Payroll News Canada - Employment Articles

May 2022 - 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 2022- Canada Summer Jobs Now Open - Did you know that Canada Summer Jobs 2022 hiring season is underway? Employment and Social Development Canada 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 for over 70,000 youth per 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

April 27, 2022 - The economic case against low-wage temporary foreign workers - Canada is unique in its broad public support for high immigration levels, and for good reason. A world with fewer migration barriers can boost living standards in all countries by moving workers where they are most productive. But easing employer access to low-wage temporary foreign workers, a key piece of the federal government's recently announced Workforce Solutions Road Map, risks undermining real wage growth and increasing income inequality. (Full Story)

April 25, 2022 - More than 140,000 great work opportunities for young people now available through Canada Summer Jobs 2022 - Young people across Canada - particularly those facing barriers to employment - have been acutely affected by the loss of jobs caused by the pandemic. Recognizing that the energy and talent of young people is a powerful engine for our economic recovery, the government is working with employers across the country to help them find meaningful, high-quality jobs. (Full Story)

April 25, 2022 - Are antiquated rules forcing Canadian workers into retirement? - Canadians are living longer, more active lives, which for many will also mean continuing to work. Deciding to delay retirement may be purely a lifestyle choice or it may be a financial necessity, but the choice is not as simple as perhaps it should be. The study notes that, by 2040, the share of older Canadians in the workforce will be 38%, almost double its 2010 level (20%). (Full Story)

April 22, 2022 - New measures to address Canada's labour shortage - As Canada continues to recover from the pandemic, employers are actively looking to fill hundreds of thousands of vacant positions in all sectors across the country. Immigration is more important than ever to fuel Canada's economy, as our strong economic growth is now outpacing our ability to find and keep workers. Canada is a top destination for global talent. We need to use this fact to ensure that businesses and employers have access to the skilled workers they need to grow and succeed. (Full Story)

April 22, 2022 - Canada seeks foreign students, immigrants to ease labour pains - With over a million job vacancies needing to be filled immediately, Canada is offering international students with expiring temporary status an opportunity to gain work experience and have a better chance at qualifying for permanent residency in the country. Starting this summer, former international students currently in the country with a post-graduation work permit expiring between January and December 2022 will qualify for an additional open work permit of up to 18 months, the government announced today. (Full Story)

April 13, 2022 - Paying employees with your favourite things? Court permits giving equipment as severance - Money may buy matching diamonds, but can an employer then pay its employees with those diamonds when money is running low? A recent decision in Alberta, Hubbard v. 651398 British Columbia Ltd,1 suggests that in the right circumstances, giving tools, steel, and aluminum to a federally regulated employee as severance pay is acceptable. (Full Story)

March 16, 2022 - An employee is overpaid? Here's what to do - There are several ways employees may be overpaid, but there are also important steps employers can take to remedy the situation. Canadian HR Reporter spoke with Laura Angelo, compliance advisor at the National Payroll Institute. Regional governments in Canada have different rules around how employers can retake overpaid amounts to employees. (Full Story)

April 9, 2022 - Unemployment rate among Canadian immigrants at historic low - The unemployment rate for immigrants who landed in Canada within the past five years was at a record low according to Statistics Canada's March Labour Force Survey. Overall, Canada's unemployment fell 0.2 percentage points to 5.3%, the lowest rate on record since comparable data became available in 1976. Statistics Canada calculates the unemployment rate by the number of unemployed people as a percentage of the labour force. (Full Story)

April 7 2022 - Canada's new budget could bring $1K more to minimum-wage employees - Canada's budget for the year 2022 just dropped, and there's some good news for minimum-wage workers. On April 1, the federal minimum wage rate went up from $15 to $15.55, and while it still isn't technically a living wage, it is some respite, especially paired with the new announcement. The government is expanding the budget for the Canada Workers Benefit to support an estimated one million additional Canadians, and it could mean an extra $1000 in your pocket annually. (Full Story)

April 4, 2022 - Canada relaxes temporary foreign worker program rules to address labour shortages - Canada has introduced measures to make it easier for Canadian employers to access temporary foreign workers. These measures, announced April 4, come in response to a nationwide labour shortage. Canada is experiencing a low unemployment rate and high job vacancies at the same time. One solution to address labour shortages is to bring in temporary foreign workers to fill jobs where there are no Canadians available to do the work. (Full Story)

March 31, 2022 - Tech group proposes visa for skilled workers to enter country without a job offer - A group representing 150 of Canada's fastest growing and most promising technology companies wants the federal government to pilot a new visa stream allowing high-skilled tech workers to enter the country without a job offer. The idea is one of 13 the council included in a new report aimed at addressing the country's critical shortage of skilled tech talent and helping startups compete against Silicon Valley giants and multinationals. (Full Story)

