Payroll News Canada - Employment Articles

July 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

July 2021 - Free CRA Webinars - Did you know that the CRA offers free webinars that cover a number of payroll subjects? Their Upcoming Events and Products page lists webinars that are being scheduled for your province and region. The next webinar is entitled: Books and Records Basics - it will provide individuals and businesses with information on best practices for maintaining books and records. Click Here to learn more about these webinars and products.

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 Employment News

July 26, 2021 - Government of Canada proposes new regulations to improve protection of temporary foreign workers - Today, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, and the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marco Mendicino, announced proposed new regulations to help prevent the mistreatment or abuse of temporary foreign workers during their stay in Canada. They outlined 14 regulatory amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Temporary Foreign Workers). (Full Story)

July 22, 2021 - Women accounted for most new EI claims in May: StatsCan - The unequal economic effects of the pandemic are on full display in Statistics Canada's latest data on employment insurance (EI) filings in May. The agency reported that the number of EI recipients jumped by 5.2% in May, with an additional 83,000 workers receiving benefits. The increase came as "tighter public health measures continued or were introduced in several provinces," it noted. (Full Story)

July 22, 2021 - What Canadians should consider in a post-pandemic work-from-home world - There's little doubt that the pandemic has been the number one driver of the work-from-home trend lately, having many Canadians feel accustomed to working from the comfort of their couch, their home office, and even their bed. So accustomed, in fact, that 61 per cent of surveyed Canadians prefer a hybrid work model that sees them spending some days of the week in the office and other days at home. (Full Story)

July 19, 2021 - Employment Insurance consultations to be launched later this summer - As part of the Government's economic response to the pandemic, temporary measures were introduced in September 2020 to allow greater flexibility and more people access to the Employment Insurance (EI) program, some for the first time. As a result, more than 3.79 million people have accessed EI since last fall, with the program delivering over $37 billion to support Canadian workers and their families. In addition, more than 297,000 workers have accessed EI sickness benefits. (Full Story)

July 15, 2021 - Feds launching major review of Employment Equity Act - Ottawa is looking to undertake an extensive review of the Employment Equity Act - which helps promote fairness, equality and diversity in federally regulated workplaces. The Employment Equity Act is a critical tool to ensure that workplaces are equitable, diverse and representative spaces. Over the next few months, the task force will study the act and consult with stakeholders, communities and Canadians on issues related to employment equity. (Full Story)

July 10, 2021 - Why Canada's low-paid, precariously employed essential workers need a better deal - Labour advocates say essential workers - from warehouse workers, to grocery store employees to caregivers in long-term care homes - have borne the brunt of the pandemic, and that they're owed a future with higher wages and better worker protections. That's going to mean reforming provincial and territorial labour codes to address the problem of a mostly racialized work force that's paid too little, has poor job security and doesn't usually have paid sick leave. (Full Story)

July 9, 2021 - Canada added 231,000 jobs in June, pushing jobless rate down to 7.8% - Canada's economy added 231,000 jobs last month, more than offsetting the losses seen in the previous two months as COVID-19 restrictions eased and businesses started hiring again. Statistics Canada reported Friday that 264,000 new jobs were of the part-time variety. Full-time work actually declined by 33,000 positions. June's numbers mean there are still 336,000 fewer full-time jobs in Canada than there were in February 2020, before COVID-19.  (Full Story)

June 30, 2021 - Federal minimum wage of $15 per hour to come into effect on December 29, 2021 - In Budget 2021, the Government of Canada proposed to establish a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour, rising with inflation. Today, the Government is announcing that this important change will come into effect on December 29, 2021, following Royal Assent to Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1. The changes will affect workers in the federally regulated private sector and represent an important step towards reducing poverty and inequality. (Full Story)

June 30 2021 - Government expands Canada Workers Benefit to support one million more Canadians - The Federal government has announced that the Canada Workers Benefit will now be available to about one million more Canadians and help lift nearly 100,000 people out of poverty. The Canada Workers Benefit is a refundable tax credit to help people and families who are working and earning a low income. It is a sizeable tax refund for workers. Until now, the threshold of eligibility left many low-wage workers out of the program and that meant people were still living below the poverty line despite working full-time jobs. (Full Story)

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

June 24, 2021 - Alberta 2030: Expanding apprenticeship education - Alberta's government is inviting post-secondary institutions and industry groups to collaborate and submit proposals for new certificate and diploma programs that provide a majority of education through paid on-the-job mentorship. Approved program proposals will qualify for grant funding to support program design and implementation. (Full Story)

July 23, 2021 - Thousands of Albertans are getting back to work - Since launching in May, the Alberta Jobs Now program has approved approximately 2,700 applications from employers. This will help nearly 14,000 Albertans get back to work in the coming months. This is a clear signal that Alberta's economy is ready to reopen, recover and grow. The program is seeing the highest demand for hiring in sectors such as science and technology, construction, and the service industry. (Full Story)

