Legislative Updates for January 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.



Legislated Workers Compensation policy changes effective January 1, 2018 include a lump-sum fatality benefit (up to $90,772.20)  provided to spouse or dependent(s) of workers who die as a result of workplace injury or illness; enhanced retirement benefits for workers unable to contribute to a pension plan due to reduced earnings capacity after being injured; a lump-sum benefit for workers receiving an economic loss payment for two or more consecutive years before regaining their earnings capacity; an extension to retirement age; a calculation change for retirement adjustment benefits; a revised cost-of-living adjustment calculation; and policy updates regarding health care provider choice. For more details visit The Worker's Compensation Board of Alberta website.

Employment Standards Amendment Regulation, 246/2017 came into effect January 1, 2018, with changes to rules set forth in Bill 17, the Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act addressing a range of employment issues such as hours of work, termination of employment, pay, and leave of absence. For more information visit the Government of Alberta website.



Ontario enhancing enforcement to ensure worker rights are protected. Increased enforcement, penalties and education will increase compliance. Ontario is enhancing workplace enforcement, penalties and education to ensure all new worker rights under its plan for Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs are followed. This plan includes raising the minimum wage, ensuring part-time workers are paid the same hourly wage as full-time workers, introducing paid sick days for every worker, and providing at least three weeks' vacation after five years with the same employer. For more information visit The Proving of Ontario's newsroom webpage.

Minimum wage increase. General minimum wage rose from $11.60 to $14.00 hourly on January 1, 2018, and will increase again to $15.00 effective January 1, 2019. For more information visit the Province of Ontario website and  the WSIB Ontario website.

WSIB and chronic mental stress. Effective January 1, 2018, employees with work-related chronic mental stress may be eligible for WSIB benefits. To be eligible, chronic mental stress must be predominantly caused by a substantial work-related stressor.Previously, the WSIA provided benefits only to workers who experienced an acute reaction to a sudden or traumatic event. For more information visit the WSIB Ontario website



WCB. The 2018 maximum wage rate, also known as the maximum assessable \earnings rate, is $86,971.  Source:  Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board webpage.


Northwest Territories

Minimum wage. Effective April 1, 2018, the minimum wage will increase from $12.50 per hour to $13.46 per hour.  Source: Government of Northwest Territories website.