March 14, 2022 - Federal minimum wage to rise to $15.55 per hour on April 1 - On April 1, 2022, the federal minimum wage will increase from $15.00 to $15.55 per hour. For those working in provinces or territories where the general minimum wage rate is higher, the higher rate will continue to apply. The federal minimum wage, which came into force on December 29, 2021, is adjusted automatically on April 1 of every year, based on the average annual increase of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), as reported by Statistics Canada. (Full Story)

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

April 20, 2022 - Over $20 million funding added to Canada-Alberta Job Grant - The province of Alberta is allocating an additional $23 million in its Canada-Alberta Job Grant, as part of the government's string of measures to empower its workforce. The Canada-Alberta Job Grant helps employers hire workers within the province, where they apply on behalf of their future employees for eligible training costs. They decide who gets training and what type of training may be needed for their employees. (Full Story)

April 19, 2022 - Alberta government announces details of new employment program - Premier Jason Kenney provided an outline Tuesday of the province's new jobs program, which he said will help Alberta continue its post-pandemic economic recovery. The program, called Alberta at Work, will invest $600 million set aside in the 2022 budget into meeting the needs of the labour market. Kenney said it will focus on removing barriers to employment, reskilling people for career transitions and attracting and retaining young workers. (Full Story)

April 8, 2022 - Alberta sees unemployment dip as jobless rate hits new low across the country - Alberta saw a slight decline in its unemployment rate last month as Canada's rate hit a record low. Across the country, the unemployment rate fell to 5.3 per cent, a low not seen since Statistics Canada started tracking comparable data in 1976 as about 73,000 jobs were gained, the agency reported Friday. In Alberta, the jobless rate went to 6.5 per cent from 6.8 per cent in February, while the province counted 15,700 new full-time jobs but 8,400 fewer part-time gigs. (Full Story)

March 30, 2022 - The (Sometimes Complicated) Rules that Apply to Farm Workers in Alberta - In January 2020, the rules changed to exempt farm and ranch employees on small farms from employment standards laws. Alberta's Employment Standards Code (and the Employment Standards Regulation) applies to most workers in Alberta. But it creates all kinds of exceptions for farm workers, including whether the rules even apply at all. (Full Story)

March 16, 2022 - What impacts could a minimum wage hike have in Alberta? - After British Columbia announced it will increase its minimum wage to keep up with inflation, many people started wondering if Alberta will follow suit. B.C. is offering its lowest-paid workers a 25-cent hourly increase and is boosting minimum wage to $15.65 starting June 1. The government said the move is tied to the rising cost of basic needs, and workers need an increase in pay to make up for inflation. (Full Story)

March 16, 2022 - Alberta looking to decrease wages for health care workers - Because some health workers are earning more than their counterparts outside the province, Alberta Health Services (AHS) is proposing wage deductions up to nearly 11 per cent for some staff. The proposal would affect about 57 per cent of the workers, with decreases ranging from 0.28 per cent to 10.93 per cent, depending on the profession, ranging from pharmacy technicians and social workers to dietitians and paramedics. (Full Story)

March 11, 2022 - Modest job growth in Alberta as full-time employment falls, but part-time gigs increase in February - Alberta's employment numbers grew slightly in February thanks to gains in part-time work, while its jobless rate plunged to lows not seen since before the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest Statistics Canada numbers show that Alberta lost about 9,600 full-time jobs, or 0.4 per cent last month, but part-time positions increased by about 17,700, or four per cent. Hires in the information, culture and recreation industries led the way, while employment in transportation and warehousing took the hardest hit. (Full Story)

April 14, 2022 - New resources help you manage risks in your workplace - A new resource from WorkSafe BC offers a review of the basics of managing risks, learning what makes an effective health and safety program, and creating a key risk inventory for your workplace. These resources will help new employers, as well as those looking for a refresher on the fundamentals of occupational health and safety. (Full Story)

April 14, 2022 - Employment rights justice denied to thousands of BC Workers - For decades, the BC Employment Standards Branch has not effectively enforced the Employment Standards Act, meaning thousands of workers are denied their legal rights, a new report that we co-wrote with the BC Employment Standards Coalition shows. Complaints take between 18 months to three years to resolve; the Branch doesn't proactively investigate employers, industries and sectors with a history of violations, particularly in the gig economy. (Full Story)

