Payroll News Canada - Employment Articles

May 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

May 2021 - Canada Summer Jobs 2021 - Did you know that Canada Summer Jobs 2021 hiring season is underway? Employment and Social Development Canada is reporting a record number of jobs now available for young Canadians. The program continues to help young Canadians get the skills and experience they need to start their careers. Since 2015, the Government of Canada has doubled the number of jobs created through the Canada Summer Jobs program, creating meaningful, paid work experience from over 150,000 job opportunities available this year. Click Here to learn more about this valuable program.

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


Canadian Federal Payroll and Employment News

May 2, 2021 - Report: Nearly 60% of U.S. HR pros considering Canada for expansion - Despite persistent North American border closures since the onset of the pandemic, Canada remains of particular interest to U.S. employers, according to a recent survey of 500 U.S. HR professionals and hiring managers conducted by Envoy Global. Fifty-seven per cent of survey respondents reported either considering Canada for expansion or already have an office there. (Full Story)

May 1, 2021 - Jobs Are Coming Back but It's Still a Long Road for Some - Companies are hiring and unemployment is falling across most advanced economies on hopes that vaccines will eventually contain the Coronavirus. But not every job is coming back.The pandemic has pushed out older employees and is deepening inequality as lower income workers feel the brunt of the crisis. Economists warn that there's still a way to go before global employment is back to where it was before the pandemic. (Full Story)

April 28, 2021 - Record number of Canada Summer Jobs now available for young Canadians - The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on all Canadians, but especially on young Canadians. That is why the Government of Canada continues to make historic investments to ensure that youth have the supports and opportunities they need to build long and successful careers. The government has announced that more than 150,000 Canada Summer Jobs opportunities are now available at jobbank.gc.ca/youth. (Full Story)

April 23, 2021 - Canadian employers grant workers time off to get COVID-19 vaccination - Employers are letting their workers take time off work to get immunized against COVID-19 as vaccine rollout ramps up in Canada. Companies including Canada Goose, Bank of Montreal, Toronto-Dominion Bank and Staples Canada have said they're offering employees at least three hours of paid leave to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. (Full Story)

April 20, 2021 - Ottawa calls for $15 minimum wage, changes to CEWS, CRB, EI - Ottawa is setting aside a huge chunk of its 2021 Budget to provide better wages, benefits and protections for Canadian workers. The government plans to introduce legislation that will establish a minimum wage of $15 per hour, rising with inflation, for federally regulated workers. The legislation will also include provisions to ensure that where provincial or territorial minimum wages are higher, that wage will prevail. (Full Story)

April 20, 2021 - Budget 2021 Low-wage workers - The worst economic impacts of the pandemic have been suffered by those who could least afford it. Low-wage workers have been up to six times more likely to suffer layoffs than wealthy Canadians. Estimates suggest that today there have been about 268,000 net job losses among low-wage workers since February of 2020, compared to about 40,000 over the same time period during the Great Recession, adjusting for population growth. (Full Story)

April 19, 2021 - Canada Adds 303,000 Jobs, Unemployment Lowest Since Before COVID-19 - The latest federal government figures released Friday show Canada's unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. The Statistics Canada Labour Market Survey recorded unemployment of 7.5 percent, as Canada jobs increased by 303,100 during the month, moving employment within 1.5 percent of pre-COVID levels. (Full Story)

April 15, 2021 - Plans for update to EI system coming soon, Qualtrough says in budget hint - Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough says any changes to modernize the employment insurance system won't be done without considering the financial impact on workers and employers. She also said the government will have to carefully make changes to the system so tinkering with one part of the decades-old system doesn't cause a cascade of problems. (Full Story)

April 14, 2021 - Ottawa opens new pathway to permanent status for temporary essential workers and graduates - The federal government will introduce a new pathway to permanent residency for foreign nationals working in Canada in essential jobs such as personal support and health services. The new policy will allow up to 90,000 workers and international graduates already in Canada to convert their temporary status to permanent status, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said in a news release. (Full Story)

April 9, 2021 - Economy adds 303,000 jobs in March, unemployment rate falls, Statistics Canada says - Canada's economy added more than 300,000 jobs in March, once again outpacing expectations and putting the labour market on track to recoup all that was lost one year ago even before a federal budget rolls out with its promise of billions in stimulus spending. In all, Statistics Canada said the economy added 303,000 jobs in March as restrictions rolled back, paving the way for more workers to return to high-touch sectors hardest hit by public health restrictions. (Full Story)

April 9, 2021 - Etiquette for asking if your employees are vaccinated - Asking your workers whether or not they got their COVID-19 vaccine shot is not necessarily a good idea. In Canada, 7.25 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been given, The Canadian Press reported Apr. 9. Two per cent of Canada's population (762,766 people) have been fully vaccinated. Whether or not an individual is vaccinated is considered sensitive personal health information. That said, once the majority of the population is vaccinated, there may be circumstances under which an employer is justified in asking workers for their vaccination status. (Full Story)

April 9, 2021 - Canada's recovery kicks into higher gear, adds 303,000 jobs - Canada's jobs market blew past expectations for a second straight month, one more sign the nation's economy is on the cusp of fully recovering from the pandemic. The economy added 303,100 jobs in March, Statistics Canada reported Friday in Ottawa. That's triple what economists were anticipating, and follows a gain of 259,200 in February. The two-month jump was led by a rebound in a retail sector hit hardest by closures over the winter. The country has now recovered all but 296,000 of the nearly 3 million jobs lost during the pandemic. (Full Story)

