Payroll News Canada - Employment Articles

January 2021 - 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

January 2021 - Canada-Wide Payroll Information Database - As part of our support of the Canadian Payroll industry, CanPay continues to provide a free Payroll Information Database to all payroll practitioners. Available for all thirteen provinces and territories, it lists a wide variety of payroll rates, thresholds, and important dates for numerous payroll categories including: Minimum Wage, Worker's Compensation, Work Leaves, Statutory Holidays and many more. Click Here to learn more about this free service.

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

January 19, 2021 - Government Publishes Draft Legislative Proposals to Adjust Certain Deductions for Employment Insurance and COVID-19 Benefits - Today, the Department of Finance published draft legislative proposals to temporarily adjust the treatment of certain deductions with respect to regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, including EI special benefits, in order to align with how those deductions are treated for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and other federal COVID-19 emergency income benefits. (Full Story)

January 19, 2021 - These are Canada's best employers for young people in 2021 - Struck out on finding the perfect job? You might not have your eyes set on the right place. Now you’re in luck, Canada’s Top 100 Employers for Young People has released its 2021 list. This past year has undoubtedly been difficult, especially for young graduates who were more than eager to kickstart their careers. Though hardships faced by the pandemic are understandable, Canadian employers are making more of an effort to help students and graduates at this time. (Full Story)

January 8, 2021 - Canadian economy lost 63,000 jobs in Dec., first decline since April - Canada posted its first monthly decline in jobs since April amid tightened public health restrictions in December, and economists warn the losses are likely to continue as the number of new COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Statistics Canada said Friday the economy lost 63,000 jobs in December while the unemployment rate edged up to 8.6 per cent compared with 8.5 per cent in November. (Full Story)

January 7, 2021 - Brace yourself, Canada's jobs recovery likely just hit a wall - The seven-month streak of gains in Canada’s labour market probably came to an end last month. Economists in a Bloomberg survey expect Statistics Canada to report Friday the country lost 30,000 jobs in December. They also predict the unemployment rate ticked up 0.2 percentage points to 8.7 per cent. All but three of the 15 economists surveyed by Bloomberg see losses in December. Toronto-Dominion Bank’s estimate of a 125,000 decline is the most pessimistic. (Full Story)

January 2, 2021 - Why support workers need better pay for the work they do - Since the pandemic was declared in March, there has been an increased emphasis on front-line workers and the role they play in contributing to the safety and well-being of our communities. Historically, many front-line workers have been underpaid for the critical work they perform. But within the support worker sector, there is a high turnover rate. This is due, I believe, to the inadequate wages we're often paid. Sometimes it's close to minimum wage. As a result, many people do not see this as a viable long-term career path. (Full Story)

January 1, 2021 - Government of Canada announces coming into force of important measures to create work environments that are healthier, safer and fairer - The Government of Canada is committed to improving workplace safety and equality and to protecting workers’ rights. They are modernizing the Canada Labour Code and making changes to create work environments that are healthier, safer and fairer. The three main areas include: Strengthening prevention of harassment and violence in the workplace; Improving compliance with the Code;, and Enhancing equality in the workplace. (Full Story)

December 21, 2020 - Government Announces the 2021 Automobile Deduction Limits and Expense Benefit Rates for Businesses and Temporary Adjustments to the Automobile Standby Charge due to COVID-19 - Today, the Department of Finance Canada announced the automobile income tax deduction limits and expense benefit rates that will apply in 2021. Most of the limits and rates that applied in 2020 will continue to apply in 2021, with one change taking effect as of January 1, 2021. The government is also proposing temporary adjustments to the automobile standby charge. (Full Story)

December 21, 2020 - Canada Revenue Agency launches the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Registry - To protect Canadians’ jobs and support businesses throughout the pandemic, the Government of Canada introduced the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). The wage subsidy has protected more than 4 million jobs across the country, giving millions of Canadian families certainty about their next paycheque. The wage subsidy can only be claimed for employee remuneration by eligible organizations that have experienced a drop in revenue. (Full Story)

December 16, 2020 - Canada Summer Jobs 2021 Employer Application Process Launches Next Week - The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on young Canadians who are trying to find work. Employers also face challenges when recruiting and hiring workers while adapting to the realities of the pandemic. That’s why the Government of Canada continues to take action to provide good job opportunities for youth and to support employers across Canada. The employer application period for CSJ 2021 will open on Monday, December 21, 2020, and close on Friday, January 29, 2021. (Full Story)

