite of temporary and taxable recovery benefits to further support workers. (Full Story)

August 21, 2020 - Major changes to CERB, EI announced - The federal government has announced it is giving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) a four-week extension, to a maximum of 28 weeks, as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue. Back in June, the feds had announced the benefit would be available for a further eight weeks. The EI program will now be available to more Canadians, including those who would not have qualified for EI in the past, adding more than 400,000 people. (Full Story)

August 17, 2020 - Canada Revenue Agency opens applications for enhanced Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy - The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) was created to assist businesses affected by the COVID19 pandemic in keeping workers on their payroll or bringing back previously laid-off employees. To ensure that Canadian workers and businesses are in a better position as our economy safely re-opens, the Government has recently implemented changes to the CEWS that broaden the reach of the program and provide more targeted support. (Full Story)

August 11, 2020 - Government of Canada launches updated Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Calculator to support employers - The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) helps employers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to keep workers on their payroll or bring back previously laid-off employees. To ensure that Canadian workers and businesses are in a better position as our economy safely re-opens, the Government has recently implemented changes to the CEWS that broaden the reach of the program and provide better targeted support. (Full Story)

July 31, 2020 - Government of Canada invests in measures to boost protections for Temporary Foreign Workers and Address COVID-19 Outbreaks on Farms - Since the very beginning of this pandemic, the Government of Canada has taken a number of important steps to ensure the safe arrival of farm workers, who play a vital role in preserving Canada's food security. To protect the health and safety of Canadian and migrant farm workers, the Government has been working with municipal, provincial and territorial governments, as well as farmers, workers and other employers who participate in the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program. (Full Story)

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

September 9, 2020 - COVID-19 cost relief for employers - The widespread impact of COVID-19 and the resulting business disruption have caused unprecedented challenges for employers. Alberta employers have asked WCB for cost relief to reduce the direct financial impact of COVID-19 claims and extended periods of disability for other claims due to treatment delays.In response to feedback from stakeholders, WCB-Alberta is implementing cost relief measures that will offer the most extensive COVID cost relief in the country and will relieve approximately $10 million in claim costs from employers' experience. (Full Story)

September 4, 2020 - Alberta lags behind as Canada adds jobs in August - Alberta was the second worst-performing province in attracting new jobs in August, according to new figures released by Statistics Canada. While the rest of the country saw gains in employment over the past month, Alberta's employment numbers were little changed, and unemployment, while lower, remains the second highest in the country. Alberta's employment rate inched up 0.2 percentage points for the month, better than the decline seen in New Brunswick and just under the increase of 0.3 percentage points in neighbouring B.C. (Full Story)

September 4, 2020 - Alberta employment stagnant as people exit the workforce: Statistics Canada - Alberta's unemployment rate dropped a full percentage point in August according to the latest numbers from Statistics Canada, but that number does not necessarily show a rebound, as the employment rate remained mostly unchanged. Last month across Canada, employment increased in every province except New Brunswick. Although Alberta's unemployment rate dropped a full percentage point from 12.8 per cent to 11.8 per cent over the previous month, Statistics Canada attributes this to fewer people looking for work. (Full Story)

September 1, 2020 - Federal top-up pay for Alberta essential workers remains in limbo - Nearly four months after the federal government pledged billions of extra dollars for low-paid essential workers, Alberta employees have yet to see a cent of it. While most other provinces have launched programs to reward workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic with bonus payments, the Alberta and federal governments can't agree on how the money should be spent in the province. (Full Story)

August 28, 2020 - Changes to Alberta Employment Standards and Labour Relations legislation - The UCP has passed numerous important legislative amendments in the Restoring Balance in Alberta's Workplaces Act, 2020. Its stated purpose is to increase investment in Alberta's workforce, reduce the administrative burden for employers and “save employers time and money”. The legislation amends Alberta's Employment Standards Code, Labour Relations Code and several other statutes. It will impact employers, unions, and ultimately employees working in Alberta. (Full Story)

August 20, 2020 - New legal landscape benefits Alberta employers - Alberta employers struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic recently received a “shot in the arm” courtesy of the provincial government. Bill 32, the Restoring Balance in Alberta's Workplaces Act, 2020, received royal assent on July 29. The act is intended to provide employees and employers with clearer and more transparent rules promoting fairness and productivity - including more clarity about rest periods and temporary layoff notices. (Full Story)