April 6, 2021 - Employment Equity Compliance: Addressing under-representation in the Canadian workforce - The Employment Equity Act is the foundation of the compliance obligations of federally regulated employers under the legislated employment equity program (LEEP) and of federal contractors under the  Federal Contractors Program (FCP).  Federally regulated employers must comply with the nine statutory obligations detailed in the Act, and non-compliance may result in monetary penalties. (Full Story)

April 6, 2021 - As Liberals consider EI update, gig workers hope to qualify for social safety net - Ryan G. Hinds longs for the days of walking through the halls of a theatre and seeing musicians warm up, stage managers chit-chatting and technicians sharing a piece of licorice before a show. It's been a long year for the 42-year-old Toronto actor and cabaret performer, who has watched how a safety net for unemployed workers has failed to catch gig workers like Hinds. (Full Story)

April 1, 2021 - Providing youth on the autism spectrum with skills and training to enter the workforce - When young people have the tools, resources and supports they need to start their careers, they embark on a path to success. In recognition of the upcoming World Autism Awareness Day, we celebrate the many contributions that Canadians on the autism spectrum have made and continue to make in our communities. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our everyday lives, young people in the autism community are especially feeling its impacts. (Full Story)

March 31, 2021 - Canada's environmental workforce adds 34,600 jobs during pandemic: report - Canada's environmental workforce grew by five per cent in 2020 - adding nearly 35,000 net new jobs - even as the impact of the pandemic rattled the economy and labour markets. That's according to a new report from ECO Canada, which also forecasts thousands more environmental openings over the next five years. The report, released Wednesday, says the environmental workforce added about 34,600 net new jobs last year, bringing the total to around 689,900 workers. (Full Story)

March 23, 2021 - Government of Canada helps employers create accessible and inclusive workplaces for employees with disabilities - $3 million in funding was announced through the National Workplace Accessibility Stream for the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW) and its Accommodation and Inclusion Management (AIM) program. The program was created to help employers build healthy and productive workplaces. Minister Qualtrough made the announcement during a virtual event hosted by CCRW. (Full Story)


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


April 23, 2021 - Relief for businesses now available - The Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant (SMERG) program has been reopened for a new payment to businesses affected by the April 2021 public health orders. Eligible organizations can use the funding for many purposes including employee wages. The grant offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses, cooperatives and non-profit organizations with fewer than 500 employees that have faced restrictions or closures due to COVID-related public health orders, and have experienced revenue losses of at least 30 per cent. Hotels, taxis and ride-sharing services are also now eligible for this payment. (Full Story)

April 21, 2021 - Providing paid COVID-19 vaccination leave - The Employment Standards Code has been amended to allow all working Albertans to access paid, job-protected leave to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Employees and employers are encouraged to work together when scheduling COVID-19 vaccination leaves. Employees need to provide notice to their employer as soon as possible and reasonable in the circumstances when they are taking this leave. When possible, employees should discuss vaccination leave with their employers prior to booking their appointment. (Full Story)

April 13, 2021 - Modernizing apprenticeship education and skilled trades - If passed, the Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Education Act will replace the Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT) Act, which was introduced in 1991 and no longer meets the needs of industry, employers, apprentices or post-secondary institutions. The changes in the new legislation will enable Alberta to expand apprenticeship education to other professions and high-demand occupations and modernize how skilled trades professions are governed. (Full Story)

April 13, 2021 - Alberta wants to expand use of apprenticeships into a wider variety of jobs - Alberta wants to use the apprenticeship model for training more occupations than the traditional skilled trades. Bill 67, the Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Education Act, replaces outdated legislation that made this shift impossible. The government said apprenticeships - a type of on-the-job mentoring - only applied to trades like plumbing and hairstyling under the current Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act, which was implemented in 1991. (Full Story)

April 9, 2021 - Alberta unemployment rate dropped to 9.1% in March - Red Deer's unemployment rate rose slightly to 10.2 per cent, while the province's rate dropped to 9.1 per cent in the month of March. When compared to February, the city's unemployment rate rose 0.2 percentage points, but more people are entering the labour force. He said there are 3,000 additional people working compared to a month ago. (Full Story)

April 1, 2021 - 2021 Legislative Changes - The Government of Alberta recently passed legislative changes for the workers' compensation system. Some of these changes came into effect January 1, 2021, while others are effective April 1, 2021. We are committed to keeping you informed and consulting with our stakeholders on areas where we need further input. Visit the link below to learn about the changes and how they impact you. (Full Story)

April 28, 2021 - Grant supports culture of accommodation in the workplace - Individuals who are dealing with a mental or physical health impairment will be better supported to safely return to work, thanks to new funding for the National Institute of Disability Management and Research (NIDMAR). The Province is providing NIDMAR with $6 million in a one-time grant to administer a return-to-work and disability management education program and support project over the next four years. (Full Story)

April 26, 2021 - B.C. begins looking for its own COVID-19 sick pay solution - The B.C. government is reluctantly seeking its own way of offering sick pay to more people who experience symptoms of COVID-19 but lose pay if they stay home. B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains said he was expecting the much-delayed April 19 federal budget to include provisions that B.C. and other provinces were looking for. Beyond a previously announced program to pay up to $500 a week for people who are directed to self-isolate, the measure wasn't there, and B.C. tabled its own budget the next day. (Full Story)

April 23, 2021 - B.C. among top provinces for job growth - Canada's labour market posted a mammoth job gain in March as second-wave reopenings lifted rehiring. Nationally, employment surged by 303,000 persons (or 1.6%), marking the largest single gain since September. The gap from pre-pandemic employment levels narrowed to 1.5%. Less stringent lockdown conditions, specifically in Ontario, were a significant driver of the increase. The unemployment rate fell to 7.5% from 8.2%, marking the lowest level since the pandemic commenced. (Full Story)

