NEWS OF THE MONTH
AODA Reporting Obligations: Deadline is Dec. 31
Organizations comprising businesses and non-profit entities with a staff size of 20 or more, along with public sector institutions, are mandated to submit compliance reports validating their adherence to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).
The reporting schedule hinges on your organization’s type and size:
- Businesses and nonprofit organizations with a workforce of 20 or more employees must submit accessibility compliance reports every three years. The imminent deadline for these entities is December 31, 2023.
- For designated public sector organizations, which encompass municipalities, school boards, hospitals, and similar entities, the reporting interval is every two years. These organizations are also facing a reporting deadline of December 31, 2023.
Don’t forget to fulfil your AODA reporting requirements by the end of this year to demonstrate your commitment to accessibility.
THE LEGAL CORNER
Searching for the “Judge-Proof” Termination Clause
Our latest article, written by Tom Archibald, employment lawyer at HRC Law Professional Corporation, delves deep into the world of termination clauses, revealing how to create ones that withstand judicial scrutiny. Learn from the Waksdale decision and explore strategies to protect your organization while staying compliant with employment standards. Read now to secure your legal footing!
Mastering Progressive Discipline & Employee Termination
Federal Government Issues New Rules for Public Servants Using AI
The federal government has implemented fresh directives for employees who seek to utilize artificial intelligence tools, such as ChatGPT, in their work, with the aim of promoting responsible and ethical utilization of this technology.
Treasury Board President, Anita Anand said the government also will be monitoring the way AI is being used to guard against potential problems like bias or discrimination.
The newly unveiled guidelines, in conjunction with the existing instructions issued to government departments regarding artificial intelligence, offer initial guidance to employees. Anand noted that these guidelines will remain subject to updates as required.
While there are currently no specified penalties for non-compliance with the new guidelines, Anand underscored that they are grounded in existing legislation, including the Privacy Act, which could potentially entail penalties for violators.
Saskatchewan Posts Third Consecutive Month of Unemployment Increases
According to the latest national report, Saskatchewan continues to maintain an unemployment rate below the national average, although it has experienced three consecutive months of rising unemployment.
Data collected by Statistics Canada through its monthly Labour Force Survey reveals that the provincial employment rate declined by 1.2 percent between August 2022 and August 2023.
As of August 2023, the national unemployment rate stands at 5.5 percent, while Saskatchewan hovers just below the national average at 5.4 percent.
This is a slight increase from the 4.6 percent unemployment rate recorded in Saskatchewan a year ago. In June, the rate was 4.7 percent, and in July, it climbed to 5.1 percent.
For more information on Statistics Canada’s release, click here.
BC Construction Companies Offer Double Incentives for Diverse Apprentice Hires
The B.C. Construction Association (BCCA) has introduced a new $10 million Apprenticeship Services program that offers financial incentives to small and medium-sized construction companies in British Columbia. These incentives provide construction companies with $5,000 for each first-year apprentice they hire in eligible Red Seal trades. Companies which hire trade apprentices who self-identify as other than a straight, white male with no disability will receive double a new government incentive, pushing it to $10,000 for the first year of employment.
This means that if the apprentice self-identifies as a woman, person with disabilities, Indigenous, racialized Canadian, or from the 2SLGBTQI+ community, the incentive doubles to $10,000.
This program, funded through the Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy, aims to promote diversity in the construction trades and has been described as the most extensive apprenticeship drive in British Columbia. Employers can register up to two first-year apprentices before March 31, 2024.
Discrimination Allegations: Pregnant Woman Claims Job Denial at Southwestern Manitoba Grocery Store
A 24-year-old woman named Emily Manuliak from southwestern Manitoba is filing a human rights complaint, alleging that she was denied a job opportunity because she is three months pregnant.
