Want to stay ahead of the compliance curve and tackle the change process with confidence and clarity? Here is an overview of some top Canadian legislative changes for 2018. For more information on how new legislation will impact your business, your payroll department and HR practices, download Ceridian’s free guide, Canadian compliance survival guide: keeping track of changing legislation.
What is it?
The federal government will give individuals the option to extend the period over which they receive their combined maternity and parental employment insurance (EI) benefits – from 12 months to 18 months. Similarly, federally regulated employers will be required to offer eligible employees the option of 18 months of combined maternity and parental leave.
The extended EI benefits and 18 month federal leaves is now available for parents whose child is born on or after Dec. 3, 2017.
It was confirmed by the passing of Ontario’s Bill 148 (November 2017) that the flexibility of an 18-month job protected leave will also be available to employees of Ontario. Mothers and fathers may now choose to take more unpaid time off work while receiving government benefits.
Impact for employers (Ontario and federal)
It will be business owners’ responsibility to understand and respond to these changes. Current policies and processes will need to be reviewed for compatibility with the new option available to parents. There may also be impacts to organizational benefits administration and people management. Longer employee absences may entice you to revisit your existing training and recruitment strategies.
What are they?
Ontario’s Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act (Bill 148)
Bill 148 was passed by the Ontario government on Nov. 22, 2017, and is intended to balance employee rights and economic growth by updating workplace laws across Ontario.
Many of the employment standards changes in Bill 148 came into effect Jan. 1, 2018, including the minimum wage hike to $14 per hour (it will increase to $15 per hour in January 2019). Areas of amendment also include holidays, vacations, overtime, and leaves. Changes to scheduling, on-call and call-in pay rules are deferred until Jan. 1, 2019.
Alberta’s Fair and Family-Friendly Workplaces Act (Bill 17)
The Alberta government amended the Employment Standards Code in June 2017 through Bill 17.
The amendments came into effect Jan. 1, 2018. Among its highlights are providing unpaid job-protected leaves for illness, domestic violence, and other family emergencies, and overtime and vacation changes. The amendments also prohibit the practice of paying workers with disabilities less than others because of their disability.
Impact for employers
Employers who adhere to the minimum standards in their operations will see an increase to their costs overall. For employers who currently offer more generous benefits and flexible work arrangements, the cost impacts may be less significant.
Regardless of where your business falls along that spectrum, consideration will need to be given to these new requirements and how they might require changes to your existing policies and processes in Ontario and Alberta.
What is it?
The following are some ways that government plans can impact small businesses:
Impact for employers
These reforms will mainly impact the self-employed and business owners with tax plans in place. The profitability of some small and mid-sized businesses may be tested when the government removes some available tax breaks. The complexity of these reforms will require knowledgeable tax and bookkeeping support to stay in compliance.