April 19, 2021 - Paid leave for workers to get COVID-19 vaccine - The B.C. government has introduced amendments to the Employment Standards Act that, if passed, will provide workers with up to three hours of paid leave to get each dose of their COVID-19 vaccine. The amendments ensure no one will lose pay if they need time away from work to get vaccinated. These amendments expand on the regulatory improvements made on April 1, 2021, that currently provide job-protected leave for workers to take as much time as they need to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (Full Story)

April 13, 2021 - Summer job grant rejections spiked after abortion litmus test - Rejection rates spiked after the federal government's summer job program rules required groups to affirm abortion rights in 2018, and rejections fell only after legal challenges from pro-life groups. The Canada Summer Job Grants program, administered Employment and Social Development Canada, has funded an estimated 70,000 summer jobs each year for secondary school or college students. The program has supplied the funds that allowed small businesses, non-profit organizations, and religious employers to fill positions such as camp counselors or landscapers. (Full Story)

April 9, 2021 - Higher wages coming for B.C.'s lowest paid workers - On June 1, 2021, B.C. liquor servers will get a pay boost as the lower liquor server minimum wage is replaced with the general minimum wage of $15.20 an hour. This move delivers on a commitment made in 2018 to bring an end to the alternative liquor server minimum wage in B.C., 80% of whom are women. June also marks reaching the goal of a $15.20 an hour minimum wage through regular, measured and predictable increases, which was recommended by the Fair Wages Commission in 2018. (Full Story)

April 9, 2021 - Part-time employment surges as B.C. adds 35k jobs in March - For the second month in a row, employment gains in B.C. were buoyed by growth in part-time jobs as the province added 35,000 positions to the labour force in March. Full-time work took a hit last month, however, with Statistics Canada reporting Friday the province lost 6,700 full-time jobs between February and March. (Full Story)

April 8, 2021 - Relief funding coming for hard-hit businesses - The B.C. government will provide more than $50 million to help the 14,000 restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, gyms and fitness centres affected by the March 30, 2021, provincial health orders. The new Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant will provide affected businesses with up to $10,000 in one-time funding to help with expenses like rent, insurance, employee wages, maintenance and utilities. (Full Story)

April 7, 2021 - Skills training, education key to recovery for Indigenous communities - More than 1,700 Indigenous people in communities throughout British Columbia will be able to access education or skills training for in-demand jobs. The opportunity to receive training in a high-demand field will help Indigenous people get back into the workforce faster and contribute to recovery efforts across the province. Investing in skills training and education for Indigenous peoples is part of government's economic recovery plan, created to help people upskill or reskill so they can find their place in the post COVID-19 economy. (Full Story)

April 1, 2021 - BC Increased Employment Incentive - The BC increased employment incentive is a one-time refundable tax credit for employers. The deadline to apply is December 31, 2021. The increased employment incentive allows employers to apply for a one-time tax credit. The credit is 15 per cent of the amount that the employer's total eligible remuneration for all eligible employees in the qualifying period exceeds the employer's total eligible remuneration for all eligible employees in the base period. (Full Story)

April 29, 2021 - Province To Provide More Than $25 Million For Youth Employment In Summer - The Manitoba government will provide more than $25 million that will support more than 8,000 youth employment opportunities this summer through the new Manitoba Youth Jobs Program and existing Green Team grants. The new $15-million Manitoba Youth Jobs Program will provide employers a 50 per cent subsidy on wages paid to eligible employees during the program period of May to September 2021, with a maximum of up to $25,000 per employer. (Full Story)

April 27, 2021 - Manitoba holds biggest Skilled Worker in MB draw so far this year - Manitoba invited 367 immigration candidates to apply for a provincial nomination, most of them skilled workers in the province. The province invited candidates through the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP). Most of the invited candidates may be eligible for the Skilled Worker in Manitoba stream. These are temporary foreign workers and international student graduates who have job offers in skilled occupations in the province. (Full Story)

April 22, 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)

April 16, 2021 - Manitobans Reminded of Available Support and Job Protection When Leave Is Required Due To Covid-19 - Help is available to Manitobans who must miss work because of a positive COVID-19 result and are not eligible for paid leave through their workplace, Finance Minister Scott Fielding and Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, said today. Last year, Manitoba introduced a temporary job-protected leave to the Employment Standards Code for employees who are unable to work due to circumstances related to the pandemic. (Full Story)

April 15, 2021 - Online Payroll Reporting Still Available - WCB Manitoba is asking if you reported your payroll yet? They remind us that we are required to report our payroll even if we've missed the deadline or don't anticipate having workers in 2021. If you haven't used it yet, accessing the Online Payroll Reporting System is the easiest, fastest and most reliable method of reporting your payroll information. It's a secure Internet system that's available 24/7. At the beginning of the year, you received a notice with an access code that allows you to log in. (Full Story)

April 9, 2021 - Manitoba posts good employment numbers for second straight month - Manitoba continued to post strong employment recovery numbers in March, a key indicator to economic recovery, with the second-lowest unemployment in the country. It is the second consecutive month Manitoba has posted a 6.8% unemployment mark, despite an increase of 6,300 jobs last month. The province did hold off on further loosening health orders in the last renewal and there is now talk of more health orders coming back on with this latest wave and concern about variants. (Full Story)

March 26, 2021 - Restart Program Protecting Manitobans and Communities, Creating Jobs - The Manitoba government is investing nearly $50 million for essential water and waste-water services projects under the Manitoba Restart Program to protect communities and create jobs. Municipal Relations Minister Derek Johnson said "Our government is committed to growing Manitoba's economy and protecting Manitobans, and these investments will help create jobs and improve the safety and well-being of our communities." (Full Story)

