News in Brief

Financial executives becoming more involved in payroll: Survey; Alberta launches ‘Work Right’ campaign; Payroll earnings virtually unchanged in February: StatsCan; Government consulting on target benefit pension plans; Canada lost 29,000 jobs in April: StatsCan

Financial executives becoming more involved in payroll: Survey


Senior financial executives in Canada are becoming more involved in the oversight of HR and payroll, according to a recently released study by the Canadian Financial Executives Research Foundation (CFERF).

An online survey of executives found 61 per cent of respondents said they had taken on more responsibility for payroll, recruitment, employee management, training, benefits and bonus management in the past five years. More than one-third of respondents said they expect to be more involved in HR and payroll in the next five years.

The study, sponsored by Ceridian, also found many of the executives rated their knowledge of HR and payroll as moderate or average, with only 11 per cent saying they were extremely knowledgeable.

“HR is frequently becoming more aligned with the finance areas within an organization,” said Rob Rose, Ceridian’s senior vice-president of product management.

“Reporting for finance and HR can be extensive since employees are typically a large expense for many organizations. In some cases, HR reports directly under finance or some type of a parallel relationship exists. Moreover, the relationship between finance and HR is becoming much stronger than what we’ve seen in the past.”

The study also noted that when it comes to the types of HR measures to which the executives said they paid the most attention, 73 per cent ranked expenses related to the average cost of employer-paid sick days and personal leaves as moderately to most important.

Alberta launches ‘Work Right’ campaign


The Alberta government has launched an awareness campaign that focuses on both workplace safety and employment standards. The new Work Right campaign features an interactive website with questions and answers and links to more in-depth information.

“These two sections of government work with employers and workers every day, so it was a natural fit to promote better understanding of workplace rules and make maximum use of our resources,” said Thomas Lukaszuk, minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour.

The purpose of the campaign is to encourage employers and employees to better understand their rights and responsibilities and to ask questions where they are unsure. The government says research indicates that while employers and workers both think they understand health and safety and employment standards rules, often they do not.

For more information on the campaign, go to

Payroll earnings virtually unchanged in February: StatsCan


Average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $ 925 in February, up slightly from $922 in January, Statistics Canada reports. Statistics Canada revised the January numbers from the previously reported $924.77. On a year-over-year basis, weekly earnings increased 2.3 per cent in February.

The increase in weekly earnings during the 12 months to February reflected a number of factors, including wage growth, changes in the composition of employment by industry, occupation and level of job experience, as well as average hours worked per week. Non-farm payroll employees worked an average of 32.9 hours a week in February, the same as in January and just slightly more than the average of 32.8 hours in the previous February.

Year-over-year earnings of non-farm payroll employees increased in all provinces, with the biggest growth in Manitoba and Nova Scotia.

Government consulting on target benefit pension plans


The federal government is consulting on a possible framework for introducing target benefit pension plans for federally regulated private-sector employers and Crown corporations.

The plans would be voluntary. Target benefit pension plans combine features of defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) pension plans. They “target” a specific pension benefit and are funded by fixed contributions. Unlike defined benefit pensions, a target benefit pension may be reduced if there are funding shortfalls.

A consultation paper is on the Finance department’s website at The deadline for comments is June 23.

Canada lost 29,000 jobs in April: StatsCan


Canada’s economy lost 29,000 jobs in April and the unemployment rate remained 6.9 per cent, Statistics Canada reports. The results are a change from the previous month when the economy gained 43,000 jobs.

Industries where employment dropped in April included accommodation and food services, as well as finance, insurance, real estate and leasing. Industries that saw an increase in employment included business, building and other support services, as well as health care and social assistance.

On a provincial basis, Saskatchewan continued to have the lowest unemployment rate at 3.4 per cent, down from 4.5 per cent in March. Newfoundland and Labrador had the highest unemployment rate at 12.1 per cent, up from 11.6 per cent in March.

In the United States, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the American economy added 288,000 jobs in April. The unemployment rate dropped from 6.7 per cent to 6.3 per cent.

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