Legislative Roundup

Changes in payroll laws and regulations from across Canada


Feds table salary overpayment legislation

The federal government has tabled legislation to implement new rules for certain salary overpayments.

The amendments are included in Bill C-97, the Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1, which Finance Minister Bill Morneau tabled in the House of Commons on April 8. The bill would amend the Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance Act, and Income Tax Act to allow employees whose employer overpaid them salary, wages, or other remuneration due to a system, administrative, or clerical error to repay their employer the net amount of the overpayment (gross pay less source deductions) in cases where the overpayment and the employee’s repayment occur in different calendar years.

Currently, employees in this situation must repay the gross amount of the overpayment.

The proposed changes, which would apply to overpayments made after 2015, would allow employers to recover Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions, employment insurance (EI) premiums, and income tax deductions withheld and remitted on the overpayment from the Canada Revenue Agency.

Since CPP and EI are deducted up to annual maximums, the amount the CRA refunds an employer may not be the same as the amount originally deducted.

The new rules would only apply if employees repaid the employer, or made arrangements to repay, within three years after the year in which the overpayment occurred, the employer had not previously issued a T4 correcting for the overpayment, and the employer elected to have the new rules apply. Otherwise, an employer and an employee would have to follow the current rules.

In situations where an employer discovered an overpayment error in the same year that it made the overpayment, the employee would continue to be required to repay the net amount.

The bill also proposes to amend the Income Tax Regulations to incorporate pension adjustment calculations for 2019 and later years for registered pension plans that make reference to the enhanced CPP. The government began implementing changes to enhance the CPP at the beginning of the year.

The bill would also amend the Employment Equity Act to require federally regulated private-sector employers to report salary information beyond salary ranges, including data more clearly showing wage gaps by occupational groups. 

British Columbia

B.C. living wages report expected this summer

This summer, British Columbia’s Fair Wages Commission is expected to complete a report on its findings and recommendations for establishing a living wage in the province, the Ministry of Labour said.

The ministry made the statement while announcing that the commission would accept public feedback during April and May on ways to close a gap between the provincial minimum wage and a living wage.

While the minimum wage is a legislated minimum rate that employers must pay employees, a living wage is the hourly rate at which a household can meet its basic needs, based on the actual costs of living in a specific community. As a result, the living wage is generally higher than the minimum wage.

The government created the commission in October 2017 to advise it on how to raise the minimum wage rate to $15 an hour, help determine other minimum wage rates in the province, and find ways to address a discrepancy between the minimum wage and a living wage.


Prince Edward Island

New domestic violence leave rules in force Nov. 1

On Nov. 1, the P.E.I. government will implement new rules that will allow eligible employees to take time off work for domestic violence leave.

The right to take the leave stems from Bill 116, An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act (No. 3), which received royal assent last June. 

The new leave provisions will allow employees with at least three months of service to take up to three paid days and up to seven unpaid days off each year if they, their child, or a person for whom they are a caregiver is a victim of domestic, intimate partner, or sexual violence.

They can take the leave intermittently or in one continuous period.

If employees’ wages vary from day to day, their pay for the days of leave will have to be at least equal to their average daily earnings, excluding overtime pay, for the days they worked in the 30 calendar days right before taking the leave.

Employees will only be allowed to take the leave for certain reasons. They include seeking medical attention for physical or psychological injuries or disabilities caused by the violence, obtaining support from a victim services organization, and getting counseling from professionals.

Employees could also take the leave to temporarily or permanently relocate because of the violence, to seek legal or law enforcement help, or to comply with child protection interventions and take part in child protection case planning and related activities.

Employees who plan to take the leave will have to notify their employer when they plan to begin it and how long it will last. If the employer requires it, employees will have to provide written proof of the need for the leave.

Employers will be required to keep all matters related to the leave confidential, except in certain circumstances allowed under the law.



Employment standards amendments pass third reading

Saskatchewan’s Legislative Assembly has passed amendments that will expand job-protected leaves for new parents, caregivers and assault survivors.

The amendments were in Bill 153, The Saskatchewan Employment (Leaves) Amendment Act, 2018, which passed third reading on April 18. The changes will take effect once the legislation receives royal assent.

The amendments would increase the length of maternity and adoption leaves from 18 weeks to 19 weeks. They would also extend parental leave from 34 weeks to 59 weeks for employees who also take maternity or adoption leave and from 37 weeks to 63 weeks for other parents.

In addition, the amendments would allow for a new 17-week leave for employees who need time off to provide care or support for a critically ill adult family member.

They would also broaden leave for a critically ill child to include family members beyond the child’s parents and extend leave for interpersonal violence to include survivors of all forms of sexual violence. 


Employment standards proposals pass

Yukon’s legislative assembly has passed amendments that will increase the length of some leaves allowed under the territory’s Employment Standards Act.

The changes were included in Bill 31, an Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, which received royal assent on April 30. At the time of writing, the changes had not yet come into effect.

Once in force, the amendments will increase the length of parental leave from 37 weeks to 63 weeks and extend the period within which employees must complete it from the first anniversary date of the birth or adoption to 78 weeks afterwards. In cases where more than one employee takes the leave for the same birth or adoption, the total amount of parental leave allowed will be 71 weeks.

The amendments will also increase the length of compassionate care leave from eight weeks to 28 weeks. The period within which employees must complete the leave will be extended from 26 weeks after it began to 52 weeks afterwards.

The amendments will also expand eligibility for leave for a critically ill child to include family members beyond the child’s parents. In addition, they will create a new 17-week unpaid leave of absence for employees providing care or support for a critically ill adult family

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