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Newsletter – March 2024


CRA Tax Filing Portal is Now Open

The Canada Revenue Agency opened its portal for filing 2023 income taxes on February 19th. It’s important to note that in the upcoming months, taxpayers will be submitting declarations for their previous year’s earnings, along with any applicable deductions and contributions impacting taxable income. 

For those who run their own businesses or those with self-employed spouses, the deadline has been extended to June 17th this year, as the usual June 15th date falls on a Saturday. Individual Canadians are required to file their income taxes with the CRA by April 30th.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has announced several key changes affecting business taxes in 2024. Read about these changes here.


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New Rules Take Effect for B.C. Employers and Injured Workers

New amendments to B.C.’s Workers’ Compensation Act, effective January 1, 2024, introduce two crucial duties: cooperation for both employers and injured workers, and the duty for employers to maintain employment. Tom Archibald, an expert employment lawyer at HRC Law Professional Corporation, delves into these changes in his latest article.


Canada Unveils Action Plan to Empower Black Public Employees

Anita Anand, President of the Treasury Board, unveiled the initial steps of the Action Plan for Black Public Servants on February 21st. With an allocated budget of nearly $50 million, the plan focuses on supporting the mental health and career development of Black public employees. The initiatives include enhancing the Employee Assistance Program at Health Canada, launching an executive leadership program at the 

Canada School of Public Service, and providing counselling services through the Public Service Commission. These efforts aim to combat the systemic racism and discrimination faced by Black employees in the Canadian public service, with future investments guided by their lived experiences. Led by an internal task force comprising predominantly Black employees, the Action Plan aims to address the challenges faced by Black public servants, as highlighted by the 2022 Public Service Employee Survey.

Read the news release!


Ontario Government Boosts Investment in Black Youth Action Plan

The Ontario government has announced a significant injection of $16.5 million into the Black Youth Action Plan (BYAP), aimed at bolstering support for over 20 community-based organizations focused on empowering Black children and families. The funding, allocated through the BYAP’s Economic Empowerment stream, targets the development of skills crucial for launching careers in sectors such as skilled trades, information technology, automotive, health, film, and the arts among Black youth and young professionals.

Since 2020, over 5,000 Black youth and professionals have benefited from the Economic Empowerment stream. The new investment aims to expand support for community and Black-led businesses across Ontario, enabling them to deliver impactful programs nurturing the next generation of Black leaders. The initiative is expected to enhance services provided to children, youth, and families, ultimately creating more social and economic opportunities for Black communities province-wide.


Reimbursement for HSR Training Ends March 31

In most workplaces employing 6-19 individuals, having a Health and Safety Representative (HSR) is mandatory to uphold workplace health and safety standards.

Small business employers meeting eligibility criteria can seek reimbursement for HSR training expenses through the Ontario Small Business Health and Safety Training program. This program ends on March 31, 2024.

Employers intending to claim training expenses must ensure their HSR employees complete the required training and acquire a certificate of completion before 5:00 pm on March 31. Reimbursement applications are open until 11:59 pm on July 15, 2024.


Apply for Reimbursement

The Workplace Naloxone Program in Ontario Concludes on March 31st

Ontario’s Workplace Naloxone Program assists employers in meeting the naloxone requirements outlined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act. It offers free naloxone training for up to two workers per workplace and/or one complimentary nasal spray naloxone kit per workplace.

Workplaces in need of Naloxone kits have until March 31st to obtain a free kit along with training through this program.

OEA: Upcoming Webinars for Employers

The Office of the Employer Advisor (OEA) is hosting a series of free webinars on various WSIB topics:

Supporting Ontario’s Safe Employers (SOSE) Program

The Chief Prevention Officer has acknowledged an additional 16 companies as part of the Supporting Ontario’s Safe Employers (SOSE) program. By successfully implementing a recognized health and safety management system in their workplace, these companies join a growing group of SOSE leaders. These companies may receive financial incentives in the form of WSIB rebates through the program.

Learn more

Bill 124 ‘Unconstitutional’: Ontario Court of Appeal Announces Decision

Ontario’s Court of Appeal handed down its decision on Feb. 12th, regarding Bill 124, ruling the legislation unconstitutional. The law, aimed at capping public sector workers’ wages, faced opposition from labour groups and unions since its enactment in 2019. Labour unions first challenged Bill 124 in September 2022, claiming the law was unconstitutional. In November 2022, the Superior Court of Justice declared Bill 124

“void and of no effect,” which the Ontario government appealed. The latest decision rejects that appeal. The Court wrote that while governments are entitled to control wage increases at certain levels, the processes used are the issue.

“Ontario has not been able to explain why wage restraint could not have been achieved through good faith bargaining,” wrote the court in its decision.

Arbitrator Awards Ontario Teachers Retroactive Pay Raises to Compensate for Bill 124

In a significant development, arbitrator William Kaplan has granted Ontario elementary and secondary teachers retroactive wage increases, compensating for constraints imposed by Bill 124. The award, totaling an additional 2.75% for the 2021–2022 period, supplements previously negotiated increases, resulting in a cumulative 7.25% raise for the 2019–2022 contract term. The decision coincides with the recent declaration of

Bill 124 as unconstitutional by Ontario’s Court of Appeal, signalling a significant win for teachers’ compensation rights and raising questions about the future of wage regulations in the province.



