Payroll News for Canada, Employment ArticlesEmployment News and Payroll Tips

Payroll News Canada - Employment Articles

December 2017 - 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.

Tip of the Month Federal News Provincial News
Featured Article Software Updates Newsletter Archive


Tip of the Month

December 2017 - Gifts and Year-End Bonuses - According to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), a gift or award that you give an employee is a taxable benefit from employment, whether it is cash, near-cash, or non-cash. However, they do have an administrative policy that exempts non-cash gifts and awards in some cases. Cash and near-cash gifts or awards are always a taxable benefit for the employee. A near-cash item is one that functions as cash, such as a gift certificate or gift card, or an item that can be easily converted to cash, such as gold nuggets, securities, or stocks. Click Here to learn more.

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

Canadian Federal Payroll and HR News

December 14, 2017 - The Government of Canada is making it easier for Canadians to apply for the Canada Pension Plan disability program - The government has highlighted an important change to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability program, in support of their commitment to improve delivery of programs and services for all Canadians. Starting today, treating nurse practitioners can provide patients with medical evidence required by the program. Nurse practitioners are now able to independently complete the initial medical report included in the application kit for CPP disability benefits, as well as the medical forms associated with the automatic reinstatement and reassessment of CPP disability benefits and the Disability Vocational Rehabilitation Program. (Full Story)

December 14, 2017 - Labour shortage pushes Canadian job vacancies to record high, says report - Job vacancies in Canada’s private sector rose to a record high in the third quarter of 2017, says a new report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. Canada’s private sector job vacancy rate stood at 2.8 per cent for the quarter, the report says, noting the last time Canadian employers faced a similar situation was in early 2008. "this represents a record-high 361,700 jobs left unfilled for at least four months because employers have not found suitable candidates," reports the CFIB, a non-profit organization with a membership of more than 109,000 independent businesses across Canada. (Full Story)

December 12, 2017 - There are 361K job vacancies in Canada - here’s where workers are needed - There’s a labour shortage in Canada - and British Columbia seems to be the province most in need of skilled workers, according to a recent report. A combination of a growing economy and a lack of skilled workers has created a labour shortage of around 361,700 jobs across the country, according to the quarterly report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). This is the highest number of unfulfilled jobs in the private sector every recorded in Canada, the report stated. (Full Story)

December 11, 2017 - Government of Canada offers support to vulnerable migrant workers in Canada - The Government of Canada takes its responsibility to protect the integrity of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program very seriously, including protecting the safety of workers. It is collaborating with stakeholders across the country to improve migrant workers’ experience by making them more aware of their rights and helping them to receive support while working in Canada. (Full Story)

December 1, 2017 - Parental leave rules set to undergo major shift as provinces adjust to EI changes - As the federal government gets ready to boost employment insurance benefits for new parents on Dec. 3, the provinces have been busy updating their parental leave policies to align with the changes. Under the federal changes, Canadian employees with a newborn or newly adopted child will be able to choose between the existing employment insurance rate of 55 per cent of average weekly earnings across 35 weeks or 33 per cent across 61 weeks. (Full Story)

December 1, 2017 - Job surge drops unemployment rate to 5.9 per cent; economy grows 1.7 cent in third quarter - A wave of job creation last month knocked the unemployment rate down to 5.9 per cent -- its lowest level in nearly a decade. Statistics Canada said Friday that the economy churned out another 79,500 net new jobs in November and drove the jobless rate down 0.4 percentage points from 6.3 per cent the month before. The federal statistical agency also released fresh figures Friday for growth -- they showed that the economy expanded at an annual pace of 1.7 per cent in the third quarter. (Full Story)

November 17, 2017 - Businesses were overcharged $7 billion by workers’ compensation boards. So where’s their refund? - When you overpay on your taxes, the government gives you a refund - one that many of us get pretty excited about. When you get home after a trip to the grocery store and find that you've been overcharged for an item, you go back to the store and get a refund. It’s basic fairness. It’s basic respect. But too many workers’ compensation boards across Canada are violating this basic fairness principle by hanging onto money that isn't theirs to keep instead of giving refunds. (Full Story)

November 9, 2017 - More choice and flexibility for families and caregivers, starting December 3, 2017 - Important changes announced in Budget 2017 will soon come into effect as part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to support parents and family caregivers with Employment Insurance benefits that are more flexible, inclusive and easier to access. Beginning December 3, the following improvements will be made to the Employment Insurance (EI) program in order to better support workers who take time off work due to specific life events. (Full Story)

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


December 01, 2017 - Alberta unemployment rate falls to lowest level in nearly 2 years - Alberta's unemployment rate fell to 7.3 per cent in November, its lowest level in nearly two years. But Statistics Canada said the monthly swing was mainly due to fewer people looking for work, as employment levels stayed relatively flat compared to October. Year-over-year job growth in the province totalled 34,000 jobs, all in full-time work, the federal data agency said. (Full Story)