April 08, 2022 - WorkSafeBC supporting employers as they transition back to communicable disease prevention - WorkSafeBC announced today that it will be supporting B.C. employers as they transition from COVID-19 safety plans to communicable disease prevention. The Provincial Health Officer announced on March 10, 2022, that the order requiring a COVID-19 Safety Plan would expire at 12:01 a.m. on April 8, 2022. This means that employers shift back to communicable disease prevention to manage the risks of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases in the workplace. (Full Story)

April 6, 2022 - More early childhood educators receive increased wages - Budget 2022 is making life better for more early childhood educators (ECEs) in British Columbia by expanding the wage enhancement to include all ECEs directly employed by child care facilities, including those in administrative positions. Previously, the $4-an-hour wage enhancement program was only available to front-line ECEs working directly with children. (Full Story)

March 30, 2022 - B.C. ends COVID-19 quarantine program for temporary foreign workers - British Columbia's Agriculture Ministry says it is ending the COVID-19 quarantine program for temporary foreign workers but will keep a different program for another year to support self-isolation to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The ministry says the program for seasonal agriculture workers will end Thursday because of the easing of federal travel restrictions and high vaccination rates for incoming workers that allows them to go directly to their farms. (Full Story)

March 28, 2022 - Province simplifying, strengthening paid sick leave - Amendments to B.C.'s Employment Standards Act will strengthen paid sick leave legislation to protect workers and simplify the administrative process for businesses. Harry Bains, Minister of Labour, introduced changes to address two issues that have been raised since the five days of employer-paid sick leave came into effect on Jan. 1, 2022. (Full Story)

March 23, 2022 - B.C. report finds temporary foreign workers suffer 'troubling' abuse - Temporary foreign workers in British Columbia who try to escape abusive workplaces face barriers in accessing legal assistance, translation services and overcoming the biases of immigration officers who investigate their complaints, according to a new report. Most of the cases involved financial abuse including unpaid wages, unpaid overtime, excessive work hours and in some cases, workers being forced to pay back wages to employers. (Full Story)

March 18, 2022 - COVID-19 claims costs and your insurance premiums - WorkSafeBC has received a number of enquiries on whether relief of costs to employers during the COVID-19 pandemic are being considered. While existing policy does not provide for relief of costs for claims where COVID-19 has been accepted as a compensable occupational disease (direct COVID-19 claims costs), WorkSafeBC excluded these costs in the calculation of the expected new injury costs for 2022 and experience rating for employers. (Full Story)

March 15, 2022 - Federal, B.C. minimum wages to rise - Ottawa is increasing the federal minimum wage to $15.55 per hour from the current $15.00 per hour starting April 1. The rate increase reflects the 3.4-per-cent annual average rise of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Canada in the previous calendar year, rounded up to the nearest $0.05, according to the federal government. (Full Story)

March 14, 2022 - Minimum wage increases tied to inflation support workers, families - On June 1, 2022, B.C.'s lowest-paid workers will get a pay boost, with the general minimum wage increasing from $15.20 to $15.65 an hour. The Province is following through on a 2020 commitment to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour through measured, predictable increases, and then tie future increases to the rate of inflation. B.C.'s minimum wage is now the highest of all Canadian provinces. (Full Story)

March 11, 2022 - New act supports trades workers, apprentices - Skilled tradespeople in British Columbia will benefit from a made-in-B.C. system to support and train apprentices. The Skilled Trades BC Act received royal assent Thursday, March 10, 2022, supporting the crucial work of skilled tradespeople throughout the province. Skilled trades certification will require people to register as an apprentice or be a certified journeyperson to work in one of the 10 initial mechanical, electrical and automotive trades. (Full Story)

April 21, 2022 - WCB distributes $95 million in surplus funds to Manitoba employers - For the fourth year in a row, the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba (WCB) is distributing surplus funds to employers whose premiums fund the workers compensation system. The WCB is able to provide this financial relief to employers due to the successful investment made in injury prevention and return to work programs, which results in fewer injuries and injured workers having a timely and safe return to health and work. (Full Story)

April 21, 2022 - Report confirms immigrant labour negatively impacts wages of Canadians - Foreign labour may cost Canadians jobs and wages in specific trades and the impact of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program "may be significant" in some markets, according to a department report. The report suggested migrant labour costs Canadians jobs and higher pay in construction, trucking, beauty salons, restaurants, fish processing and farming, "where foreign workers are willing to work for lower wages than what a Canadian or permanent resident would consider acceptable." (Full Story)