Alberta Introduces Dedicated Immigration Stream for Tourism Industry

Alberta unveils a new immigration stream for its tourism sector as part of its ambitious plan to double the industry’s size within the decade. The new initiative aims to address long-standing labour shortages by providing a pathway to permanent residency for temporary foreign workers already employed in tourism. The new stream falls under Alberta’s provincial nominee program, which nominates people 

for permanent residence in Alberta.

While hailed as a solution by industry insiders, critics warn of potential unintended consequences. Eligibility spans 18 job categories, encompassing roles from cooks to tour guides, under Alberta’s provincial nominee program. Temporary foreign workers with at least six months of experience in tourism and a job offer from an approved employer stand to benefit from this streamlined pathway to permanent residency, marking a significant shift in the province’s immigration landscape.

Alberta Expecting to Get Federal Estimate of Its Share of Canada Pension Plan by Fall

Albertans will have to wait until the fall to receive the federal government’s assessment of potential benefits should the province exit the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). Alberta Finance Minister Nate Horner reveals that Canada’s chief actuary will convene a panel this spring to determine Alberta’s entitlement, with a final calculation expected by autumn.

Premier Danielle Smith’s government advocates for a provincially run pension plan, citing Alberta’s robust financial position and youthful workforce as drivers for superior benefits. However, controversy surrounds estimates of Alberta’s owed share of the CPP, with critics challenging the validity of the province’s $334 billion claim.


CEO’s Wrongful Dismissal Claim Ends in Half-a-Million-Dollars Award for Employer

In a landmark employment case, an Alberta CEO’s attempt to sue his former employer for wrongful dismissal backfired as the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta ruled in favour of the defendants, awarding them nearly $530,000 in a counterclaim. The court found the executive, President and CEO of Foremost Industries Ltd.’s Foremost Income Fund (FIL), guilty of breaching his duties as an employee, director, and

fiduciary, emphasizing the significance of loyalty and good conduct expected from high-level employees. The ruling serves as a lesson for employers and high-level executives regarding accountability and fiduciary responsibilities, shedding light on the implications of executive misconduct in the workplace.


B.C.’s minimum wage to increase to $17.40 an hour on June 1

British Columbia is set to increase its minimum wage from $16.75 to $17.40 per hour starting June 1, 2024, reflecting a 3.9 percent rise, which aligns with the province’s inflation rate in 2023. This adjustment aims to address poverty, enhance affordability, and bolster the province’s economy. As a result, British Columbia’s minimum wage will become the second highest in Canada, following Yukon. Additionally, other job

categories such as residential caretakers, live-in home-support workers, camp leaders, and minimum piece rates for hand-harvested crops will also see a 3.9 percent increase by specific dates.

 Learn more

British Columbia Initiates Review of Labour Relations Code

British Columbia embarks on a review of its Labour Relations Code, appointing a three-member panel to propose potential amendments. Labour Minister Harry Bains has tasked the panel with consulting stakeholders and Indigenous communities, with a report due by May 31. The code, governing interactions between provincially regulated employers, workers, and trade unions, is set for evaluation to ensure

alignment with national standards and developments. Former mediator Michael Fleming leads the panel, alongside representatives from workers’ and employers’ interests, signalling a comprehensive assessment of labour regulations in the province.

B.C. Court Awards Terminated Fixed-Term Employee $81,000 for Six Weeks’ Work

In a significant legal ruling, a B.C. Supreme Court decision orders Gisborne Holdings to pay a fixed-term employee, terminated after six weeks, the entire sum owed under her 18-month contract, totaling $81,000, plus legal costs. The court found the termination, based on the tone and content of an email sent by the employee, to be without just cause. Furthermore, the court emphasized the importance of clear termination 

provisions and adherence to performance management plans, highlighting the complexities surrounding fixed-term contracts and just cause terminations.



Saskatchewan’s Job Growth Surges: Statistics Canada Report

According to recent data from Statistics Canada, Saskatchewan continues to experience robust employment growth, with 12,900 new jobs added in January 2024 compared to the previous year, marking a 2.2% increase. The province’s total labour force reached a record high of 623,300 individuals for the month. Minister Jeremy Harrison emphasized the province’s commitment to bolstering its workforce through

strategic investments and support for employers. The report also highlights notable increases in off-reserve Indigenous employment and youth employment, as well as job growth in major cities like Regina and Saskatoon. Further insights on Saskatchewan’s employment landscape are available on the Statistics Canada website.


