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Newsletter – May 2024

NEWS OF THE MONTH 

Ontario Raising Minimum Wage to $17.20 an Hour
Ontario’s minimum wage is set to rise from $16.55 to $17.20 an hour on October 1, 2024, marking a 3.9% annualized increase based on the Ontario Consumer Price Index. This adjustment makes Ontario’s minimum wage the second-highest in Canada. Workers earning at or below this rate, numbering 935,600 in 2023, will benefit from the raise, with those on the general minimum wage and working 40 hours weekly seeing an annual pay boost of up to $1,355. The hike aligns with the government’s Working for Workers Four Act, 2024, which enhances protections for Ontario’s workforce. Key provisions include safeguarding wage rights for restaurant, hospitality, and service employees, supporting injured workers, and pioneering a ban on Canadian work experience requirements in job postings nationwide.

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THE LEGAL CORNER

“Changed Substratum” – A Game Changer for Employees with Old and Outdated Employment Contracts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 by clicking on the link below.

FEDERAL NEWS

Budget 2024 Proposes ‘Right to Disconnect’ for Workers in Canada

Under Budget 2024, the federal government aims to establish a legal “right to disconnect” for workers. Proposed amendments to the Canada Labour Code would mandate employers in federally regulated sectors to implement policies limiting work-related communication outside of scheduled hours. This initiative, driven by concerns over the detrimental impact of constant digital connectivity on well-being, particularly among younger workers, seeks to address the challenge of achieving work-life balance. With $3.6 million allocated over five years, the government aims to enact these legislative changes, aiming to benefit up to 500,000 employees

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Urgent Deadline Approaching: Employers Must Act Now on Pay Equity Plans

Employers under federal regulation, employing 10 or more workers, face an imminent deadline of September 3, 2024, to publish their pay equity plans and inform employees about any consequent salary adjustments. Before this deadline, employees are granted a 60-day period to review draft plans and offer input. Consequently, employers are advised to have their draft pay equity plans prepared by the end of June 2024.

ONTARIO

Budget 2024 Proposes Tax Break for Entrepreneurs Selling Businesses

The federal government announced in Budget 2024 a tax break for entrepreneurs selling their businesses, aiming to reduce their tax burdens and reward their hard work. Under the proposed Canadian Entrepreneurs’ Incentive, entrepreneurs selling their businesses will benefit from a reduced capital gains inclusion rate of one-third (33.3%) on eligible capital gains up to a lifetime maximum of $2 million. Combined with the budget’s proposal to increase the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption (LCGE) to $1.25 million, entrepreneurs could have a combined exemption of at least $3.25 million upon selling all or part of their business. This incentive aims to provide potentially significant tax advantages, with the possibility of low-tax or no tax capital gains for qualifying small business corporations. The lifetime limit will be phased in over time, reaching $2 million by January 1, 2034. However, certain sectors, such as financial, insurance, and professional services, are excluded from the incentive, sparking debate over the fairness and feasibility of these exclusions. The measure, expected to cost $625 million over the next five years, is set to apply to dispositions occurring on or after January 1, 2025.

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Federal, Provincial, and Territorial Labour Ministers Discuss Key Challenges Facing Workers in Canada

Labour ministers from federal, provincial, and territorial governments gathered in Richmond, BC, to address pressing concerns impacting Canadian workers. Led by federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan Jr. and BC Labour Minister Harry Bains, the meeting delved into a range of topics. These included Canada’s alignment with international labour standards, particularly the Occupational Safety and Health Convention, and efforts towards ratification. Presentations highlighted the ongoing challenges workers face with ill-fitting personal protective equipment (PPE), with a particular focus on gender disparities in trades and other sectors. The ministers also explored the implications of the gig economy on labour standards and discussed strategies for resolving labour disputes effectively. They emphasized the importance of collaboration in fostering fair, safe, and inclusive workplaces nationwide.

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Off-Campus Work Hours for International Students Will be Extended to 24 per Week

Starting in September 2024, international students in Canada will be permitted to work off-campus for up to 24 hours per week. Previously, the cap on hours was waived during Covid 19. This waiver expired on April 30th, 2024, and currently, students may only work 20 hours weekly. Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced this adjustment, stating that aligning Canada’s rules with other countries’ practices is necessary to maintain the primary focus of international students on studying rather than working. The decision comes amidst concerns about a surge in international student enrollments and the potential for excessive work hours to undermine the study permit’s purpose. While some critics argue that full-time work could blur the lines between study and work visas, others advocate for the change, citing financial needs. The 24-hour limit aims to strike a balance between work and study commitments. This change will revert to the 20-hour limit until September, when a permanent shift to 24 hours is expected.