April 20, 2022 - Province increases funding for summer jobs program by $4M - Manitoba's annual summer jobs program that helps municipalities and non-profits hire students for summer positions is receiving a substantial funding boost this year. Municipal Relations Minister Eileen Clarke announced during the first day of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities' spring convention in Brandon the funding for the Green Team program will increase from $5 million last year to $9 million this year. (Full Story)

April 20, 2022 - Manitoba government commits $10 million for Canada-Manitoba job grant to address workforce training needs - The Manitoba government has opened the first of two intake periods for the 2022-23 Canada-Manitoba Job Grant, with a total budget of $10 million, to support Manitoba's workforce training needs. The Canada-Manitoba Job Grant provides funding to address an employer's workforce training needs. Employers can apply for up to $10,000 per employee, with an overall maximum of $100,000. (Full Story)

April 5, 2022 - Province invests in employment and income assistance transformation projects - The Manitoba government is investing over $2.6 million to fund projects as part of ongoing work to transform Employment and Income Assistance (EIA). Manitoba is providing $1.3 million towards a two-year extension for the Single Parent Employment Program at Opportunities for Employment. (Full Story)

April 4, 2022 - Manitoba businesses struggling to find skilled workers, experts say - An expansion of a Winnipeg-based furniture company is set to create hundreds of jobs in the city, but experts say finding qualified workers is difficult right now. Palliser Furniture is expanding its North American manufacturing, including the addition of a 130,000-square-foot workspace to its Winnipeg operation. (Full Story)

April 1, 2022 - Manitoba's minimum wage increasing this fall - Manitoba's minimum wage will increase this fall, though a representative from a local union says the increase is still not enough to help people live. The province announced Friday it would be raising the hourly minimum wage from $11.95 to $12.35, a 40-cent increase. Currently, Manitoba has the second-lowest minimum wage in Canada, slightly higher than Saskatchewan, where the minimum wage is $11.81. (Full Story)

April 7, 2022 - Expanded foreign worker program praised, but more hiring help needed, businesses say - Some New Brunswick business representatives say the expansion of the temporary foreign workers program is a step in the right direction. They also say Ottawa still needs to do more to make it easier to hire foreign workers in response to critical labour shortages. About 100,000 temporary foreign workers come to Canada each year, under the federal program, which allows employers to hire them if no Canadian or permanent resident is available. (Full Story)

April 6, 2022 - The labour shortage isn't over - and employers are having to lower their hiring expectations - Rick Omond's construction company in New Brunswick has given three pay raises over the last year and a half as it tries to hold on to workers in the midst of a record labour shortage. Omond says he could hire six carpenters and labourers right now — if he could find them. And without a full team, he says, projects are taking longer to complete. (Full Story)

March 31, 2022 - Province Helps UNI Financial Create Jobs - UNI Financial Cooperation is creating up to 100 jobs with financial support from the provincial government. The Caraquet-based financial institution is eligible for up to $1.5 million in payroll rebates over the next four years from Opportunities NB. (Full Story)

March 23, 2022 - Improvements Considered To Workers' Compensation System - WorkSafeNB is looking for input as it considers improvements to the workers' compensation system. It comes after a comprehensive review of workers' compensation legislation completed by WorkSafeNB and the province in 2021. The board is consulting on two benefit improvements it says would reduce the financial burden for injured workers. Increasing the percentage paid for loss of earning benefits from 85 to 90 percent, and boosting the maximum annual earnings threshold so more workers have their full wages covered. (Full Story)

March 15, 2022 - Help us build a better workers' compensation system - WorkSafeNB's board of directors wants to know what the province's workers and employers think about possible enhancements to worker benefits under the Workers' Compensation (WC) Act. In 2021, WorkSafeNB and the Government of New Brunswick completed a comprehensive review of workers' compensation legislation which identified key issues to consider for legislative change. As a result, the board wants to consult on two key benefit improvements that would reduce the financial burden for injured workers and allow them to focus on their recovery. (Full Story)

April 5, 2022 - Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador Announce Intent to Expand the Mandate to Support the Transition to a Clean Economy and Create Sustainable Jobs - Canada's approach to creating sustainable jobs includes identifying and pursuing opportunities for regional economic transformation that will lead to sustained economic growth compatible with a net-zero economy. The Government of Canada is working with partners across the country to build a clean economy, advance economic reconciliation, support the energy sector and ensure a just transition that creates sustainable, middle-class jobs for people and communities in every province and territory. (Full Story)

March 7, 2022 - Over $12 Million for Job Creation and Student Employment will Support Come Home 2022 - The Provincial Government is now accepting applications for Job Creation Partnerships and Student Summer Employment programs with the aim of boosting Come Home 2022 efforts in every corner of Newfoundland and Labrador. Job Creation Partnerships is dedicating $5 million of the $10.5 million total budget exclusively for Come Home 2022 projects. This year will also feature increased pay for workers in a number of areas. (Full Story)

