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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring Canadian Independent Contractors

Posted by Stacey Duggan


Apr 17, 2017 9:00:00 AM

5-Mistakes-to-Avoid-When-Hiring-Canadian-Independent-Contractors.jpgSometimes, employers just don’t need full-time employees but require workers for specialized projectsin shortertime period. For those looking to hire these types of worker, it’s important to make sure you understand how contractors differ from employees

Avoid these five mistakes if you’re considering hiring Canadian independent contractors.

1. Classification

Misclassification is big problem for businesses. Wrong employee labels result in serious consequences. By misclassifying, you’ve been miscalculating wages, benefits, and taxes incorrectly from the start. Canadian independent contractors are not employees, and this crucial distinction is defined by their nature within the company. 

Download our free guide on what US companies need to know about paying  employees in Canada.

Courts use a four-point test to classify an independent contractor:control, equipment and tool ownership, subcontracting ability, and profit chance/risk loss.Contractors have more independence from the employer than full-time employees. They generally own and provide the majority of the equipment and tools for the project, and theyhave the ability to subcontract some work if necessary. In addition, if they have a chance of profiting and run the risk of incurring lost profits, they’re contractors.

2. Poorly Drafted Contracts

An employee contract should be drafted in line with the provincial Employment Standards Act, and the same rules apply for contractors. If a contract is signed between the business and the independent contractor, it’s necessary to clearly indicate within that said person is an independent contractor. Clearly defining this worker within the contract helps it hold up and remain enforceable in court. This will also later help fend off categorizationissues by the Canada Revenue Agency. 

A well-written contract classifies the intention of the relationship. While courts will still consider circumstance and individual facts of the case, well-worded contracts between businesses and independent contractors better highlight theirindividualsituations.

3. Miscalculated Taxes

Taxes for Canadian independent contractors are calculated differently than employees, precisely because of their different classification. In fact, employers do not handle the tax responsibilities for contractors at all. Again, the importance of labelling workers correctly at the beginning is key for avoiding future penalties and ensuring the right amounts are calculated in final remittance reports. 

When it comes to contractors, withholding amounts, reporting requirements,and CPP and EI contributions are not deducted as with regular employees. 

Knowing the difference is crucial forensure compliance with tax regulations.

4. Wrongful Distribution of Wages and Benefits

Pay and benefits also have to be precisely calculated. Just like tax deductions, these are also totalled differently. Canadian independent contractors aren’t provided benefits. 

A contractor isn’t employed by the employer in the same sense that an employee is, so a contracto’s pay is calculated differently—they are typically paid a higher wage but they do not have deductions for benefits, pension, or anything else. An employee integrates commercial activities to the payer while independent contractors integrate the payer’s activities to their own commercial activities.

5. Miscommunicated Intention

If you’re unclear about contractors’ roles from the beginning, the intention of their business may never clear up during the project. Confusing employee status can cause problems in the working relationship.Remember that unlike with the employee, the employer has less control over independent contractors. Contractors set their own schedules, which both parties agree to. 

Contracting shouldn’t be a full-time job disguised an independent contract work–this is an incorrect intention. Employers should familiarize themselves with the legislation and policies on employees and Canadian independent contractors to ensure they clearly understand the differences between them and can clearly communicate the intent of both workers. The four-point test mentioned earlier is key to distinguishing the type of worker hired. 

Clearly understandwhy contractor services are considered independently contracted. Be clear about who you’re working with and the job needed to ensure both parties know a contractor is hired and not an employee. Miscommunication just leads to confusion.

12 Things an American Company Looking to Hire a Worker in Canada Needs to Know

Topics: Compliance

5 Key Differences Between Canadian & US Employment Law

Posted by Anna Mastrandrea


Apr 10, 2017 9:00:00 AM

5-Key-Differences-Between-Canadian-&-US-Employment-Law.jpgWhile Canada and the U.S. are similar in many ways, their individual employment legislation could not be more different. Here’s five key differences between the two countries’ employment law.

1. Agreements

Non-competition and non-solicitation agreements are quite different between the two nations. While Canada offers leniency, these types of agreements are more narrowly written in the U.S. 