July 22, 2021 - Mandatory Vaccinations in the Workplace - With the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada, employers are anxious to get their employees vaccinated and "back to normal," employers are likely thinking about what they can do to return to pre-pandemic operations. The question then arises: can an employer require employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine? And, if an employee refuses, what options does the employer have? (Full Story)

July 20, 2021 - Alberta releases details of newest PNP draw - The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) invited 181 Express Entry candidates with Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores of at least 301. These candidates may now apply for a provincial nomination through the Alberta Express Entry stream. Alberta has now invited 2,613 Express Entry candidates to apply for a provincial nomination since it resumed invitation rounds in January 2021. It had taken a temporary hiatus in the latter months of 2020. Alberta is allowed to issue 6,250 nomination certificates in 2021. (Full Story)

July 13, 2021 - Many Alberta workers, employers still waiting for payment from Critical Worker Benefit program - Alberta's Critical Worker Benefit program continues to face criticism from both employers and employees - months after being rolled out. Premier Jason Kenney announced the one-time payment of $1,200 on Feb. 10, calling it a reward for going to work despite personal risk amid the pandemic. The $465-million program, cost-shared between the federal government and provinces, was designed to benefit up to 380,000 Canadian workers in areas like health care, social services, retail and transportation. (Full Story)

July 9, 2021 - Alberta lost 37,000 full-time jobs in June, youth unemployment rate spikes to highest in Canada - Alberta's unemployment rate for youth between the ages of 15 and 24 spiked to 18.1 per cent in June - the highest across the country - as the province lost a total of 37,000 full-time jobs. Although overall youth employment increased in Canada last month by 7.1 per cent, unemployment for young people in Alberta rose by 7,100 in June bringing the number of them looking for work across the province to 59,100. (Full Story)

June 22, 2021 - More Albertans to receive $1,200 Critical Worker Benefit - The Critical Worker Benefit is a joint federal-provincial program with $465 million available to recognize the hard work of critical workers during the pandemic. During the first round of the Critical Worker Benefit Alberta's government provided $1,200 payments to over 277,800 workers in the healthcare, social services, education and private sectors who deliver critical services to Albertans or support food and medical supply chains. (Full Story)

May 19, 2021 - Historic investment to create thousands of jobs - The Alberta Jobs Now program will provide up to $370 million to help private and non-profit businesses support much-needed jobs for unemployed and underemployed Albertans across the province and help Alberta's economy recover. Employers will be able to apply for a grant that covers 25 per cent of an employee's salary for a 52-week period up to a maximum of $25,000 per employee. The grant can be used to cover salary or training costs. Employers who hire persons with disabilities will receive a grant 1.5 times higher than the amount they receive for other new employees. (Full Story)

May 16, 2021 - Thousands of Alberta workers have claimed compensation for COVID-19 infection: WCB - The Alberta Workers' Compensation Board has approved more than 8,000 claims related to workplace acquisition of COVID-19, with hundreds of Albertans missing weeks of work due to their illness, data show. The WCB report shows through the end of April 2021, the board accepted 8,288 claims for workers with novel coronavirus illness arising in the course of their employment. (Full Story)

July 21, 2021 - New rules protect young workers - New changes to employment standards will better protect young people at work by raising the general working age in British Columbia from 12 to 16 and defining the types of jobs appropriate for those under 16. These new rules bring British Columbia in line with international standards for children's employment. They will come into force on Oct. 15, 2021, to allow employers and children who are already working to adjust to the new requirements. (Full Story)

July 21, 2021 - BC PNP issues new invitations, temporarily suspends entrepreneur applications - British Columbia issued 383 invitations to immigration candidates in Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) draws conducted on July 20. Since February, B.C. has been conducting two separate draws under its PNP program on a bi-monthly basis. The province holds a general draw and a second draw targeting retail and wholesale trade managers as well as restaurant and food service managers. (Full Story)

July 15, 2021 - WorkSafeBC's preliminary average premium base rate to remain unchanged in 2022 - WorkSafeBC announced today that the preliminary average base rate for 2022 will remain unchanged at 1.55 percent of employers' assessable payroll. This will be the fifth year in a row that the average base rate has remained at this level, consistent with WorkSafeBC's goal of keeping rates stable. Annual base premium rates are driven by injury rates, return-to-work performance and the resulting cost of claims, as well as investment performance relative to required rates of return. (Full Story)

July 13, 2021 - B.C. employees, employers face 'massive disconnect' over potential return to office - B.C. employers and employees don't seem to be on the same page with the impending, large-scale return to office, according to industry experts speaking Tuesday at a Greater Vancouver Board of Trade panel. A May 31 survey from Leger revealed 79% of British Columbians have found working from home to be a positive experience, while only 22% of West Coast respondents wish to stop working from home entirely and return to the office. (Full Story)

June 27, 2021 - WorkSafe BC reminding employers, workers of safety policies during heatwave - The start of the coming work week will bring some of the hottest temperatures of this heatwave, and the province's workplace watchdog is reminding workplaces of heat policies. The B.C. Occupational Health and Safety Code says if a worker is exposed to conditions that could push their core body temperature above 38 degrees - which is fever level - the employer has to implement a heat stress exposure plan. (Full Story)

