Legislative Updates for September 2018

Benefits

 

Canada

Current and forthcoming minimum hourly wage rates. For more information, visit: The Government of Canada website.

British Columbia

Update on implementation of Medicare Protection Act measures. Measures to protect patients in BC from extra billing for medically necessary treatments under Bill 92 will come into force October 1, 2018.  Under this bill, provisions applicable to diagnostic services will come into effect April 1, 2019 following a six month extension.   Patients who were extra-billed will have the option to be refunded by the Medical Services Commission.  Source: The Government of British Columbia website.

Alberta

Employment Standards Code changes. Alberta’s new Employment Standards Code came into effect January 1, 2018.  Changes to existing laws include: leave eligibility, compassionate care leave, maternity/paternal leave, rest periods, compressed work weeks, deductions, minimum way, deductions, minimum wage, overtime, general holiday and general holiday pay, vacations and vacation pay, termination and temporary layoffs, and youth employment. For more information, visit: The Government of Alberta website.

Ontario

Ontario increasing mercury disability benefits.  Payments frozen since 1985 will be retroactively indexed to inflation.  Ontario is taking action to ensure people who receive mercury disability payments are properly compensated by retroactively indexing payments to the rate of inflation.  Source: The Government of Ontario website.

WSIB Premium Rate Savings to help employers boost economy.  Elimination of unfunded liability ensures sustainable and accountable system.  Ontario’s government for the people and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) announced that premium rates for employees will be sharply reduced due to the elimination of the WSIB’s insurance funds unfunded liability.  By eliminating the unfunded liability, the WSIB will be able to cut the average premium rate for employers by almost 30%, starting January 1, 2019.  This will help employers save money, increase investment and create more jobs, resulting in a 1.45 billion dollar injection into the Ontario economy.  Source: The Government of Ontario website.

Quebec

Modification of the Hearing Aid Program.  On Sept. 20, 2018, amendments to the Hearing Instruments and Insured Services Regulations came into force.  For more information, visit: The Government of Quebec Website.

Permanent ostomy appliances.  From October 1, 2018, the Assistive Device Program Ostomy will change.  The eligible person who qualifies for the plan is entitled to a lump sum of 700 per ostomy to cover, at least in part, the cost of the necessary equipment.  Thereafter, every year, on the anniversary of the surgical procedure, this person will be entitled to a lump sum of 700 per ostomy to cover, at least in part, the replacement cost of the equipment.  If you have private insurance as your insurer the difference between the total cost of the equipment and the reimbursement granted by the Regie may be covered. Source: The Government of Quebec Website (opens as PDF).

New Brunswick

New guideline released on sexual harassment. The New Brunswick Human Rights Commission released an updated Guideline on Sexual Harassment to highlight Respectful Workplace Week 2018 and as part of its ongoing mandate to promote human rights through educations resources and programs designed to eliminate discriminatory practices.  The guideline is based upon relevant decisions by boards of inquiry, tribunals and courts and addresses topics that are relevant to the duties of employers and service providers.   It includes examples and explanations of what constitutes sexual harassment, quid pro quo, poisoned work environment, signs of unwelcomeness and intersectional sexual harassment. Source: The Government of New Brunswick website.

Nova Scotia

More leave time for Nova Scotia employees and their families. The Government is making changes to the Labour Standards Code to provide employees with more time to support and care for their families.  The changes, introduced September 13, enhance combined pregnancy/parental leave, parental leave and caregiving leave.  This aligns with recent federal changes to employment insurance benefits.  The proposed changes will also create a new 16 week critically ill adult care leave and provide a broad definition of family member, to include persons who are like family, for both critically ill child and adult caregiving leaves.  These proposed changes will come into effect on royal assent should the proposed bill be passed in the legislature.  For more information, visit: The Government of Nova Scotia website.

 

Pension

 

Canada

Enhancements to the Canada Pension Plan and the Quebec Pension Plan (effective January 1, 2018).  Employees will receive higher benefits as they make higher contributions. This change is the result of the legislative changes made by the Federal government to the Canada Pension Plan and by the Quebec government to the Quebec Pension Plan. The enhancement will increase CPP retirement, disability and survivor’s pensions, depending on what employees receive. For more information, visit: The Government of Canada website and Benefits Canada.

Quebec

On 1 September, 2018, a new social security agreement between Poland and the Gouvernement du Quebec came into force.  The agreement is in addition to the other 36 agreements signed with various countries across the globe.  Therefore, individuals who contributed to a pension plan under the Polish social security system will benefit from Retraite Quebec’s assistance when applying for their retirement pension.  Furthermore, individuals who were temporarily seconded to work in Poland will not be required to pay social security contributions under both the Quebec Pension Plan and the pension plan in Poland. Source: The Government of Quebec website.