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Newsletter – APRIL 2023

Federal Minimum Wage rises to $16.65 an hour

On April 1, 2023, the federal minimum wage increased from $15.55 to $16.65 per hour to keep pace with inflation.

This adjustment is based on the 6.8% increase in the Consumer Price Index in 2022 and will benefit around 26,000 Canadian workers who currently earn less than the current rate.Federally-regulated private sector employers are required to update their payroll systems to reflect the new rate to ensure that workers and interns are paid correctly.

Employers must also apply any provincial or territorial minimum wage rate that is higher than the federal minimum wage. The federal minimum wage applies to several federally-regulated private sectors, such as banks, postal and courier services, and interprovincial air, rail, road, and marine transportation.



Webinar: The Top Three HR Priorities You Can’t Ignore in 2023


‘Changed Substratum’ a Game Changer for Employees with Old and Outdated Employment Contracts

    This article by Ljubica Durlovska, an employment lawyer at HRC Law Professional Corporation, examines how the “changed substratum” doctrine can render an existing employment agreement invalid over time. The article discusses the Celestini v. Shoplogix Inc. case, in which this doctrine was successfully used to set aside an executive’s employment agreement. For insights into the “changed substratum” doctrine and key takeaways for employers, read the article.


    B.C. nurses reach tentative labour agreement with provincial government

    Members of the Nurses’ Bargaining Association, represented by five unions including the BC Nurses’ Union, the Health Sciences Association, the Union of Psychiatric Nurses, the Hospital Employees’ Union, and the British Columbia General Employees’ Union, have reached a tentative contract with the provincial government of British Columbia.

    The agreement covers more than 51,000 registered, psychiatric, and licensed practical nurses who work in various healthcare settings. While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, the province’s Health Employers Association confirmed the agreement and stated that it includes policy-based initiatives aimed at improving the health system, expanding training, and increasing recruitment and retention. The details of the agreement will be released after the ratification process, although no date has been announced.

    Read more

    B.C. calls end to mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy

    The province of British Columbia has announced the end of its mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy for government workers, which has been in place since November 2021. B.C. Public Service employees will no longer be required to provide proof of vaccination from April 3, as the majority of employees have already been vaccinated. Contractors and non-employees will also not need to be vaccinated to enter BC Public Service workplaces.
    However, workers in settings with provincial health officer orders or other vaccination requirements still need to be vaccinated.
    According to the ministry, the change will allow workers who have been forced to leave their employment due to vaccination requirements to potentially return to their jobs.


    AB, SK, and MB sign agreement to boost trade, economic growth

    An agreement has been signed by the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba to enhance trade and economic growth by creating new economic corridors across the three provinces. This partnership aims to strengthen the region’s global market position and promote collaboration while boosting economic growth. 
    “Alberta is proud to partner with Saskatchewan and Manitoba, taking a leadership role in building new trade corridors that will help our provinces and our country,” Alberta Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors Devin Dreeshen said.

    The three provincial governments will collaborate to identify and prioritize strategic infrastructure, eliminate regulatory inefficiencies and uncertainties, and attract and develop nation-building projects. This effort will result in the construction of new economic corridors that will support the movement of critical resources, energy and utility projects, and secure national supply chains. 

    These corridors will not only include physical infrastructure but also service markets and the coordination of regulations and policies across multiple sectors and jurisdictions.



    Ontario Introducing New Safety Regulations to Protect Miners

    New regulations are being implemented in Ontario to enhance safety measures for the 29,000 mine workers in the province.

    The government aims to improve the air quality in underground mines by imposing stricter ventilation requirements and decreasing exposure to dangerous diesel exhaust to the most protective levels across North America.

    Prolonged exposure to diesel exhaust is a major contributor to lung cancer in miners. Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton stated that Ontario’s miners have been instrumental to the economy for several generations, and the government has a responsibility to ensure their safety. 

    As a result, the government is implementing changes to enable the use of track-mounted robots in mines, controlled by an operator, to identify safety hazards like loose rocks and misfired explosives while keeping workers out of harm’s way. These modifications are expected to save lives and improve safety conditions in Ontario’s mining sector.


    Alberta’s government is extending the use of blue lights to improve highway safety for roadside workers and drivers.

    The Government of Alberta has decided to extend the use of blue lights on snowplows, tow trucks, and highway maintenance vehicles contracted to the government to enhance highway safety for both roadside workers and drivers. The decision to extend the exemption for an additional five years was made based on feedback received from operators of these vehicles who participated in a small trial initiated in 2022. 
    The use of blue and amber flashing lights on these vehicles will continue to indicate to drivers when and where roadside workers are present, ensuring improved safety conditions for everyone on Alberta highways.



    B.C.’s minimum wage to increase by over a dollar to $16.75 an hour on June 1

    Minimum wage workers across British Columbia will receive a pay rise this year as the government has announced a general wage hike. Labour Minister Harry Bains made the announcement on April 5th, stating that the minimum wage will increase by $1.10 to $16.75 an hour on June 1, 2023. 
    Once the increase goes into effect, B.C. will have the second-highest minimum wage in the country, slightly behind Yukon, where the minimum wage is $16.77. Ontario has also recently announced a minimum wage increase in October.

    Register now: 2023 Occupational Health and Safety Research Day

    A virtual Research Day event will be held on May 4 and May 11, featuring research funded by the Ontario Ministry of Labour and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). Attendees can register for free and gain valuable insights into crucial health and safety research.
    Upcoming health and safety inspections in Ontario: 2023-24 schedule and construction plans


    The Ontario Ministry of Labour has released a schedule outlining its health and safety campaigns for 2023-24. These campaigns target specific hazards or topics and last for at least 12 months. They comprise two phases:
    • Education and outreach: The ministry collaborates with health and safety associations to increase awareness and provide workplaces with resources, training, and education to help them comply with regulations and prepare for upcoming inspections.
    • Inspection blitz: Inspectors conduct visits to ensure that employers are following the law and highlight particular issues in the workplace they’re inspecting. 
    The inspection phase started on April 1, for two campaigns focused on the construction sector:
    • falls from heights in single-family residential construction, and 
    • struck-by equipment hazards in specific construction settings.
    WSIB: Report and pay through online banking Businesses can now report, pay, and reconcile their Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) premiums through their online banking, in one simple transaction.


    If your remote worker gets injured during working hours in their home office, are they eligible for workers’ compensation benefits?

    • 28 Weeks 43% 43%
    • 26 Weeks 29% 29%
    • 18 Weeks 8% 8%
    • Others (comment below) 20% 20%


    What is the maximum amount of severance pay required to be paid under the ESA of Ontario?

    • 28 Weeks
    • 26 Weeks
    • 18 Weeks
    • Others (Comment below)


    Employers’ Guide: All about Severance Pay in Ontario

    Inflation has caused economic turmoil around the world, and many businesses are terminating employees to stay afloat. If you’re considering doing the same, you should know that your employees may be entitled to severance pay as compensation. Read our latest article to know all about Ontario’s severance pay rules.

    Marcus Poitras

    Regional Base Manager,Fly GTA Airlines

    “For us as an airline it’s been a huge positive to us. Massive! Now we have an employee handbook, we have onboarding checklist routines, almost a culture in place for those kinds of things we’re looking at how we are for certain people.
    We’re making sure that our employees are addressed on all levels of their employment and have something at their fingertips that they can refer to if they need to know about anything whether it be benefits or sick days or whatever that relates back to the employees.”