April 20, 2022 - Notes from the trail: Nancy Vail talks minimum wage - Forced labour is not dead; rather it has just been normalized into our capitalist system in the name of free enterprise. During a recent stay on one of the Gulf Islands, I started at a part-time job at a grocery store to help out since the population is primarily seniors and they were desperate for help. COVID fears. The job paid minimum wage was $15 an hour which was okay because I didn't need the money. The minimum wage in the territories is $15.30. (Full Story)

April 20, 2022 - Public engagement on partnership funding for safety training - The Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) is seeking input as it works to improve access to workplace safety training and certification. Under workplace safety legislation, all employers are responsible for providing the education and training workers need to do their job safely. (Full Story)

April 9, 2022 - Yukon public service program struggling to increase number of Indigenous workers - Despite launching a pilot Indigenous preferential hiring program 18 months ago, the Yukon government has been unable to increase Indigenous representation in the public service from 15 to 22 per cent. Hiring priority is given to qualified candidates who self-identify as First Nations in the Yukon. Applicants with links to Indigenous ancestry are given second priority. (Full Story)

April 3, 2022 - N.W.T.'s minimum wage not a livable salary in largest communities, report says - The minimum wage in the Northwest Territories minimum is below a livable standard in the territory's largest communities, according to a newly released report released from a local non-profit. However, there has been a decrease in the cost of living since 2019, the report says. (Full Story)

March 31, 2022 - YWCA, Scotiabank partner to support employment readiness program - Through a $500,000 donation to the YWCA NWT, Scotiabank has become a partner in a commitment to remove barriers to career advancement for disadvantaged groups. The money, which came through Scotiabank's ScotiaRISE initiative on March 31, will be directed to YWCA NWT's Employment Readiness Support Program, which assists in helping women and families overcome barriers and enter, or re-enter, the workforce. (Full Story)

March 28, 2022 - Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission Safety Certificate Course for Young Workers - A Safety Certificate Training Course for new and young workers is now available through the Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission. Workplace accidents and injuries happen to employees in various professions and age groups, but younger workers with less experience are often at greater risk of getting hurt. The Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission has developed a 2-hour interactive online course that will give young workers the basic knowledge they need to help start their working lives safely. (Full Story)

April 11, 2022 - Paid Sick Leave Program Extended Until May 7 - Nova Scotia's COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Program will be extended until May 7, 2022, the same date that Canada's Sickness Recovery Benefit will end. Program requirements for Nova Scotia's voluntary program will not change. The program had been scheduled to end March 31. The extension means that sick days between April 1 and May 7 may be eligible for reimbursement. (Full Story)

April 7, 2022 - No plans to restart paid sick-leave program, says N.S. labour minister - Although COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia are on the rise, the province's labour minister says there are no plans right now to bring back a paid sick-leave program. Jill Balser said the provincial program, which ended last week, was intended to act as a bridge for people affected by COVID-19 who didn't qualify for the federal assistance program, which covers a longer period. (Full Story)

April 5, 2022 - In Nova Scotia, the best employers care about their workers' mental health - Of the 20 companies on this year's list of Nova Scotia's top employers, 13 include mental health counselling in their employee benefits plans. Comprehensive benefit plans have become a very big piece of attracting and retaining employees. What's included in those plans, which can be worth from 18-30 per cent of an employee's salary, can change often, sometimes as a result of complaints that the plan is below standard. (Full Story)

May 5, 2022 - Webinar: Psychologically Healthy and Safe Workplaces: An Introduction for Employers - A workplace that is psychologically healthy and safe will respect and listen to workers, act on their concerns, and provide opportunities for workers to have some control over their work. This often results in fewer work-related injuries and illnesses, less time off work when injuries and illnesses do occur, less absenteeism, and more productive and engaged workers. (Full Story)

April 25, 2022 - Why employers are able to hire more tech talent in Canada - Canadian tech employers continue to face labour shortages, as the tech sector continues to grow despite the pandemic. One way to support gaps in the labour market is to hire talent from abroad. The shortage of qualified workers in Canada was the crux of the Council of Canadian Innovators‘ recent call for the federal government to pilot a new visa that would allow tech workers to come to Canada without a job offer. (Full Story)

April 20, 2022 - Public engagement on partnership funding for safety training - The Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) is seeking input as it works to improve access to workplace safety training and certification. Under workplace safety legislation, all employers are responsible for providing the education and training workers need to do their job safely. (Full Story)