July 31, 2020 - Thousands of job creators access relaunch grant - Funding has helped thousands of businesses safely open and hire and rehire staff since the program began accepting applications on June 29. In the first month of the program, almost 7,700 applications have been processed with more than 6,700 grants issued. Businesses, cooperatives and non-profits across sectors have received funding, with the majority of applications so far coming from job creators in the retail, personal services, accommodation and food services, and health-care and social assistance sectors. (Full Story)

September 9, 2020 - B.C. Workers' Compensation Board report receives praise and heavy criticism - A long-awaited report that assesses work being done by the B.C. Workers' Compensation Board and makes recommendations on how to improve the system is drawing rave reviews from the building trades, but construction employers maintain the suggestions are a recipe for disaster. The 517-page report was released recently by Labour Minister Harry Bains. It was done by retired labour lawyer Janet Patterson and contains more than 100 recommendations on how to improve communications, care and individual services at the board, known as WorkSafeBC. (Full Story)

September 7, 2020 - Office work could be changed forever by COVID-19. Here's why that matters - Only a fraction of employees who began working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic have returned to full-time office work, and that has ramifications for everything from how workplaces are run to where we live - and whether the small businesses that surround office buildings survive. Nearly three-quarters of the 3.4 million Canadians who began working from home at the start of the crisis were still working remotely in August, according to Labour Force Survey data released by Statistics Canada on Friday. (Full Story)

September 2, 2020 - Temporary layoff extensions protect thousands of jobs - The Province has protected jobs and workers impacted by COVID-19 with an online variance application that simplified the process to extend temporary layoffs, resulting in the approval of more than 500 variances that protect more than 9,100 jobs across a variety of economic sectors. In response to the economic impact of COVID-19, and to ease financial hardship on businesses and keep workers connected with their jobs, government first extended the temporary layoff period from 13 to 16 weeks in May 2020. (Full Story)

September 2, 2020 - Province confirms tax measure implementation dates, deferral deadlines for businesses - The Province is delaying implementation dates to April 2021 for changes to provincial sales tax (PST) and B.C.'s carbon tax, to help businesses and families through the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery. To further support businesses, the employer health tax (EHT) 2020 quarterly instalment dates are being extended. These extensions will give businesses more access to cashflow during recovery and more time to determine their annual payroll and estimate the amount of EHT they will owe. (Full Story)

September 2, 2020 - Disability Employment Month celebrates B.C.'s inclusive workforce - September is Disability Employment Month, highlighting the significant role people with disabilities play in British Columbia's workforce, while also promoting resources and tools employers can use to reduce barriers to inclusion and build better, more accessible workplaces. Creating workplace cultures that value inclusion and diversity means working together with the private sector. (Full Story)

August 23, 2020 - Stats Canada: B.C. has recouped about 58 per cent of jobs lost due to pandemic - Statistics Canada's labour force survey for July 2020 shows B.C. to date has recouped about 58 per cent of the jobs lost in March and April amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Another 70,200 jobs were created last month, adding to the employment gains seen in May and June, according to the survey. Total job losses since the start of the pandemic stand at 164,900. While B.C.'s unemployment rate fell by about two percentage points, it remains at 11.1 per cent. (Full Story)

August 18, 2020 - Improvements to Workers Compensation Act long overdue - This summer, our government has taken action to provide the most significant improvements to the Workers Compensation Act (WCA) in more than two decades. The current pandemic has highlighted the need for modernization, for stronger occupational health and safety protections and a more balanced workers' compensation system. The bill we passed this summer drew on several expert reports that had feedback from employers, workers, as well as experts in workers' compensation systems. (Full Story)

August 11, 2020 - Employers can soon apply for reworked, sliding-scale wage subsidy - The first application period for the recently-broadened Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program opens in a week, and the Canada Revenue Agency is encouraging employers to use their reworked online calculator to determine how much financial aid they'll be eligible for going forward. The program started as a 75 per cent employee wage subsidy for businesses that could demonstrate a 30 per cent drop in revenues due to the pandemic. (Full Story)