November 30, 2020 - New Work-From-Home Tax Claim Process Will Provide Massive Savings for Employers - The Canadian Payroll Association commends the federal government for today's announcement, made as part of the fall economic statement, that will help taxpayers working from home during the pandemic access tax deductions they are entitled to while eliminating a significant burden for payroll professionals and employers. This new approach directly reflects recommendations made by the Canadian Payroll Association to both the Ministers of Finance and National Revenue, and the Canada Revenue Agency. (Full Story)

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

January 19, 2021 - Alta. nurses will now get paid when they have to self-isolate - Alberta nurses who are required to self-isolate because of COVID-19 symptoms or exposure will now be paid for their time off. The United Nurses of Alberta and Alberta Health Services agreed to the quarantine pay and a bargaining delay, signing a memorandum of understanding. Nurses who need to quarantine without workplace exposure will receive paid sick leave for their regularly scheduled shifts during that period. The pay is retroactive to July 6, 2020. (Full Story)

January 19, 2021 - Need help hiring? - Employers are invited to join the Alberta WCB virtually on Feb 10 or Feb 25 to learn how they can provide a wage subsidy and protection from work injuries during training when you hire through their Training-on-the-Job program. The Training-on-the-job (TOJ) program is designed to help people who are unable to go back to their regular job and employer. The worker develops skills and gains work experience while you receive financial and other support from WCB during your new employee's training period. (Full Story)

January 14, 2021 - Poor 2020 apprenticeship numbers not unexpected say stakeholders - National construction industry stakeholders are not ready to sound alarm bells despite data showing that apprenticeship registration numbers dropped precipitously during 2020. Statistics Canada reported in December that preliminary apprenticeship registration numbers for 2020 indicate that new registrations and certifications in the trades saw large drops from February to September 2020 compared with the same period in 2019. Registrations fell 43 per cent while certifications dropped 49.7 per cent. (Full Story)

January 12, 2021 - WCB: No increase to claim cost threshold - The claims cost threshold for no-time-lost claims used in experience rating is reviewed annually and will remain at $1,500 for claims occurring in 2021. Adjustments to your premiums are based on your claims experience to provide you with incentives to reduce your costs.  For small business employers, adjustments are based on your total number of claims.  For large business employers, adjustments are based on the cost of your claims. (Full Story)

January 8, 2021 - Alberta lost 11,900 jobs in December following stricter COVID-19 measures - Alberta lost 11,900 jobs in December following stricter COVID-19 measures meant to curb the rising rate of infection in the province. Alberta had one of the largest employment declines in the country along with Ontario and British Columbia. However, the unemployment rate remained relatively unchanged at 11 per cent, Statistics Canada reported Friday in its Labour Force Survey. The majority of the jobs lost were part-time and the biggest age demographic impacted were those between 15 to 24. (Full Story)

December 16, 2020 - Alberta government benefits from $185M federal funding boost to help create jobs - Albertans who are out of work will soon be able to benefit from a federal funding grant aimed at helping them acquire training and access employment benefits. The money, which comes from a $1.5 billion investment into Workforce Development Agreements (WDAs), will assist Albertans who are seeking jobs. (Full Story)

December 15, 2020 - Employers: a new way to manage your WCB account - With the new myWCB for employers mobile app you can access your account when and where it’s convenient for you. With the myWCB app, you can: Request real-time clearance letters on an account and view your account’s status; Check the balance on your account, make payments, update payroll, and change to a monthly payment installment plan by signing up for pre-authorized debit; and Connect with us directly, by sending a message or requesting a callback. (Full Story)

December 10, 2020 - 2021 legislative changes to WCB - The Government of Alberta recently passed the Ensuring Safety and Cutting Red Tape Act, which amends the Workers’ Compensation Act. The Government of Alberta recently passed legislative changes for the workers’ compensation system [PDF]. Some of these changes will be effective January 1, 2021, while others will become effective April 1, 2021. As we work to implement new legislation, we are committed to keeping you informed and consulting with our stakeholders on areas where we need further input. (Full Story)

December 8, 2020 - Historic support for Alberta small businesses - To support Alberta’s small businesses as they adapt to the realities of the ongoing public health crisis, the Alberta government is expanding and increasing the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant. With a new lower threshold and increased grant amount, up to 15,000 more businesses may be eligible for funding. In November, the government announced that Alberta businesses impacted by recent public health orders were eligible to apply for a second payment through the program. (Full Story)

