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

Alberta introduces PRPP legislation • Quebec introduces bill for VRSPs • Yukon amendments help parents of murdered, missing or critically ill children
|Canadian Payroll Reporter|Last Updated: 06/27/2013

CANADA

Canada modernizing disability management system

The federal government is planning to tackle high rates of employee absenteeism, while strengthening support for ill and injured public servants, with a new initiative meant to modernize outdated disability insurance plans.

The federal public service has an annual absenteeism rate of 18.2 days, including paid and unpaid leave. That is two-and-a-half times the private sector rate of 6.7 days, said the government.

Under the current system, it is difficult for ill and injured employees to reintegrate back into the workforce so, to better manage employee illness, the government intends to overhaul the disability management system, which has remained virtually unchanged for the past 40 years.

The government will work with stakeholders and bargaining agents to introduce a short-term disability program to support employees through illness.

ALBERTA

Alberta’s minimum wage increasing

Effective Sept. 1, Alberta will raise its minimum wage from 9.75 per hour to $9.95 per hour, a 2.1 per cent increase.

Workers who receive tips will continue to make $9.05 per hour until the general minimum wage reaches $10.05 per hour.

Visit www.payroll-reporter.com for a comprehensive, regularly updated list of minimum wage rates across the country.

Alberta’s whistleblower protection law now in effect

Alberta’s whistleblower protection law is now in effect, as of June 1. The Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act, passed in the fall 2012 session of the legislature, protects public sector employees from job reprisal if they report wrongdoing.

The legislation applies to: the Alberta Public Service; provincial agencies, boards and commissions with employees; post-secondary academic institutions; school boards; charter schools; private schools that receive government grants; and public sector health organizations. Health-care professionals appointed to the medical or professional staff of a public organization, or who hold privileges with one, are also protected under the act.

Under the legislation, public sector bodies are required to appoint a designated officer at their organization to investigate and resolve complaints by employees who report:

• violations of provincial or federal law

• acts or omissions that create a danger to the public or environment

• gross mismanagement of public funds.