August 10, 2020 - B.C. employer's health tax to impact employees, says study - British Columbia's new health tax will cost the average worker nearly $3,000 a year in foregone wages, according to a new study released by the Fraser Institute. The health tax, which began gradually phasing out B.C.'s medical services plan premiums in January 2019, applies to employers with annual payrolls of $500,000 or more. In a news release from July 2018, the government said the transition to the new tax would result in savings of more than $50 million annually due to the costs of administering the current premiums. (Full Story)

August 6, 2020 - Supporting employers in meeting COVID-19 workforce challenges - The Surrey Board of Trade will develop a plan for local employers to navigate their capacity to respond to COVID-19 workforce needs and help workers connect to employment opportunities. Through a $402,105 Community and Employer Partnership (CEP) project, the Surrey Board of Trade will develop a back-to-work strategies playbook that can be adapted and used by other communities and tailored to specific industry sectors. (Full Story)

August 26, 2020 - Manitoba helping businesses bring back laid-off workers - The Manitoba government is enhancing its program to help businesses bring back their employees laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic. The province's Back to Work initiative is aimed at getting private sector and non-profit employers to either bring back laid-off workers or hire new people. Through this program, the government reimburses 50 per cent of wage costs, up to $5,000, per employee hired or re-hired between July 16 and Oct. 31, 2020. (Full Story)

August 27, 2020 - Manitoba boosts back-to-work wage subsidies - Manitoba employers can now double the number of workers they can hire or rehire under the government's Back to Work wage subsidy program, from 10 to 20 full- or part-time employees. The subsidy for employers is also doubling, from a maximum of $50,000 to $100,000. The government has received applications from 445 employers for 2,429 employees and given out more than $12 million in financial supports as of Aug. 25. (Full Story)

August 26, 2020 - Manitoba Government Enhances Back To Work Wage Subsidy Program - The Manitoba government is enhancing its Back to Work program to support more Manitoba businesses in bringing back their employees to increase their operations and the services provided throughout the province, Premier Brian Pallister announced today. The enhanced program will now allow businesses, not-for-profit organizations or charities to receive a subsidy for another 10 full or part-time employees, in addition to the current total of 10. By doubling the amount of subsidized employees to 20. (Full Story)

August 26, 2020 - Manitoba expands wage subsidy program for 3rd time - The back-to-work wage subsidy program first launched by the Manitoba government in April, and expanded in both June and July, is being broadened yet again. The program will now allow businesses, not-for-profit organizations or charities to receive a subsidy for another 10 full- or part-time employees, in addition to the current total of 10, Premier Brian Pallister announced on Wednesday. The program reimburses 50 per cent of wage costs (up to $5,000) per employee hired or rehired between July 16 and Oct. 31, 2020. (Full Story)

August 17, 2020 - Manitoba calls on feds to finalize paid sick leave program - The Manitoba government is calling on the federal government to finalize details of the Pan-Canadian Sick Leave Program that will help Canadians stay home from work when needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Pan-Canadian Sick Leave Program was announced nearly a month ago as part of the Safe Restart Agreement between Canada and all provinces and territories. Under the temporary program, Canadian workers will have access to 10 days of paid sick leave per year. (Full Story)

August 7, 2020 - Labour Force Statistics For July Show Steady Return To Work Activity In Manitoba - The latest economic indicators from Statistics Canada show an increase of 12,400 in Manitoba's employment from June to July as Manitoba continues on its roadmap to recovery and safely restart the economy. Following feedback from Manitobans and guided by public health advice, the province carefully moved forward with phase four of Restoring Safe Services:  Manitoba's Pandemic and Economic Roadmap on July 23, the premier noted. (Full Story)

September 8, 2020 - NB Green Party Leader Promises Minimum Wage Hike - New Brunswick's Green Party is committing to an increase in the minimum wage and better employment standards, if elected. Leader David Coon made the announcement during a stop in Fredericton on Monday, “A Green government would recognize these essential workers, who often work for minimum wage, by increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour.” (Full Story)