March 14, 2021 - Manitoba's part-time workers see surge in employment - The unemployment rate in Canada is dropping, according to figures released Friday by Statistics Canada. Manitoba added 16,000 jobs, primarily part-time work, to boost the country's numbers to 259,000 new jobs in February. The national unemployment rate fell to 8.2 per cent in February, from 9.4 per cent in January. Economics professor at the University of Manitoba, Fletcher Baragar, says it's a pleasant surprise to see part-time work lead the way. (Full Story)

April 26, 2021 - N.B. Farmers Face Higher Costs With Return Of Temporary Foreign Workers - Temporary foreign workers have begun arriving in New Brunswick for another season of work in the fields and the fish plants. The Higgs government introduced new Covid-19 guidelines this spring which requires all workers to quarantine individually as opposed to being in groups. Ashworth says this change will mean added costs for producers – such as for hotel rooms and food – estimated at roughly $6,300 per worker. (Full Story)

April 14, 2021 - Reminder to New Brunswick employers - As a result of recent increases in COVID-19 cases in the province and growing concern over variant strains, WorkSafeNB is reminding employers of their obligations to follow Public Health measures to minimize exposure to COVID-19. These include: Having a COVID-19 operational plan. Training staff on how the plan applies to the workplace; Watching for and adapting to revised Public Health requirements; and Reaching out to Public Health or WorkSafeNB for more information when needed. (Full Story)

April 9, 2021 - N.B. Loses 1,000 Full-Time Jobs As Unemployment Rate Rises - While New Brunswick added 400 jobs last month, many were part-time positions. In total, 1,000 full-time positions were lost and 1,400 part-time ones were created, bringing the unemployment rate up 8.9 percent to 9.2 percent in March, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada. The employment picture varied from city to city. Saint John's unemployment rate dropped from 12.2 to 10.9 between February and March. Employment rose by 200 to a total of 62,800 employed. (Full Story)

April 5, 2021 - Five Cents Is Not A Raise, Say Advocates - Some advocates in New Brunswick see the province's five-cent minimum wage increase on April Fools' Day as nothing more than a joke. Abram Lutes, the provincial coordinator of the New Brunswick Common Front for Social Justice, said an hourly wage of $11.75 is not enough progress. Lutes said the low-wage workers they've heard from about this increase feel patronized by the provincial government. (Full Story)

March 19, 2021 - Wage increases on April 1 for workers in the human service sector - The provincial government is investing $12.4 million to fund wage increases on April 1 for workers in the human service sector, including home support workers, community residence workers, special care home workers, and family support workers. The investment announced in the 2021-22 budget will provide for the following wage increases for over 10,000 workers. (Full Story)

April 2021 - Working Safely in Remote Workplaces - Workplace NL is holding a webinar on the subject of working safely in a remote workplace. Working remotely presents different hazards for workers and unique challenges for the employer in meeting their responsibilities to ensure a safe workplace. Join us as we discuss health and safety roles and responsibilities that relate to working remotely and tips for working safely. (Full Story)

April 13, 2021 - Students Getting to Work with Enhanced Employment Programs - The Provincial Government is calling for applications from employers to get students working with enhanced employment programs that prepare them to enter the workforce and assist businesses to operate more affordably. The programs include greater support and broader eligibility options such as: Increased Funding (to over $3.7 million from $2.1 million in 2020); Increased wage subsidies (private sector employers will be eligible to receive a wage subsidy reimbursement of up to 75 per cent of the actual hourly wage, up to a maximum subsidy of $12.50 per hour); and Consideration for part-time employment (due to COVID-19, part-time employment will be considered. Under regular rules, all summer employment must be full-time (minimum of 25 hours per week). (Full Story)

April 15, 2021 - Amended Employment Standards Act leaves workers vulnerable: MLA - Recent amendments to the Employment Standards Act risk leaving NWT workers out in the cold, says Frame Lake MLA Kevin O'Reilly. One aspect of the amendments that O'Reilly says is problematic is the elimination of the requirement for advance notice of group terminations for large numbers of employees. Under section 41 of the previous version of the act, employers who want to terminate the employment of 25 or more employees at once or during a period shorter than four weeks must notify the Employment Standards Officer and any unions involved. (Full Story)

April 13, 2021 - Youth enjoy record high employment in March - Youth aged 15 to 24 saw their employment rate rise by 19.2 per cent in March 2021 compared to March 2020, a record high for March among that group. The rise amounted to a job rate for youth reaching 55.6 per cent in March, according to the Labour Force Survey released Friday by the NWT Bureau of Statistics. (Full Story)

March 18, 2021 - NWT jobs rate continues to outperform pre-pandemic levels - The NWT employment rate reached 66.7 per cent in February, exceeding rates seen in the months before the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. The rate marks the highest of any February since 2016, when it was at 71 per cent, according to the Labour Force Activity report released Friday by the NWT Bureau of Statistics. February's rate was also higher than the 58.4 per cent employment rate for the rest of Canada. (Full Story)

March 11, 2021 - Government of the Northwest Territories Announces Minimum Wage Increase - Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, R.J. Simpson announced today an increase to the Northwest Territories (NWT) Minimum Wage. Effective September 1, 2021, the minimum wage will increase from $13.46 per hour to $15.20 per hour. The minimum wage rate in the NWT was last increased in 2018 and was set at a rate of $13.46 per hour. Since that time, the cost of living and the average hourly wage in the NWT have risen and minimum wage earners have fallen behind. (Full Story)

