Apply for reimbursement for the Small Business Health and Safety Training Program

I came across this interesting program while reading “What’s New” from the Ontario Ministry of Labour and Skills Development.  The cost of the training is low (~$25), the courses are often 7-8 hours long and this program can be used to subsidize the employees time attending. 


Ontario’s Small Business Health and Safety Training Program will reimburse eligible employers for health and safety representative training for a selected employee in an Ontario workplace. The program will cover the course registration cost of $25 for the representative and $150 toward the cost of the representative’s training time, for a total reimbursement of $175.

Get all the details here: https://www.app.grants.gov.on.ca/sbhstp/#/

Employee Injured at Home Eligible for Workers’ Comp

As COVID continues, we are getting more questions from employers dealing with employees working remotely.  A few things to keep in mind if you have employees working remotely out of the country:

  • Employees must maintain provincial health coverage (e.g. OHIP) to be entitled to benefits
    • Employees away for 183+ days/year must request and be granted an extension by OHIP
  • Employers are responsible for the safety of their employees at work (OHSA)
    • This can by extension encompass the employee working from home or elsewhere
    • This might extend to ensuring that there are smoke and CO detectors installed and functioning
  • Employees working from home could be considered in a WSIB workplace (if mandated)
  • Employers are expected to be aware of tax considerations for staff working in a foreign country
    • Employees could possibly face double taxation requirements if working in the US for example.

The issue of WSIB coverage was highlighted in the legal case below.  Though this is Quebec, I think we will see more of these in the coming years as more people work remotely.

If you have questions on staff working remotely (out of Canada), please call us, and consider speaking to your HR professional, and/or accountant/ tax expert, and/ or employment lawyer to see if there are any concerns that could effect you or the employee. 


A recent Quebec labour ruling found that an employee who sustained an injury while working from home was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

 
Back in September 2020….
 

Another Minimum Wage Increase Coming for Ontario

Earlier this fall, Ontario’s minimum wage increased by $0.10 to $14.35 per hour, however, that number is now set to increase even more.
 
Effective January 1, 2022, Ontario’s new general minimum wage is going up to $15.00. Student minimum wage will raise from $13.50 to $14.10.
 
It’s also noteworthy that currently the minimum wage for bartenders and servers is set at $12.55 per hour, however this special rate will be eliminated come January 1st and servers and bartenders will now make the general minimum wage of $15.00 per hour.

Getting COVID-19 vaccine will not affect insurance coverage

A few advisors in our association have heard rumours, from plan members (employees,) that being vaccinated could harm them when it comes to applying or claiming for life, disability or health insurance.  I’m not sure where this started, but there is no validity to it, and the insurance companies association (the CLHIA) has put out a statment (below) indicating that is not true.


“Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will have no effect on the ability to obtain coverage or benefits from life insurance or supplementary health insurance.”

That is what the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) has stressed in light of misinformation…

READ ARTICLE

High Cost drugs continuing to rise in both cost and quantity

Many clients have had high cost drug claims affect their plans.  I define these as over $10,000/year, with many now costing in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per year (and often for a lifetime).  We have a number of ways of handling these claims from the limited protection of pooling on insured plans, to more extreme measures such as drug caps and exclusionary formularies that push the cost from the employer and employee’s pocket, to the province or patient assistance program.

The Canadian Drug Insurance Pooling Corp. (CDIPC) issues a report each year as to the number and breakdown of these claims.  I’ve clipped a small part of the report below to illustrate the number and cost of claims, and how they have increased in the past 5 years. 

There are 26 million Canadians covered by supplementary health insurance coverage (90% is group plans & 10% individual coverage).  There were almost 28,000 drug claims over $10,000 in 2020 (report clip below).  This equates to about 1 high cost claim for every 930 people.  Because group plans cover spouses and dependent children, we could extrapolate that there are 2.9 people per family (StatsCan), which means that there will be one high cost claim for every 320 employees.  

I’m not trying to scare people by saying “the sky is falling”, but I do want people to be aware that these are no longer “rare” drugs and in fact, many of them are mainstream treatments with some being the drug of choice in treating new patients.  Click on the report below if you’d like to see the entire document, or call us if you have questions.


Ontario Employers: Requirements for Mandatory Policies, Training and Postings

Each year my friends at Littler provide an updated list of required postings for Ontario Employers.  these are the documents that MUST be posted to be complaint with the various pieces of legislation.


Employers subject to provincial legislation (i.e., not federal employers) that have employees in Ontario often ask about legislative requirements under various employment statutes, including mandatory policies, training and postings under the Employment Standards Act, 2000, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, the Pay Equity Act, and the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017.  To make this information conveniently available, the Littler Toronto office assembled these requirements in a single publication.

READ and DOWNLOAD

Ontario Is Extending Covid-19 Paid Sick Days And IDEL Into 2022

A reminder to employers that the WIPB program has been extended and employers may have to pay employees employees up to 3 days wages as indicated below.


Originally set to expire on December 31, 2021, Premier Doug Ford’s government has announced that it is extending the Worker Income Protection Benefit program until July 31, 2022. 

The Worker Income Protection Benefit Program

The program requires employers to provide all eligible employees with up to three (3) paid days off for a range of reasons related to the pandemic, including:

  • going for a COVID-19 test;
  • staying home awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test;
  • being sick with COVID-19;
  • getting individual medical treatment for mental health reasons related to COVID-19;
  • going to get vaccinated;
  • experiencing a side effect from a COVID-19 vaccination;
  • having been advised to self-isolate due to COVID-19 by an employer, medical practitioner or other specified authority;
  • providing care or support to certain relatives for COVID-19 related reasons, such as when they are:
    • sick with COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19;
    • self-isolating due to COVID-19 on the advice of a medical practitioner or other specified authority;
    • providing care or support to their child who is getting vaccinated against COVID-19 or is experiencing side effects from the vaccine.

Employers are generally required to pay employees the wages they would have earned had they not taken the leave, up to $200.00 per day for up to three (3) days.

READ ARTICLE (see links)

Ontario Extending COVID-19 Paid Sick Days

As expected, the Ontario government has extended the support for workers and employers until July 31, 2022


TORONTO – The Ontario government is extending its Worker Income Protection Benefit program, which provides paid sick days, until July 31, 2022 to continue keeping workers safe and ensure they do not lose pay if they need to miss work for reasons related to COVID-19. Employees can continue to access this paid leave to get tested, vaccinated, self-isolate, or care for a family member. Should the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit be extended, workers in Ontario have access to the most generous paid sick days program in Canada.

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