November 29, 2017 - 2018 WCB premium rates - The WCB premiums that employers pay go toward funding the workers' compensation system, and ensure injured workers receive the benefits they need now and in the future. In 2018, the average industry rate will remain flat at $1.02. Your rate directly reflects your industry's performance as well as your own within the workers' compensation system. Your premium rate is the cost of coverage per $100 of insurable earnings of all your workers (plus any personal coverage you buy for yourself). (Full Story)

November 27, 2017 - Bill would improve safety, well-being of Albertans - If passed, An Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans would improve workplace health and safety and provide fair compensation and meaningful support to injured workers and their families. The changes would also ensure Alberta workers have the same rights and protections as other Canadians. The bill would modernize Alberta’s health and safety system to reflect modern workplaces, increase employee participation, improve safety, and increase supports to injured workers. (Full Story)

November 22, 2017 - Alberta plans to extend parental leave period for all employees in province - Alberta's NDP government says it will soon make changes to labour regulations to allow expectant parents in the province to apply for extended federal leave benefits. New parents planning to begin parental leave after Dec. 2, 2017, will be able to spread their federal benefits over 18 months, rather than the current 12 months. (Full Story)

October 31, 2017 - Transportation projects support over 7,500 jobs - Provincial highway, bridge and water projects in 2017-18 are supporting thousands of good-paying jobs while improving critical infrastructure across Alberta. The government is investing in key infrastructure to help strengthen the economy, support job-creation and improve the services Alberta families count on. The $1.4-billion investment in critical road, bridge and water infrastructure projects this year will support an estimated 4,400 good-paying construction jobs and 3,100 indirect jobs. (Full Story)

December 12, 2017 - B.C.’s employment jumps in November - Aligning with a solid national uptick, B.C. employment surged 0.7% (or 18,200 persons) from October to a seasonally adjusted 2.49 million. Full-time employment rose for a third straight month with a 0.2% gain (or 4,100 persons) but a part-time employment rebound following two months of declines led to the overall increase. Meanwhile, labour market slack is minimal. The unemployment rate edged down 0.1 percentage points to 4.8%, the lowest level since mid-2008. While a robust hiring environment has attracted more residents from other parts of the country, it has been insufficient to satiate labour and skills demand constraining job growth and lifting wages. (Full Story)

December 3, 2017 - In British Columbia, employers brace for changes to rules governing seasonal workers - The approval procedures for buildings that house foreign workers will be changing on January 1, 2018. The changes will affect the agricultural stream of Canada's temporary foreign workers program and its seasonal agricultural workers program, which allows participants to work in Canada for up to eight months every year. Employers are required to submit to the government an inspection report for the workers' housing that proves it meets conditions. Employers who offer jobs to foreign citizens typically need government approval through a labour market impact assessment (LMIA), which requires them to prove they could not find a Canadian to do the job. (Full Story)

December 2, 2017 - People with disabilities, inclusive employers to benefit from program extension - Hundreds of people with disabilities will be able to achieve greater independence and find meaningful employment, thanks to the extension of the Province’s popular Technology@Work program. A $2-million investment from the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction and $1 million from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training will support the one-year extension of the program, which has been operated by the Neil Squire Society since May 2015. (Full Story)

November 22, 2017 - Empowering British Columbians to make informed career decisions - The 2017 edition of the Labour Market Outlook is a valuable resource for all British Columbians. The Outlook, which enables informed planning and career decisions, projects 917,000 job openings in the next decade. Replacing British Columbian retirees will be the source of 70% of the upcoming job openings, with the other 30% coming from economic growth. Consistent with the last edition of the Outlook, about eight out of 10 jobs will require some post-secondary education or training. Of these, 42% will require a diploma, certificate or apprenticeship training, while 36% will require a bachelor’s, graduate or first professional degree and/or significant work experience. (Full Story)

November 16, 2017 - Record-breaking employment and wages benefit B.C. tech workers - B.C.'s technology and innovation industry is providing people with more good-paying jobs and producing higher revenue than ever before, according to the latest BC Stats report on the sector. B.C.'s tech salaries continued to climb in 2016 for the sixth consecutive year, increasing 7.4% to just under $9.4 billion. This outpaced the average for all industries, which saw wages increase 4%. A tech sector employee’s wage is also much higher than the provincial average, with weekly earnings of $1,690, compared to the $920 per-week average across all industries. (Full Story)

November 8, 2017 - Get the facts on apprenticeship training in B.C. - An apprenticeship is a great ticket to a well-paying job and an exciting career that can open the door to opportunities throughout British Columbia, across Canada and around the globe. Nov. 5-11, 2017, marked Apprenticeship Recognition Week in British Columbia. (Full Story)

October 23, 2017 - Mapping refugee skills fills employer needs - To support newcomers to British Columbia, a government-funded labour market partnership has identified ways to help refugees and immigrants connect with jobs and employers. The Province provided the Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC) with more than $186,000 for the Mapping Refugee Skills and Employer Needs project. The final report identified specific strategies that would help employers connect to the refugee talent pool. These strategies include coordinating the development of pre-employment programming, including English language training in the workplace, and facilitating interactions between employers and refugee job-seekers. (Full Story)