Download our free guide on what US companies need to know about paying  employees in Canada.

Restrictive covenants are much harder to enforce in Canada because Canadian courts work to balance the interests of an individual’s ability to earn a living with the employer’s proprietary rights. Neither one trumps the other. Canadian courts will enforce reasonable non-compete and non-solicit clauses so long as time, geography, and the nature of protecting the business doesn’t unduly limit the employee’s ability to secure employment. The States places a higher emphasis on the protection of trade secrets, versus the balance seen in Canadian employment law. 

Canadian courts don’t “blue pencil” restrictive covenants. If a clause in the agreement is too broad, the covenant is completely stricken. U.S. courts, on the other hand,will modify the clause in question, particularly if it’s “blue pencil”. Be sure to check with the appropriate state and provincial legislation for individual specifications.

2. Minimum Employment Standards

Federal and provincial statutes outline the minimum employment standards in Canada. Federal, state, and local law outline them in the U.S. 

Canada’s legislation sets a minimum requirement to redress the imbalance of bargaining power between employers and employees. Along with each province’s administrative tribunals, they work alongside the legislation to address employee issues. Employers who don’t comply find with the tribunals themselves facing legal sanctions. 

The U.S. by contrast defines minimum standards through “exempt” and “non-exempt” categories, notably where salaried employees are typically exempt from overtime pay. This distinction doesn’t exist in Canada. Unless the position is truly executive or managerial, everyone is entitled to receive overtime in Canada. Whether the position falls into this category is based by analyzing the job’s duties.

3. Labour Relations and Unions

Canada is very pro-union, with a higher union rate compared to the U.S. The labour relations legislation in Canada reflects this union-friendly bias, noted particularly in sale or acquisition of business.

In Canada, when sale or transfer of business occurs, the union carries over the collective agreement and bargaining rights to the new employer. Contrast this with the U.S., where the acquiring employer doesn’t always receive the predecessor’s collective agreement or duty to bargain.

Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms includes the right to join the union to bargain collectively and in good faith. The U.S. Bill of Rights, “freedom of association”, is much more limited in comparison.

4. Employment Litigation

Jury trials are rarer in Canada, and the threat of a class action lawsuit is not as large. Costs recovery in litigation and counsel is much higher compared to the U.S., so many are hesitant about bringing a case before the courts.

Much of the damage award is considered predictable in Canadian courts and quickly solvable. This is unlike the States, where most cases seem to involve human rights, resulting in large damage awards and costly settlements. In relation to this, lawyers’ fees are generally recoverable from the losing party and punitive damage awards pale in Canada when compared to the U.S.

5. Termination

Canadian employers are required to give reasonable notice or pay in lieu of it, as stated in common law or the employment contract. U.S. employment law allows termination “at will,”where a notice of termination is only required if it’s company policy or stated within the contract.

“At will” is subject to terms of the written agreement, discrimination, and certain other exemptions. Generally, U.S. employers can just let employees go, unlike their Canadian counterparts, where the approach is very different.This is where employee contracts are important to review. They’ll outline the minimum requirements and indicate what the employee is entitled to.

What US Companies Need to Know about Paying Employees in Canada

Topics: Compliance

Why Payroll Compliance Legislation Is Important

Posted by Stacey Duggan


Feb 20, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Why-Payroll-Compliance-Legislation-Is-Important.jpgBusiness owners have a number of rules to follow to run their businesses effectively, from both a corporate and legal standpoint. Payroll compliance is arguably the largest financial obligation a corporation has, and employers should always keep in mind compliance and legislation to avoid serious penalties. 

The legislation surrounding payroll can be confusing, so it’s critical for businesses to be aware of current and changing regulations. Below are some key issues that highlight the importance of payroll compliance.

Legally Required to Comply

If your company doesn’t meet the standards of various acts and legislation, you’ll run into a mountain of problems. Understanding employment and tax law are necessary to accurately report your company’s operations, and incorrect filing or employee misclassification can lead to fines, penalties, or potential lawsuits. For the growth and safety of your business, ensure you’re complying with the correct laws and regulations so your business is operating in a sound manner. 