March 2021 - March Issue of The Safety Net - The Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut has released the March 2021 issue of the Safety Net, their enewsletter that provides current information on safety and WSCC operations. This month's issue includes an article about fatigue in the workplace and also discusses some recent policy changes. (Full Story)

April 28, 2021 - Pre-employment program for people with autism starting on the South Shore - A program aimed at helping people with autism find and keep work is coming to the South Shore. EmploymentWorks (EW) is a free pre-employment program for autistic youth and adults with autism that offers employment preparedness training and support. It was first offered in Halifax in 2015 and is hosted by Autism Nova Scotia. (Full Story)

April 27, 2021 - WCB Nova Scotia postpones Permanent Medical Impairment Assessment (PMI) Appointments - Due to increasing case counts of COVID-19, travel restrictions, and community spread in Nova Scotia, appointments for Permanent Medical Impairment (PMI) assessments are postponed for at least the next two weeks. All workers with appointments will be contacted to reschedule. All other in-person services of WCB Nova Scotia are suspended, and our buildings are not open to the general public at this time. (Full Story)

April 23, 2021 - Many Halifax employees return to working from home - Many large employers in the Halifax area say they're immediately returning some employees to a work-from-home model following Thursday's announcement of new COVID-19 restrictions from the province. Emera, which employs about 2,300 people in Nova Scotia through branches that include Nova Scotia Power and Emera Energy, said it began re-entry process for its employees in the fall, but stopped in November with the rise of the second wave. (Full Story)

April 18, 2021 - More employers may be 'very much open' to working from home: HR expert - While some companies and employees may be excited to return to the office once the COVID-19 pandemic ends, a Halifax human resources expert expects more employers to become more inclined to adopt working from home. A recent survey from global staffing firm Robert Half found 33 per cent of Canadian respondents currently working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic are not interested in returning to their pre-COVID work life. (Full Story)

April 13, 2021 - Halifax Employment Growth Continues, 2,400 Jobs Added Last Month - The city's employed labour force keeps growing, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Statistics Canada's latest numbers, the city added 2,400 jobs between February and March. The number of people employed in Halifax as of March was 242,500 – an increase of 2,400 from the previous month. (Full Story)

April 12, 2021 - Low wages, lack of benefits driving continuing care assistants away, N.S. unions say - Union leaders who represent continuing care assistants in the province say if the government really wants to address recruitment and retention issues in the sector, workers must be able to get reliable hours and better pay and benefits. Nan McFadgen, president of CUPE Nova Scotia, told the legislature's law amendments committee Monday that the recent history of labour relations in the province leaves her with little faith the government will do right by the 3,000 continuing care assistants she represents. (Full Story)

April 6, 2021 - Support to Help Nova Scotians Connect to the Workforce - The province is investing $10 million to support 25 communities through the Back to Work Community Partnership initiative so they can plan and deliver short-term programs aimed at helping people build skills and connect to the local workforce. The Back to Work Community Partnership focuses on helping employers hire skilled workers and supports people, especially those from underrepresented groups, to prepare, train and connect to meaningful employment. (Full Story)

March 30, 2021 - Nova Scotia minimum wage has plenty of room to grow - Today, on April 1, Nova Scotia's minimum hourly wage increases from $12.55 to $12.95. Is that "too high" or "too low"? We know for sure that the minimum wage in many other places is significantly higher. There are also some places where the poorest paid get even less than they do in Nova Scotia. New Brunswick ($11.75) and Newfoundland and Labrador ($12.15) are examples in Canada. In U.S. states like Kansas, Kentucky or Louisiana, the federal minimum wage (currently $7.25 US, equal to $9.11) sets the floor. (Full Story)

March 15, 2021 - Are minimum wage hikes 'largely ineffective'? - With the Northwest Territories raising its minimum wage as of Sept. 1 and Nova Scotia also raising its wage starting April 1, a report suggests these increases do little to lower poverty rates and can actually hurt low-income workers. Minimum wage increases can raise unemployment levels because businesses often respond by laying off workers, reducing work hours or hiring less (or not at all), according to the report from the Fraser Institute. (Full Story)

March 11, 2021 - N.S. to review minimum wage approach as advocates decry 'laughable' increase - Nova Scotia has agreed to review its current approach to minimum wage increases as calls for higher wages in the province grow louder. The Department of Labour says it is following a recommendation from the minimum wage review committee, an arms-length body mandated by Nova Scotia's Labour Standards Code to conduct an annual review of minimum wage. (Full Story)

April 29, 2021 - Living wage for child-care workers among top priorities, says NTI president - Proper buildings, a living wage for workers and more training opportunities are the three biggest needs when it comes to child care and early childhood education in Nunavut, according to Aluki Kotierk, president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. In that budget, the government announced new permanent funding for child care and early education across the country, which includes $30 billion over the next five years. (Full Story)

March 2021 - March Issue of The Safety Net - The Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut has released the March 2021 issue of the Safety Net, their enewsletter that provides current information on safety and WSCC operations. This month's issue includes an article about fatigue in the workplace and also discusses some recent policy changes. (Full Story)

May 3, 2021 - How offering employees paid sick leave can pay off for businesses - With pleas to provide paid sick leave for essential workers growing louder in several parts of the country, some companies that already do so say it's not just good for protecting health - it's good for the books. The company has remained open throughout the pandemic, despite having some COVID-19 cases. It provides up to 14 days paid sick leave for its staff of 500, most of whom work in production, packaging and shipping for an hourly wage. (Full Story)

April 29, 2021 - Freelance and gig workers left out of Ontario COVID-19 sick day program - Ontario politicians passed a bill Thursday afternoon that will provide employees three paid sick days in the event of illness, isolation, or any other work absence related to COVID-19. The measure, which was announced a day earlier, will be in place until Sept. 25 and will be administered through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. (Full Story)