December 12, 2017 - Manitoba well below national average in labour shortage report - Labour shortages hit record levels in Canada in the third quarter of 2017. A recent report suggested that some 361,700 jobs were left unfilled during the quarter, the highest number of unfilled private sector jobs ever recorded. Nationally, the corresponding vacancy rate - the proportion of unfilled jobs relative to all jobs available in the private sector - jumped up to 2.8%, its highest point since before the 2008 recession. However, the vacancy rate in Manitoba fell by 0.1% to 2.1% representing 9,400 unfilled jobs in the province, well below the national average. (Full Story)

December 5, 2017 - WCB Average Assessment Rates Drop Below a Dollar to Become the Lowest in Canada - The average WCB assessment rate in Manitoba will drop to $0.95 from $1.10 per $100 of assessable payroll in 2018. With rates falling below a dollar, the WCB is able to offer Manitoba employers the lowest rate in the country. Enhancements in return to work efforts and injury prevention, coupled with the WCB's strong financial reserves, have helped to make the rate decrease possible. Beginning January 1, 2018, 91 per cent of employers will see a decrease in their rates. Overall, employers will pay $30 million less in premiums in 2018 compared to 2017. (Full Story)

November 30, 2017 - Seasonal employment adds to a tight job market that may not last - The retail employment bulge means a predicted decline in Canadian employment growth may be pushed forward at least a few more months. And those seasonal jobs, although not the high-tech, high-pay employment our economic leaders say is so important, are boosting the quality of Canada's future workforce. But the number and quality of the jobs created in any month are also the foundation for future economic strength in the public and private sectors because a well employed population has money to spend and incomes to tax. (Full Story)

November 29, 2017 - 54,000 jobs by 2023, province claims - The provincial workforce will grow by more than 23,000 workers in the next six years, according to a report released by the provincial government Wednesday. The province revealed the Labour Market and Occupational Forecasts report projects Manitoba’s workforce to jump between now and 2023, with the provincial economy estimated to grow 1.5% per year in the same span. The report also suggests the unemployment rate will decline in the same period. (Full Story)

November 26, 2017 - Province investing in community-based training and employment services - The Manitoba government is investing $25 million in 86 community-based training and employment agencies that provide services to help more than 20,400 unemployed and low-income Manitobans improve their skills and employment opportunities. Most of the community-based service providers are not-for-profit, including the Momentum Centre, which offers a community reintegration program for individuals released from an addictions treatment program at Headingley Correctional Centre to help prepare them for employment and reduce future contact with the law. The Momentum Centre is receiving $900,000 from the province to support this work, and other projects. (Full Story)

November 22, 2017 - Manitoba can handle more immigrant workers - Immigrant employment was the topic of discussion at a presentation held at Red River College in Portage la Prairie Wednesday morning as Deputy Assistant Minister of Immigration for Manitoba Information and Training Ben Remple was in town to discuss the subject. The Minister went over some of the perks for businesses that bring in immigrant employees, as well as some of the benefits for the community. He says it’s about matching immigrants with certain skills to an employer’s certain needs, and getting them involved with the community quickly. Remple adds 2017 saw 900 immigrant students brought into Manitoba for high school, university, or adult education and most of those students will end up staying in the province. (Full Story)

November 14, 2017 - Province Supports Program Preparing At-Risk Youth In Northern Manitoba For Employment - The Manitoba government is investing nearly $200,000 in a program to help at-risk youth in Thompson earn high school credits, and gain employability and life skills, Education and Training Minister Ian Wishart announced today. The program includes a four-week orientation followed by 22 weeks of classroom-based learning.  Participants then receive 11 weeks of carpentry instruction followed by a 13-week paid work placement with a local employer in the building, trades or manufacturing sector. (Full Story)

December 1, 2017 - New Brunswick loses 2,700 jobs in November - New Brunswick lost 2,700 jobs, mainly in part-time positions, in November, according to Statistics Canada's monthly labour force report. The unemployment rate rose to 8.3 per cent, an increase of half a per cent, from October, according to the agency. The monthly report showed 200 full-time jobs and 2,500 part-time jobs were lost in November. About 1,100 people left the labour force. There was little change to New Brunswick's employment compared to 12 months earlier. (Full Story)

November 20, 2017 - Working to Well program supports workers across Atlantic Canada in returning to the job after injury - Atlantic Canadians injured on the job tend to take longer to return to work than those living in most other provinces. To further assist workers as they recover from workplace injury, Atlantic Canada’s workers’ compensation organizations have teamed up to launch a region-wide program. Working to Well is one of several shared initiatives produced over the past decade by WCB Nova Scotia, WorkplaceNL, WorkSafeNB, and the Workers Compensation Board of PEI. Its goal is to keep people connected to their workplace, whenever possible, following an injury. (Full Story)