Download our free guide on what US companies need to know about paying  employees in Canada.

Making sure your company’s paperwork is accounted for is key, and one aspect of this is that corporations have to file taxes to be recognized as legitimate businesses. To make sure your company is in good standing and filing paperwork correctly, understand which federal and provincial laws apply to your business in order to ensure that your organization is following them. If you’re unsure, you can seek advice from a third party. 

Legal compliance varies across the provinces—businesses in each province abide by a different employment standards act. To make sure your company is in line with regulations, and to avoid fines or penalties, make sure your business adheres to the correct provincial legislation.

It’s Not Just about Payroll: Ethics & HR

Payroll compliance doesn’t stop at making sure your employees are paid correctly and your tax reports are filed on time. It includes your company’s human resources department: employee benefits and bonuses, hiring and firing practices, and how pensions, sick leaves, and holidays are paid, for example. 

Compliance goes hand-in-hand with human resources, and your business should have a strong code of conduct and good company ethics. For their own consideration and security, businesses need to make sure they look after their employees. As the business owner, you want to make sure you aren’t infringing on your employees’ rights or benefits. 

Payroll legislation is about more than simply processing payroll because it affects all areas of a corporation. Manage, and reduce, your company’s risk by making sure every aspect of payroll compliance is included.

Seek Third-Party Help

As payroll compliance can be confusing and overwhelming, you may find it more helpful to consult an outside source. Third-party firms, or professional employer organizations (PEOs), are an advisable solution for corporations that do not have the time or resources to keep a legal team in-house to focus on changing regulations.

PEOs and outsourced providers are convenient because knowing the ins and outs of payroll compliance is the heart of their business. Their expertise extends beyond payroll to include tax filing, classification, health and safety, employee sick leave, holiday and benefit pay, as well as knowledge of employee and tax law.

Instead of using your resources and time to pay a team in-house that may not understand all aspects of compliance, outsourcing the work to a team that does will help your firm avoid costly mistakes. Working with a third party means working with people who are fully capable of handling the trickier parts of compliance legislation.

Companies that don’t follow payroll compliance put their futures at risk. Complying with the demands of payroll legislation will keep your business legally responsible and running smoothly.

7 Signs It's Time to Outsource Payroll

Topics: Compliance

Do I Have to Comply With HIPAA For My Canadian Employees?

Posted by Shannon Dowdall


Feb 13, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Do-I-Have-to-Comply-With-HIPAA-For-My-Canadian-Employees.jpgAlthough the United States and Canada share a border, these two countries do not share the same payroll and HR compliance laws. U.S. companies looking to hire Canadian employees are often hesitant to do so because of strict regulations and a general lack of knowledge when it comes to Canadian legislation. 

By relying on uninformative documents and outdated practices, U.S. companies can and do make very costly mistakes when it comes to managing Canadian employees. And when it comes to health and safety compliance, a lot of U.S. organizations may choose to completely bypass their Canadian employees, especially if they are not working within U.S. borders.

Download our free guide on what US companies need to know about paying  employees in Canada.

But the reality is that all healthcare organizations and companies that interact with Medicaid or Medicare have to comply with HIPAA and OSHA for all employees, both foreign and domestic.

Partner with a Medical Record Retrieval Services Provider

But since healthcare law in Canada is so much different than it is in the U.S., the best way to manage employee health information services is by partnering with a medical record retrieval services provider. 

Much like payroll service providers, medical record retrieval services work as a third-party human resources service to comply with all necessary regulations. And if you're dealing with Canadian employees, it's essential to use Canadian medical record retrieval services.

The American government is able to view any and all data that is relevant to national security under subpoena. However, this is not the case under Canadian law. In fact, it directly violates Canadian privacy law. All Canadian health information, if it were to be accessed by any agency, must go through a different set of steps in order to be passed along. This is why it is unsafe to have an American record management service handle Canadian health information.

Outsource Payroll Services, Too

By choosing The Payroll Edge, your company is guaranteed a fast, efficient, and legal method of transferring health information between health service providers and insurance agencies for both your American and Canadian employees. There's no need to hire separate companies.