December 2, 2020 - Alberta curtailment of foreign workers includes unions - Alberta’s curtailment of the numbers and types of temporary foreign workers (TFW) will include international unions whose members are drawn from outside Canada. Alberta is using its authority under the Canada-Alberta Labour Market Pilot of the Agreement for Canada-Alberta Cooperation on Immigration. The changes impact 475 occupations in sectors such as accommodation and food services, retail trade, transportation, construction, and professional, scientific and technical services. (Full Story)

December 1, 2020 - Alberta job-seekers could continue to face uphill battle, experts warn - Finding work continues to be a struggle for thousands of Albertans and some experts fear lower-than-normal employment levels could persist as the second wave of the pandemic rages, leading to more bankruptcies and mortgage delinquencies. Though Statistics Canada data shows Alberta added 23,000 jobs last month, employment levels are still below pre-pandemic levels. (Full Story)

January 18, 2021 - New funding helps people with disabilities return to work - People with developmental disabilities who are eligible for Community Living BC (CLBC) services will get support to return to the workforce and increase their digital literacy. The support comes from a $10-million investment from the Province to expand contracted employment services. Of the new funding, $9.7 million will be used to supplement CLBC-funded employment support services. (Full Story)

January 18, 2021 - Employers should be aware of their duty to accommodate employees - The law imposes on all employers a duty to accommodate employees, meaning the employer must take reasonable steps to accommodate the employee when the employee has suffered or will suffer discrimination from a working rule or condition. Courts have held that the goal of this duty is achieved by preventing the exclusion of individuals from employment opportunities that are not based on their actual abilities, but on attributed ones. (Full Story)

January 8, 2021 - Slight job gains in B.C. last month, as country's labour market takes big hit - B.C.’s had slight job gains in December as the rest of the country took a major hit, according to Statistics Canada. B.C. was the only province to add jobs last month, with 3,800 new positions, according to the agency’s Labour Force Survey on Friday. StatsCan senior analyst Vincent Ferrao said B.C.’s gains were mainly in full-time positions and in construction, though he noted the number is not statistically significant. (Full Story)

December 29, 2020 - Some transit employees tighten belts after payroll hit by TransLink ransomware attack - Transit employees across Metro Vancouver have had to take advances in lieu of paycheques since TransLink was hit by a ransomware attack earlier this year. The payroll workaround is intended to give the company time to safely restore its compromised computer systems, but it will have left some employees short, said Balbir Mann, head of Unifor Local 111. (Full Story)

December 14, 2020 - Policy changes to implement the Workers Compensation Amendment Act, 2020 (Bill 23) amendments regarding retirement age determinations - On August 14, 2020, the Workers Compensation Amendment Act, 2020 (Bill 23) came into effect. Under Bill 23, 34 legislative amendments were made to the Workers Compensation Act. One of these legislative amendments concerns retirement age determinations and comes into effect on January 1, 2021. (Full Story)

January 19, 2021 - Canada Summer Jobs Program open to farmers - Farmers and agricultural businesses can apply for wage subsidies through the Canada Summer Jobs Program until January 29. The program will pay qualifying businesses up to 75 per cent of the provincial minimum hourly wage to provide summer jobs for people between age 15 and 30. Last year public health order closed businesses and put many summer jobs in jeopardy. The federal government offered to provide 100 per cent of summer employees’ salaries, up from 50 per cent the year before. (Full Story)

January 17, 2021 - Employment in Canada falls for the first time since April - For the first time since April 2020, employment fell by 63,000 jobs in December, equivalent to 0.3 per cent. COVID-19 restrictions across the country are impacting Canada’s labour market. In December 2020, 1.1 million workers in Canada were negatively affected by the economic shutdown in place to curb the spread of COVID-19. This number was 5.5 million in April 2020. (Full Story)

January 11, 2021 - Caregiver Wage Support Program Opens Second Intake Today - The Manitoba government advises the second intake for the $35-million Caregiver Wage Support Program opens today, with applications accepted until Jan. 18. This wage top-up program is designed to recognize front-line workers who provide direct care and help protect vulnerable Manitobans at personal care homes and other critical settings during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Full Story)