April 28, 2021 - Ontario Helps Train More Personal Support Workers - The Ontario government is providing $86 million to help train up to 8,000 personal support workers (PSWs) through private career colleges and district school boards. This investment is part of the government's Long-Term Care Staffing Plan and is yet another way the province is collaborating with key partners to improve the care and quality of life of people living in long-term care. (Full Story)

April 15, 2021 - Workers in Ontario can be fired if they refuse return to office, employment lawyer says - During the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees working from home enjoy the flexibility to set their own hours, avoid commutes and spend more time with their children. But as more workers get vaccinated, some companies are preparing to get them back to the office and one employment lawyer says you can be fired if you don't return. (Full Story)

April 2021 - Online services for your claim (WSIB) - Ontario's Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) now allows you to sign up to a new online service to access your claim status, add your direct deposit details and check your benefit and payment information. You can also send us messages and upload documents straight to your file. To sign up, you'll need the claim number and personal identification number (PIN) you received in the mail. (Full Story)

March 17, 2021 - Ontario Businesses Making Workplaces Safer - The Ontario government is seeing a greater number of small businesses complying with COVID-19 safety requirements. During follow-up visits for educational workplace safety campaigns, provincial offences officers found that approximately 73 per cent of businesses were in compliance with public health measures and compliance increased by 20 per cent. (Full Story)

March 17, 2021 - Ontario Partners with MLSE LaunchPad to Help Youth Get Employment Ready - The Ontario government is providing $1 million over three years to MLSE LaunchPad's employment programs to help youth facing barriers in Toronto access opportunities. MLSE LaunchPad is a place where youth use sport to recognize and reach their full potential. It also connects them with opportunities for skills development through hands-on training, job placements, coaching and mentorship opportunities. (Full Story)

April 30, 2021 - Pandemic 'opened our eyes' to importance of sick leave, says minister - P.E.I. Economic Growth Minister Matthew MacKay says it's time for a conversation around expanding sick leave in the province. Currently P.E.I. is one of only two provinces that requires it. Under the Employment Standards Act, employers are required to provide one sick day per year to employees who've been with them for five years. (Full Story)

April 29, 2021 - Better paid sick leave might be coming to some provinces, but only after painful delay - Political circumstances and the pandemic's harsh reality have finally forced the debate over paid sick leave in Ontario a step closer to a reasonable conclusion. But so little should not have taken so long. The unnecessary public drama over the past week has been painful to behold - not least because while provinces were flailing away at an imperfect federal program, vulnerable people were still being denied a valuable protection against a deadly virus. (Full Story)

April 20, 2021 - Amendments to PEI's Occupational Health and Safety Regulations and Fall Protection Regulations - The Workers Compensation Board (WCB) has introduced changes to the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act General Regulations and Fall Protection Regulations. The amendments are part of the National Occupational Health and Safety Reconciliation Agreement, signed by Ministers responsible for labour legislation across Canada. The new regulations came into effect March 6, 2021. (Full Story)

April 15, 2021 - Helping workers in Prince Edward Island develop the skills they need to find good jobs - $1.5 billion in funding has been announced for training Canadian workers through the Workforce Development Agreements (WDAs) with provinces and territories. The Government of Prince Edward Island has received $6.4 million to help respond to the increased number of workers in Prince Edward Island 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)

April 14, 2021 - P.E.I. farmers hoping for a normal season as more temporary foreign workers arrive - Temporary foreign workers are starting to arrive on P.E.I. for the agricultural season and farmers are less anxious than they were this time last year about whether they'll have enough help. Last year, producers were short roughly 100 workers, says Robert Godfrey, executive director of the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture. In an average year, about 400 workers are brought in to help agriculture producers. (Full Story)

April 9, 2021 - One year into pandemic, P.E.I. job market remains volatile - P.E.I.'s unemployment rate dropped more than a percentage point in March, continuing a seesaw that started at the beginning of the year. The rate fell 1.1 percentage points to 8.1 per cent, according to a Statistics Canada data release Friday. The Island's jobless rate dipped below 10 per cent in December for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, then plummeted to 7.9 per cent in January, before jumping back up to 9.2 per cent in February. (Full Story)

March 31, 2021 - Satisfaction Survey Continues to Provide Valuable Information - The Workers Compensation Board (WCB) is pleased to release the results of the 2020 WCB Injured Worker Survey, which continues to show positive results in WCB's service satisfaction index. The index is a composite measure of injured workers' overall experience with the WCB, as well as their satisfaction with a variety of service dimensions including fairness, decision making and service delivery. (Full Story)

March 19, 2021 - Prince Edward Island Immigration Draw: Province Invites 150 Skilled Workers and Entrepreneurs - Prince Edward Island immigration has issued invitations to apply to 150 skilled worker and entrepreneur candidates in a new provincial draw. The March 18 draw saw invitations issued through the Labour Impact, Express Entry and Business Impact Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program (PEI PNP) streams. It saw 140 invites issued to Labour Impact and Express Entry candidates, while Business Impact candidates received 10 invitations. (Full Story)

May 1, 2021 - Workers' Compensation Board in Saskatchewan releases 2020 operational results - The Saskatchewan Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) remained fully funded in 2020, with the ability to cover the future costs of all claims in the system. The WCB's 2020 annual report was tabled in the provincial legislature Friday. The average premium rate for 2020 remained at $1.17 per hundred dollars of payroll. This is the same premium rate as 2019. The WCB covered 402,306 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers in 2020, compared to 433,622 FTE workers in 2019. (Full Story)

