Legislative Update Summary for February 2017

Every year, The Williamson Group publishes its Guide to Canadian Benefits Legislation and Guide Supplement. Together with monthly updates on our blog, these documents offer a high-level overview of some of the benefits currently available through various Canadian government programs and legislation.

Below you will find a quick summary of noteworthy legislative changes that have occurred since the last update.


Minimum Wages by Province / Current wage and Expected Rate changes in 2017 are available from the Retail Council of Canada. Visit the Retail Council of Canada website for details.


Prince Edward Island

Minimum wage rises to $11.25 per hour, effective April 1, 2017. Visit the Prince Edward Island website for details.



Provincial Government announces increases to minimum wage.  Effective April 1, 2017, the minimum wage will increase by 25 cents to $10.75, followed by an increase of 25 cents to $11.00 on October 1, 2017. Visit the Newfoundland and Labrador website for details.


New Brunswick

WorkSafeNB 2017 Average Assessment Rate will increase from $1.11 per $100 payroll to $1.48. Visit the WorkSafeNB website for details.

The New Brunswick 2017-18 Provincial Budget. The budget includes a healthcare budgetary increase of 3.3 per cent, which is the largest increase since 2010-11. Visit the Government of New Brunswick website for details.


Nova Scotia

2017 Rates for Workplace Injury Insurance.  Visit the Workers' Compensation Board of Newfoundland website for details.

Nova Scotia Human Right Commission ruled that benefits plan must cover a member’s medical marijuana prescription. A PDF of the ruling is available on the Human Rights Nova Scotia website.



Quebec Bill 92 passed into law. The bill was adopted on December 6, 2016 and will go into effect September 15, 2017, and will necessitate the provision of additional details on drug receipts issued by pharmacists in Quebec, were passed.  Instead of showing a single amount, receipts will need to break down the cost to clearly to show: the drug cost, the mark-up margin, and the pharmacist dispensing fees. For more information, visit the Government of Quebec website.



WSIB Schedule 2 Provincial Administration Rates released. For details, visit the Ontario WSIB webpage.


British Columbia

Province increases disability assistance rates.  As of April 1, 2017, disability assistance rates will rise by $50 per month, or an annual total of $600. Once the increase takes effect, a single person with the PWD designation will receive $1,033 per month in disability assistance, up from $983. A couple in which both are PWDs will receive an additional $100 per month, for a total of $1,773.  Visit the Government of British Columbia website for details.

WCB released 2017 premium rates.  WorkSafeBC announces that the average base rate for 2017 is dropping from 1.70% to 1.65% of employers’ assessable payroll. Details can be found on the WorkSafe BC website.

BC 2018 Budget. The BC provincial budget on February 21, 2017 announced major changes to MSP and a reduction in the small business corporate income tax rate. Effective January 1, 2018, the premium rates for those with adjusted family net income of $120,000 and less will be reduced by 50%, and the threshold for elimination of premiums is increased from $24,000 to $26,000.  However, it will be necessary to apply for the reduction, for those who have not already applied for premium assistance. For details visit the Government of British Columbia website.

BC Pharmacare Low Cost Alternative / Reference Drug Program reimbursement changes for 2017.  On April 1, 2017, changes to reimbursement limits for Low Cost Alternative / Reference Drug Program drugs will take effect. For details visit the Government of British Columbia website.



Yukon WCB:  Current Average Assessment Rate for 2017 is $1.87. Visit the Yukon Worker’s Compensation Health and Safety Board website for details.