Manitoba Introduces New Accreditation Path for Foreign-Trained Health-Care Professionals

The Manitoba government is establishing a specialized accreditation stream to facilitate foreign-trained health-care professionals’ entry into their field, aiming to address the challenges faced by internationally educated nurses, in particular. Labour and Immigration Minister Malaya Marcelino highlighted the need for a more equitable and accessible pathway to accreditation, emphasizing that many qualified

professionals are already residing in Manitoba. While specific details are forthcoming, the province’s initiative aims to streamline the accreditation process while still respecting the oversight of regulatory bodies. Concerns over the lengthy and cumbersome nature of existing accreditation processes have prompted this move, with Manitoba seeking to attract and retain skilled professionals amidst a growing demand for health-care services.



Wage Increase Coming in April for Nova Scotia’s Early Childhood Educators

Early childhood educators (ECEs) in Nova Scotia will be getting a wage increase in April 2024 as part of the provincial government’s efforts to recognize the employees in the sector. ECEs working in provincially licensed and funded child-care centers and family home agencies will see their hourly wages rise from approximately $3.14 to $4.24. Additionally, inclusion coordinators and other roles will also benefit from this wage hike.

Alongside the wage increase, the government introduced a range of benefits and pensions for all child-care sector employees, including access to an Employee and Family Assistance Program starting January 2024 and enrollment in group benefits and a pension plan by May 2024. The initiatives, costing a total of $111 million starting 2024, aim to improve compensation and benefits for approximately 3,000 ECEs and support staff, recognizing their essential role in childhood development. 



New Brunswick’s Construction Sector Faces Critical Labour Shortage: Committee Given 100 Days to Address

A new committee, led by the Construction Association of New Brunswick and funded by the government, has 100 days to address the labour shortage in the province’s construction sector. With approximately 4.2% of construction jobs currently unfilled and an estimated 8,400 retirements expected by 2032, the industry is facing a critical shortage. 

The committee, comprising industry stakeholders and government members, aims to tackle challenges through project teams focused on international recruitment, employer workplace readiness, and credential recognition. With the province needing to build 6,000 homes annually for the next decade to meet housing demand, the urgency is evident. Government funding totaling $440,612 will support the committee’s efforts.



Yukon Receives $3.65 Million for Integration of Internationally Educated Health Professionals

Rechie Veldez, Minister of Small Business, announced, along with Yukon’s Premier Ranj Pillai and others, up to $3.65 million in funding to the Government of Yukon through the Foreign Credential Recognition Program. The initiative aims to integrate internationally educated health professionals (IEHPs) into the Yukon labour market. The four-year project includes creating a Yukon territorial licensure regulatory process and a Foreign Credential Recognition Centre to support employers

and newcomers. It will offer career navigation support, a nurse bridging program, and target key health care occupations such as licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, and midwives. Similar funding was announced earlier in January 2024 for organizations across Canada to address regional labour market gaps in the health care sector under the Foreign Credential Recognition Program.



Alberta: $15 per hour, effective 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, effective 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.

Federal Minimum Wage: $16.65 per hour, effective April 1, 2023.

Manitoba: $15.30 per hour, effective Oct. 1, 2023.

New Brunswick: $14.75 per hour, effective April 1, 2023.

Newfoundland and Labrador: $15 per hour, effective Oct. 1, 2023. Will increase to $15.60 ($0.60 increase), effective April 1, 2024

Northwest Territories: $16.05 per hour, effective Sep. 1, 2023.

Nova Scotia: $15 per hour, effective Oct. 1, 2023. The wage will go up to $15.20 on April 1, 2024.

Nunavut: $19 per hour, effective January 1, 2024.

Ontario: $16.55, effective October 1, 2023. 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 per hour, effective Oct. 1, 2023. The wage will increase twice in 2024, from $15 to $15.40 per hour on April 1 and from $15.40 to $16 per hour on October 1.

Quebec: $15.25 per hour, effective May 1, 2023.

Saskatchewan: $14 per hour, effective Oct. 1, 2023. The wage will increase to $15 per hour on Oct. 1, 2024.

Yukon: $16.77 per hour, effective April 1, 2023. The wage will increase to $17.59 per hour on 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 Public Holiday Pay in Ontario: A Comprehensive Guide

Dive into our latest blog on navigating public holidays and public holiday pay calculations in Ontario. From decoding complex regulations to highlighting crucial considerations, we’ve got everything you need to ensure your payroll practices remain seamless.


When do the licensing requirements for temporary help agencies and recruiters begin in Ontario?

  • February 1, 2024 17% 17%
  • March 18, 2024 33% 33%
  • July 23, 2024 0% 0%
  • July 1, 2024 50% 50%


When are individual Canadians required to file their 2023 income taxes with the CRA?

  • April 15th
  • April 30th
  • May 15th
  • June 30th

Hint: Refer to the ‘News of The Month.’


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Joan Stephen

Treasurer, St. Mary’s Ford

“HR Covered gives us a lot of comfort, knowing that when we do come upon those day-to-day HR issues, we have someone we can call, someone that has the experience. Until you actually use the service and realize how valuable it is, it’s something that every company should really have—HR backup for the company because we aren’t certified HR professionals here. We don’t know the laws; they change all the time, so it’s just nice to know that you are a phone call away from getting good advice.”