November 19, 2017 - Pension plan in the works for New Brunswick's self-employed - Self-employed people in New Brunswick may soon be able to better plan for retirement. This month the New Brunswick government introduced Bill 22, legislation that would allow people who are self-employed to start a pension plan for themselves and their employees. Pooled Registered Pension Plans, or PRPPs, offer lower setup costs and administration fees for small businesses. (Full Story)

November 14, 2017 - New Brunswick to introduce legislation enabling PRPPs - New Brunswick is looking to become the latest province to allow workers to save for retirement through pooled registered pension plans (PRPPs). The provincial government announced on Tuesday that it's introducing legislation that would enable small companies and self-employed workers to utilize PRPPs as a retirement savings vehicle. The proposed legislation is based on model legislation drafted by the federal government to facilitate the introduction of PRPPs in various provinces. (Full Story)

December 13, 2017 - Employment Assistance Services Expanding to College of the North Atlantic - The Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour is undertaking a partnership with College of the North Atlantic to expand employment planning services to college campuses across the province over the coming months. Employment Assistance Services are available at the department’s employment centres and help EI eligible individuals with job searches, resume writing, labour market information, as well as career and employment needs assessments. (Full Story)

December 12, 2017 - 2,800 unfilled jobs in Newfoundland and Labrador: CFIB report - It may be a drop in the bucket compared to large provinces like Ontario and Quebec, but there are 2,800 unfilled jobs in Newfoundland and Labrador, according to the Q3 2017 Help Wanted report, released by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) on Tuesday, Dec. 12. That’s a vacancy rate of 1.9 per cent. Across the country there are 361,700 unfilled jobs, the CFIB report says, the highest number of unfilled private sector jobs ever recorded in Canada. (Full Story)

December 5, 2017 - Provincial Government Announces Pilot Employment Programs for International Students - The provincial government has announced funding through the Labour Market Partnerships Program to support two pilot employment programs for international students and graduates. The programs will be delivered by the Association for New Canadians and will help international students secure gainful employment and expand their professional networks, which will support their pathways to permanent residency and retention in Newfoundland and Labrador. (Full Story)

November 23, 2017 - Lower Injury Costs Leads to Lower Workers’ Compensation Rates for Employers - The average assessment rate for workers’ compensation coverage will be lowered from $2.06 to $1.90 per $100 of payroll for employers in Newfoundland and Labrador, a 7.8 per cent decrease. The Maximum Compensable and Assessable Earnings (MCAE) will increase to $64,375, the highest in Atlantic Canada. Both are effective January 1, 2018. Approximately 87.3 per cent of employers will see their 2018 assessment rate decrease or stay the same. (Full Story)

November 20, 2017 - Minister Hawkins Provides Update on Workforce Innovation Centre - Al Hawkins, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour, said that the Workforce Innovation Centre at College of the North Atlantic’s Corner Brook campus supports innovative research and projects to help Newfoundlanders and Labradorians gain and maintain sustainable employment. Four inaugural projects have now been selected to share more than $1.7 million in funding. These projects were selected based on their alignment with the government’s vision for private sector job creation and economic development in The Way Forward and their Immigration Action Plan. (Full Story)

November 20, 2017 - Working to Well Program Supports Workers Across Newfoundland and Labrador in Recovering from a Workplace Injury - In 2016, 95 per cent of workers in an Early and Safe Return to Work Program returned to sustainable work in Newfoundland and Labrador. Staying connected to the people, routines and stimulation of the workplace is a meaningful part of the recovery process for workers injured on the job. In an effort to further assist workers as they recover from workplace injury, Atlantic Canada’s workers’ compensation organizations have teamed up to launch a region-wide program: Working to Well. (Full Story)

November 3, 2017 - Newfoundland and Labrador gains 3,400 jobs as national economy adds 35,300 in October - The Canadian economy continued to churn out more jobs in October even amid forecasts that economic growth is slowing in the second half of the year. Statistics Canada said Friday that the economy added 35,300 jobs in October as the number of full-time positions swelled by 88,700, while part-time employment dropped by 53,400 jobs. The gain in jobs came as the unemployment rate increased to 6.3 per cent, up from 6.2 per cent in September, as more young people started looking for work. (Full Story)

December 11 / 2017 - The Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) 2018 employer assessment rates - This year, the average provisional assessment rate will be $2.05 per $100 assessable payroll. This provisional target rate is the rate employers would pay if there was only one rate for all employers, and is the rate the WSCC uses as a starting point when setting individual subclass rates. In 2018 the Year’s Maximum Insurable Remuneration (YMIR) will remain at $90,600. YMIR is the maximum earnings the WSCC uses to calculate compensation paid to an injured worker per year. (Full Story)

