Legislative and Pension Legislative Updates for February 2018

Cowan Insurance Group’s Guide to Canadian Benefits Legislation and Guide Supplement are valuable tools that help educate how changes in legislation may impact the benefits and insurance community. Along with the following monthly legislative news updates, these documents offer a high level overview of some of the benefits currently available through various Canadian government programs.

 

Alberta

Upcoming legislative changes to the Workers’ Compensation Act remove the cap on maximum compensable insurance earnings for injured workers with a date of accident of September 1, 2018 or later. This means workers will be compensated with 90% of their total net earnings, with no limit.  This change does not affect employers’ assessable earnings for 2018.  The MIE cap used to determine employer premiums stays at $98,700.  For details visit:  WCB Alberta website (opens as a PDF)

 

British Columbia

Budget 2018. British Columbia is replacing the revenues from MSP premiums with an employer health tax, which will come into effect January 1, 2019 with the following rate structure:

  • Businesses with a payroll of more than $1.5 million will pay a rate of 1.95% on their total payroll
  • Businesses with a payroll between $500,000 and $1.5 million will pay a reduced tax rate
  • Businesses with a payroll under $500,000 will not pay the tax

It is not necessary to apply for premium assistance to get the 50% reduction, as it is not considered premium assistance. You must, however, apply to get premium assistance - this is not done automatically based on the income reported on your tax return.

For details visit:  Government of British Columbia website

 

British Columbia is eliminating PharmaCare deductibles for working families with the lowest incomes in the province. All families with household net incomes under $45,000 will benefit. Families with net annual incomes between $15,000 and $30,000 will have no deductible, starting Jan. 1, 2019.

For details visit: Government of British Columbia website

 

New Brunswick

Insulin pump program to be expanded. Effective April 1, 2018, New Brunswick is expanding the insulin pump program to include young adults up to 25 years of age. The program currently assists parents of children 18 years or younger. Source:  Government of New Brunswick website

Minimum wage increase. The minimum wage will increase to $11.25 effective April 1st, 2018. 

Source:  Government of New Brunswick website

 

Newfoundland & Labrador

Minimum wage increase.  The minimum wage will increase to $11.15 effective April 1st, 2018. 

Source: Government of Newfoundland and Labrador website

 

Nova Scotia

Minimum wage increase. The minimum wage will increase to $11.00 effective April 1st, 2018.
Source:  Government of Nova Scotia website

 

North West Territories

Minimum wage increase.  The minimum wage will increase to $13.46 effective April 1st, 2018. 

Source:  Government of Northwest Territories website

 

Pension

Changes to the Québec Pension Plan. Bill 149, the Act to enhance the Quebec Pension Plan and to amend various retirement related legislative provisions, was passed February 21, 2018.

The changes will gradually come into effect between 2019 and 2025. Enhancing the Plan involves adding an additional plan and effective January1, 2019, the QPP will be comprised of two plans. For details on the additional plan visit the Government of Quebec website.

Source: Government of Quebec website