For Canadian Travellers: US Travel Future is Upbeat, But Do Your Homework

This is a great piece on travel to the US that identifies the changes going on south of the border.  Group coverage provided by benefit plans is often better than individual plans, but pre-existing condition clauses and unstable health can still cause issues and gaps in coverage.  The suggestions below are good for those travelling with every kind of coverage.

With the US economy booming, thanks to a surging stock market, record low unemployment, rising wages, and sharply lowered personal and corporate taxes, consumers are showing a growing confidence about spending more of their family budgets on travel.

According to the most recent report by international business consulting firm Deloitte: of the six major segments that comprise the US travel industry (airlines, lodging, car rentals, cruises, rail, and travel packaging), a strong five per cent growth is forecast for 2018, setting the USA travel industry on course to hit a record-breaking $370 billion by year’s end.

Employers expect an increase in employee medical leaves

We are seeing an increase in medical leaves and disability claims amongst our clients.  This is just anecdotal, but seems to be supported by some recent reports like the one below.

With an aging workforce and greater awareness surrounding mental health, Canadian employers anticipate an increase in employee medical leaves in the future, says a Conference Board of Canada report.

Update: OHIP+ Children and Youth Pharmacare

We try and stay informed of the changes that happen within the Ontario Ministry of Health and share that information when it becomes available.  Most employees and their dependent children are having claims paid at the pharmacy with no problem, but from time to time they may come to you with questions and below are some links that may prove helpful.

March 16, 2018

We are pleased to share this update on OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare (OHIP+) with you.

As the weekly webinars have now ended, the ministry will continue to provide updates through eblasts to ensure individuals receive the information they need regarding OHIP+.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact the ministry at


As of March 16, 2018, there have been more than 2.5 million OHIP+ paid claims processed. This includes antibiotics to treat infections, inhalers for asthma, various insulins, oral diabetic medications and diabetes test strips, epinephrine auto-injectors (e.g. EPIPENs®), and drugs to treat arthritis, epilepsy and other chronic conditions.


If an OHIP+ recipient needs a drug not listed on the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) Formulary, they may be able to get the drug covered under the Exceptional Access Program (EAP).

To see if a drug is available through the EAP, please visit the following website:

To view a list of EAP medications please see the attached DIN list or visit:

For more information on the EAP, visit

Check the online eFormulary for LU drugs and criteria: 

For information on EAP reimbursement criteria of frequently requested drugs including biologics, please visit:

Visit us online at

Prescription Drug Checker Tool:


Ontario Employers – Are You in Compliance?

Employers with employees in Ontario often ask us to confirm legislative requirements under various employment statutes, including mandatory postings, training, and policies under the Employment Standards Act, 2000, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. To make this information conveniently available, the Littler Toronto office has assembled these requirements in a single publication, which was originally disseminated in August 2017. An updated version of this publication can now be accessed through the link below.

Ontario Mandatory Postings

National pharmacare strategy to preserve existing system: Morneau

No one is exactly sure what the recent budget announcement will mean, but I’m guessing that employee benefit plans are NOT going to be dropping their drug plans anytime soon.  Both the Kirby and Romanow Reports, of 15 years ago, pointed to improving prescription drug coverage, but little if anything has progressed on a national level.  Maybe this time?

Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the national pharmacare committee assembled this week will preserve the best parts of Canada’s existing drug plans, rather than abandon them in pursuit of a new, country-wide universal program.