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Newsletter – July 2024


New B.C. Law Aimed at Finding Labour Shortage Relief from Abroad

Starting this month, British Columbia’s new International Credentials Recognition Act aims to tackle labour shortages in healthcare and other high-demand fields. Effective July 1, the law requires 18 professional bodies to remove barriers in 29 professions, including paramedics, engineers, teachers, and lawyers.

Ravi Parmar, parliamentary secretary for international credentials, and MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca, highlighted that the regulations simplify and make the credential recognition process fairer for internationally trained professionals. This change aims to expedite their integration into the workforce, addressing projected shortages due to retirements and the growing senior population.

The law mandates that professional bodies collect and report data on both domestic and international applications, addressing previous gaps. It removes discriminatory requirements, such as the need for Canadian work experience, and promotes transparency, reduces wait times, and ensures similar fees for all applicants.

A newly established superintendent will oversee the fair recognition of credentials, monitor data reporting, and enforce compliance. This legislation builds on efforts to attract professionals, including international medical graduates, to meet the province’s needs.


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Federal Employees Misusing ‘Mouse Jigglers’ to Pretend to Work

A recent Global Affairs Canada (GAC) report has revealed disciplinary actions against nearly 100 employees for various breaches, including the misuse of “mouse jigglers.” These devices simulate mouse movement to keep a computer active without user interaction, making it appear as if employees are working when they are not.

While mouse jigglers have legitimate uses, such as keeping presentations and video calls active, their misuse has gained notoriety in the context of remote work.

Mouse jigglers come in various forms, including mechanical devices, USB gadgets, and software applications. Prices range from $15 to $50 for hardware and $10 to $30 for paid software, with free software posing potential security risks. These devices can be purchased online from retailers like Amazon and eBay or downloaded from app stores and developers’ websites.

Read more



Occupational Health and Safety Inspections Starting in July

Starting in July, inspectors will commence occupational health and safety inspections as part of this year’s compliance initiatives. These inspections will focus on two key areas:

  1. Worker exposures to chemical agents in the workplace
  2. WHMIS training based on the amended Hazardous Products Regulations

Learn what inspectors are looking for and how to prepare.

OHCOW: Prevent Heat Stress

The Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) has unveiled a comprehensive Heat Stress Toolkit aimed at helping workers mitigate the risks associated with heat stress.

 Key components of the toolkit include:

  • A new Heat Stress Calculator for both indoor and outdoor settings
  • An updated Heat Stress Awareness Guide
  • Two new booklets: Heat Stress Prevention Tools and Strategies and Heat Stress 
  • Physiological Monitoring Guide
  • Posters, videos and easy-to-understand infographics

 Try the Heat Stress Toolkit

July 1: New Requirements for Temporary Help Agency and Recruiter Licensing

Effective July 1, temporary help agencies and recruiters must obtain a licence to operate. It is now prohibited for clients, employers, prospective employers, and other recruiters to engage or utilize the services of temporary help agencies or recruiters without a valid licence.

Learn more | Find out if an agency or recruiter is licenced

Alberta Sees Surge in Temporary Foreign Workers for Business Roles

Alberta experienced a rise in the approval of temporary foreign workers (TFWs) for business, finance, and administration roles, with employers cleared to hire 2,242 TFWs in 2023, up from 166 in 2018. This 1,251% increase highlights the growing reliance on TFWs to fill labour shortages in these sectors.

Experts attribute this trend to companies opting for temporary contracts and locals avoiding such roles due to perceived lower pay. Despite the increase in business role approvals, the most common TFW positions in Alberta remain in food and agriculture sectors. The province continues to adapt to labour demands, reflecting an evolving employment landscape.




Worker Fired After 2.5 Years Gets 12 Months’ Notice

British Columbia court has ruled that Mercer Celgar Limited Partnership must pay a chemical engineer 12 months’ salary in lieu of notice after inducing him to leave a secure position with Catalyst Paper Corporation. The engineer, who had worked for Catalyst since 1992 and planned to stay until retirement, was recruited by Mercer Celgar in early 2018 with promises of better benefits and long-term employment.

After initially declining an offer, the worker accepted a revised offer with a higher salary, leaving Catalyst in April 2018. He was later injured in a fall and, upon returning to work in 2020, was terminated without cause as part of a downsizing effort.