September 4, 2020 - Employment Holds Steady In New Brunswick As Province Recovers - New Brunswick lost 700 jobs in August but with fewer people looking for work the unemployment rate also fell to 9.4 percent, according to Statistics Canada's latest labour force survey. That rate was 9.8 percent in July 2020, and 8.5 percent in August 2019. This is the second consecutive month that employment held steady in New Brunswick, following significant increases in May and June, the agency said Friday. (Full Story)

September 2, 2020 - Nova Scotia and New Brunswick minimum wages ‘well below' a livable wage: report - A report released Wednesday outlines living wage research for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and says minimum pay must be increased within two years. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) report states current minimum wages in the provinces are “well below living wages in any community.” (Full Story)

August 10, 2020 - N.B. Sees ‘Most Complete Employment Recovery' Among Provinces: Statistics Canada - New Brunswick saw “the most complete employment recovery of all provinces to date,” according to Statistics Canada's July Labour Force Survey. Employment in New Brunswick was at 96.6 percent of its February level, before the Covid-19 restrictions came into place. The province was among the first to start reopening and easing restrictions. Canada's employment is at 93 percent of the February level. (Full Story)

August 7, 2020 - New Brunswick loses some full-time jobs, but unemployment rate dips - Statistics Canada reports little change to the New Brunswick job market in July after its jump between April and June. Employment in the province is at 96.6 per cent of its pre COVID-19 shutdown levels, which is the most complete economic recovery of any province. The province lost 3,700 full-time jobs and gained 1,900 part-time jobs. The unemployment rate fell from 9.9 per cent to 9.8 per cent. (Full Story)

August 6, 2020 - Improvements to injury reporting and application for benefits process - WorkSafeNB is pleased to announce a new, improved way for employers to report workplace injuries and illnesses and for workers to apply for workers' compensation benefits. As part of our long-term plan to transform the client experience, we have made the application for workers' compensation benefits process simpler and easier. Rather than a joint form, there is now a separate application process for workers and separate reporting process for employers. (Full Story)

August 5, 2020 - Employers to get break on WorkSafeNB premiums in 2021 - New Brunswick employers are expected to get a break on the premiums they pay to cover benefits for injured workers next year, says the head of WorkSafeNB. The projected average assessment rate for 2021 is between $2.15 and $2.20 per $100 of payroll, said president and CEO Doug Jones. That's down from $2.40 in 2020. A decrease in the number of accidents has helped reduce costs, said Jones. New Brunswick recorded its lowest level of injury frequency in the past 10 years. (Full Story)

September 6, 2020 - Immigrants to Newfoundland Find Jobs But Struggle Getting Qualifications Recognized - Immigrants to Newfoundland and Labrador often struggle to get their foreign qualifications recognized when they arrive to the Rock, a report prepared by the management consulting firm of Goss Gilroy reveals. “In relation to seeking employment and employment fit, there were some challenges in, for example, getting the services needed to pursue a career and having accurate information regarding the need for recognition of foreign qualifications, especially by those with graduate-level education,” the report's authors noted. (Full Story)

September 4, 2020 - Not all rotational workers from Newfoundland and Labrador happy with relaxed health measures - Newfoundland and Labrador's chief medical officer of health says reducing the time of self-isolation for rotational workers is a matter of balancing risk with mental health, but many workers still say they're left out in the cold. Dr. Janice Fitzgerald announced Friday that workers arriving home to the province from outside the Atlantic Bubble will now only have to isolate for seven days rather than the 14 days required of anyone else. (Full Story)

August 15, 2020 - The time is now: We can no longer wait to act on poverty and the minimum wage - It has often been said that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of our economic system and the inequalities that are inherent in it. It has also exposed the precarious nature of how a lot of people live in the contemporary world. This has sparked conversations about whether governments should provide a universal basic income to all citizens. There have also been questions regarding whether the Canada Emergency Response Benefit is too large, and if the minimum wage is too low. (Full Story)

August 15, 2020 - Pilot project aims to bring newcomer mothers back into the workforce - As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disproportionately take its toll on working women, a new program in St. John's hopes to help some of the most marginalized - newcomer mothers in Newfoundland and Labrador - create their own jobs to join the workforce. The idea for the project predates the pandemic, and sprang from two years of research into what was keeping such women from finding work and participating more in the community around them. (Full Story)