January 7, 2021 - Manitoba creates department for advanced education, skills, immigration - Manitoba is creating a new department for advanced education, skills and immigration that will provide job opportunities for young people in the province. The new department is a stand-alone ministry meant to ensure greater linkages and alignment between the offerings of Manitoba’s advanced education institutions and the skills needed to equip the labour force of the future, says the government. (Full Story)

January 6, 2021 - New Agreement Makes Access To Enhanced PPE Easier For Health-Care Workers - Specialized personal protective equipment (PPE) is becoming easier for health-care workers to access when delivering care in settings that pose an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 thanks to an agreement that allows staff to select the most appropriate protection they require, Health and Seniors Care Minister Heather Stefanson announced today. The policy is part of a new agreement between the Manitoba Nurses Union (MNU) and Shared Health, on behalf of all employers within Manitoba’s health system. (Full Story)

December 22, 2020 - Province Announces Changes To Protect Employers With Defined Benefit Pension Plans - The Manitoba government will temporarily waive certain payments businesses and charities are required to put into pension plans, freeing up funds to help protect employees and prevent layoffs or shutdown. The province is permitting pension plans to elect a moratorium on payments to pension plans that employers are required to make under defined benefit pension plans for the remainder of 2020 and all of 2021. (Full Story)

December 4, 2020 - Manitoba’s employment numbers drop while Canada’s grow slightly - Manitoba’s employment numbers dropped for the first time this month since April, while Canada’s as a whole slowed but rose slightly by 0.3 per cent. Statistics Canada released its November Labour Force Survey Friday, based on labour market conditions as of November 8 to 14. Manitobans lost 18,000 jobs last month, most of which were part-time positions. (Full Story)

January 8, 2021 - Economy Sheds Jobs For First Time Since April - Canada’s economy lost 63,000 jobs in December — the first employment decline since April. It comes as parts of the country enacted new public health measures amid rising COVID-19 case. Statistics Canada’s latest labour force survey, released Friday, showed the unemployment rate now stands at 8.6 per cent, an increase of 0.1 percentage point compared to November. (Full Story)

December 17, 2020 - 2021 SEED employer applications available starting Jan. 11 - Employer applications for the Student Employment Experience Development (SEED) program will be accepted between Jan. 11 and Feb. 19, 2021. Non-profit groups, First Nations and municipalities may access the applications and other information on the program online at A SEED placement can last up to 12 weeks and must take place between April 26 and the Labour Day weekend in September. (Full Story)

December 2, 2020 - Embracing the New Normal As We Safely Return To Work - Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions necessary to reduce risk, workplaces will not be the same as we left them and we will need to adjust. And while we all try to establish a new normal at our workplaces, there will certainly be an added layer of health and safety measures (physical distancing, screening, handwashing, etc.) required to ensure the safety of our workers, our customers and our visitors. (Full Story)

January 19, 2021 - PC promise to cut payroll tax will create jobs, Crosbie says - The Progressive Conservatives say a Tory government will cut payroll tax and introduce credits for hiring and relocation in Newfoundland and Labrador. After announcing the campaign promises Tuesday morning, PC Leader Ches Crosbie said changes to the province's tax structure would allow businesses to hire more full-time workers by focusing on lowering taxes on employers. The party says a hiring tax credit would allow businesses to hire more people, with the provincial government investing a portion of the income tax paid by new hires back into the business. (Full Story)

January 15, 2021 - Ontario now recognizes fall protection training certificates from Newfoundland and Labrador workers - As of January 1, 2021, workers with a valid fall protection training certificate issued by WorkplaceNL are permitted to work at heights in Ontario. In Ontario, workers who use certain fall protection equipment on construction sites are required to complete working at heights training. Newfoundland and Labrador’s fall protection training is now an alternative to Ontario’s working at heights training. (Full Story)

January 14, 2021 - New Talent Strategy to Prepare Workers for Careers in Growing Tech Sector - $1.87 million in funding has been announced to help meet labour demand for the growing tech sector. The funding will support techNL’s new Tech Talent Strategy. Employers in Newfoundland and Labrador’s growing technology sector require more highly trained workers with specialized skills. The Tech Talent Strategy will help meet this demand by working with existing community supports and developing paths to retrain local workers and attract others from across Canada and around the world. (Full Story)