June 24, 2021 - Support for BC Workplaces to Assess, Improve or Develop a Disability Management Program - An organization that can reduce the socio-economic costs related to disabilities for itself and its workforce, has an advantage. Large or small, organizations have found that by implementing sound stay at work / return to work policies and practices, have been able to reduce their costs, retain a knowledgeable and skilled workforce, and have become more competitive. (Full Story)

June 17, 2021 - Employer reimbursement program launches for COVID-19 paid sick leave - Starting Thursday, June 17, 2021, employers can apply for reimbursement of wages paid to workers who have taken sick leave related to COVID-19. The temporary reimbursement program is retroactive to May 20, when legislation was passed, to ensure sick workers can stay home for up to three days without losing wages, while supporting businesses during the pandemic. (Full Story)

June 11, 2021 - Supporting skilled trades workers, strengthening B.C.'s recovery - The Province is launching a made-in-B.C. certification system to support higher-paying, more stable work for trades workers and to help build the foundation of a strong economic recovery. The new skilled trades certification system will help deliver steady employment for people and address the demand for skilled workers in B.C. It will also create more opportunities for women, Indigenous peoples and those just starting their careers. (Full Story)

June 2, 2021 - New hard hat rules make workplaces more inclusive - Workplaces in B.C. will soon be more inclusive for people who wear religious head coverings without compromising workplace safety, thanks to changes WorkSafeBC is making to B.C.'s Occupational Health and Safety Regulation on safety headgear. Starting on Sept. 1, 2021, employers will be required to review each area of a job site when determining if a person must wear safety headgear, such as a hard hat, in that area. (Full Story)

May 31, 2021 - Minimum wage surpasses $15/hour - On June 1, 2021, B.C.'s lowest paid workers will get a pay boost, with the general minimum wage increasing to $15.20 an hour and the lower discriminatory minimum wage for liquor servers ending. Over the past four years, B.C.'s general minimum wage has increased from $11.35 to $15.20 per hour. It has benefited close to 400,000 British Columbians over those years - the majority of whom are women, immigrants and youth. (Full Story)

May 11, 2021 - B.C.'s paid sick leave will support workers, reimburse businesses - Workers will soon have access to a made-in-B.C. paid sick leave program that will support workers to stay home when they are sick during the pandemic and afterward, including permanent paid sick leave, as a result of legislation tabled Tuesday, May 11, 2021. To better support workers during the pandemic, amendments to the Employment Standards Act will bring in three days of paid sick leave related to COVID-19, such as having symptoms, self-isolating and waiting for a test result. (Full Story)

July 10, 2021 - Manitoba's June employment rates fall behind other provinces: Statistics Canada - Manitoba's late third wave meant a weaker labour market for the province in June, Statistics Canada suggests, while the rest of the country reopened with thousands of Canadians heading back to work. The country's economy added more than 230,000 jobs from May to June, while Manitoba lost one per cent on its employment, accounting for 6,400 positions. The province's unemployment rate went up 4.5 per cent. (Full Story)

July 2, 2021 - Manitoba businesses fear provincial wage subsidies tied to vaccinations may be discriminatory - Some Manitoba businesses are balking at the prospect of screening prospective employees on their vaccine status in order to qualify for a provincial wage subsidy. Manitoba's Healthy Hire program offers local businesses up to $50,000 to help pay the wages of newly hired or rehired employees who have either received a COVID-19 vaccine or who pledge to get one. (Full Story)

July 1st, 2021 - Major Manitoba PNP draw invites 1,017 Express Entry candidates - Manitoba invited a record-breaking number of Express Entry candidates to apply for a provincial nomination on June 28. The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) invited 1,017 immigration candidates who had a valid Express Entry ID and job seeker validation code. Candidates were all invited to apply for a provincial nomination from the Skilled Workers Overseas stream. (Full Story)

June 24, 2021 - Wage subsidy program encourages Manitoba employers to hire vaccinated workers - Manitoba's government announced a new program Thursday that will offer local businesses up to $50,000 to help pay the wages of newly hired or rehired employees who have either received a COVID-19 vaccine or who pledge to get one. The Healthy Hire Manitoba program will cover 50 per cent of wages for a maximum of 10 employees at each business, non-profit organization or registered charity, up to a maximum of $5,000 per employee. (Full Story)

June 7, 2021 - WCB Distributes $71 Million in Surplus Funds to Manitoba Employers - For the third year in a row, the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba (WCB) is distributing surplus funds to employers, whose premiums fund the workers compensation system. By continuing to invest in injury prevention and return to work programs, the WCB is pleased to once again provide financial relief to employers after a challenging year for all Manitobans. (Full Story)

June 7, 2021 - Mandatory and Optional WCB Coverage - Workers compensation coverage is mandatory for most employers in Manitoba. If you're in a mandatory industry, everyone who works for your business - with the exception of the sole proprietor, partner or director - is entitled to workers compensation coverage, regardless of their hours worked, the structure of their pay or the nature of their work. (Full Story)