September 7, 2020 - Unemployment rate reaches historic high in NWT - The NWT's unemployment rate rose to a historic high of 11.3 per cent in August, according to a Labour Force Activity report from the NWT Bureau of Statistics, released Friday. The unemployment rate rose slightly due to 200 more people seeking employment. However, the number of employed people in the NWT also rose by 200 in August, marking an employment rate of 62.6 per cent, a 0.4 per cent increase from July. (Full Story)

August 10, 2020 - NWT employment rates rise after months of record lows - Following months of record low employment rates, the NWT's labour force saw a 500 person boost in July. Employment rates rose across all territories and provinces nationally with the highest recorded numbers in the Yukon, at 66.3 per cent, NWT, 62.2 per cent, and Saskatchewan, 60.3 per cent. Combined, it boosted the national employment rate to 56.2 per cent, according to the NWT Bureau of Statistics. (Full Story)

August 10, 2020 - Public consultation begins on workers' compensation pension system - The Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) is seeking feedback on proposed changes to the pension system for workplace injuries or illnesses. The WSCC's proposal will move from a pension for life system, based solely on the percentage of permanent medical impairment (PMI) and earnings at the time of a worker's injury, to a dual pension system that provides compensation for the worker's permanent medical impairment and long-term earning loss benefits based on individual circumstances over time. (Full Story)

July 28, 2020 - GNWT extends NWT Wage Top Up program for low income workers through September - The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) will extend the wage top-up program for an additional eight weeks to match the federal extension of the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) to October 3, 2020. Under this program, businesses are asked to apply for temporary funding to increase the wages of their employees who make less than $18 per hour and who are over 15 years old. Businesses can apply immediately for funding to top up employees' wages from April to $18/hour. While the intent of the program is to help employees, we are asking businesses to partner with us to deliver the program. (Full Story)

September 8, 2020 - Labour Day rally demands paid sick days for all workers - Laura Stewart grabbed the microphone and made her case for finally making paid sick days available to the hundreds of casual workers at long-term care facilities in Nova Scotia. Stewart was once one of those relief/casual workers that had no access to paid sick days and because she couldn't afford missing a day's salary she often went to work sick. She joined a host of frontline workers, community advocates and union leaders at Monday's Labour Day rally calling for 10 paid sick days for all Nova Scotia workers. (Full Story)

September 8, 2020 - Atlantic Canadian labour leaders welcome temporary measures for EI, but say system needs permanent overhaul - Labour leaders in Atlantic Canada welcome temporary changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) regulations announced last week by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), but say the system needs an overhaul to ensure workers who pay into the system have better access to benefits when they lose jobs for reasons beyond their control. The simplified EI program, beginning Sept. 27, will enable people to qualify for benefits if they had only 120 hours of work. In the time before COVID, benefits would depend on having at least 420 hours of paid work. (Full Story)

September 3, 2020 - Halifax's living wage is $21.80, new report estimates - The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says hourly wages in Nova Scotia are far short of what's needed to support families in having a decent quality of life, and the pandemic is just putting further strain on their bottom lines. Christine Saulnier, the Nova Scotia director and former NDP federal candidate, says their research shows in Halifax, people need to make $21.80 an hour in order to have a proper living wage. (Full Story)

September 1, 2020 - WCB Nova Scotia releases 2021 employer assessment rates - Years of education and training in fishing are making a dangerous industry safer, while also making it more affordable for Nova Scotia captains to provide the protection of workers' compensation coverage to their crews, according to WCB Nova Scotia. In announcing 2021 employer assessment rates Sept. 1, the organization pointed out the long-term progress in fishing, which is seeing its rate decline a further six per cent to $4.03 per $100 of assessable payroll. That's a 50 per cent reduction since 2015, when the rate had reached an all-time high. (Full Story)

August 19, 2020 - Nova Scotia announces equal pay for all LPNs in public sector - The Nova Scotia government will provide funding so that public-sector employers can pay all their LPNs at the same rate. The government's decision, announced in a news release Wednesday, stems from a 2014 grievance involving almost 400 LPNs in the former Capital District Health Authority who are represented by NSGEU. An arbitrator found the scope of practice of those LPNs had widened and their compensation should increase to reflect that. (Full Story)