April 30, 2021 - Workplace injury claims down across the board in pandemic year: annual report - Workplace injury claims were down in 2020, according to an annual report released by the Saskatchewan Workers' Compensation Board (WCB). In 2019, the WCB had 28,865 total claims compared to 23,746 in 2020. Of them, 17,922 were accepted. A total of 334 claims relating to COVID-19 were registered and accepted as of January 2021, 181 of them being from healthcare workers. (Full Story)

April 16, 2021 - Paid sick leave top issue for workers, labour leader says, but Sask. government won't mandate it - The head of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour says paying people to stay home if they are feeling unwell during the COVID-19 pandemic is the most pressing issue facing workers in the province. The current guidance from the provincial government is "stay home if you're sick - even if your symptoms are mild." But Saskatchewan Federation of Labour President Lori Johb says it is not always that simple. "Without paid leave, many people face the decision of making money they need to live, or staying home to protect themselves and others from COVID-19". (Full Story)

April 14, 2021 - New website to help employees, employers guide way through job stressors - It's hard to put a band-aid on the brain. That's where a new website from WorkSafe Saskatchewan comes in. It aims to help any worker or employer in the province navigate stress on the job. The psychological health and safety resource centre has information, videos, webinars and workshops that can be accessed. (Full Story)

April 9, 2021 - Saskatchewan posts flat job numbers for March - Employment was stubbornly flat in Saskatchewan from February to March, even as jobs in the nation as a whole bounced higher. Saskatchewan added zero net jobs last month, according to seasonally adjusted data from Saskatchewan's latest Labour Force Survey, released on Friday. Meanwhile, employment rose by 303,000 in Canada, or 1.6 per cent in a single month. (Full Story)

April 6, 2021 - Record Funding To Protect And Build A Strong Labour Force - A strong economic recovery will require a strong business community and a strong labour force. Budget 2021-22 provides increased support to help employers develop, recruit and train workers and to help individuals prepare for, obtain and maintain employment. The Immigration and Career Training Budget includes record funding for workforce development of more than $39 million.  This includes $17 million in one-time funding from the federal government for additional programs and projects that support recovery efforts in response to COVID-19. (Full Story)

April 30, 2021 - Passing the buck on paid sick leave - After more than a year, Canada is still in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic. A small part of the population has been vaccinated, but the number isn't enough to make a significant difference yet. One of the biggest sources of outbreaks is workplaces where people have to physically go to work and health experts have been pushing for measures to reduce the risk of workplace transmission, including paid sick days. (Full Story)

March 31, 2021 - Jobless rate was on the upswing last month - The unemployment rate in the Yukon is creeping higher as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to squeeze the economy, especially as winter continues. "There were 1,600 unemployed in Yukon in February 2021," states a report from the Yukon Bureau of Statistics. "This figure increase by 600, or 60 per cent, compared to February 2020, and increased by 300, or 23.1 per cent, compared to January 2021." (Full Story)

March 12, 2021 - Yukon looking to revise workers' comp legislation - Yukon is looking to revise its rules around workers' safety and compensation. Bill No. 22, the Workers' Safety and Compensation Act, would replace the Workers' Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The new legislation is an important step towards modernizing Yukon's workplace safety and compensation systems, according to stakeholders. (Full Story)


Featured Article: Global Remote Working - What Employers Need to Know

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work and engage with each other. While we anticipate a return to the office for many workers after the pandemic, it is also apparent that remote working is here to stay.

We have been receiving an increasing number of queries about remote working in Canada and how remote working impacts the employment relationship between the employer and the employee. This article provides a high-level overview of some of the more pertinent issues to consider. This article is not exhaustive of all of the legal issues an employer will need to consider – legal advice should be obtained if your organization is considering the feasibility of remote working in Canada.

What law governs a remote worker's employment?

Generally speaking, it is the law of the province or territory where the worker is physically located and where the work is performed, that governs the employment relationship.

For example, if a worker is working remotely from a location in British Columbia (i.e. the worker is physically present in British Columbia from where the work is performed), but performs work in connection with business operations in Ontario, the law of British Columbia will govern the employment relationship. In this example, the worker's employment will be governed by the British Columbia Employment Standards Act (if applicable) and other relevant laws, even though the worker performs work in connection with business activities in Ontario.

What law governs a remote worker's employment if the worker moves between Canadian provinces/territories?

Employment standards legislation differs from province to province. As noted above, generally speaking, the law that governs is the law of the province or territory in which the employee resides.  However, employment standards legislation in some provinces provide that the legislation will apply to workers who are performing work in the province and outside of it.  For instance, in Ontario, the Employment Standards Act provides that the Act applies to workers who perform work in Ontario, or to workers who work both inside and outside of the province, where the work outside of the province is a continuation of the work performed in Ontario.

If a worker moves to a different province or territory and then performs work from that province or territory, then there is a potential that the law of that new province or territory will govern the employment relationship.  The precise answer will depend on the legislation of the worker's home province, as well as the particular circumstances of the worker's employment.

Can an employer use a choice of law clause in an employment contract to agree in advance what law will govern the employment relationship?

No. An employer cannot use a choice of law clause to oust the law of the jurisdiction where the worker is physically located and performing the work.

Where will a remote worker's income be taxed?

A worker's province or territory for income tax and payroll deduction purposes is determined by reference to where the worker physically reports to work at an employer's establishment or "place of business".

An "establishment of the employer" is any place or premises in Canada that is:

  • owned, leased or rented by the employer; and
  • where one or more workers report to work or from which one or more workers are paid.

If a worker reports to an employer's establishment in person in their home province or territory, then the worker's province or territory of employment for income tax and payroll deduction purposes is the one in which the establishment is located and where the worker reports to work.