November 28, 2017 - Immigrant wages rising, but gaps with Canadian-born earners persist - Recent immigrants to Canada are earning more money than ever, according to new Statistics Canada figures. The median income of people who arrived in Canada in 2014 was $24,000 a year later, the highest on record for landed immigrants since 1981. The rise in median wages is the good news. But immigrants still make significantly less than people born in Canada. While non-immigrants earned on average $36,300, immigrants made $29,770, according to the 2016 census. (Full Story)

December 5, 2017 - Nova Scotia hiring more young people - but most jobs seasonal, part-time - The Nova Scotia government has shattered its goal of hiring five per cent more young people per year - and there's still four months left in the 2017-18 fiscal year. According to figures shared with a legislature committee on Tuesday, 616 of the 1,300 people hired into a government job since April were under the age of 35. That's 47 per cent of the new hires, although most of the jobs were either seasonal or part time; only 80 of those young people got full-time employment. (Full Story)

December 5, 2017 - Changes to Special Protection coming January 1st - Starting January 1st, the Nova Scotia WCB is making it easier for employers to extend WCB coverage to workers who are also family members and live at home. Employers can choose to include these workers under their regular WCB coverage. A small number of employers who obtain Special Protection to cover their workers who fall into this category. Up until now, covering these workers meant employers had to apply to renew the Special Protection coverage every year.  They also had to report the payroll and pay the coverage fee separately, and apart from their regular coverage. The change will mean less paperwork, fewer in-person visits to WCB offices, and a more consistent level of coverage for all employees. (Full Story)

November 24, 2017 - Accessible job search centres help everyone - For many finding the right job is often an uphill and frustrating journey. Not knowing which job you want, followed by a challenging job search and workplace transition that could be filled with anxiety, is sadly what many Nova Scotians face when entering the labour market. Nova Scotians do not need to journey towards employment alone - there is help. There are 17 Nova Scotia Work Employment Centres spread throughout the province, which provide access to high-quality, inclusive services for employers and job seekers. (Full Story)

November 22, 2017 - Working to Well program supports workers across Nova Scotia in recovery from workplace injury - Each year in Nova Scotia, more than 770,000 work days are lost due to workplace injury. Although the number of time-loss injuries has declined in recent years, the average length of those claims has increased. Losing time from work due to injury takes a significant human toll on workers, their families, and our communities. Beyond that, there is economic and business impact. Long claim durations create challenges for our economy, and our ability to compete nationally and globally. At 115 days, the average claim duration in Nova Scotia is longer than in many other Canadian provinces. (Full Story)

November 17, 2017 - Continued progress in Nova Scotia’s workplace injury rate - There was continued progress in reducing Nova Scotia workplace injuries in the second quarter of 2017, according to WCB Nova Scotia’s latest Report to the Community. The province had an injury rate of 1.72 per 100 covered employees, compared with 1.74 at the end of 2016. In Nova Scotia, there were 2,760 time-loss injuries from January to June of this year. During the same period in 2016, there were 2,865 injuries. In 2016, WCB reported a total of 5,847 time-loss injuries, compared to 6,014 in 2015. (Full Story)

November 8, 2017 - Council to Invest In Attendance Support Workers - The Council to Improve Classroom Conditions is investing $1.9 million over the next two years to implement 14 pilot projects aimed at improving student attendance across the province. Funding will be used to hire 14 attendance support workers, assigned to families of schools, feeder schools, or individual schools within each school board. Each pilot project will be supported by a fund for attendance programming and supports, based on the needs of the students and schools being served. (Full Story)

December 11 / 2017 - The Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) 2018 employer assessment rates - This year, the average provisional assessment rate will be $2.05 per $100 assessable payroll. This provisional target rate is the rate employers would pay if there was only one rate for all employers, and is the rate the WSCC uses as a starting point when setting individual subclass rates. In 2018 the Year’s Maximum Insurable Remuneration (YMIR) will remain at $90,600. YMIR is the maximum earnings the WSCC uses to calculate compensation paid to an injured worker per year. (Full Story)

December 2017 - Apply now for January 2018 session of the G.R.E.A.T. program - The Nunavut government is once again offering the "Getting Ready for Employment and Training", or G.R.E.A.T. program, to help income assistance clients to develop skills that will help them find employment. The program will be offered in Grise Fiord, Resolute Bay, Whale Cove, Taloyoak, Arviat and Naujaat from January 15 until April 20, 2018. This 14-week program provides training in essential skills, computers, personal portfolio development and work readiness. A two-week, mentored work experience is included. (Full Story)

December 15, 2017 - Minimum wage increase and wage loss earnings - Starting January 1, 2018, the minimum wage in Ontario will increase to $14/hour. On January 1, 2019 it will again increase to $15/hour. The minimum wage increase will impact the loss of earnings benefits that some people are currently receiving. Where a person is employed and their wage increases due to the minimum wage increase, the wage increase is a material change in circumstances that must be reported to the WSIB. After it is reported, the WSIB will determine whether their loss of earnings benefit is adjusted. (Full Story)