May 21, 2021 - Manitoba government to increase minimum wage in October - Manitoba Finance is advising Manitobans the provincial minimum wage will increase by five cents to $11.95 as of Oct. 1. By law, Manitoba's minimum wage is tied to the Consumer Price Index. This adjustment is based on Manitoba's 2020 inflation rate of 0.5 per cent, rounding up to the nearest five cents. Indexing Manitoba's minimum wage to inflation provides predictability for businesses in terms of wage costs and ensures the purchasing power of the minimum wage is maintained on an ongoing basis. (Full Story)

July 21, 2021 - Labour crisis in N.B. doesn't have to be inevitable as workforce ages, economists say - A Moncton-based construction company is struggling to find workers - so much so that it's hiring employees with no experience or prior training. Allain said his company is facing exceptional difficulty finding workers to meet the rising demand for construction. FundyPros is trying to address the worker shortage by finding green recruits to the building trades. (Full Story)

July 18, 2021 - N.B. advocacy group calls for improved workers' rights after COVID-19 - The New Brunswick Common Front for Social Justice is calling on the province to improve rights and protections for NB employees. The group recently released seven recommendations for the province, including an increase to a $15/hr minimum wage, 10 paid sick days per year and more accessible vacation pay. (Full Story)

July 13, 2021 - Businesses ponder proof of vaccination for customers, employees - With mask mandates easing and vaccine passport discussions increasing, business owners are wondering what they're allowed to ask customers coming through their doors. The Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce says members are seeking clarification about having the ability to request COVID-19 immunization records. (Full Story)

July 5, 2021 - New Brunswick eliminates 3-day unpaid waiting period for injured workers - New Brunswick has completely eliminated the three-day unpaid waiting period for workers experiencing a workplace injury or illness. "This benefit improvement will directly help New Brunswick's most vulnerable injured workers, who might not have access to sick leave benefits during this timeframe," says WorkSafeNB. The new rule came into effect on July 1, two years after the initial elimination of one unpaid day in 2019. (Full Story)

June 30, 2021 - Unpaid waiting period eliminated - WorkSafeNB has announced the removal of the three-day unpaid waiting period for injured and ill workers of New Brunswick. Over 25 years ago, an unpaid waiting period was introduced whereby an employee who experienced a work-related injury or illness was not eligible for compensation for the first three days of the claim. Legislation repealed that provision in stages, with the initial elimination of one unpaid day effective July 1, 2019 and the complete elimination of the unpaid waiting period for workers experiencing a workplace injury beginning Thursday, July 1, 2021. (Full Story)

June 25, 2021 - Administrative penalties now in effect - Administrative penalties are monetary penalties that can be issued by WorkSafeNB health and safety officers. This represents a new and important measure to help officers to enforce compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS) and associated regulations. When workplaces operate unsafely, WorkSafeNB health and safety officers have measures at their disposal including education, consultation, compliance orders and prosecutions. (Full Story)

June 15, 2021 - Audit of New Brunswick Workers Emergency Income Benefit underway - An audit of the New Brunswick Workers Emergency Income Benefit is underway by the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour. The $900, one-time, benefit was offered in the spring of 2020 as a bridge to federal emergency funding through Employment Insurance (EI) or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. (Full Story)

May 8, 2021 - Pandemic proves employees can work from home, but will it last? - Within 10 days of the start of the global pandemic, 4.7 million Canadians made the shift to working from home - bringing the total number of Canadians working from home to 40 per cent. There was talk at the time of how the pandemic may force employers to revolutionize the workplace. A year ago, even Premier Blaine Higgs said government would look at what they learned in the early days of the pandemic to see how they could do things differently. (Full Story)

July 9, 2021 - NL's Unemployment Rate Dips from 13.4 to 13.0 as Canada Adds 230,000 Jobs - Newfoundland and Labrador no longer has the distinction of being the only province in Canada with double-digit unemployment. NL's rate dipped from 13.4 percent in May to 13.0 in June. PEI's jobless rate ballooned to 12.5 percent from 9.6. The national unemployment rate was 7.8 percent in June as Canada added 230,000 jobs, mainly because the country began to ease COVID restrictions. (Full Story)

July 2021 - The application deadline for Job Creation Partnerships program is July 31, 2021 - The Job Creation Partnerships (JCP) program is designed to support community-based, not-for-profit projects. These projects will provide EI-eligible participants with opportunities to gain work experience to improve their employment prospects. Project activities should benefit both the participant and the community. The primary focus of the JCP program is helping insured participants who need work experience to increase their chances of successfully finding ongoing employment. (Full Story)

June 30, 2021 - New Emergency Leave Provisions in NWT Employment Standards Act - The Government of the Northwest Territories has amended the Employment Standards Act and Regulations to provide protection to NWT workers and flexibility to employers during the COVID-19 pandemic and future emergencies. These changes come into effect July 1, 2021. These changes include the establishment of Emergency Leave, which provides job protection to NWT workers by allowing them to access unpaid leave when they are unable to perform their duties because of an emergency, such as the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency. (Full Story)