 The court found that Mercer Celgar’s inducement created an expectation of long-term employment, warranting increased notice. Despite Celgar’s claim that the worker failed to mitigate his losses by not actively seeking new employment, the court ruled there was no evidence of missed opportunities. Consequently, Celgar was ordered to pay 12 months’ salary as severance. 


Gig Workers in B.C. to Be Paid Minimum of $20.88 an Hour

Starting September 3, British Columbia will implement a new law mandating a minimum wage of $20.88 per hour for gig workers using app-based services like Uber, DoorDash, Skip the Dishes, and Lyft. This makes B.C. the first Canadian province to offer such protections, covering engaged time—when a worker accepts and completes a job—but not time spent waiting between gigs. The rate is 20% higher than the province’s minimum wage to account for gaps between assignments and will be adjusted annually for inflation.

Other protections include mandatory coverage through WorkSafeBC, transparency about job location and pay before acceptance, clear reasons for suspensions or deactivations, ensuring 100% of tips go to workers, and a minimum per-kilometer vehicle allowance of 35 to 45 cents.

The B.C. government, after consulting with gig workers and other stakeholders, estimates there are about 46,000 ride-hailing and delivery workers in the province. This new law aims to address their concerns and provide fairer compensation and working conditions. 



Saskatchewan Employment Reaches All-Time Levels in May

Saskatchewan’s labour force is experiencing significant growth, with the latest Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey revealing an all-time high in employment. The province added 16,200 new jobs year-over-year, and the unemployment rate fell to 5.6% in May, the third lowest in Canada and below the national average of 6.2%.

“There are more people working in Saskatchewan than ever before,” said Immigration and Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison. He attributed this record job growth to substantial investments in the province and affirmed the government’s commitment to supporting job creators.

Province-wide, there were 12,900 full-time and 3,300 part-time jobs added year-over-year. The Saskatoon-Biggar region saw employment growth of 5.7%, from about 211,000 to over 223,000, while Regina reported a 5.0% increase and Saskatoon a 2.9% increase.

Additionally, Saskatchewan’s exports for 2022-2023 reached $102 billion, a 52.2% increase from the previous two-year period. The province’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by only 1.0% in April 2024 over April 2023, the second lowest increase among the provinces.


Manitoba Couple Fights for Maternity Benefits After Surrogacy

Manitoba couple claims they are being discriminated against after being denied maternity benefits because their daughter was born through surrogacy in October 2023. The mother, an operating room assistant at Pan Am Clinic, is ineligible for top-up maternity benefits under her collective agreement with CUPE Local 204, which requires documentation proving the employee is pregnant.

The father argued that despite their daughter being their biological child, the agreement specifies that only the natural birth mother is eligible. This has left the couple frustrated and seeking equality, as the mother pays the same union dues as other employees who receive maternity benefits.

While she receives employment insurance at 33% of her pay, she misses out on the top-up benefit that would bring her to 93%. CUPE has filed a grievance with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, with a hearing set for July 2. The couple also attempted to file a complaint with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, but were told it was unlikely to succeed due to a 2021 Supreme Court decision.

Bruce Curran, a law professor at the University of Manitoba, highlighted the case’s importance, noting the need for employers and unions to consider different family structures. CUPE is currently negotiating a new agreement that would include surrogacy in maternity leave provisions.

Despite the challenges, the couple is determined to continue fighting for their rights. “We’re not willing to just give up,” said the father. 




N.L. Launching Disability Benefit to Top Up Federal Program and Create Basic Income

The government of Newfoundland and Labrador is introducing a new disability benefit to enhance the federal government’s recently announced aid program. Starting in July 2025, the Newfoundland and Labrador Disability Benefit will provide up to $400 a month to eligible recipients.

This provincial benefit complements the Canada Disability Benefit, which will offer up to $200 a month for low-income individuals with disabilities, also beginning in July 2025. Together, these programs aim to establish a basic income for people with disabilities in the province. 

Josh Smee, CEO of anti-poverty organization Food First NL, praised the new policy, highlighting Newfoundland and Labrador’s high rate of severe food insecurity, particularly among people with disabilities. He expressed optimism that the provincial benefit will better address the financial challenges faced by this group, which the federal program alone may not sufficiently alleviate. 

The new benefit will significantly boost incomes: a single person with a disability working full-time at minimum wage will see their annual income increase by 25% to $35,500, while those on provincial income support will experience a nearly 50% rise to $22,580 per year. 