Outsourcing your payroll services as well as medical record retrieval services will give you an advantage over your competitors, as you'll be able to employ a wider range of people from both sides of the border.

If you already have Canadian employees, don't risk a potentially costly HIPAA violation! Contact The Payroll Edge to ensure proper privacy compliance.

12 Things an American Company Looking to Hire a Worker in Canada Needs to Know

Topics: Compliance

Overwhelmed by Foreign Employment Compliance? Partner with an EOR

Posted by Corinne Camara


Jan 15, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Overwhelmed_by_Foreign_Employment_Compliance_Partner_with_an_EOR.jpgForeign employment compliance is very likely among the top stress points for businesses all over the world. It's complicated, often unfamiliar and of course, risky. Finance is stressful enough, without law coming into it. That's why so many companies have begun turning to partners to help them manage their foreign employees and all related compliance, and they've found a great deal of success. Here are just a few things that they can help you with on the legal front.

Business Expansion

First and foremost, an EOR (employer of record) is a perfect partner to have when you're moving forth on a business expansion into a foreign country, largely because you can avoid a great deal of the set up that's usually required. In a regular situation, when you move your business operations somewhere else, you need to register officially with the government, obtain a business number and get started working on banking and insurance infrastructure before you can even begin hiring applicants. In short, it can be frustrating and time consuming, often taking months for the CRA to process your application and give you the go ahead.

The beauty of an EOR is that they already have the infrastructure they need and they've already registered and established themselves in the region you're moving to. This means they can, on your behalf, begin hiring immediately to help you expedite your operations while still remaining one hundred percent compliant and legal. And no one can really argue with having to do less paperwork.

Employment Agreements

When you begin hiring of course, things can get muddy again. Even if we set aside any unfamiliarity with foreign employment standards and labour laws, there can be a great deal of miscommunication when it comes to employment agreements and other contracts. What might be a legal clause in your country may be illegal in another, and because a contract contains so many things, it can be hard to have the time or resources to research each and every one.

An EOR is already familiar with the laws in your new country of operation – they specialize in it, in fact. They can ensure that you get what you want out of the employee agreement without jeopardizing your business or your employee with legal mistakes. For example, it's well known that in the United States, a non-compete agreement is a relatively common thing – in Canada, however, while it is technically legal, it's nearly impossible to enforce and it's often suggested by legal experts that it be left out for that reason, replaced instead with a simple non-solicitation and/or non-disclosure agreement. You'd hate for your first move in a new country to be a simple legal mistake that lead to being sued by a worker or fined by the government, so consider getting an EOR to help you sort out your agreements.


Because of the relative speed of the rise of the contingent worker, a lot of businesses have been making use of them but many laws haven't been able to catch up yet. This means that even as the industry booms, policy is constantly changing and this makes it very hard for businesses to consider compliance, even with the best of intentions.

A good example of this is the issue of classification, which the CRA cracked down on very recently. Even with a clear list of what makes a worker an employee vs. an independent contractor, the lines are blurry and vague. When a simple filing error can cost hundreds of dollars (not to mention those who attempt to save on taxes by misclassifying on purpose), you might consider an EOR to help you sort it out, especially in an ever-changing legal landscape.

12 Things an American Company Looking to Hire a Worker in Canada Needs to Know

Topics: Compliance

Why You Should Trust Your Company's Compliance with an EOR

Posted by Corinne Camara


Nov 20, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Why You Should Trust Your Company's Compliance with an EOROf all the important things your company does, one of the most overlooked aspects for people who like to focus on the big picture, is legality. Naturally, we all regard compliance as important and do whatever we can to stay above that line, but laws are changing constantly – regardless of the region you're operating within. While considered to be a peripheral, legal compliance is at the heart of all we do and it can be hard to keep up.

It's not just businesses who flagrantly ignore laws that get into trouble either – it can be well meaning businesses like yourself who make simple mistakes who can find themselves in heaps of trouble. That can mean costly fines, penalties on operation, jail time and a serious hit to your reputation, all for one or two little mistakes. Because of that, it's no doubt one of the most complicated aspects of business and one that has a lot of small businesses, especially those considering expansion, sweating.