May 17, 2021 - Wages and Employment Make Yellowknife a Hotspot for Youth - A Recent Youth Urban Work Index shows Yellowknife topping the list of 27 Canadian Cities for youth to find a good job - Canadian youth interested in employment opportunities should set their sights on Yellowknife.  A recent study of 27 Canadian cities found the city to be the top-ranked place for Good Youth Jobs.  Yellowknife edged out Victoria, BC which finished second in the ranking. The Youthful Cities Urban Index is a unique, comprehensive index offering data-driven insights looking at the best cities in the country for people to work aged 15-29. (Full Story)

July 16, 2021 - Child-care program will create hundreds of new jobs - but who will staff them? - Tuesday's announcement of the creation of 9,500 new child-care spaces in Nova Scotia over the next five years means the sector will soon need to fill hundreds of new staff positions, too. That's a challenge for a profession that's already in the midst of a labour shortage. When Nova Scotia rolled out its pre-primary program in 2017, it created a shortage of early childhood educators that is ongoing. (Full Story)

July 25, 2021 - Nova Scotia long-term care home recruiting refugees in Middle East, Africa to work in facility - The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the need for increased staffing at long-term care facilities, and one Nova Scotia home has found hope in a place where hope is often in short supply. Glen Haven Manor in the town of New Glasgow is part of a federal project, working in tandem with the United Nations and several NGOs, to recruit skilled workers from refugee camps in the Middle East and Africa. (Full Story)

June 4, 2021 - Nova Scotia loses 22,000 jobs in May, second only to Ontario - Nova Scotia and Ontario saw the biggest provincial decreases in employment in May, a result Statistics Canada linked to strict COVID-19 measures in both provinces. Nova Scotia lost 22,000 jobs in May compared to April, a fall of 4.8 per cent. Statistics Canada said that was the biggest one-month fall since the early days of the pandemic. (Full Story)

May 19, 2021 - Make workplace health and safety the new normal - during the pandemic and beyond - The first week of May was Safety and Health Week - a week dedicated to highlighting the importance of preventing injury and illness in the workplace. But it's possible - and quite understandable - that you may not have noticed, as we find our resilience being tested yet again by the third wave of COVID-19. (Full Story)

May 12, 2021 - Access to Paid Sick Leave for Nova Scotians - Nova Scotians who must take time off work due to COVID-19 may now qualify for up to four paid sick days under Nova Scotia's new COVID-19 Sick Leave Program. The $16 million program is expected to help more than 100,000 Nova Scotians. People who cannot work remotely and miss less than 50 per cent of their scheduled work time in a one-week period due to COVID-19 may be eligible. (Full Story)

May 5, 2021 - Pandemic good and bad news for N.S. Workers' Compensation Board - The first year of Nova Scotia's pandemic has delivered good and bad news when it comes to workers injured on the job in 2020. According to statistics released Wednesday by the Workers' Compensation Board of Nova Scotia, there were 666 fewer claims filed for time lost on the job in 2020 than there were in 2019. There were a total of 4,997 time loss claims filed last year and 5,663 filed in 2019, a 12 per cent decrease. (Full Story)

July 23, 2021 - Minimum wage in Yukon set to go up to $15.20 next month - Yukon's minimum wage is going up by $1.35 next month. Beginning Aug. 1, the minimum hourly wage will go from $13.85 to $15.20, following an agreement made this past spring between the Yukon government and the Yukon NDP Caucus. Yukon's minimum wage last went up in April, from $13.71 to $13.85. Yukon will now join several other Canadian jurisdictions that have already bumped up their minimum wage over $15.

July 20, 2021 - GN's 1,576 job vacancies represent 'unacceptable burden' on existing staff: union leader - The Government of Nunavut had 1,576 positions to fill as of its latest public service status report at the end of March, meaning the territorial government was running at 70 per cent capacity. The government's overall staff capacity has been edging downward over the past few years. It was at 73 per cent in March 2018, then fell to 71 per cent in 2019 and 2020. (Full Story)

May 17, 2021 - Nunavut's employment rate shows signs of gradual recovery - Nunavut's workforce was showing a gradual recovery as of April but the job gains were concentrated in the capital city. Four hundred more people were working in Iqaluit in April compared to February, according to Statistics Canada. That put the number of employed people in the territory at an estimated 12,100. (Full Story)

May 13, 2021 - Nunavut's essential workers deserve paid sick leave, NTI says - Many private-sector workers are not entitled to paid sick leave and that could be making some Nunavummiut more vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19, according to Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI). The land claims organization is lobbying for mandatory paid days off for essential workers who are ill, as the territory's existing legislation doesn't require compensation for employees who are self-isolating or sick. (Full Story)

July 26, 2021 - The future of work in Ontario is at a crossroads. Will we ensure decent employment for all? - As we recover from the worst of the pandemic, it is clear Ontario's economic rebound is top of mind for the provincial government. It is, after all, the focus of not one but two recently struck governmental bodies. One is an advisory body about the future of work, and the other a task force on women and the economy. COVID has produced so many concerning labour market disruptions that the province is eager to address them - particularly ahead of an election next year. (Full Story)