If the worker is not required to report to an employer's establishment in person (i.e. remote workers), the worker's province or territory of employment for income tax and payroll deduction purposes is the one from where the worker's wages are paid.  This will normally be the location of the employer's payroll department or payroll records.

Where will workers' compensation premiums be payable?

It is the province or territory where the work is performed that determines the province or territory where workers' compensation premiums are payable.

All workers' compensation boards in Canada have signed an Interjurisdictional Agreement on Workers' Compensation (IJA) that regulates the payment of premiums and workers compensation in respect of employers and workers who work across Canadian provinces and territories. The purpose of the IJA is to avoid duplicate payments in respect of workers' compensation premiums and compensation in these circumstances.

Under the IJA, employer premiums are payable to the workers' compensation board in the jurisdiction where the worker is located and performs the work, irrespective of whether the employer has a physical office in that location. If a worker performs work in more than one Canadian province or territory, an employer can prorate a worker's earnings and pay premiums on the prorated earnings based on where the work was performed.

Does a remote worker have to be paid in Canadian currency?

While the law differs between provinces and territories, the answer to this question is generally yes. For example, in British Columbia, s. 20(a) of the Employment Standards Act provides that wages must be paid in Canadian currency.

Are there any specific provisions to include in remote working employment contracts?

For new hires who will be employed or working remotely, we recommend that the following provisions be included in remote working employment contracts:

  • The worker will be permitted to work from a remote location in a particular province or territory. The employment contract should also expressly provide that the worker will not be permitted to work remotely from a different province or territory, without the employer's express written approval.
  • The employment contract should also specify whether the remote working arrangement will be permanent or temporary, or whether the worker will have a hybrid working arrangement whereby the worker will work in both an office and remote location.
  • The remote location must at all times comply with applicable health and safety laws, and must be approved by the employer.
  • The ability to work from home is not a condition of the worker's employment, and may be terminated by the employer at any time and for any reason, including if the worker fails to maintain the remote location in accordance with health and safety laws (and any other legal requirements and employer policies and procedures).
  • The employment contract should also include general provisions dealing with the following specific issues:
    • Hours of work and overtime.
    • The employment relationship and employment contract is conditional on the worker's ability to legally work in Canada.
    • Productivity and measurement of work performance.
    • Data privacy and security.
    • Confidentiality.
    • Equipment and supplies for the remote location.
    • Insurance coverage.

For existing workers who already have employment contracts in place, and for workers who are permitted remote working generally, we recommend that employers implement a Remote Working Policy which deals with the above issues. If such a policy is implemented, employers should ensure that workers are made aware of the policy and the policy should be available and accessible to workers.

Are there any other general considerations applicable to remote working?

Under both provincial and federal occupational health and safety regimes employers have general and specific duties to maintain a safe workplace. In many jurisdictions "workplace" is defined broadly so that it will continue to apply when a worker is working from home. These duties include obligations in relation to ergonomics, meaning the fact a worker is working from home does not relieve an employer of their obligation to ensure the worker's home work station is assessed for ergonomic risks and that those risks are eliminated or minimized. Health and safety obligations differ between provinces and territories and we recommend that advice be sought about an employer's legal obligations in a particular province or territory.

Employers should also consider immigration requirements, and should ensure that the necessary work permits are in place (if applicable).

Article by Dianne Rideout and Michelle McKinnon

A Cautionary Note - The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained.

This article is reprinted by permission from McMillan LLP, a leading business law firm serving public, private and not-for-profit clients across key industries in Canada, the United States and internationally. Read the original article here.


Software Updates

eNETEmployer (Upcoming Release)

  • Added a Create User Accounts option to the Setup Employee screens. This button allows you to create an employee self-service user account so that the employee can log in and view their pay stub and T4, as well as edit their personal information (name, address, etc.). This button can be accessed by choosing the View button and adding the Create User Account option to the Visible Columns section.
  • Added a popup confirmation to the Create Employee User Accounts button asking if you are sure that you want to create the accounts. This prompt was added because every employee who is visible in the screen and who has a valid email address will be sent an email with login details.
  • Changed the "Generate Employee User Accounts" button label to read "Create Employee User Accounts".
  • Adjusted the export feature to include only the filtered rows if the filter option is being used in the current screen. Previously, the export feature would export the entire table, regardless of the filtering option.
  • Values from T4 boxes 66 and 67 will no longer be added to Box 14.
  • Adjusted the program so that you cannot save a value in the T4 "Other" boxes if there is no "Other" menu option selected. Added the Division option to the Employee - Earning Items screen.
  • Adjusted the pay statement report to move all Current Hours values from the Hourly column to the All Earnings column.
  • Changed the program to disabled the P-Value cell (in the Deduction and Benefit Items, and Accumulator Items screens) when there is no associated function. Note: The P-Value field is enabled when there is a function, whether or not the function contains a P-Value.
  • Enhanced various French translations across the program (menu items, buttons, messages, etc.).
  • Adjusted an issue where the View link was missing in the "Last emailed to" cell's viewer.
  • Added the time and date to the "Last Emailed to" option in the Reports screen.
  • Fixed an issue where the "Data Entry" only user privilege was still allowing restricted users to view the employee rates and total amounts.
  • Increased the width of the earnings column in the WCB report. We also decreased the size of the start/end columns to make room for cent values if the total reaches into the millions of dollars.

GrandMaster Suite (v16.09)

  • Added Citibank to our list of EFT supported financial institutions.
  • Added Transport Layer Security (TLS) to the email pay stub option.
  • Fixed an error when the Journal Entry is displaying on the screen.

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