January 13, 2021 - Award-Winning Autism Employment Program Expanding Throughout Province - Despite the challenges of Covid-19, Avalon Employment’s Transitions for Individuals with Autism pilot is already helping more than 30 people find meaningful work, and has earned the prestigious United Nations Zero Project award for innovative, impactful solutions that remove barriers to employment. $3 million in funding has been announced to expand the project to six other regions of the province. (Full Story)

January 12, 2021 - Government Increases Income Threshold for Essential Worker Support Program - An increase to the maximum gross monthly income threshold from $3,000 to $3,500 for the Essential Worker Support Program has been announced. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed particular demands on workers in certain sectors, including those on the front-line in hospitals and nursing homes, those ensuring the integrity of the food supply, or providing essential retail services to Canadians. The Essential Worker Support Program provides a temporary wage top-up to essential workers employed during Alert Levels 4 and 5 of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is taxable income, as it will be included on an individual’s earnings for 2021. (Full Story)

December 29, 2020 - Priority Skills Newfoundland and Labrador Immigration Launching on January 2 - Priority Skills Newfoundland and Labrador will be accepting applications, beginning January 2, 2021 at noon (NST). This is a new immigration option for highly educated, highly skilled newcomers with specialized experience in areas such as technology and ocean sciences, where demand has outpaced local training and recruitment. This latest path for newcomers is designed in response to employers requesting additional assistance to meet a growing demand for highly educated, highly skilled workers. (Full Story)

December 11, 2020 - Payroll giving - Throughout the year, as part of Memorial’s overall annual fundraising program, a number of university employees and pensioners donate every payday through payroll deduction. Payroll gifts can support a broad range of designations across Memorial at the donors’ discretion, and can also support the Campus Food Bank (which is a separate charitable entity). In 2020, 278 people availed of payroll deduction to support one of these causes. In total, the university received more than $100,000 through payroll deduction alone, and the Campus Food Bank received more than $6,750 through this method of support. (Full Story)

January 11, 2021 - NWT employment is back to pre-pandemic levels, figures suggest - Employment figures released by the territorial government late last week suggest the jobs outlook for NWT residents has effectively returned to its pre-pandemic state. The participation rate – in simple terms, the number of people either with a job or looking for one – was 69.6 percent in December 2020, the first time that figure has increased year-on-year (from 69.3 percent in December 2019) since Covid-19 reached the NWT in March last year. (Full Story)

January 12, 2021 - Testing Mandatory for Rotational Workers - Starting Friday, Jan. 15, testing will be mandatory for rotational workers who work outside Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. This approach reflects the risk of importing the virus through frequent travel. Workers must complete their full 14 days of modified self-isolation, even if they have a negative test result. They must get tested on day one or two and again on day six, seven or eight. (Full Story)

December 4, 2020 - WCB: Regular monthly long-term benefit payment dates for 2021 - Regular monthly long-term benefit payment dates for 2021 are now available. Workers who receive payments by direct deposit can expect to receive funds in their bank accounts by the 12th of the month. Paper cheques will be mailed by the 12th of the month as well. WCB Nova Scotia says that businesses should allow a few days to receive it in the mail. (Full Story)

December 4, 2020 - Nova Scotia Economy Shows Resilience with Employment Growing by 10,000 in November - Nova Scotia employment was up 10,000 to 468,500 in November. This monthly gain was concentrated in full-time employment, which has risen to 383,200 - the highest level of full-time employment on record. Nova Scotia has the lowest unemployment rate in Canada at 6.4 per cent for the first time in the 44 years of the Statistics Canada monthly Labour Force Survey. (Full Story)

January 2021 - Payroll tax annual returns due - The Nunavut Department of Finance reminds employers that the Nunavut annual payroll tax returns are due by February 28, 2020. Tax is deducted at source by employers from each employee to whom the employer pays remuneration. This deduction is made at the time of payment. No tax is payable by an employee who normally works outside of Nunavut and does not earn more than $5000 in Nunavut. If the employee earns more than $5000 in a calendar year in Nunavut, tax is payable on the full amount of remuneration earned while in Nunavut. (Full Story)

January 9, 2021 - Ontario expands list of essential workers eligible for emergency child care - RCMP officers, custodial and clerical education workers and postal staff are among the expanded list of essential workers cleared to receive free child-care while thousands of Ontario students attend school remotely in the coming weeks, the province’s education minister announced Saturday. Other eligible workers include court services staff, power workers and those providing services to the homeless and women facing violence. (Full Story)

