Legislative Updates for October 2018



2019 Employment Insurance premium rate. Pursuant to section 66.31 of the Employment Insurance Act, the Canada Employment Insurance Commission presented a summary of the Actuarial Report on the 2019 Employment Insurance Premium Rate. In accordance with the legislation, the actuarial forecasts and estimated included are for the purposes of the calculation of the EI premium rate, the premium reductions related to the QPIP and employer wage-loss plans under PRP, as well as the annual MIE. For more information, visit: The Government of Canada website.

Cannabis in the provinces and territories.  The Cannabis Act came into force on Oct. 17, 2018. Provinces and territories are responsible for determining how cannabis is distributed and sold within their jurisdiction. Provinces and territories also have the flexibility to set added restrictions. For more information, visit: The Government of Canada website.

British Columbia

Government moves forward on MSP premium elimination, tax cut for people. The government of BC is moving forward with its plan to eliminate Medical Service Plan (MSP) premiums and introduce the employer health tax (EHT).  The government tabled the Employer Health Tax Act in the legislature on Oct. 16, 2018.  The legislation also establishes a $1.5-million exemption amount for charities and non-profits. The B.C. Government will eliminate MSP premiums by Jan.  1, 2020. Source: The Government of British Columbia website.

Regulations ready BC for cannabis legalization.  New and amended regulations are now in place to support BC's legal cannabis regime and prioritize the health and safety of British Columbians.  For more information visit: The Government of British Columbia website.

BC WCB Policy Regulation and Research Section 55 and mental disorder claims.  Section 55 of the WCA sets out the limitation period for filing an application for compensation.  It states that no compensation is payable unless an application is filed, or an adjudication made, within one year after the date of injury, death, or disablement from an occupational disease. Source: Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia.


WCB announces proposed changes to 2019 average premium rate. Average preliminary rate suggests a 1.7% decrease from 2018. This is the 12th consecutive year the rate has dropped.  Source: The Government of Saskatchewan website.

Minimum wage to increase. Effective Oct.1, 2018, the minimum wage will raise to $11.06 per hour. Source: The Government of Saskatchewan website.

Cannabis Legalization. With the legalization of cannabis occurring across Canada, the Government will be monitoring the long-term effects of the legalization of cannabis and the effectiveness of the provincial cannabis legislation. Source: The Government of Saskatchewan website.


Manitoba prepares for Federal Cannabis Legalization. The province officially launched its public education campaign on cannabis with a focus on public health and safety.  This includes legislative changes such as updates to the Non-Smokers Health Protection and Vapour Products Act to protect against second-hand smoke as well as public education initiatives.  Source: The Government of Manitoba website.

WCB:  Employments standards Leave Related to Critical Illness and Parental Leave modified on October 26, is a general overview and the information is subject to change.  For more information, visit: The Government of Manitoba – Leave Related to Critical Illness Factsheet (opens as PDF) and The Government of Manitoba – Parental Leave Factsheet (opens as PDF).

Minimum Wage is $11.35 per hour as of October 1, 2018.  Source: The Government of Manitoba website.


Ontario increasing mercury disability benefits.  People who receive mercury disability payments will be properly compensated by retroactively indexing payments to the rate of inflation. Source: The Government of Ontario website.

New Brunswick

Information from the Human Rights Commission on cannabis in the workplace. On Oct. 17, adult-use cannabis became legal in Canada.  The New Brunswick Human Rights Commission is releasing a new publication on the duty to accommodate in the workplace regarding the consumption of cannabis. Source: The Government of New Brunswick website.  

Nova Scotia:

Improved Access to PTSD Benefits. Starting Oct. 26, 2018 will be easier for frontline and emergency response workers with PTSD to access workers' comp benefits. Eligible workers are police, paid and volunteer firefighters, paramedics, nurses, correctional officers, continuing care assistants, emergency-response dispatchers and sheriffs covered by the board. Source: The Government of Nova Scotia website.

Prince Edward Island:

Minimum wage to increase (effective April 1, 2019).  PEI's minimum wage will remain the highest in Atlantic Canada when it increases by 70 cents to $12.25 per hour. Source: The Government of Prince Edward Island website.




FSCO opens consultation on updated pension surplus policies.  The policies outline the FSCO’s expectations regarding applications for the payment of a surplus to employers, plan members, former members, retired members and other entitled beneficiaries under the Pension Benefits Act. For more information, visit: Benefits Canada.   

Effective Jan. 1, 2019 the Canada Pension Plan will gradually be enhanced.  The CPP will begin growing to replace one third of your average work earnings, rather than the current one-quarter.  The maximum limit used to determine your average work earnings will also gradually increase by 14% by 2025.  As a result, pension amounts will increase by more than 33%.  The enhancement will also increase the CPP disability benefit and the CPP survivor's pension.  Eligibility for CPP benefits will not be affected.  For more information, visit: The Government of Canada website.