July 30, 2020 - Nova Scotia continues to be a safer place to work, but it's taking longer to achieve return to work - Workplace injuries in Nova Scotia continued a long-term downward trend in both overall total time-loss injury volume and the per capita rate of injury, reports WCB Nova Scotia in its 2019 Annual Report. There were 5,663 time-loss injuries for 2019, a slight decline from 5,819 in 2018. Measured as a rate per capita, there were 1.67 time-loss injuries per 100 covered employees. These are the lowest numbers on record since they have been measured this way. (Full Story)

September 8, 2020 - Nunavut government union slams rule that staff burn holidays in quarantine - The Nunavut Employees Union is criticizing the Government of Nunavut for mandating its public servants use their annual leave to quarantine for two weeks before returning to Nunavut. In a letter to sent to members and posted online last week, union president Bill Fennell called the decision a "slap in the face" for public servants, and said the government isn't consistent about who has to isolate and who doesn't. (Full Story)

August 10, 2020 - Nunavut Employees Union says using vacation time for isolation “unfair” - Government of Nunavut employees who opt to travel south this summer say they're being forced to use personal vacation time while in mandatory COVID-19 self-isolation. As per the GN's requirements, anyone who plans to re-enter the territory must first complete a 14-day quarantine period before they can return north. But employees say that policy is unfair, and that workers should not have to jeopardize their income and personal time during a global health crisis. (Full Story)

September 4, 2020 - Third Straight Month of Employment Growth Marks Ontario's Ongoing Economic Recovery - Statistics Canada released its monthly employment numbers which showed an increase in Ontario of 141,800 jobs in August. This marks the third straight month of employment increases, a notable milestone as the province implements its made-in-Ontario plan for growth, renewal and economic recovery. In the month of July employment increased by 150,700, and in the month of June 377,900 jobs were added, including 66,200 in the manufacturing sector. (Full Story)

September 3, 2020 - Ontario Extends Support for Employers and Employees Impacted by COVID-19 - The Ontario government is helping protect jobs and businesses by extending protection to prevent temporary layoffs from automatically becoming permanent job losses. Although Ontario is now in Phase 3 of reopening, this extension will give businesses more time to reopen and return to full operations. This extension will last until January 2, 2021. (Full Story)

August 27, 2020 - Ontario Expanding Youth Training Programs to Promote the Skilled Trades - Ontario is appointing three Youth Advisors to help promote and increase awareness of skilled trades careers among young people. Adam Melnick, Andrew Pariser, and Jennifer Green will be advising the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton on opportunities to better support the success of young people in the skilled trades and apprenticeship system. (Full Story)

August 25, 2020 - Teachers' unions ask Ontario for workplace safety orders as schools reopen - An escalating disagreement over school reopening safety standards between Ontario's major teachers' unions and Premier Doug Ford's government could be headed to the province's labour board, a letter to union members said late Tuesday. In a joint update to the 190,000 teachers and education workers they represent, the unions said a Monday sit down with Minister Monte McNaughton produced “no firm commitment” to address allegations that the province's school reopening plan violates the Occupational Health and Safety Act. (Full Story)

August 17, 2020 - Over 700 pandemic-related workplace safety claims made at Ontario farms - Ontario's Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) reports that it has seen more than 700 COVID-19 claims across several farms in the Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent regions. The data suggests that certain areas have experienced a sharp surge in infection rates. Of the farms identified by the WSIB, the one with the greatest number of registered COVID-19 claims is Nature Fresh Farms in Leamington, with 197 registered claims. (Full Story)

August 13, 2020 - WSIB moves repayment schedule for COVID-19 deferrals to January - To continue to help reduce the financial burden on businesses during COVID-1, Ontario's Workplace Safety and Insurance Board's (WSIB) has announced the repayment schedule of deferred premiums offered as part of its COVID-19 financial relief package will not begin before January 2021. The financial relief package remains available to Ontario businesses until August 31, 2020, allowing businesses to defer premium reporting and payments between March to August interest-free and without penalty. (Full Story)