July 23, 2021 - Can vaccination be mandatory for employees? - I will start by saying that no one has the answer to whether employees can legally be required to vaccinate in order to attend work and be paid. Anyone who says they know what the law would decide on this issue is kidding themselves. Masks were mandated by the government, which relieves employers of the responsibility of bringing in their own policy. Apparently that will not be happening with vaccinations. (Full Story)

July 20, 2021 - Ontario Helping 100,000 Workers Train for In-Demand Jobs - The Ontario government is investing $5.8 million in free online training to help 100,000 workers gain the skills they need to find good jobs and restart their careers. Courses will focus on building skills most in-demand by employers in fields such as information technology, finance and business administration. This funding is part of the government's $115 million Skills Development Fund to address challenges to hiring, training and retraining workers because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Full Story)

July 6, 2021 - Ontario Helping People with Disabilities Find Jobs - The Ontario government is investing over $380,000 in a free, virtual program led by Career Services Brockville to prepare up to 160 people with disabilities for careers in food and hospitality. Through this program, participants will develop both sector-specific and transferable skills to safely prepare them for work. (Full Story)

June 30, 2021 - No jab, no job? Firing employees for refusing the vaccine - As the world continues to battle with the COVID-19 virus, employers are divided over whether or not to make vaccines mandatory. The 'no jab, no job' argument has some executives on side, with airline Cathay Pacific recently announcing their plans to make vaccines mandatory for all aircrew. However, how legal is it to fundamentally insist on vaccinating teams? Do employees have a choice in all of this? (Full Story)

June 29, 2021 - Unvaccinated employees could face masks, segregation upon return to office: Experts - Unvaccinated workers returning to the office could be required to continue wearing masks, steer clear of common areas and face a staggered workday -or may even be asked to stay home, experts say. As workplaces begin to reopen, employers are grappling with how to keep all workers safe -- including those who are unvaccinated. (Full Story)

June 11, 2021 - Ontario Extending Temporary Wage Increase for Personal Support Workers - The Ontario government is investing $141 million to extend the temporary wage increase for personal support workers and direct support workers in publicly funded home and community care, long-term care, public hospitals, and social services sectors. This temporary wage increase will continue until August 23, 2021, and will help stabilize, attract and retain the workforce needed to provide a high level of care during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Full Story)

June 10, 2021 - Ontario Introduces Streamlined Employment Supports - The Ontario government is making it easier for people to restart their careers and support their families through the creation of an integrated and seamless employment services system. The new system will combine employment programs from social assistance, such as Ontario Works Employment Assistance and Ontario Disability Support Program Employment Supports, into Employment Ontario. This modernized approach will ensure clients have continued access to the services they rely on while helping them succeed in their search for long-term and sustainable employment. (Full Story)

June 7, 2021 - 'They could be fired': Employees may need to show proof of vaccination as workplaces reopen - As Ontario inches toward its economic reopening and employers prepare to recall their workers, labour lawyers are warning that in some cases employees may need to be vaccinated to hold onto their jobs. Employment lawyer Howard Levitt predicts that requiring employees who work alongside others to be fully immunized could be part of the province's post-pandemic normal, given that employers are legally obligated to operate a safe workplace-and could face steep fines and other tough penalties if they don't. (Full Story)

July 26, 2021 - Draft new policy for feedback - The WCB Board of Directors has provided approval in principle for a new policy, Disclosure of Occupational Health and Safety Information (POL-161). The proposed policy provides guidelines for communication to promote workplace safety and protect sensitive information. The draft policy is available in the Policy Consultation section of our website, where you are invited to provide feedback by August 26, 2021. (Full Story)

July 23, 2021 - Revised WCB Policy - Amendments have been made to the policy, POL-03, Travel and Related Expenses, following the WCB Board of Directors final approval.  Information about the changes can be found in the History section of the policy. The WCB thanks all stakeholders who participated in the consultation process. The purpose of the policy is to explain how the Workers Compensation Board provides support to workers for travel and related expenses resulting from their workplace injuries. (Full Story)

July 9, 2021 - P.E.I. unemployment jumped to 12.5% in June, says Statistics Canada - The unemployment rate jumped almost three points on P.E.I. in June, a combination of a rush of people into the work force and a loss of full-time jobs. Statistics Canada released the Labour Force Survey for June on Friday morning. The rate rose from 9.6 per cent in May to 12.5 per cent. It is the highest unemployment rate in the province since last June, just before the Atlantic bubble opened. (Full Story)

June 17, 2021 - Pandemic shows EI system in need of significant retooling, committee finds - A parliamentary committee is recommending significant changes to the employment insurance (EI) system in Canada, saying the program "no longer reflects the realities of today's labour market," and suggesting the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for urgent reforms. "When the pandemic hit, the system didn't have a chance of covering off the people that were thrown out of work through no fault of their own," said Charlottetown MP Sean Casey, chair of the standing committee on human resources. (Full Story)