Eligibility for the provincial benefit is income-based and available to individuals aged 18 to 64. This initiative follows the province’s basic income program for residents aged 60 to 64, which began in April.


WorkSafeNB Announces Significant Benefit Enhancements for New Brunswick Workers as Bill 45 Becomes Law

WorkSafeNB has announced significant benefit improvements for New Brunswick workers as Bill 45 becomes law on July 1, 2024. Key changes include an increase in wage loss benefits from 85% to 90% of net earnings and a rise in the Maximum Annual Earnings (MAE) from $76,900 to $82,100, ensuring more workers have their full wages covered.

Tim Petersen, WorkSafeNB President and CEO, highlighted the importance of these changes in providing financial stability for injured workers. Current beneficiaries will receive the increase automatically.

WorkSafeNB’s recent rate reduction for employers, along with these enhancements, reflects a balanced approach to a healthy workers’ compensation system. Minister Greg Turner expressed pride in the increased benefits for injured workers. 

These changes followed consultations with workers and employers, demonstrating New Brunswick’s commitment to workplace safety and support for recovery initiatives. 




Alberta: $15 per hour, which has been in effect since October 1, 2018. Students under 18 years of age who work less than 28 hours per week earn a minimum wage of $13.00 per hour. Salespersons (including land agents and certain professionals) earn a minimum wage of $598 per week. Domestic employees (living in their employer’s home) earn a minimum wage of $2,848 per month.

British Columbia:$16.75 per hour, which has been in effect since June 1, 2023. The wage will increase to $17.40 per hour as of June 1, 2024. For live-in camp leaders, the daily rate for each day or part day worked is $133.69. For live-in home support workers, the current daily rate is $124.73 per day or part day worked. The minimum wage for resident caretakers is a monthly wage based on the number of suites in the building: $1002.53 per month plus $40.17 for each suite for a building with 9 to 60 residential suites / $3414.85 per month for a building with 61 or more residential suites.Gig workers using app-based services will earn a minimum wage of $20.88 per hour starting September 3, 2024. 

Federal Minimum Wage: $17.30 per hour, which has been in effect since April 1, 2024.

Manitoba: $15.30 per hour, which has been in effect since Oct. 1, 2023. The wage will increase to $15.80 on October 1.

New Brunswick: $15.30 per hour, which has been in effect since April 1, 2024.

Newfoundland and Labrador: $15.30 per hour, in effect as of April 1, 2024.

Northwest Territories: $16.05 per hour, which has been in effect since Sep. 1, 2023.

Nova Scotia: $15.20 per hour, in effect as of April 1, 2024.

Nunavut: $19 per hour, which has been in effect since January 1, 2024.

Ontario: $16.55, which has been in effect since October 1, 2023. The wage will increase to $17.20 an hour on October 1, 2024. The special minimum wage rates are as follows:

  • $15.60 per hour for students under the age of 18 who work 28 hours a week or less when school is in session or work during a school break or summer holidays.
  • $18.20 per hour for homeworkers (those who do paid work out of their own homes for employers).
  • Hunting, fishing, and wilderness guides earn $82.85 per day when working less than five consecutive hours in a day and $165.75 per day when working five or more hours in a day.

Prince Edward Island: $15.40 per hour, which has been in effect since April 1, 2024. The wage will increase to $16 per hour on October 1, 2024.

Quebec: $15.25 per hour, which has been in effect since May 1, 2023.

Saskatchewan: $14 per hour, which has been in effect since Oct. 1, 2023. The wage will increase to $15 per hour as of Oct. 1, 2024.

Yukon: $17.59 per hour, which has been in effect since April 1, 2024.


List of Provincial, Territorial, and Federal Statutory Holidays 2024

 Still searching the internet for this year’s statutory holiday list? No need to look any further! We’ve got you covered with a comprehensive list for both federally and provincially regulated employers, ensuring you stay informed throughout the year.


Understanding and Managing Heat Stress in the Workplace

The workplace has undergone significant transformations in the wake of the pandemic, leading to new behaviours among employees. One such behaviour is “quiet vacationing,” where employees take time off without officially requesting leave. This article explores why employees resort to quiet vacationing, its impact on productivity, and offers practical tips for employers to address and prevent this trend.


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