January 8, 2021 - Ontario Continues To Support Businesses, Workers and Families during the COVID-19 Pandemic - The Ontario government is introducing a new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which will provide a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 to help eligible small business owners. Each eligible small business will be able to use this funding in whatever way makes the most sense for their individual business. The province has also permanently increased the Employer Health Tax (EHT) payroll exemption to $1 million, meaning 90 per cent of employers pay no EHT. (Full Story)

December 23, 2020 - Ontario invests $77 million to get people back to work - Ontario is investing $77 million to help workers laid off due to the impact of COVID-19 find in-demand jobs in their local communities. More than 2,750 job seekers will receive up to $28,000 each for tuition, training materials and living expenses. The Second Career grant program helps jobseekers train for careers in sectors including advanced manufacturing, life sciences, information and communications and supportive health services. (Full Story)

December 17, 2020 - Ontario Supports Employers and Employees Impacted by COVID-19 - The Ontario government is taking action to protect jobs by helping businesses avoid costly payouts and potential closures and continues offering protection to workers that are laid off due to COVID-19. For employers with non-unionized employees, the government is extending regulatory changes that include putting non-unionized employees on job-protected leave during the COVID-19 outbreak any time their hours of work are temporarily reduced by their employer due to the pandemic to prevent temporary layoffs from becoming permanent. (Full Story)

December 11, 2020 - Ontario Helping More Job Seekers Enter the Skilled Trades - The Ontario government is investing 21 million in pre-apprenticeship training programs for up to 2,000 people, including at-risk youth, new Canadians, Indigenous peoples and women, to help them pursue the hands-on experience they need to begin rewarding careers in the skilled trades. Eligible organizations can apply for the funding now, with the call for proposals ending on January 5, 2021. (Full Story)

December 9, 2020 - Proposed legislation will protect Ontario employers from unexpected WSIB increases - The Ontario government has introduced the Workplace Safety and Insurance Amendment Act, 2020 that, if passed, will protect employers from an unexpected increase in Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) premiums, while maintaining an increase to the maximum earnings cap for worker benefits. The WSIB is Ontario’s workplace insurance provider and covers over 5 million people in more than 300,000 workplaces. (Full Story)

December 4, 2020 - Ontario Helping Employers Train and Hire More Apprentices - The Ontario government is investing $20 million to help small businesses jointly sponsor and train apprentices through the new Group Sponsorship Grant program, increasing the number of people training and working in the skilled trades. The program will reduce pressure on any one employer to see an apprentice through to completion of training and provide apprentices with the support needed to become a registered journeyperson. (Full Story)

January 14, 2021 - Employment program adds pandemic survival skills - The COVID-19 pandemic has added new challenges for people looking for work, and that's being recognized in a P.E.I. program that helps people seeking employment. The provincially-funded Connect 2 Employment program has been offered on P.E.I. since 2017. It was initially a work skills development program for youth up to 30 years of age, but since the pandemic it has opened up to anyone 16 years of age or older who is unemployed or underemployed. (Full Story)

January 8, 2021 - Circuit breaker cuts power to P.E.I. job growth - When the P.E.I. government implemented circuit breaker measures in early December to halt the spread of an outbreak of COVID-19, they appear to have also halted job growth. Statistics Canada released its Labour Force Survey for December Friday morning. Job numbers had been on an upward trend in the last half of the year. Seasonally adjusted numbers show growth every month except September, and an additional 2,700 jobs in November over July. But the provincial economy dropped 900 jobs in December. (Full Story)

December 7, 2020 - Province announces supports for impacted workers and low-income Islanders - The province is launching new supports to help Islanders get through the pandemic and current public health restrictions put in place to mitigate and contain the spread of COVID-19. The Prince Edward Island Emergency Payment for Workers is a $500 payment is for workers and self-employed Islanders who have completely lost their income or had their hours reduced by at least 12 hours a week from December 7 to 21, 2020. (Full Story)

January 7, 2021 - Re-Open Saskatchewan Training Subsidy Extended - An extension of the application deadline for the Re-Open Saskatchewan Training Subsidy (RSTS) from December 31, 2020 to March 31, 2021 has been announced. The RSTS program operates as a temporary training subsidy to assist businesses with financial support to train employees as they adjust to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The RSTS reimburses eligible private-sector employers 100 per cent of employee training costs up to a maximum of $10,000 per business, which will help to re-open businesses safely. (Full Story)