May 28, 2021 - P.E.I. program aims to help those with intellectual disabilities and autism land jobs - Inside the theatre at Kings Playhouse sit rows and rows of seats that need cleaning - 20-year-old Ryan MacNeil is on a mission to get them all. "I help care take the building. That includes mopping the floors, cleaning the washroom, folding pamphlets and, if necessary, painting," he said. MacNeil has never had a job but over the past few weeks he's been taking part in a new program and learning additional skills to secure work down the line. (Full Story)

May 27, 2021 - Aquaculture jobs plentiful on P.E.I., industry says - While employers in P.E.I.'s tourism sector are asking summer job seekers to be patient, employers in aquaculture say they're in dire need of staff.  Oyster, mussel and finfish companies are hiring, and are having a tough time attracting applicants. "Aquaculture has some specific challenges, in [that] not a lot of people are necessarily aware of the industry and aware of the employment opportunities out there," said the P.E.I. Aquaculture Alliance's Peter Warris, adding many of the jobs pay well and are full-time, year-round. (Full Story)

May 27, 2021 - Why P.E.I. summer job seekers may need to be patient this year - Some seasonal employers on the Island are warning summer job seekers they'll need to be patient this year. According to the Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I. (TIAPEI), while many businesses would normally have most of their staff hired by now, uncertainty around the season ahead is forcing them to hold off on hiring, or to make "pending offers" for now. (Full Story)

May 19, 2021 - P.E.I. minimum wage committee open for submissions - A committee of P.E.I.'s Employment Standards Board is preparing to accept submissions on the next adjustment to the minimum wage. The minimum wage on P.E.I. is currently $13 an hour. For the last few years, the government has moved the wage upwards every April 1. Employment Standards Board chair Wayne Vessey said any Islander or Island organization can make a submission on the wage. (Full Story)

July 22, 2021 - Sask. employers should offer clarity on return to work plans, experts say - With pandemic restrictions lifted in Saskatchewan, many people are starting to return to the workplace - a process mental health experts say should be done in a clear and flexible way. "I think we just have to kind of throw out our former ideas about what the workplace looks like and be open to doing things in new and different ways that are supportive of our staff and that are supportive of our business," said Faith Bodnar. (Full Story)

July 13, 2021 - Saskatchewan lifts emergency layoff provisions - Saskatchewan is calling on employers in the province to recall employees who have been laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This comes as the government announced the removal of the public health orders related to COVID-19 and lifted the state of emergency for the province. The government is giving employers two weeks since July 11 to schedule an employee who has been on a temporary layoff back to work, or provide pay instead of notice as required by the Employment Standards Regulations. (Full Story)

July 13, 2021 - More jobs than workers in service industry right now as Saskatchewan lifts COVID-19 restrictions - As COVID-19 public health restrictions lift in Saskatchewan people are slowly venturing out and looking for a sense of normalcy, but some places may be short-staffed as restaurants struggle to hire. Hospitality Saskatchewan said some tourism outfitters are not opening at full capacity because they just don't have the staff. (Full Story)

June 4, 2021 - Change to Minimum Wage Announced for October - Saskatchewan's minimum wage will increase to $11.81.  The change will take effect on October 1, 2021. Saskatchewan's minimum wage is reviewed annually and is calculated using an indexation formula.  The formula gives equal weight to changes to the Consumer Price Index and Average Hourly Wage for Saskatchewan. The current minimum wage is $11.45.  There have been 13 increases to the minimum wage, for a total increase of over 48 per cent, since 2007. (Full Story)

June 4, 2021 - Saskatchewan Leads The Country In Job Creation Again - Saskatchewan's strong economy and balanced approach to COVID restrictions is resulting in our province having the strongest job growth and lowest unemployment rate in Canada for the second consecutive month. According to job numbers released by Statistics Canada for May 2021, while employment nationwide was down by 68,000 or 0.4 per cent from April, the number of people working in Saskatchewan grew by 4,100 or 0.7 per cent. (Full Story)

July 27, 2021 - Yukon minimum wage to rise in August - Yukon is set to increase its minimum wage this coming August, pushing through with the commitment it made during the Speech from the Throne in May. The minimum wage in the province will jump to $15.20 an hour at the start of next month, following an order from the Employment Standards Board. This is up from the territory's minimum wage of $13.85 per hour, based on the 2020 Consumer Price Index for the capital city of Whitehorse. (Full Story)

July 23, 2021 - Update on August 1 increase to minimum wage - The Government of Yukon is providing an update today to its commitment to increase the minimum wage to $15.20 an hour on August 1, 2021, and to subsequent annual increases tied to inflation. The government spoke to the commitment to increase the minimum wage in the Speech from the Throne on May 11, 2021. (Full Story)

July 8, 2021 - New job-protected leave supports victims of domestic and sexualized assault - Victims of domestic and sexualized violence now have access to paid and unpaid leave under the Employment Standards Act, following today's proclamation of Bill 10. This leave may be accessed by victims of domestic violence perpetrated by intimate partners or family members and by victims of sexualized violence. Yukon's leave also extends to employees if their child, a person they care for or a close friend is a victim of domestic or sexualized violence. (Full Story)

July 6, 2021 - Yukon's Growth Means Jobs Boom and Greater Demand for Immigrants - Canada immigration news: The Yukon is in dire need of immigrants to bolster its ageing workforce as two new mines are set to open in the next few years, leading to a jobs boom, says a report released by the Conference Board of Canada. In that report, 'New Projects, Bright Prospects: Yukon's 20-Year Outlook', the Canadian think-tank notes the westernmost territory in the Canadian North has an ageing population, a trend that is expected to continue through to 2040. (Full Story)

Bringing the office home

Remote work is here to stay -- here's how to make it work for you

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the most global change management in the history of modern work. That's because typically, change management usually requires significant planning before making any organization-wide change. The pandemic didn't allow for much planning.