April 19, 2022 - Employment opportunities for summer students - The Government of Nunavut (GN) invites Nunavut Inuit and Nunavummiut students to apply for exciting summer job opportunities. Come join the GN to learn new skills and gain valuable work experience. The Summer Student Employment Equity Program (SSEEP) is offered every year to secondary and post-secondary students to encourage continuous learning and foster skill and career development. Employment through the SSEEP runs from April 1 to September 30. (Full Story)

March 29, 2022 - Nunavut eyes truth and reconciliation day holiday - Nunavut's Justice Department is consulting businesses and other organizations on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, in a step towards making the day a statutory holiday in the territory. The department is "looking to introduce new legislation" to make Sept. 30 an official holiday in Nunavut. (Full Story)

March 21, 2022 - Nunavut to review minimum wage as consumer price hikes hit 30-year high - The Government of Nunavut will review the territory's minimum wage this summer after prices across the country have increased more in the last year than any other since 1991.Nunavut currently has the highest minimum wage in Canada at $16 an hour. Many factors go into the decision to raise the minimum wage, but inflation is one of them. (Full Story)

April 25, 2022 - Ontario Working for Workers by Expanding Training to More People - The Ontario government is working for workers by launching a new training program, Better Jobs Ontario. The program will pay up to $28,000 in tuition and other costs for short-duration training programs for anyone looking to train for in-demand work, including those on social assistance, who are self-employed, gig workers, youth, and newcomers to the province, can apply to start learning the skills they need to earn bigger paycheques for themselves and their families. (Full Story)

April 5, 2022 - Ontario promises October minimum wage increase to $15.50 - Ontario's minimum wage is set to increase by 50 cents this fall. The proposed wage increase to $15.50 per hour would take effect on Oct. 1. Ontarians are expected to go to the polls in June, and all three major parties are already promising some form of increase to the minimum wage in response to high living costs. (Full Story)

April 20, 2022 - Ontario Exploring Increase to Compensation for Injured Workers - The Ontario government is working for workers by directing the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) to explore an increase in compensation for workers who become injured or ill on the job. The plan to raise benefits would direct more money to injured workers and families, while minimizing the impact on the Board's financial health and employers' premium rates. (Full Story)

April 20, 2022 - Employers may need years to figure out how to enforce a right to disconnect policy properly: lawyer - Employers are scrambling to prepare for Ontario's Working for Workers Act (Bill 27) in June, which gives employees a right to disconnect from the office. Bettina Burgess, a partner at Gowling WLG, says it will be a slow cultural shift and may take many years before employers figure it out. "I do not think we're going to see a switch on Jun. 2 and magically have this figured out," Burgess says. (Full Story)

April 19, 2022 - Ontario Government Invests $2.7 Million In New Jobs Program For Peterborough - The Ontario Government is investing $2,714,847 for Pathways to Prosperity to provide workers with training for in-demand and well-paying jobs. The project is administered by Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development (PKED). PKED is focusing on workforce development over a 12-month period. The project's goal is to have those employed or unemployed into sustainable well-paying jobs according to PKED. (Full Story)

April 18, 2022 - Bill 88 Passes. Here's What It Means for Ontario Employers - On April 11, 2022, Bill 88 - the Working for Workers Act, 2022 ("the Act") - became law. It enacts a Digital Platform Workers' Rights Act, 2022, and makes amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1990, and the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, 2006. These changes will have significant implications for Ontario employers. (Full Story)

April 8, 2022 - More Jobs Created in Ontario for Second Consecutive Month - Employment in Ontario increased by over 35,100 in March, bringing the total number of new jobs created in 2018 to over 500,000. Today's job numbers prove that Ontario's plan for economic growth and prosperity is working. By reducing the cost of doing business in the province by $7 billion a year, it's now possible for continued job growth as Ontario move out of the pandemic. (Full Story)

April 5, 2022 - Ontario Working for Workers by Raising the Minimum Wage - Ontario will raise the general minimum wage to $15.50 per hour, starting October 1, 2022. This eight per cent increase over one year will help workers keep up with rising costs and inflation. In January, Ontario raised the general minimum wage to $15 and removed the lower minimum wage for liquor servers. The government's Working for Workers Act 2, if passed, would build on this action by expanding this minimum wage to digital platform workers for active hours worked. (Full Story)

March 27, 2022 - The Ontario Liberals Say They'll Raise Minimum Wage To $16 An Hour & More If Elected - A few new benefits could be in store for Ontarians, depending on how the upcoming Ontario provincial election goes. The Ontario Liberals have recently promised to set up a $16-an-hour provincial minimum wage in Ontario, as well as institute 10 days of paid sick leave for workers and try out a four-day workweek, if elected. (Full Story)