January 9, 2021 - Unemployment Up In Saskatchewan - The number of people employed in Saskatchewan went down in December, according to the latest numbers released from Statistics Canada. The Labour Force Survey, which came out Friday morning, shows there were 6,700 fewer people employed, bringing the province’s unemployment rate from 6.9 to 7.8 percent.  The loss of jobs compared to November was a trend seen across the whole country, as there were 63,000 fewer people working in December. (Full Story)

December 9, 2020 - Self-regulation Now Available for Chartered Professionals in Human Resources - Today, the Government of Saskatchewan introduced The Saskatchewan Human Resources Profession Act that will establish the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources Saskatchewan as a self-regulating body. The Act establishes two levels of regulation: registration for members; and certification for those who wish to pursue the Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designation. (Full Story)

December 7, 2020 - WCB holds 2021 average premium rate at 2020 rate - The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) announced today that it will hold this year’s average employer premium rate at the 2020 rate of $1.17 and will cap industry level rates at 10 per cent. This board level hold is to provide a measure of economic relief to Saskatchewan businesses struggling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Full Story)

January 18, 2021 - Yukon workers' compensation board working with outfitters to improve workplace safety - The board in charge of occupational health and safety in Yukon will be continuing its outreach efforts to outfitters this year in the wake of a case that saw one of them fined $46,000 for safety issues that contributed to the death of an employee. Although complaints against outfitters are rare, Kurt Dieckmann, president and CEO of the Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board, told CBC that injury claims from outfitter employees have been on the rise since 2017. (Full Story)

December 18, 2020 - Helping Yukon workers develop the skills they need to find good jobs - The Government of Canada has provided an additional $1.5 billion for training Canadian workers, through the Workforce Development Agreements (WDAs) with provinces and territories. The Government of Yukon has received $3 million to help respond to the increased number of Yukon residents looking to re-enter the workforce, particularly those in hard-hit sectors and groups disadvantaged as a result of the pandemic. Supports include skills training, on-the-job training, employer-sponsored training, financial assistance and benefits, employment counselling and services, and job opportunities. (Full Story)

Rolling through adversity

From toilet paper to hero pay, the past year has offered many learning opportunities

Finally, the year 2020 is over. It has certainly been a roller-coaster ride both physically and emotionally. Over the year, many employees have moved from a central workplace to working remotely, while many of our workers as well as families have experienced trepidation, anger, anxiety and fear. We've all watched closely as the COVID-19 numbers have increased and the disease took the lives of many Manitobans.

Yet, in spite of the challenges experienced over this past year, when you look back, you'll recognize there are many things you've learned and even more that you have come to appreciate. In fact, you may well be counting your blessings.

Quite frankly, I learned just how interconnected our lives are with society as a whole and with our economy. I learned a healthy population makes for a healthy country. After all, who would have thought an illness could not just shut down our country but shut down the world? Who would have thought food supplies would be rationed and store attendance would be limited? Who would have thought toilet paper could possibly be such a prized possession? It's amazing how many things we have taken for granted.

I imagine as well, there has been plenty of learning with respect to the importance of family. Imagine the shock some people must have experienced when their visitations with loved ones residing in personal care homes was suddenly curtailed. Worse yet, imagine how they felt watching and worrying from the sidelines as the dreaded illness struck these residences. Then again, our Christmas celebrations were curtailed and limited to those in an immediate bubble. Yes, learning the importance of family really hit home.

Businesses and organizations of all kinds have also experienced significant learning opportunities. They learned that having to create a dispersed workforce may be a blessing in disguise. In fact, it has been so successful that leaders have learned remote work might be the way to go in the future. While this physical move could provide an opportunity to reduce the footprint of any workspace, leadership have also learned just how important their employees are to the success of their organizations.

In addition, I'm pleased to see organizational leaders have had an opportunity to experience the value of human resource professionals. After all, in most cases, during the early stages of the pandemic, it was these professionals who took the lead on managing through all of the workplace, safety and health challenges. New policies needed to be put in place, fears and anxiety needed tending to and in many cases, hard decisions about jobs needed to be made. Recognition of the importance of human resource professionals and what they can do for an organization have been a long time coming but I am confident these lessons have been well learned.