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PROVONCIAL NEWS

ONTARIO

Workplace Injury Results in $75,000 Fine for Temporary Help Agency and $55,000 Fine for Powder-coating Facility in Southwestern Ontario

In a recent court decision, West End Mfg. Inc., a powder-coating facility, and Liiman Employment Inc., a temporary help agency, faced penalties following an unfortunate workplace incident in Listowel, Ontario. The incident involved a worker being injured by an in-floor auger system, shedding light on safety lapses at the facility. West End Mfg. Inc. was fined $55,000 for failing to implement necessary safety measures, while Liiman Employment Inc. faced a $75,000 fine for insufficient training and supervision of workers. The case underscores the importance of robust workplace safety protocols and highlights the consequences of negligence in ensuring employee well-being

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Health and Safety Compliance Initiative Schedule for 2024-25

This year’s schedule of compliance initiatives to protect workers’ rights under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and increase employers’ awareness of their responsibilities is now available. Inspections started on April 1st in three focus areas across two sectors:

  1. Industrial sector: Material handling
  2. Construction sector: Struck-by material, equipment, and vehicles
  3. Construction sector: Falls from heights in single family residential and multi-family residential construction

Learn what inspectors are looking for and how to prepare: Industrial | Construction

Updated Training Standards for Working at Heights

Newly updated standards for mandatory working at heights training are now online. These updated standards address one of the leading causes of workplace deaths in industries like construction and will help improve the quality of training and the safety knowledge of participants when working with ladders, skylights, damaged equipment, and more.

See the updated program standard and provider standard.

CROSH: Upcoming Webinar on Disclosure and Accommodation Planning

CROSH will be hosting a webinar on disclosure and accommodation planning on May 23, 2024, at 3:00 p.m. EST. Titled “Disclosure and Accommodation Planning: A new approach and interactive tool to support workers with chronic and episodic disability.” The webinar will be presented by Dr. Monique Gignac, Scientific Director & Senior Scientist at the Institute for Work and Health. The webinar will delve into research on disclosure decisions and introduce a new interactive resource developed to address the complexity of disclosure decisions and support provisions.

Register for the webinar

 

 

ALBERTA

Alberta Says It Won’t Bring in Anything Like BC’s Salary Transparency Laws

The Government of Alberta has stated that it is not currently considering implementing salary transparency laws similar to those in British Columbia. Alberta’s Employment Standards Code does not include rules regarding pay transparency in job postings, as the scope of the code applies only once an employment relationship is formed. As of November 1, 2023, BC’s salary transparency laws require all publicly posted jobs to display a salary range, allowing for negotiation above the stated range for both employers and job-seekers. Additionally, BC legislation mandates salary transparency reports for crown corporations, with plans to extend to companies with 50 or more employees by 2026. Alberta remains aligned with most provinces and territories in not having legislation related to pay transparency in job postings.

Source

Alberta announces wage offer for government workers during collective bargaining

In ongoing collective bargaining negotiations, the Alberta government has proposed a 7.5% wage increase, while government workers are advocating for a 26% raise. Over 22,000 members of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, spanning various sectors such as social services, corrections, and natural resources conservation, are involved in the negotiations initiated this year.

Source

 

Stars of Alberta Volunteer Awards

Nominations are now open for the 2024 Stars of Alberta Volunteer Awards, aiming to recognize individuals who exemplify dedication and service within their communities. Launched during National Volunteer Week by the Government of Alberta, these awards celebrate the invaluable contributions of volunteers across the province. Awards are presented in categories including Youth, Adult, Senior, and the Breaking Barriers category, which acknowledges those championing diversity and inclusivity. Albertans can nominate deserving individuals before the June 30 deadline. The awards ceremony, held annually around International Volunteer Day on December 5, serves as a tribute to the remarkable efforts of volunteers across Alberta.

Nominate a Volunteer

 

B.C. Construction Sector Seeks Support

Despite improvements in workforce numbers, British Columbia’s construction industry continues to face significant labour shortages, leading to “extreme pressures” on employers. The BC Construction Association highlights that these shortages have driven up the average annual wage in the sector to nearly $75,000, a 21 per cent increase over the last five years. Entry-level wages have also risen, now standing at over $22 an hour, 25 per cent above the provincial minimum wage.

Although there has been progress in labour levels, with a projected deficit of 6,600 skilled workers in B.C. by 2033 compared to previous forecasts, challenges persist. The number of trades workers has decreased by 7 per cent over the last five years, and the average size of construction companies in the province has shrunk by 15 per cent during the same period.

Source

 

BRITISH COLUMBIA

B.C. Woman Accused of Defrauding Her Employer of Over $1.8 Million

A British Columbia woman is facing criminal charges for allegedly diverting over $1.8 million from her employer, the Alacrity Foundation of B.C., to fund personal purchases including a property, a luxury car, gold, and investments. Galyna Kulykova, a former bookkeeper at the foundation, is accused of submitting fictitious accounts payable and directing funds to her personal accounts. She resigned from her position in October 2023, with her last payment diverted just before quitting. Kulykova was arrested in December 2023 and charged with fraud, theft, and money laundering. Alacrity Canada, the organization affected, states that its financial health remains strong, and no programs have been impacted. Investigations are ongoing, with recovered funds totaling approximately $900,000, and police suspect other organizations may have been defrauded.

