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

Maximum assessable and insurable earnings across Canada • CRA announces 2011 ceilings for housing benefits • CRA's automobile benefits online calculator now available • Family law amendments in Alberta • Manitoba's tax rates remain the same • Minimum wage going up in Quebec • Nova Scotia's tax rates remain the same
|Canadian Payroll Reporter|Last Updated: 01/24/2011

CANADA

Maximum assessable and insurable earnings

The following workers’ compensation bodies have announced their maximum assessable/insurable earnings for 2011:
Alberta: 2010 ceiling — $77,000; 2011 ceiling — $82,800.
British Columbia: 2010 ceiling —
$71,200; 2011 ceiling — $71,700.
Manitoba: 2010 ceiling — $89,000; 2011 ceiling — $96,000.
New Brunswick: 2010 ceiling —    $56,300; 2011 ceiling — $56,700.
Newfoundland and Labrador: 2010 ceiling — $51,235; 2011 ceiling —  $51,595.
Northwest Territories: 2010 ceiling —    $75,200; 2011 ceiling — $82,720.
Nova Scotia: 2010 ceiling — $50,800; 2011 ceiling — $52,000.
Nunavut: 2010 ceiling — $75,200; 2011 ceiling — $82,720.
Ontario: 2010 ceiling — $77,600; 2011 ceiling — $79,600.
Prince Edward Island: 2010 ceiling — $47,500; 2011 ceiling — $47,800.
Quebec: 2010 ceiling — $62,500; 2011 ceiling — $64,000.
Saskatchewan: 2010 ceiling — $55,000; 2011 ceiling — $55,000 (unchanged.)
Yukon: 2010 ceiling — $77,610; 2011 ceiling — $77,920.

FEDERAL

2011 ceilings for housing benefits announced

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has announced the 2011 ceilings for housing benefits employers provide to employees in prescribed zones without a developed rental market. The changes reflect an increase in the shelter portion of the consumer price index. For 2011, employers should use the following allowable ceiling amounts to determine the value of housing benefits for employees in prescribed zones without a developed rental market:
•for common shelter: $173/month
•for an apartment or duplex:
$467 per month for rent only;  $227 per month for utilities only; or $694 per month for rent and utilities
•for a house or trailer: $781 per month for rent only; $345 per month for utilities only; or $1,126 per month for rent and utilities.

Automobile benefits online calculator now available

The automobile benefits online calculator allows payroll to calculate the estimated automobile benefit for withholding purposes based on the information provided. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) does not retain any of the data provided to complete the calculation. The calculator can be used to determine the automobile benefit amount that should be prorated to the employee’s pay periods. To use the tool, add the resulting amount to the employee’s salary and other benefits and allowances, if applicable, to determine the total amount subject to Canada Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan contributions and income tax. The motor vehicle benefit is not insurable and therefore not subject to employment insurance premiums. The CRA suggests users clear their browser cache after they have completed their calculations, as information may be stored in that browser cache and could be compromised by others if the browser cache is not cleared.

ALBERTA

Family law amendments

For 2011, Bill 22, the Family Law Statutes Amendment Act, makes changes to Alberta’s family law statutes. It passed third reading on Nov. 25, 2010, and will come into force on proclamation. The legislation makes it easier to obtain and enforce support orders. Employers should review this legislation as it could affect family support obligations of some employees. This may affect payroll garnishment orders against employees. 

Reminder: Statutory holiday in February

Just a reminder: Monday, Feb. 21, 2011, is Family Day in Alberta. Family Day is a statutory holiday.