I am also confident most organizations have learned to place a higher value on their front-line staff, especially essential services and those who have put their lives at risk on our behalf. The contradiction between the work front-line employees do versus what they are paid really came to light. How is it that some employees deemed "essential" can be so critical to an organization, yet they are the most underpaid? Yes, "hero pay" has been applied in some cases but the learning here is that the whole issue of compensation for these front-line employees needs to be re-examined.

Many people have learned to be flexible and creative in overcoming personal and professional challenges they have faced because of the pandemic. Still others saw opportunity, which has led to an entire cottage industry of mask making that sprang up quickly in the early stages of the pandemic. Businesses too became creative and innovative and quickly switched to online sales, curbside pickup and home delivery. We learned some manufacturing facilities could be quickly retooled to make much needed pandemic-related products while at the same time our legislators learned the need for improved supply management within our own country.

I'm also aware that many people have learned that "life is what you make of it." Instead of wallowing in anger and depression because of the lockdown, they have learned to appreciate the simpler life. They have been engaging in self-reflection and have learned to appreciate just how lucky they are to have good health. They appreciate the opportunity to get outside, visit a local park, go for a walk and enjoy the simple beauty that surrounds them. They've learned there's more to life than being glued to the television and/or heading to the shopping malls just for something to do. Instead, they are re-engaging with passion projects. All in all, they exhibit strong mental health because they focus on gratitude.

Remote and hybrid school instruction for children of all ages has helped parents gain a new respect for the role of teachers. While teachers have certainly struggled with this remote online learning transition and the reliance on technology, parents who have had to fill some of the gaps created by online learning are now seeing teachers in a new light.

However, in my mind, one of the biggest lessons from this pandemic are the cracks and vulnerabilities discovered in many of our systems. For instance, the many supply shortages caused by the pandemic significantly impacted many manufacturing companies that specialize in just-in-time production. We've learned that our food chain can be easily broken and is hard to fix. We've also learned that a crisis can cause an "every man for himself" attitude that can quickly result in the overbuying and hoarding of supplies such as toilet paper. Even today, simple luxuries such as marshmallows for Christmas baking are just not available.

Finally, many of us have learned that being alone doesn't need to mean being lonely. Technology has brought us several avenues to communicate with people, both at work and with family. My own Zoom Christmas gift opening was a delightful event as was a Facetime conversation with one of my grandchildren. And I know of families that have a weekly Zoom game night that helps connect family members from across Canada.

So, let's celebrate the end of 2020, park any negativity and keep focused on what we have learned and what opportunities are before us in 2021.

Article reprinted by permission from Barbara J. Bowes, FCPHR, CCP, M.Ed. Barbara is the lead HR consultant with Legacy Bowes and is the author of eight books, a radio personality, a speaker, an executive coach and workshop leader. She is also chairwoman of the Manitoba Status of Women. Contact her at

Software Updates

eNETEmployer (Current Release)

  • Year End Tax updates for 2021 payrolls.
  • Added a "Round" capability to the Functions screen. This allows you to round calculated values.
  • Added support for the new COVID "Other" boxes for 2020 T4's.
  • Added a new crisper background for the printable ROE report.
  • Adjusted the margins for the T4/T4A reports.
  • In addition to pay stubs, employees can now view their T4's, T4A's and Releve1's in their self service accounts.
  • Added the "Status" option to the YTD screens. This allows you to work with all employees (regardless of their status) when exporting YTD values.
  • Fixed an issue where you could not reset a distribution after you removed it from an employee.

GrandMaster Suite (v16.04)

  • Year End Tax updates for 2021 payrolls.
  • Added new COVID-related boxes to the T4's and theT4/T4A Summary Report as per CRA requirements.
  • Major revision to the PDF viewer where users can now leave the PDF window open while working with the program.
  • Corrected a problem with the T4 XML and the T4/T4A Summary Report were displaying the values from other boxes.
  • Corrected an error where some of the "Optional" T4 boxes were not printing their values.
  • Re-aligned the NR4 boxes.
  • Taxable earnings and benefits from March 15 to May 9 go to T4 box 57.
  • Taxable earnings and benefits from May 10 to July 4 go to T4 box 58.
  • Taxable earnings and benefits from July 5 to August 29 go to T4 box 59.
  • Taxable earnings and benefits from August 30 to September 26 go to T4 box 60.

GrandMaster II (v16.01)

  • Year End Tax updates for 2021 payrolls.

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