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

Minimum wage increases • Quebec's minimum wage going up • Tweaks made to leave for reservists in Nova Scotia • P.E.I.'s minimum wage going up
|Canadian Payroll Reporter|Last Updated: 05/04/2011


Minimum wage increases

British Columbia has announced a minimum wage increase, effective May 1, to $8.75 per hour. The previous minimum wage was $8 per hour. A minimum wage of $8.50 an hour will apply to employees who serve liquor on May 1. The minimum wage of $6 per hour for first jobs is being eliminated. The hike will be the first of three upcoming increases. Minimum wage in the province will increase again on Nov. 1, to $9.50 an hour. A third increase is set for May 1, 2012, to $10.25. The rate for liquor servers will go up to $8.75 on Nov. 1 and $9 on May 1, 2012. Workers who are covered under alternate minimum wage provisions in the Employment Standards Regulations will receive corresponding increases on a percentage basis, according to the province. The piece rates for hand harvesting certain crops will also be adjusted as a percentage of the wage increase on May 1.


Minimum wage going up

Quebec’s minimum wage is rising 15 cents on May 1, from $9.50 to $9.65. Different industries will see increases on the same day. Employees who get tips or gratuities will see their minimum wage go from $8.25 per hour to $8.35. The wage rate in certain sectors of the clothing industry will go up to $9.65 from $9.50. The minimum rate paid to employees who manually pick certain berries will also increase. Raspberry pickers will have their per kilogram rate increased from $2.80 to $2.84. Employees picking strawberries will have their wage increase from 74 cents per kilogram to 75 cents. Farm workers not assigned exclusively to picking strawberries or raspberries during a pay period are to be paid the general minimum wage rate. Starting May 1, 2014, the general minimum wage rate will apply to all agricultural workers. 


Tweaks made to leave for reservists in Nova Scotia

Amendments to labour standards regulations that take effect next month will differentiate between two different types of training leave for employees who are members of the Canadian Forces Reserves. The provincial government has amended the General Regulations respecting Labour Standards to specify different periods of leave for service that applies to active duty and training necessary for active duty and for yearly training that is not related to active duty. The amendments will take effect May 1, 2011, and will allow reservists to take up to 20 days (including travel time) in a calendar year for training not related to active duty. Employees who wish to take the leave will have to give their employer a minimum of four weeks’ notice, although in an emergency situation, the employee may give the employer as much notice as is reasonably practical. Employees will be required to return to work no later than the next regularly scheduled working day after the period of service ends and any related travel time. Employees who are reservists continue to be entitled to an unpaid leave of up to 18 months in a three-year period for active duty or to take part in training that is necessary for active duty. Employees wishing to take such a leave must notify their employer of the leave at least 90 days in advance, although in an emergency they may give as much notice as is reasonably practical. As was already required, the start date for the leave must be at least one year after the date the employee came back to work after a previous leave for such a period of service. The employee must return to work no later than four weeks after the date the employee’s period of service ends.


Minimum wage going up

Prince Edward Island’s minimum wage will be increasing 30 cents an hour on June 1 from $9 an hour to $9.30.The rate hike will be the first of three planned over the next year. On Oct. 1 the minimum wage will go up again to $9.60 and on April 1, 2012, there will be another increase to $10 an hour.

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