Gradual enhancement to Canada Pension Plan (CPP). Effective January 1, 2019, you will receive higher benefits in exchange for making higher contributions. The CPP enhancement will only affect you if, as of 2019, you work and make contributions to the CPP. The CPP enhancement will have no affect if you only work in Quebec. The enhancement will increase CPP retirement, disability and survivor’s pensions you may receive. Eligibility for CPP benefits will not be affected. For more information, visit: The Government of Canada website.

Until February 1, 2019, the Public Sector Accounting Board will be accepting written comments from stakeholders on the accounting principles and guidance applied when determining post-employment benefit obligations, as well as whether potential accounting guidance is acceptable for estimating obligations for non-pension related benefits that occur post-employment, such as sick leave, long-term disability and health and dental benefits. Source: Benefits Canada.

Initially expected to take place in June, the use-it-or-lose-it employment insurance parental benefit will come into effect for children born or placed for adoption on or after this date. The five-week benefit will increase the duration of employment insurance parental leave by up to five weeks in cases where the second parent agrees to take a minimum of five weeks of the maximum combined 40 weeks available using the standard parental option of 55 per cent of earnings for 12 months. Alternatively, where families have opted for the extended parental benefits at 33 per cent of earnings for 18 months, the second parent would be able to take up to eight weeks of additional parental leave. Source: Benefits Canada.

Federal budget. Finance Minister Bill Morneau, announced that the Government of Canada will table its next budget on March 19, 2019. The announcement follows record participation in the annual pre-budget consultations. Source: The Government of Canada website.

British Columbia

British Columbians living with certain chronic conditions, including MS, Parkinson’s disease and severe asthma, now have more treatment options available to them to better manage their condition.  Seven limited coverage drugs are now available under the PharmaCare Special Authority program. Source: The Government of British Columbia website.

Lower income families benefiting from Fair PharmaCare investment. Deductibles and copayments have been lowered for households earning between $30,000 and $45,000 net, annually.  Fair Pharmacare payments have also been eliminated for seniors born before 1940 earning a household net annual income up to $14,000 and, for the lowest income householders, those earning up to $13,750.  Previously, anyone registered with Fair PharmaCare – even people with the lowest incomes – would have to pay out-of-pocket before receiving 100% coverage. By eliminating the family maximum for the lowest-earning families and reducing it for those earning less than a net annual income of $45,000, families will save more on prescriptions throughout the year.  Source: The Government of British Columbia website.

Effective January 1, 2019, British Columbia will begin levying its new health tax. Employers with payroll costs below $500,000 are exempt, those with payroll between $500,000 and $1.5 million will pay 2.95 per cent on the amount exceeding $500,000 and employers with payroll above $1.5 million will pay 1.95 per cent. Source: Benefits Canada.

Budget 2019 is creating opportunities for all British Columbians by delivering a new B.C. Child Opportunity Benefit for kids up to the age of 18, removing interest from B.C. student loans, reducing taxes for businesses and investing in clean energy and climate solutions. The budget also included investing in hospitals, medical and diagnostic equipment and health information management systems, supporting the BC Cancer Agency, improving mental-health care and BC’s drug overdose crisis, and expanding BC Fair PharmaCare program. For more information, visit: The Government of British Columbia website.


Changes related to Ontario labour market came into effect January 1, 2019. Employers will save $1.45 billion in premiums paid to the WSIB translating into an average WSIB premium rate cut of nearly 30% for businesses across Ontario. The coming into force date of the Pay Transparency Act, 2018 will also be delayed and minimum wage will remain at $14. Annual minimum wage increases, tied to inflation, will resume next year in 2020. In addition, flexibility of workers and job creators will be preserved to decide workplace schedules without unnecessary regulation from Queen’s Park. Source: The Government of Ontario website.

Ontario to raise payroll exemption on employer health tax. The amount of payroll eligible for exemption from Ontario’s employer health tax will rise to $490,000 from $450,000 for employers with 10 or fewer employees. Source: Benefits Canada

Ontario Government unveils new labour standards bill. As part of Bill 47, Ontario employees will see changes to their personal leave provisions (effective January 1, 2019). The 10 days of personal leave proposed by the former Liberal government will be replaced with three days for personal illness, three days for family responsibilities and two days for bereavement, all of which are unpaid.  Source: Benefits Canada


Changes to the Québec Pension Plan came into effect in 2019. Enhancements are notably due to the amendments in the Act to enhance the Québec Pension Plan and to amend carious retirement-related legislative provisions, which was passed in the 2018. The new plan, increases the income replacement rate from 25% to 33.33% and the pensionable salary, until it reaches 114% of the maximum pensionable earnings (MPE). For more information, visit: The Government of Quebec website.

New Brunswick

New legislation leads to the elimination of the unpaid 3-day waiting period and a reduction in the 2019 assessment rate. Over 25 years ago, an unpaid waiting period was introduced whereby an employee who suffered a work-related injury was not eligible for compensation for the first 3 days of the claim.  New legislation repeals that provision in stages, with the initial elimination of one unpaid day effective July 1, 2019, and the complete elimination of the unpaid waiting period by July 1, 2021.  These legislative changes have had an immediate impact on the rates that employers pay as the 2019 average assessment rate is being reduced to $2.65 per $100 of payroll.  Source: WorkSafe New Brunswick

Nova Scotia

The Nova Scotia government is expanding dental coverage for young Nova Scotians through the Children’s Oral Health Program.  All children ages 14 and younger will now be eligible for molar sealants and an annual fluoride treatment.  Children at high risk for developing cavities will be eligible for a second annual fluoride treatment.  Previously, only children with cavities were eligible for annual fluoride treatment and only those with deep molar grooves were eligible for sealants. The expanded services are part of an agreement between the province and the Nova Scotia Dental Association, which is retroactive to April 1, 2018.  The new agreement also increases the fees dentists earn on Nova Scotia’s MSI dental programs, including the Children’s Oral Health Program, by 5%. Source: The Government of Nova Scotia website.

Minimum wage. The minimum wage in Nova Scotia will increase to $11.55 on April 1, 2019.  Source: The Government of Nova Scotia.

Employees in Nova Scotia who are victims of domestic violence will be entitled to 10 intermittent of consecutive days off and up to 16 consecutive weeks off each year. To be eligible, an employee must have worked for their employer for at least 13 weeks. Source: The Government of Nova Scotia website


Maximum wage rate. Yukon’s 2019 maximum wage rate is $89,145. This is an increase from 2018. Source: Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board




The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Québec Pension Plan (QPP) enhancements take effect January 1, 2019. In the first stage, employees and employers will see their CPP contribution rates climb from the current level of 4.95 per cent each to 5.95 per cent each by 2023, for a total of 11.9 percent up to the year’s maximum pensionable earnings. Source: Benefits Canada

According to the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA), pension legislation should balance defined benefit sustainability with pension promise. Any modifications to federal pension legislation should encourage plan sponsors to continue offering defined benefit pension plans, while helping them fulfil their pension promises to plan members. In its submission, the CIA suggested several changes to pension legislation that aim to make the current retirement income system more effective in securing pension promises. It suggested the government consider solvency reserve accounts in order to encourage plan sponsors to provide more funding without the risk of losing those assets. For more information, visit: Benefits Canada


The enhancement of the Québec Pension Plan (QPP): for better financial security in retirement. On January 1, 2019 the QPP was enhanced to provide a better retirement income to current and future generations of contributors. The enhancement includes the introduction of an additional plan into which additional contributions are made by Québec employees and employers. Source: Retraite Québec