Legislative roundup: Changes in payroll laws and regulations from across Canada

CRA stops mailing T244 to registered pension plan administrators • National Aboriginal Day a statutory holiday • New B.C. pension legislation introduced • Saskatchewan government to consult on renewal of labour legislation • Manitoba announces minimum wage hike • National holiday in Quebec is June 24 • Nova Scotia WCB approves changes to policies that affect assessment rates • CRA revises TD1NS

ALBERTA

CRA stops mailing T244 to registered pension plan administrators

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has stopped mailing the Annual Information Return (form T244) to registered pension plan administrators.  Previously, the CRA mailed blank copies of this form to plan administrators who did not have an agreement covering these returns with their provincial authority or another regulator. In accordance with paragraph 8409(1)(b) of the Income Tax Regulations, this information return must be filed with the CRA within 180 days following the registered pension plan fiscal year end.  This form must still be completed by plan administrators and sent to the CRA. The T244 can be found online at www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pbg/tf/t244/README.html.

This change is in line with the sustainable development strategy released by the federal government in October 2010, according to the CRA. Questions or concerns can be directed to the CRA’s general enquiry group at www.craarc.gc.ca/tx/rgstrd/cntct-eng.htm.

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES

National Aboriginal Day  a statutory holiday

June 21, National Aboriginal Day, is a statutory holiday in the Northwest Territories.
 
BRITISH COLUMBIA

New B.C. pension  legislation introduced

The government of British Columbia has introduced legislation to modernize the Pension Benefits Standards Act and allow the private sector to offer a wider choice of pension plan options. Bill 38 brings improvements to pension legislation by reducing administrative costs and enhancing the rights of pension plan members, including immediate entitlement to employer-paid contributions and more information about how a plan is operating, said the government. The bill will extend the same right to receive plan information to retired members. It also establishes a framework that will give former pension plan members the option of withdrawing locked-in funds in a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) or life income fund in cases of financial hardship. The changes permit innovative alternatives to existing plans, such as jointly sponsored cost-sharing pension plans and target benefit plans. Under the jointly sponsored cost-sharing plan model, similar to what currently exists in public sector pension plans, employers and employees would contribute equally to all elements of the pension plan, said the government. Other key amendments include requiring governance and funding policies for defined benefit (DB) and target benefit plans. The bill provides the superintendent of pensions the power to levy administrative penalties and appoint replacement administrators or actuaries. The changes will also ensure legislative support exists for the regulation of pension plans that have members located in more than one province, the government said.

SASKATCHEWAN

Saskatchewan government  to consult on renewal of labour legislation

The government of Saskatchewan is proposing to modernize, simplify and amalgamate labour legislation as well as explore the creation of a Saskatchewan Employment Code. The purpose of the review is to identify whether the intent of employment standards, labour relations and specific occupational health and safety legislation is reflected in the current acts and, if not, what changes are necessary and appropriate. It also sets out to ensure the protections afforded workers are adequate, and the duties and responsibilities of all workplace partners are sufficiently clear to ensure compliance, address the changing nature of the workplace and provide flexibility to meet the needs of the evolving employer-employee relationship and better organize the legislation so it is consistent, consolidated and easier to understand. Some examples of the topics under consideration are: essential services legislation, union financial disclosure, notice requirements, collection of employees’ wages after business closure, variable hours of work to meet needs of both employers and employees, and indexation of the minimum wage. Legislation to be reviewed includes the Trade Union Act, the Employment Agencies Act, the Labour Standards Act, the Wages Recovery Act and the Human Resources, Labour and Employment Act. Stakeholders and interested parties are encouraged to submit written input or questions, no later than July 31, 2012.

MANITOBA

Manitoba announces minimum wage hike

The minimum wage in Manitoba will rise by 25 cents per hour this fall, the province announced in its 2012 budget. The budget, delivered by Finance Minister Stan Struthers on April 17, contains a provision that would see the minimum wage rise from $10 to $10.25 per hour on Oct. 1, 2012. The 2012 budget did not contain any payroll-related tax changes. But in last year’s budget, the government announced it would increase the basic personal amount claimed on a Manitoba Personal Tax Credits Return (TD1 MB) from $8,634 in 2012 to $8,884 in 2013 and to $9,134 in 2014. As part of the 2012 budget, the province also proposed to “loosen the restrictions” on Sunday shopping. Under the current rules, retail businesses are not allowed to open Sundays unless municipalities have passed bylaws permitting it. Stores allowed to open can only do so between noon and 6 p.m. Budget documents state the province will work with employers and workers, and consult with the public on changes. Even with the changes, there would still be restrictions on New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Canada Day, Labour Day, Remembrance Day and Christmas Day. The government hopes to implement the Sunday shopping rules before the end of the year.

QUEBEC

National holiday is June 24

June 24, National Holiday, is a statutory holiday in Quebec. When the holiday falls on a Sunday, employees who do not normally work on Sundays are entitled to take the holiday on Monday. Employees who normally work on Sundays are entitled to take the holiday on June 24. If due to the nature of the work, such as a hotel, an entitled employee must work on the holiday, the employee must receive statutory holiday pay plus his regular rate for the hours worked, or regular daily wages and a day off with statutory holiday pay, on the working day immediately preceding or following the holiday.

NOVA SCOTIA

WCB approves changes to policies that affect assessment rates

The province’s Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) has approved changes to policies it uses to set employers’ assessment rates. The changes will apply with 2013 assessment rates. The board has revised its “Experience Rating — Maximum Merit or Demerit Surcharge” policy. It will no longer send notices warning of surcharges to employers who previously had to pay surcharges and who have only been out of that position for less than three years. The WCB can apply surcharges to an employer’s assessments if the employer’s injury claim costs are significantly and consistently higher than the average of its industry group. The WCB also amended the policies “Claim Costs Which are Excluded from Experience Rating” and “Costs Used for Fatal Claims for Experience Rating” to make it less likely an employer would receive an experience rating merit if an employee was killed on the job. The board approved a new policy to set out the criteria employers must meet to receive a refund on surcharges. The policy will allow employers who have paid surcharges to receive a refund if they have spent money to improve safety at their workplace. The policy, “Conditional Surcharge Refund Program” will apply beginning with 2013 assessment rates. The WCB is in the process of finalizing its proposed program, “Practice Incentive Rebate Program,” which will reward employers who set up an effective health and safety management system. Under the proposed program, the board will give employers a rebate on a percentage of their assessment premium if their health and safety management system meets the requirements of a WCB-approved health and safety system accreditation program. The board is testing the program in the construction and trucking industries.
 
CRA revises TD1NS

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is issuing an updated TD1NS, Personal Tax Credits Return, for July 1, 2012, to incorporate changes to certain credits claimed on the form. In its April 3, 2012 provincial budget, the Nova Scotia government proposed increasing the maximum amount employees can claim on the TD1NS for the spouse or common-law partner tax credit, the eligible dependant tax credit and the disability tax credit, effective for the 2012 tax year. The spousal and eligible dependant amounts would rise from $7,201 to $8,481, which would be equal to the basic personal amount. The maximum amount for the disability tax credit would increase from $5,035 to $7,341.

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