Source

 

Province Introduces Immigration Services Act

The Government of Saskatchewan has introduced the Immigration Services Act, a significant step aimed at fortifying the province’s immigration system and safeguarding newcomers and employers. Key provisions of the act include expanded settlement services, strengthened protections for foreign workers, and increased investigative measures to combat immigration fraud. The legislation consolidates authorities related to immigration, streamlines processes, and enables a more agile response to evolving needs. Notably, the act aligns with the province’s Labour Market Strategy, emphasizing the importance of immigration in meeting workforce demands and recognizing foreign credentials.

Source

 

SASKATCHEWAN

NOVA SCOTIA

Nova Scotia Puts a Temporary Stop on Restaurant Sector Immigration Applications Due to High Demand

The Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) has announced a temporary halt on accepting applications from the Accommodations and Food Service sector due to an overwhelming surge in submissions. This decision aims to manage the intake and ensure space for critical sectors like healthcare and construction. While no new applications will be accepted, those already submitted will be processed as usual. Employers and prospective immigrants in the affected sector are advised to stay updated through the Nova Scotia Immigration website for further information on when the pause might be lifted and future application opportunities.

Source

 

Yukon Tourism Operators See Demand but Also Face Cost Pressures

The Yukon tourism industry is experiencing a mixed bag of trends as it continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. While some numbers have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, operators are facing challenges such as rising costs, debt burdens, and lagging demand from the Asia-Pacific region.

One notable trend is the increase in airport arrivals, which are higher than pre-pandemic levels, particularly from Mexico. Winter tourism to the Yukon is strong overall, with partnerships with tour companies driving growth in the Mexican market.

However, the industry faces obstacles such as a new visa requirement for Mexican travellers to Canada and challenges related to rising inflation, labour shortages, and increased insurance costs, especially after events like the Yellowknife wildfires.

Source

 

YUKON

Canadian Military Doctors and Nurses to Begin Work in Yukon Hospitals

Canadian military doctors and nurses are set to assist Yukon’s public health-care system to address the territory’s health-care worker shortage. This initiative, part of a collaboration between the Yukon government and the Yukon Hospital Corporation, aims to provide support to Yukoners while allowing both Yukon staff and military personnel to enhance their skills and expertise through knowledge sharing. The military medical professionals will work in critical care, emergency room, operating room, and medical-surgical roles across the territory. Additionally, the initiative aligns with the Canadian military’s efforts to enhance its presence in the North, contributing to national security readiness.

Source

 

QUÉBEC

Bill 42: Understanding Québec’s New Workplace Harassment Prevention Law

Bill 42, the Act to Prevent and Combat Psychological Harassment and Sexual Violence in the Workplace, was introduced in Québec on November 23, 2023, signifying a pivotal moment in safeguarding worker rights.

After being adopted on March 21, 2024, the law brings about significant changes to several legal frameworks, including the Act respecting industrial accidents and occupational diseases, the Labour Code, and others.

Implemented in phases, the law began taking effect on March 27, 2024, with updates to definitions and protections against sexual violence and harassment. Key changes include enhanced protection for witnesses of harassment, shared employer costs for occupational injuries resulting from sexual violence, and extended time limits for filing claims.

Further phases will introduce presumptions for victims, increased benefits, and requirements for prevention policies, including training and confidentiality measures.

Non-compliance carries hefty fines, emphasizing the importance for employers to understand and adhere to these regulations to mitigate legal and financial risks while prioritizing the safety and well-being of their employees.

Does your organization have offices in Québec, or are you planning to launch there? You can expand your HR Covered membership and access our Québec-specific, bilingual HR services! We deliver these services through Exact RH, our affiliated organization in Québec. To learn more, contact us at service@hrcovered.com.

MINIMUM WAGE IN CANADA BY PROVINCE/TERRITORY (2024)

 

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.

Federal Minimum Wage: $17.30 per hour, in effect as of 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, in effect as of 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, in effect as of April 1, 2024. The wage will also 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, in effect as of 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.

BLOG

Understanding Constructive Dismissal: Implications for Canadian Employers

Constructive dismissal is a term you might hear often, but its meaning may not be entirely clear. In this article, we’ll delve into what constructive dismissal entails, why it’s important to understand, and how both employers and employees can navigate this complex aspect of employment law. From explaining its definition to exploring strategies to avoid it and its potential consequences, we aim to provide a comprehensive overview of constructive dismissal

PREVIOUS POLL

Under the Canada Labour Code, what is the minimum notice period required to terminate an employee without cause after one year of continuous employment?

  • One week   26% 26%
  • Two weeks 69% 69%
  • One month 4% 4%
  • Two month  0% 0%

ACTIVE POLL

Under the Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA), how many breaks is an employee entitled to in an 8-hour shift?

  • One 30-minute break
  • Two 30-minute breaks
  • Three 15-minute breaks
  • Two 15-minute breaks

WEBINAR RECORDINGS

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TESTIMONIAL

Ky’okusinga Kirunga

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