April 13, 2022 - Expanded temporary foreign worker program still lacks protections, says institute - The federal government should be more focused on protecting temporary foreign workers before expanding the program, says P.E.I.'s Cooper Institute. Last week, in news that was welcomed by the Island's tourism industry, Ottawa announced it was expanding the temporary foreign worker program to include seven new sectors, including accommodation and food services. (Full Story)

April 11, 2022 - P.E.I. businesses welcome changes to temporary foreign worker program - P.E.I.'s seafood processing industry says it's "extremely happy" with changes that will make it easier for businesses to hire and keep temporary foreign workers. Last week, the federal government announced changes to its Temporary Foreign Workers Program which are meant to help industries currently facing labour shortages. (Full Story)

April 8, 2022 - New and revised WCB policies - The WCB Board of Directors has approved the following: Amendments to the policy, POL-76, Worker Role in Recovery and Return to Work (previously titled Responsiblities of Recovering Workers). A new policy, POL-165, Employer Role in Worker Recovery and Return to Work. Non-substantive changes were made to the policy, POL-93, Return to Work, as a result. Information about the changes can be found in the History section of each policy. The WCB thanks all stakeholders who participated in the consultation process. (Full Story)

March 30, 2022 - P.E.I. business owners readying for minimum wage increase - Minimum wage on P.E.I. is set to go up by 70 cents Friday, and that increase is getting a mixed reaction from the small business community whose payroll costs will rise. When minimum wage goes, it will be $13.70 an hour, the highest in Atlantic Canada. It is still far from a living wage, however, which is estimated at $19.30 an hour for someone living in Charlottetown, according to a 2020 report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. (Full Story)

March 22, 2022 - ACPM calling on PEI to allow automatic features in workplace pension plans - The Association of Canadian Pension Management is calling to amend the Employment Standards Act to facilitate auto-enrolment and auto-escalation features in workplace pension and savings plans. The current legislation includes language that would prohibit pension plan administrators from introducing automatic features in workplace plans, including capital accumulation plans such as defined contribution pensions, group registered retirement savings plans and group tax-free savings account. (Full Story)

April 18, 2022 - Saskatchewan WCB releases 2021 injury stats - The Saskatchewan Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) released its injury statistics today, announcing that workplace injury rates increased in 2021. The workplace Total injury rate for 2021 was 4.56 per 100 workers, a two per cent increase from 2020. However, from 2009 to 2021, the WCB's Total injury rate has decreased by 51.1 per cent. (Full Story)

April 14, 2022 - Saskatchewan Has the Lowest Minimum Wage in Canada. Doctors Say It's Harming the Health of Workers - As groups representing wealthy business interests lobby Saskatchewan's government to prevent the lowest minimum wage in Canada from increasing, health experts say low wages are causing harm for low-wage workers. Despite Saskatchewan having the lowest minimum wage in the country at $11.81 per hour, business groups like the Canadian Federation of Independent Business lobbied the province to "continue to oppose a $15 minimum wage" as recently as last month. (Full Story)

April 8, 2022 - Sask. loses 4.5K jobs as national unemployment rate falls to record low - Statistics Canada released its labour force survey on Friday and despite fewer jobs filled in Saskatchewan, unemployment rates in March remain at some of the lowest in years. Canada's unemployment rate has been trending downward since spiking at the beginning of the pandemic, according to data from Statistics Canada, reaching 5.3 per cent in March 2022. It's the lowest unemployment rate since data became available in 1976. (Full Story)

April 6, 2022 - New Legislation Supports Attracting Skilled Workers to Saskatchewan - The Government of Saskatchewan has introduced The Labour Mobility and Fair Registration Practices Act. The Act will reduce barriers to working in the province to ensure skilled workers can have their skills and credentials recognized, while assisting employers in filling jobs across a number of key sectors, such as healthcare, construction and IT. (Full Story)

March 30, 2022 - Saskatchewan Announces $327,000 for Self-Employment Training Services for People Living With Disabilities - The Government of Saskatchewan is partnering with Global Infobrokers Inc. with an investment of $327,000 to provide self-employment training to persons living with disabilities across the province. This program supports individuals in achieving their goals of entrepreneurship and will help to create more jobs and grow Saskatchewan's economy. (Full Story)