After a promising interview for a part-time cashier position at the Boundary Co-op grocery store, where she was asked for references and maternity leave plans
Alberta’s Labour Market Continued to Grow Through August, Unemployment Rate Declines
In August, Alberta’s job market continued its robust growth by adding an additional 17,700 jobs, surpassing every other province in the country during that month. According to a recent report from Statistics Canada, Alberta witnessed a further upswing in employment, along with a reduction in the unemployment rate to 5.7 percent, just slightly above the national rate of 5.5 percent.
The province experienced significant job gains primarily in the private and self-employed sectors. Both the goods-producing sector, encompassing construction, manufacturing, and natural resources, and the service sector also reported higher employment figures
Notably, job growth was most pronounced in Alberta and British Columbia, while employment declined in Ontario, with a loss of 9,000 jobs, and in Nova Scotia, with a loss of 3,600 jobs.
Despite these positive trends, Alberta’s wage growth remains relatively subdued in comparison to other provinces, with a year-over-year increase of 4.5 percent.
Traffic Safety Act Changes Protecting Roadside Workers Take Effect Sept. 1
Changes to Alberta’s Traffic Safety Act took effect on September 1, 2023. These changes require drivers to slow down when passing all roadside workers but apply exclusively to the closest lane of traffic, contrary to the province’s previous plans.
As per the new rules drivers in the lane closest to any roadside worker vehicle stopped on the side of the road with lights flashing, must reduce their travelling speed to 60 km/h or the posted speed limit, whichever is lower. Drivers must also move over to the far lane if it’s safe and reasonably allow other drivers to move over too.
While previously limited to first responders and tow truck drivers, the Traffic Safety Act now extends its protection to all roadside workers, including police, fire personnel, EMS professionals, tow truck operators, highway maintenance workers, and snowplow operators.
Minimum Wage Increases Across Multiple Provinces in October
Saskatchewan: Effective Oct. 1, 2023, the minimum wage will rise to $14 per hour from $13. The wage will then increase again to $15 per hour on Oct. 1, 2024.
Manitoba: Effective Oct. 1, 2023, the minimum wage will rise to $15.30.
Ontario: Effective Oct. 1, 2023, the minimum wage will rise to $16.55 per hour from $15.50 per hour. The special minimum wage rates will also increase 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, from $14.60 to $15.60 per hour.
- Homeworkers (those who do paid work out of their own homes for employers), from $17.05 to $18.20 per hour.
- Hunting, fishing, and wilderness guides, from $77.60 to $82.85 per day when working less than five consecutive hours in a day, and from $155.25 to $165.75 per day when working five or more hours in a day.
Nova Scotia: Effective Oct. 1, 2023, the minimum wage will rise to $15 per hour from $14.50.
Prince Edward Island: Effective Oct. 1, 2023, the minimum wage will rise to $15 per hour from $14.50.
Setting the Standard: The Crucial Role of Employee Handbooks and Policy Manuals in Your Organization
In the hustle and bustle of running a business—attending to customer needs, keeping up with labour laws, and striving to attract and retain top-notch employees—it’s easy to overlook the significance of crafting and maintaining both an employee handbook and a policy and procedures manual. In this article, we delve into these critical HR tools and explore what forward-thinking business owners and HR professionals in Canada should understand about them.
What do you think are the main challenges in effectively implementing accommodation measures based on functional abilities information?
- Budget constraints 35% 35%
- Resistance from employees 37% 37%
- Complexity of the process 21% 21%
- Other 7% 7%
What is the maximum amount of severance pay required to be paid under the ESA of Ontario?
Director of Sales
“What I liked about HR Covered is that we could pay for the services for an entire year up front and the the price was very reasonable and just knowing that we sort of had unlimited access for that amount of money just seemed like a no-brainer because when you looked at our legal bills for basic HR things it was wild[…]I didn’t really know what I was doing and now I’ve got HR covered there[…]it’s been a huge weight off me, it’s been a weight off our owner, it’s been a weight off all of the management at our organization, and the value has been really great.