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