September 9, 2020 - Here's what P.E.I. jobs have disappeared in the pandemic - As the P.E.I. economy began to recover this summer following a difficult pandemic spring, some sectors actually showed a little growth compared to last year, but those that are suffering are suffering greatly. Last summer there were 83,750 jobs in the provincial economy. It's down 4.1 per cent this year. The top six sectors on P.E.I. represented 63 per cent off the province's jobs last summer. Here's a look at how those sectors have done, comparing last July and August to this July and August. (Full Story)

September 9, 2020 - Full-time jobs made a return to P.E.I. in August - The P.E.I. economy got back to creating full-time jobs in August, according to data from Statistics Canada that was released Friday. Since bouncing on the bottom of the COVID-19 pandemic slowdown in April with fewer than 70,000 jobs remaining in the economy, total job numbers have grown steadily. In July the economy created more than 2,000 part-time jobs while giving up more than 1,000 full-time ones, though. (Full Story)

August 14, 2020 - PEI amends legislation on whistleblowers - Prince Edward Island has introduced legislation strengthening the protections in favour of whistleblowers. Bill 114, An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act (No.4), received royal assent on July 14. The Act prohibits employers from discriminating or from taking reprisal against an employee on account of the employee's actions in reporting or threatening to report to a lawful authority an actual or potential offence by the employer. (Full Story)

September 7, 2020 - P.A. down about 1,000 jobs compared to last year, data shows - The City of Prince Albert has shed about 1,500 people from the labour force since last August, the latest data from Statistics Canada shows. The data comes from the agency's monthly labour force update, which estimates the number of workers and job seekers across the country. According to the numbers, Prince Albert's labour force in August 2019 was about 24,100, while in 2020 it had fallen to 22,600, a decrease of about six per cent. (Full Story)

September 7, 2020 - SFL, NDP mark labour day by calling for $15 minimum wage - Labour Day is more than just the first Monday in September. For the labour movement, it's a day to celebrate achievements gained by workers and refocus on making life better for working people, the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) said in a press release. “We need leaders who will grow our economy with a $15 an hour minimum wage, invest in our crowns and public services, ensure legislated paid sick days for all workers, and make sure workers have access to the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) that they need" said SFL President Lori Johb. (Full Story)

September 4, 2020 - Strong Recovery Continues: 4,700 More Jobs And Lowest Unemployment Rate In Canada - Saskatchewan's strong economic recovery continued in August according to Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey released today. There were 4,700 more jobs in Saskatchewan in August compared to July (seasonally adjusted). Saskatchewan's unemployment rate in August was 7.9 per cent (seasonally adjusted), the lowest among the provinces and well below the national rate of 10.2 per cent. (Full Story)

September 3, 2020 - Sask. Rivers board sees positives and challenges in staffing - The Saskatchewan Rivers School is happy with where it sits in terms of staffing. The division's board saw the numbers in their yearly accountability report presented by Superintendent of Schools Neil Finch at their regular meeting on Monday, August 31. During the 2019-2020 school year there were over 535 full-time equivalent teachers in the division with 32 principals and 25 vice principals. There were 16 male and 16 female principals and 12 female. There were over 29 full-time equivalent employees working out of the Education Centre. (Full Story)

August 7, 2020 - Strong Recovery Continues For Saskatchewan Jobs - Saskatchewan's employment recovery continues to be one of the strongest in Canada, with 13,300 more people working in the province in July compared to June.  There were 551,100 people employed in the province in July. Unemployment fell by 2.8 per cent to 8.8 per cent (seasonally adjusted), the second-lowest among provinces.  Saskatchewan now has the second-highest employment recovery rate in the country at 94.9 per cent compared to February, the last month before the pandemic. (Full Story)

July 30, 2020 - Saskatchewan Further Expands Temporary Wage Supplement Program - More workers at integrated healthcare facilities who are helping some of Saskatchewan's most vulnerable citizens through the pandemic are now eligible for the Saskatchewan Temporary Wage Supplement Program. Through a re-assessment of eligibility, the program has been further expanded to include all workers, regardless of income level, at integrated healthcare facilities which provide both short-term and long-term health care. (Full Story)