December 14, 2017 - Supporting Law Enforcement Workers with PTSD - Ontario is proposing to extend the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) presumption to include special constables, and civilian members of police services in Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System (ViCLAS) and forensic units. This would expedite access to benefits, resources and timely treatment. If a worker covered under the proposed presumption is diagnosed with PTSD by a psychiatrist or a psychologist, the worker's WSIB claim would be presumed to be work-related. This would allow the worker to receive faster access to compensation and proper treatment, ultimately supporting positive recovery outcomes. (Full Story)

December 7, 2017 - Ontario Creating Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs - Ontario is creating more opportunity and security for workers through its plan for Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs. This includes raising the minimum wage, ensuring part-time workers are paid the same hourly wage as full-time workers, introducing paid sick days for every worker, enabling at least three weeks' vacation after five years with the same employer and stepping up enforcement of employment laws. (Full Story)

December 1, 2017 - Ontario Adds 43,500 Jobs in November - Employment in Ontario increased by 43,500 jobs in November - the fifth straight month of job gains - and the unemployment rate decreased to 5.5 per cent, the lowest it has been since 2000. Since last November, employment in Ontario is up by 180,800 jobs. Ontario's unemployment rate has been below the national average for 32 consecutive months and below six per cent for the past four months - a first since 2000. Ontario has now created more than 800,000 net new jobs since the depths of the recession. (Full Story)

November 27, 2017 - Ontario's Legislation to Create Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Receives Royal Assent - Ontario's landmark Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, received Royal Assent today. The broad ranging Act raises the minimum wage, ensures more fairness for part-time and contract workers, and expands personal emergency leave. The minimum wage will increase to $14 an hour on January 1, 2018, and to $15 an hour on January 1, 2019. (Full Story)

November 22, 2017 - Ontario Passes Legislation to Create Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs - Today, Ontario passed landmark legislation that will bring more fairness to Ontario workplaces and create more security and opportunity for vulnerable workers and their families. The Act will raise the minimum wage, ensure more fairness for part-time and contract workers, expand personal emergency leave and step up enforcement of employment laws. To enforce these changes, the province is hiring up to 175 more employment standards officers and is launching a program to educate both employees and businesses about their rights and obligations under the Employment Standards Act, 2000. (Full Story)

December 12, 2017 - WCB Return to Work Survey - The Workers Compensation Board (WCB) will begin polling injured workers to gain a better understanding of their return to work experience. On behalf of the WCB, Corporate Research Associates will conduct the polling, participation in the survey is voluntary and anonymous. CRA does not disclose the identity of the survey participants to the WCB or to anyone else, and only provides individual responses stripped of identifying information if the participant authorizes. (Full Story)

December 11, 2017 - Federal government contributes $329,066 to new Island internship program - The federal government’s latest contribution to RDÉE P.E.I. will fund a new paid internship program that will help integrate post-secondary graduates into the work force. Objectif Carrière Î.-P.-É. was established with the $329,066 contribution from the Career Focus Strategy under the federal government’s Youth Employment Strategy. It offers participants the opportunity to gain work experience in their field of study and discover employers and employment opportunities available on P.E.I. (Full Story)

December 8, 2017 - Renovated Georgetown mill brings jobs, business to Kings County - In just over a year, the former Georgetown Timber mill has changed from an empty shell to a magnet that is attracting employers and skilled workers to eastern Kings County. Stainless-steel equipment manufacturer Eastern Fabricators moved in as the founding tenant. Wind turbine maker Frontier Power Systems became the second tenant in December 2016, signing a 10-year lease for a 10,800 square foot building to manufacture wind turbine blades. Between the two companies, the facility could see upwards of 50 workers on site. (Full Story)

December 5, 2017 - New Health and Safety Publications - In an effort to enhance PEI workplace safety culture, the Workers Compensation Board has released several new health and safety publications. The WCB is working to provide more information to members of PEI’s fishing industry about OHS and WCB coverage. As a result, posters outlining the health and safety responsibilities of the captain and crew of a fishing vessel are available for download. If you or someone you know would be interested in obtaining laminated versions of these posters, please contact Occupational Health and Safety. (Full Story)

November 9, 2017 - No protection: Why your job may be at risk under 18-month parental leave - P.E.I.'s labour relations director has a warning for Island parents: While you'll soon be entitled to an 18-month parental leave, there's no guarantee your job will be there when you get back. The federal government is changing its parental leave rules, giving parents the option to stretch 12 months of parental leave pay out over 18 months. But only federally regulated companies actually follow the Canada Labour Code -  most Island employers have to follow P.E.I.'s Employment Standards Act, which only protects workers for a year of parental leave. (Full Story)

November 9, 2017 - Minimum wage keeping up with Island’s growing economy - Prince Edward Island’s minimum wage will remain the highest in Atlantic Canada when it increases by 30 cents to $11.55 per hour on April 1, 2018. The Employment Standards Board – which reviews the minimum wage rate each year - recommended the minimum wage increase based on economic factors in the province and on input received from the public. The board gathered input from 15 organizations and 12 individuals during consultations this past summer. (Full Story)