Compliance in the Case of Expansion

When expanding into a new area – for example, another country – compliance becomes even more complex. Not only do you have to abide by your own region’s laws, but now you have a whole new set of regional laws to consider. Those laws can and will affect how long your employees can work, how you pay them, the extent of your operations and more and this has a lot of companies hesitating to make the move.

First and foremost, a company needs to establish a presence within that country and that means mountains of paperwork that needs completion according to business law and governmental regulations. Things like account registration, filing remittances, finding the appropriate insurance all need to be considered. You'll need to familiarize yourself with new payroll laws, labour laws and other employment regulations before you can even begin recruitment and pay attention to the finer differences in laws that seem familiar but likely aren't. Any mistake could cost a company a lot, but thankfully there are services specifically and expertly designed to navigate these things for you.

Hire an EOR

An employer of record (EOR) is a fantastic service dedicated to handling the legality of expansion on behalf of businesses just like yours. To save you the trouble of establishing yourself within a new country, they would act as the legal employer of your workers – meaning, as an already established and registered company, they would handle your payroll, insurance, governmental accounts and all other related tasks. This saves you months of paperwork and makes your expansion not just easier, but a lot quicker as well.

While they handle the setup for you, they will also aid you in the long run. An EOR will ensure they are constantly up to date in any new regulatory changes, employment standards and labour laws and will adjust your strategy accordingly, which means you don't have to expend any extra money or time researching relentlessly to ensure you remain compliant.

Another beauty of an EOR is the ability to maintain control over the aspects that are the most important to you, things like recruitment and employee management or day-to-day operations, while ensuring that compliance is happily taken care of in the background by the experts. They'll handle a great portion of HR duties to further ease the transition and make sure to cover things like processing payroll, filing annual taxes and collecting any business benefits that apply to you. They can package deals on retirement and benefit plans which also speaks to a great deal of cost savings on your part. In that case, it's not hard to see why so many companies have begun hiring EORs in order to remain compliant when it also equates to saving time and money. Why not spend those resources focusing on your real goals, and leave the legality to your EOR?

What Are You Leaving to Chance by Handling Payroll on Your Own

Topics: EOR, Compliance

Overwhelmed by Foreign Employment Compliance? Engage an EOR

Posted by Ray Gonder


Nov 18, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Overwhelmed by Foreign Employment Compliance? Engage an EORIt seems that expansion is on the minds of everyone as the economy begins to improve and prospects begin to look steadier. Many companies have expanded their operations within their own backyards or to other regions within their country and had a great amount of success, but what about companies that are considering extending even farther?

The world seems to be getting smaller all the time and it's a better time than ever to expand into another country entirely. As educational and labour requirements become more standard, working within other countries and hiring foreign employees to add to our talent pool becomes a lot easier and that's why it's an increasingly attractive option. That said, there are still complications to be considered – establishing yourself in a new country with new laws always brings challenges. While many companies feel that the rewards outweigh the cost, it's important to look at what those challenges are before any decisions are made.

Foreign Employment Compliance

By a wide margin, the largest challenge for businesses expanding into new territories is foreign employment compliance. For those that don't know, foreign employment compliance refers to laws and regulations that apply to your new employees, whether they're your own laws or the laws of the country you're expanding into. Employment compliance is a necessity, regardless of where you go and needs to be followed to the letter.

This can be gravely complicated for many businesses, especially for those that are small or those who are only now making the shift for the first time. In essence, this means a great deal of research and information gathering on all the regulations, rules and policies that will apply to your new workforce and this can be exhausting to even think about it. In many countries, the laws might seem familiar to ones you're already used to, so you might think you already know what you're doing. The fact is, however, even laws that seem the same can be vastly different and can change case by case, province by province – they can even change depending on the class of employee you're dealing with. Perhaps the most intimidating aspect of all is that if mistakes arise, they are not so easily forgiven. Making simple errors like misclassification, registering the wrong accounts or even filing a T4 too late can result in costly penalties, fines and even jail time. That's why when it comes to employment compliance, a great deal of smart companies minimize as much risk as possible by hiring an employer of record (EOR).