September 9, 2020 - Yukon government updates workplace violence and harassment regulations - The Yukon government is updating the language in territorial regulations that instruct employers on how to prevent violence and harassment at work. The changes will come into effect on Sept. 4, 2021. Under the new regulations, the definition of workplace hazards now includes violence or harassment. Employers will be required to have a written policy of procedures and include violence and harassment prevention in training. (Full Story)

July 31, 2020 - Majority of Yukon businesses don't have employees working remotely during COVID-19, survey says - Less than a third of Yukon businesses have seen employees working from home since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and the majority do not expect to have any working remotely once the pandemic's over. That's according to a newly-released document from the Yukon Bureau of Statistics summarizing data on the impact of COVID-19 on Yukon businesses. (Full Story)

Maneuvering Your Job Search Through COVID-19

Right now times are very uncertain, very stressful and even a bit frightening. The COVID-19 outbreak has not only caused a health crisis but an economic crisis, as well. In a matter of days, millions of people found themselves suddenly out of work. Millions more are weeks or even days away from losing their jobs, and millions more still are left uncertain about whether their companies will last through this crisis.

While the numbers are bleak and you are probably anxious, there is good news. Companies all across the country are hiring right now and many companies still have long-term plans to hire throughout the year. That means that the best thing for you to do right now is to continue your job search, despite your anxiety. Follow these tips to keep your job search on track through COVID-19.

Remember, This is Temporary

While no one can say for sure how long all of this will last, the one thing they can say for certain is that this is all temporary. It will end one day and the economy will open back up. It will be the people who kept their nose to the grindstone and kept looking throughout the downtimes who will rise up the fastest and go the farthest when things get back to something resembling normalcy.

Search Every Day

If you have already lost your job or you are in danger of losing your job, make sure you are doing search-related activities for a few hours every single day. You don’t have to do them for eight hours a day which can be daunting, but you should do a few hours, at least. Then, spend time decompressing with your family, taking a walk outside and looking for silver linings where you can find them.

Be Smart, Be Safe

Many employers are making use of video chats for interviews, but some are still holding in-person interviews. If you do go to an employer, make sure to stay 3-6 feet away from other people, do not shake hands, try to avoid touching metal or glass surfaces, wash your hands and use hand sanitizer.

Be Reachable

Now is not the time to screen calls. If an employer can’t reach you, they will move on to someone else. Make sure to check your email multiple times a day and respond to any potential employer’s outreach in less than 24 hours. Keep your phone on you at all times and answer any calls from unknown numbers.

Be Reliable

Even being a few seconds late to a phone or video interview can cost you a job right now. Make sure that you have the date and time correct and test links to video chats at least an hour before the meeting so you can notify the employer if there is a problem. Finally, just as you would arrive early to an interview, sign in or dial in at least 10 minutes early – unless you are instructed otherwise.

Insist on Quiet

If you have a family sharing one space, it can be difficult to find quiet for an interview. Luckily, everyone is in the same boat and employers will certainly understand if a baby cries or a child comes bursting in the room during an interview, but try to find a quiet place to hold the interview so that you can concentrate and put your best foot forward. Send your family on a walk or bike ride, or if you can’t find quiet, sit in your car.

Use Your Downtime Wisely

If you have lost your job, it’s important to keep busy. Being in isolation in addition to being unemployed can be a recipe for depression. Just as you block off time every day to search for jobs, block off time to learn a new skill or hone an existing one. There are myriad free resources online and many formerly-paid programs are being offered for free to help people struggling with the economic impact of COVID-19. Learning something new will not only pass the time in a constructive way, but it will also help you enhance your resume.

Be Visible On Social Media

Social distancing is a great excuse to forego in-person networking for social networking. So get visible on LinkedIn by participating in groups and getting in touch with contacts you haven’t spoken with in a while. This is also a great time to make professional Facebook and Twitter profiles to share industry-related posts and information.

Work With A Staffing Firm

A job search can be incredibly overwhelming at any time, let alone in these uncertain and stressful times. Working with a staffing firm can help ease your stress while also increasing the chances of finding a good job. If you are looking for a job, please browse Employment Professionals Canada’s open jobs and apply online today or contact our team to learn more about the ways we can help you get working.

Article provided by permission from Employment Professionals Canada. Visit their website at

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