News in brief: A look at news, facts and figures shaping the world of payroll professionals

Ontario set to increase minimum wage • Canada loses 45,900 jobs in December in surprise setback • TFSA adoption increases 23 per cent in 2013: Survey • Alberta introduces salary and severance disclosure policy • Canadians relying on CPP for retirement: Survey
|Canadian Payroll Reporter|Last Updated: 02/04/2014

Ontario set to increase minimum wage

Toronto — On June 1, Ontario will increase its legislated minimum wage from $10.25 to $11 per hour. This rate reflects the rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) since the last minimum wage increase in 2010.

The government said it will also introduce legislation that would tie future minimum wage increases to the CPI. This will ensure the minimum wage keeps up with the cost of living, and that increases are predictable for businesses and families. Under the proposed legislation, increases would be announced by April 1 and come into effect on Oct. 1.

The proposed legislation would act on the recommendations of Ontario’s Minimum Wage Advisory Panel, which recommends the province perform a full review of its minimum wage rates and revision process every five years. The panel includes business, labour, youth and anti-poverty representatives.

Canada loses 45,900 jobs in December in surprise setback

Ottawa (Reuters) — Canada’s economy lost 45,900 jobs in December and the unemployment rate rose to 7.2 per cent from 6.9 per cent in a surprising setback that may add pressure on the central bank to consider cutting interest rates.

The employment data released by Statistics Canada in January was the weakest since March 2013. The report also showed hiring in 2013 was the slowest since 2009, with year-on-year employment gains in December of just 0.6 per cent, or 102,000.

U.S. December employment data was also weak, with employers hiring the fewest workers in almost three years.

TFSA adoption increases 23 per cent in 2013: Survey

Toronto — Nearly one-half of Canadians (48 per cent) now report having a tax-free savings account (TFSA) — up 23 per cent from 2012.

However, many Canadians remain unfamiliar with specific aspects of the program, found a survey released by BMO Bank of Montreal.

The survey revealed:

• TFSA holders plan to contribute an average of $3,625 this year.
• Men and women are equally likely to have a TFSA, while those aged 65 or older are more likely to have an account than other age groups (53 per cent).
• TFSA adoption is strongest in Western Canada (Alberta at 55 per cent, the Prairies and British Columbia at 53 per cent each) and weakest in Atlantic Canada (34 per cent).

Alberta introduces salary and severance disclosure policy

Edmonton — Alberta has introduced a new salary and severance disclosure policy that will require the province to reveal compensation information for government employees earning more than $100,000.

Salary, benefits and severance amounts will now be publicly disclosed for all employees above the $100,000 line. Where applicable, these employees’ contract and termination agreements will also be disclosed.

The disclosure system will be online at www.alberta.ca, and compensation information for 2012 and 2013 was posted on the new portal on Jan. 31. In the future, compensation information will be posted in June and December.

Canadians relying on CPP for retirement: Survey

Toronto — A majority of Canadians say they are relying on the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) to get through retirement, according to a survey by the Bank of Montreal.

The survey found 89 per cent of respondents believe they will have to count on the CPP or the Quebec Pension Plan when they finish working.

More than one-third (31 per cent) indicated they will rely "heavily"on the government pension plan.

At the same time, personal savings like RRSPs or tax-free savings accounts will help fund retirement for 88 per cent of respondents.

A part-time job will be part of retirement for 59 per cent of respondents.

Selling a property or home is part of the retirement plan for 49 per cent of those surveyed.

Less than half (40 per cent) will be counting on an inheritance, while 34 per cent are taking their chances with the lottery.

Twenty-eight per cent say they expect to get financial assistance from their children or another family member.