December 6, 2017 - Government Creates Interpersonal Violence Leave - Over the last year, the Ministries of Justice, Social Services and Labour Relations and Workplace Safety have engaged in consultations to determine what supports are needed to combat the issue of interpersonal violence in Saskatchewan. The result is a job protected leave that can be taken immediately after the legislation receives Royal Asset, which is expected on December 7, 2017. The Saskatchewan Employment (Interpersonal Violence Leave) Amendment Act, 2017, provides survivors of interpersonal violence with 10 days of unpaid leave to access services or to relocate. (Full Story)

December 6, 2017 - Sask. government grants 10 days of leave from work to survivors of interpersonal violence - Advocates agree that the Saskatchewan government’s move to grant 10 days of unpaid leave from work to survivors of intimate partner violence is a step in the right direction. Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan introduced the Saskatchewan Employment (Interpersonal Violence Leave) Amendment Act, which was passed Wednesday afternoon in the Legislative Assembly and is expected to receive Royal Assent on Thursday. (Full Story)

December 5, 2017 - WCB approves 2018 premium rates - The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) has approved the 2018 average employer premium rate of $1.19, a decrease of four per cent from the 2017 rate of $1.24. This is the lowest rate in more than 30 years and it is the third lowest in Canada. The 2018 average rate is 42 per cent below the 15-year high of $2.05 in 2004. For 2018, 94.1 per cent of Saskatchewan employers covered by the WCB will see a decrease or no change to their industry premium rate. These decreases range from 0.8 per cent to 32.8 per cent. The premium rates for 5.9 per cent of employers will increase in 2018, with increases ranging from 0.9 per cent to 2.0 per cent. (Full Story)

November 23, 2017 - Fewer people receive EI benefits in Saskatchewan during September - Fewer people in Saskatchewan were receiving regular employment insurance (EI) benefits during September however the number of people filing claims rose. Statistics Canada reported Thursday that 17,700 people received EI benefits during the month, a decrease of 3.3 per cent from August. Declines in the number of people receiving EI is due to a number of circumstances, including those going back to work and people who have exhausted their benefits, according to Statistics Canada. (Full Story)

November 4, 2017 - Saskatchewan job market in the midst of an 'old-fashioned slump' - Declining business and government spending has created what one prominent statistician calls an “old-fashioned” slump in Saskatchewan’s labour market. According to the Sask Trends Monitor, the province has not generated any jobs in the last 18 months. Statistics Canada on Friday reported that the province lost 3,400 jobs over the last 12 months, reducing the total number of people working by 0.6 per cent to 565,800. The unemployment rate dropped 1.1 percentage points to 5.9 per cent. (Full Story)

November 3, 2017 - Unemployment Rate Drops to 5.9 Per Cent - Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 per cent in October from 7.0 per cent last year, tied for the third lowest in Canada (seasonally adjusted).  Nationally, the unemployment rate was 6.3 per cent. Our unemployment rate was down from 6.2 per cent in September. There were 565,800 people employed in October, down 3,400 from October 2016. (Full Story)

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December 2017 - YWCHSB Maximum Wage Rate - The Yukon WCB has announced that the 2018 maximum wage rate, also known as the maximum assessable earnings rate, is $86,971. The rate is revised every year according to methods set out in the Workers' Compensation Act. The maximum wage rate is used to calculate employer premiums. It determines the maximum level of earnings to which employers will be assessed. It also affects pension amounts for some workers. The maximum wage rate represents the maximum annual wage benefits injured workers can receive for loss of earnings. (Full Story)

November 2017 - Board drives accountability of Yukon workers' compensation system with another $10 million rebate to employers - For the third year, the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board (YWCHSB) will distribute $10 million to eligible Yukon employers in the form of a rebate. As a result, from 2012 through to the end of 2018, over $54 million will have been distributed to Yukon employers in the form of rate subsidies and rebate cheques. (Full Story)

Featured Article: Make festivities memorable

Holiday party season a great opportunity mix

There’s no getting around it, unless you want to be the "Grinch who stole Christmas." Yes, that jolly good season is here, and that annual employee event is next on your agenda. But don’t fret, these events are valuable opportunities to show appreciation for your employees and to mix and mingle with those individuals you don’t encounter every day. It’s a chance to relax and learn more about their lives and to share something personal about yourself.

On the other hand, employee events need to be well planned and all the potential risks looked after as best you can. After all, your organization is responsible for everything that goes on during the event, including ensuring your guests are sent home safe and sound. In other words, it’s all about a combination of fun and employee safety. While these events used to be more of a "high fashion" event, business casual has helped to tone them down with a more family friendly orientation. And this year, the trend for these events is also low cost sprinkled with plain and simple fun.

