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

CRA sets annual interest rates for amounts owed • Yukon decreases WCB assessment rates • Employees entitled to reservist leave • Minimum wage increase postponed annual interest rates for amounts owed • Nova Scotia announces WCB maximum insurable earnings • Minimum wage changed
|Canadian Payroll Reporter|Last Updated: 09/30/2011

Canada

CRA sets annual interest rates for amounts owed

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced the prescribed annual interest rates that will apply to any amounts owed to the CRA and to any amounts the CRA owes to individuals and corporations. Rates are calculated quarterly in accordance with applicable legislation and will be in effect from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31. For income tax, the interest rate charged on overdue taxes, Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions and employment insurance (EI) premiums will be five per cent. The interest rate to be paid on corporate taxpayers overpayments will be one per cent. The interest rate to be paid on non corporate taxpayers overpayments will be three per cent. The interest rate used to calculate taxable benefits for employees and shareholders from interest-free and low-interest loans will be one per cent.

Yukon

Yukon decreases WCB assessment rates

Yukon employers will see a decrease in assessment rates for all groups in 2012, according to the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board (YWCHSB). Improving safety practices and return to work outcomes for injured workers are contributing to the prevention of disabilities. These are the key factors that led to the board’s decision to lower rates, according to the YWCHSB. The board was able to lower the amount of administration costs within the average assessment rate for 2012 to $1.04 from $1.10 in 2011. This also contributed to the board’s decision to set the average target assessment rate for 2012 at $2.39 compared to $2.49 in 2011. Specific assessment rates are established based on an actuarial analysis of claims costs and assessable payroll. Strong economic growth in Yukon in 2011 has led to year-end projected numbers of about 600 additional employers and about 2,600 more workers in 2011 compared to 2010. Despite these increases, the lost-time injury rate is expected to remain constant or lower than the 2010 rate of about 2.2 per 100 covered workers, according to the YWCHSB. The nine rate groups will receive rate decreases ranging from five per cent to 22 per cent, with an average decrease for all industry groups of 13.4 per cent.

Northwest Territories

Employees entitled to reservist leave

Members of Canada’s reserve force in the Northwest Territories who are required to be away from work for service will soon be able to take unpaid reservist leave. Amendments to the Employment Standards Act that will allow for the leave come into effect on July 2, 2012. They are contained in Bill 21, which received third reading on Aug. 18. Based on the first reading version of the bill, employees would be eligible for the leave if they have been employed by their employer for at least six consecutive months. The leave would apply for reservists who are required to be away from work for service with the reserves. Service would include taking part in military operations, exercises and training or other military activities and treatment, recovery or rehabilitation of physical or mental health issues resulting from the military activity. Employees who plan to take the leave are required to give their employer at least four weeks’ notice in writing or at the earliest opportunity if they cannot give four weeks. In the notice, the employee would have must include the date the leave was to begin and the expected date that it will end. The employer may ask the employee to provide a certificate from a reserve force official verifying that the employee is in the reserves and is needed for service. Employees are allowed to be on leave for the period required for the service. If the date of return changes, the employee must inform the employer in writing of the new date.