Leaders were scrambling. They didn't have time to think about how much, how many, or how fast. They had to act. They didn't have time to gather different viewpoints on a change plan, or reflect on whether the required changes were viewed as a loss or as an opportunity. They didn't have time to scan their workforce to determine who would be the early adopters, the laggards or the resisters. They simply had to focus on survival.

Employees, on the other hand, quickly experienced that all too common "grief and loss" cycle that typically accompanies any change initiative. They, too, initially focused on survival, both their own as well as their employer's. "Will I have a job tomorrow?" was a question that hounded many employees sent on their way to work out of home. Shock, denial and confusion reigned supreme as both work and personal lives were thrown into disarray. There was no dialogue or bargaining about job security, it was a take-it-or-leave-it situation. And, of course, many individuals became "former" employees as their organization could not weather the pandemic.

As a change-management experiment, the pandemic has proven employers and employees can quickly mobilize in a time of crisis. As well, it has proven that working from home, or "remote" work really can work. That's interesting because over the years, many employees have begged to have the opportunity to work at home with little success. However, the pandemic has caused this pendulum to swing from "no response" to full acceptance and encouragement. It's interesting how times change.

Today as the COVID-19 numbers are stabilizing and declining, the question for leaders is whether or not to continue with remote work and/or require all staff to return to the physical work environment. Larger organizations are already announcing their support for continuing remote work as a personal employee choice. Still other organizational leaders are viewing the situation from a financial point of view and reflecting on the cost implications of a reduced physical footprint.

So, if the choice to work remotely was left up to you, the employee, what decision would you make? Is long-term remote work really for you? What are the short and long-term implications? The following considerations may assist you to make a decision.

Permanent workspace

You may have been temporarily set up on the dining room table but will this work in the long run? What kind of disruption to your home environment will a remote office create? Will a home office take away space from the rest of your family? What about your family's personal needs? Will you expect them to be quiet all day while you work? Remember, it's their home too. Take time to create some clarity with your family about the dividing line between home and work.

Work requirements

In most cases, the lighting in a home is not the same as a formal workplace. What are you able to do to prevent eyestrain? Do you have a desk and chair which ensure good posture? Do you have the right equipment to maintain confidential work files? Is your employer providing financial assistance to properly set up an office in your home? Will the employer contribute to some of the costs of a home office? What equipment is needed so that you can optimize your productivity while working from home?

Work schedule

Remote work doesn't need to be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. as most employers are now allowing a more flexible work schedule. Therefore, it is important for you to examine what type of flexible schedule would work best. Are you an early bird or a night owl? Do you want to make time for personal things during the work week? Prioritize your needs, develop a schedule, give it a trial period and then negotiate a longer term arrangement.

Formal agreements

Work with your organization to develop a formal agreement that spells out all the conditions for working at home. This should include financial support, the daily schedule, the overall flexibility of work time, review dates and how a return to the physical workspace occur should you choose.

Personality impact

If you have an introvert personality, then working from home might be very comfortable as you don't need to see people often. On the other hand, if you are an extrovert, you love being around people and working at home will be a challenge. Be honest and take time to create protections for yourself so that you are not lonely and depressed after a period of time. Extroverts will need to ensure connectivity with their team as well as individuals. How will you do this?

Personal motivation

Working remotely requires discipline. It requires independence and autonomy in setting the work schedule and getting the job done. It requires focus and stamina in terms of avoiding the disruptions that might occur from the family pets or young children. Even the home phone can become a disruption. Take time to examine just what motivates you and how this applies to remote work. Does remote work increase your creativity and innovation? Can you work without direct supervision? Will your personal security needs be met? If you are a team manager, can you be effective working remotely? All of this requires some good self-analysis.

Relationship building

Working remotely requires more effort by individuals to develop good rapport and good relationships. This will need to be built into your work day. As part of the soft skills you need to develop for overall career success, it is important that you find time to talk to colleagues on a more casual basis even if it is all done through technology. This is especially important if you need to count on other individuals to complete your work and/or to forward your section of work to someone else.

As indicated earlier, it is interesting how this COVID-19 emergency has helped to swing the pendulum towards the acceptance of remote work. It is no longer an experiment; instead, remote work is here to stay. Can it work for you?

This article is by permission from Barbara J. Bowes, FCPHR, CCP, M.Ed., 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. She can be reached at

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