April 6, 2022 - Yukon gov't extends Indigenous hiring program - The Yukon government is extending its Indigenous hiring program until 2029 because, 15 months after it launched the pilot project, the rate of Indigenous employment in the public service hasn't budged. The government launched the Indigenous hiring preference initiative as an 18-month pilot project in October 2020 to increase the number of Indigenous employees in all levels of the public service. The goal is to reach 22 per cent, the same percentage of Indigenous people living in the Yukon, according to 2021 federal census data. (Full Story)

Managing employee attendance

Have you ever thought about the rate of employee absenteeism in your department? Your organization? Is it a little problem and/or a significant problem, especially now that we're back in the grips of the pandemic with the emergence of the Omicron variant? Are you even keeping track of absenteeism? If you were told that on a normal day, approximately three per cent of your workforce was absent, what impact would that have? Guaranteed, this rate of absence creates lost productivity, it impacts service to your community and could cause morale problems as your remaining employees pick up the work left behind. Just listen to all the stories of how absenteeism is creating havoc in our public services as well as major businesses.

Keep in mind that when you are tracking employee absenteeism, you must also include absences due to on-the-job injury, short-term disability and family or medical leave, as well as absences that are only a few days in duration. As well, keep in mind that employees who have frequent intermittent absences are three to four times more likely to access your short-term disability plans. As well, employees that do leave on short-term disability are more likely to make greater use of other group health benefits, thus increasing organizational costs.

Let's face it, employee absenteeism costs your organization a lot of money. One good example I'm aware of was a large manufacturing company that discovered their payroll had increased by $1 million due to excessive absenteeism. To rectify this problem, a human resources manager was assigned to a one-year project with the main goal of contacting all those away from work, developing an early return-to-work program, and getting people back to the workplace and productive.

This experiment proved that looking at employee absenteeism as simply the "cost of doing business," was simply no longer the way to do things. That's because it prevented managers from quantifying and qualifying the full impact of their employee absenteeism. It prevented any time being spent on assessing the value of potential solutions such as assigning someone to monitor this issue closely and ensuring that statistics were reviewed by managers on a monthly basis. And, it prevented managers from actively "managing" their chronic absentee employees.

Once you start tracking the costs of excessive absenteeism, you will be shocked at what evidence you will find. Look at the hard dollar costs for salaries, benefits, replacement workers, and term employees needed to fill the gaps. Take time to look at and quantify the soft-dollar costs such as reduced morale, employee stress and the poor public relations that might result from dissatisfied clients and/or angry community members. If you can believe it, some research reports suggest the total cost of employee absences, both unplanned and planned, is more than twice the average employer's total cost for employee health-care benefits!

However, these costs can be reduced by careful planning, implementation of specific attendance and workplace wellness policies, data collection strategies, providing management training on tackling absenteeism and implementing accommodation strategies.

So where do you start?

Please return next issue for the completion of this article.

This article is by permission from Barbara J. Bowes, FCPHR, CCP, M.Ed., accomplished speaker, trainer, coach, writer and professional strategist/consultant. Barbara is also the President of Legacy Bowes Group, Winnipeg's premier HR Solutions provider. She can be reached at

Software Updates

eNETEmployer (Current Release)

  • Added a breadcrumbs feature so that you always know which screen you are on. The menu/navigation path to the current screen is shown above the table.
  • Added support for upper case file extensions when importing from a .csv or .txt file.
  • Added a program warning when you attempt to assign a social insurance number (SIN) that is already used by an existing employee.
  • Added a program warning when you attempt to assign an email address that is already used by an existing employee.
  • In the Current Payroll - Earnings screen, the T4 cell's drop down list now includes the "T4-30 Board Lodging" option so that you can assign earnings to T4 box 30 for 2022 T4's.
  • Added and enhanced French translations to a number of screens and options.
  • The EFT screen's "Creation Number" cell no longer increments when you choose either the "Test" or "Quick View" buttons in the Reports screen.
  • Added support for using multiple notification email addresses to the "Email" cell in the Recruitment module's Job Postings screen.
  • The Year-End settings file now uses the province that is assigned in the Current Payroll - Name and Address screen. Previously, is defaulted to Alberta.
  • You can no longer delete an employee if they have year-to-date (YTD) values. The optimal time to delete employees is after you have closed the final payroll of the year and have activated the "Clear YTD Balance" box.
  • You can no longer delete an employee who is associated with a payroll, regardless of their status (Terminated, On Leave, etc.). If you wish to remove the employee from the payroll entirely, you must first ensure that they have no YTD values, and then use Delete button in either the Employer or HR module's Setup Employee screen.

eNETInbox (Current Release)

  • Fixed an issue where the Bulletin Board screen appeared empty in some browsers.
  • Replaced the .xhtml page with an improved responsive-design page for mobile users.

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