However, don’t let the idea of low cost and the task of planning take the joy out of the upcoming event. Planning can be both fun and an opportunity for professional development. So, the first thing to do to get ready is to create an event planning committee. Select an employee who would benefit from this informal leadership opportunity. Next, select others who are good organizers, who are creative and who would see this task as an opportunity to build relationships with other employees and build new skills. Set a budget for the committee and make them aware of your goals and objectives. Then, direct your committee to consider some of the following items:

Select a venue: While hotels are the most common locations for holiday events, many need to be booked one year in advance, so be creative and look elsewhere. Perhaps a nearby community club would appreciate your rental fee and it would allow the committee to do their own decorating.

Plan food and drinks: Determine whether you’ll have a sit-down dinner and/or buffet style and check with fellow employees on any dietary and allergy restrictions before you select your food menu. Plan to have a variety of beverages including non-alcohol drinks. Today’s practice is to limit alcohol tickets to two per person while others will use a cash bar. The goal is to prevent over-drinking and ensure people get home safe.

Be activity-based: People today are really into fun activities, songs and skits. Go retro and set up a small games area with Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit and/or a card game. Include activities that are group-based to ensure plenty of mix and mingle. Plan for some fun dress-up costumes where people can share a fun pose. Think about a singalong!

Nominate a photographer: With everyone trigger happy on their cellphone cameras these days, it’s important to set down some ground rules. In fact, assign one or two employees as official photographers and establish rules for the type of permissible photos. After the event, create a PowerPoint presentation and showcase your party at a lunch date immediately prior to the closing of business.

Assign seating: There’s nothing more discouraging than scrambling for a seat and finding yourself the "last man standing." Assign your seating so that cliques do not develop. Position people so they can develop new relationships.

Create an invitation: Everyone loves an invitation! Get those internal artists busy and create an attractive event invitation. Don’t forget to create place names and other materials for the event. Be artistic and make sure you are creating fun scenarios throughout the event.

Create a welcome team: If your event is at an unfamiliar location, assign a small group of employees to act as the welcome team, showing people where to hang coats, and where they are seated. Take the guests and introduce them to people they are unfamiliar with. Be sure to keep an eye on these folks and help them to mix and mingle throughout the evening.

Gift, gifts, gifts: The earlier idea of an employee gift exchange is giving way to inviting guests to bring a gift for charity. Some organizations already sponsor a charity, but if not, seek out a children’s charity specifically for the holiday season. Invite employees to bring toys or clothing for donation.

Yet, let’s face it, there are many smaller organizations that can’t afford a large catered seasonal celebration. However, that is certainly no excuse for failing to celebrate the holiday season and recognize your employees. For instance, most employees would enjoy a so called "pot luck" lunch at the workplace. Invite everyone to bring a sample of their own special food along with a recipe and a story behind their favourite. With so many different nationalities, religions and languages in our workplace today, this event could become a multicultural event featuring different foods and traditions. What a superb opportunity to learn more about each other!

Yet, this kind of event also takes planning. Once the food menu is all sorted out, plan for a singsong event or feature one of the employees who has a special musical gift. Perhaps there are a series of photos taken at different times during the year and/or your event might be a time to highlight corporate awards and recognition.

Still, there are other creative ways to help celebrate the season. Some organizations are forgoing the Christmas party and instead volunteering their time at various other social service organizations. I’ve seen employees delivering Christmas hampers, helping at organizations, such as the Salvation Army and Siloam Mission or spending a day wrapping gifts for the Christmas Cheer Board. If this is a choice for this year, remember to reconvene the employees back at work and just prior to Christmas closing, bring everyone together to share their experiences and enjoy a catered luncheon and/or a pot luck event.

There’s no getting around it, the Christmas season is a festive time of year and people want to celebrate. So don’t be the Grinch who stole Christmas, take advantage of the opportunity to recognize and reward employees as well as boosting morale and team synergy. At the same time, no matter what you do for your event, make it memorable and make it safe!

Article presented by permission from Barbara J. Bowes, President of Legacy Bowes Group and a professional speaker, author, radio personality and management consultant. She can be reached at barb@legacybowes.com.

Software Updates

GrandMaster Suite and GrandMaster II

  • Year-End Release - View our downloads page this week for GrandMaster software updates that will include the year-end tax changes and other useful enhancements.

eNETEmployer

  • The current release now includes the 2018 Federal and Provincial tax changes.
  • Added username validation to ensure that user name ends with your company's @clientid.
  • Added an Audit feature that shows a list of changes that have been made to the current item. This new feature can be seen by adding the Audit button to your view via the Customize View function. NOTE: The Audit feature is a developing feature and subject to updates as new functionality is added.
  • Fixed issue with error that occurred when the "All" option was selected while creating the Pay Statements - Pressure Seal Mailer report option.
  • Updated the mimeType for better browser functionality when creating export files (e.g. PDF, EFT, BAK).
  • Added an employee Recruitment feature that allows you to create online questionnaires that can be posted to the jobs page of your company website. When a prospective employee submits the questionnaire, your HR administrator will receive an email notice and can view the submitted responses, resumes and other associated files. Please contact sales@canpay.com if you wish to have this feature activated for your account. Click here for further information on this feature.

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