What Can an EOR Do?

An EOR is a service that specifically partners with businesses committed to expanding into new areas or companies that prefer to simplify their employment compliance overall. Effectively, an EOR acts as the legal employer of your workers and they would take all the responsibilities that came with that title. Aside from not having to concern yourself with business registration and establishing a presence in your new country of operation, an employer of record would use their expertise to navigate the complex legal waters of employee management on your behalf. This means they'd deal with all things related to your workers – this means they would abide by local and international labour laws, payroll regulations and any legal research necessary to ensure they are always timely and compliant. An EOR will handle your taxes and already comes with the insurance and infrastructure necessary to operate within the region, which saves you an incredible amount of time and bureaucratic trouble.

All in all, an employer of record service is becoming an increasingly effective and popular method when it comes to employee compliance. Not only does it severely minimize any risk associated with establishing yourself in a new country, but also partnering with experts saves copious amounts of time, research and money in the long run.


What Are You Leaving to Chance by Handling Payroll on Your Own

Topics: EOR, Compliance

U.S. Employers: Navigate Canada’s Employment Standards Carefully

Posted by Ray Gonder


Apr 25, 2014 9:39:00 AM

Ontario's Employment Standards Poster is required to be displayed in Canadian workplaces. Call The Payroll Edge to get employer of record services



As seen on First Reference Talks “Navigating Ontario’s Employment Standards Act” by Doug Macleod

Did you know as an employer you are required by Canadian Law to post a “What you should know about the Employment Standards Act” in your workplace for your employees to see? The Employment Standards Act is in place to set minimum standards for workplaces in Ontario. Most Canadian workers living in Ontario are covered by the act whether they are employed by an American employer or a Canadian company. 

If you’re an American company employing and paying Canadian workers, here are a few regulations from the Employment Standards Act you should follow when hiring and paying Canadians:


  • Canada’s Minimum Wage varies by province. In Ontario, minimum wage will be $11.00 per hour beginning in June 2014. Please note the minimum wage for servers, students and nannies varies.
  • Employers are required to pay Canadian employees (including temporary and contract workers.) for statutory holidays –even if they did not work that day. Employees who work on stat holidays are entitled to time and a half (overtime pay).
  • Employers must pay Canadian workers overtime pay after 44 hours in one work week.
  • Canadian workers are entitled to two weeks’ vacation for every 12 month period of work. Most employees are entitled to a minimum of 4% vacation pay.
  • A reasonable notice of termination must be given to Canadian employees who have worked for their employer for longer than 3 months’ time which is considered the “probationary period”.
  • There are different unpaid leaves of absences an employer is required to give their employees; Pregnancy and Parental Leave, Reservist Leave, Organ Donation Leave, Personal Emergency Leave and Family Medical Leave to name a few. Length of time for each unpaid leave of absence varies. During a leave of absence, a Canadian employee’s seniority is not affected by their leave and benefits offered before a leave are still required to be paid by the employer during a leave.

The Employment Standards Act can be examined in further detail here. Please note these ESA regulations can change depending on workplace, industry, age, length of employment and other factors so be sure to use the tools on the Canadian Ministry of Labour website.

Failing to comply with the ESA could result in hefty fines, penalties and in some cases persecution whereby American and foreign employers cannot plead ignorance as an excuse. If you’re doing business in Canada, you must know the rules to protect yourself, your employees and your reputation.

If you’re an American looking to hire and pay a Canadian worker consider an Employer of Record service. An EOR (similar to a PEO in the United States) is a great option for American and foreign employers who aren’t interested in learning a new set of rules in employment law. Contact The Payroll Edge today for more information. 

7 Signs It's Time to Outsource Payroll

Topics: Employment Standards Act, ESA, ESA Violations, ESA Compliant, U.S. Business operating in Canada, American Business in Canada, Compliance, Canadian-Based EOR, Canadian EOR

Canadian vs. American: Drug Testing & Background Checks

Posted by Stacey Duggan


Apr 22, 2014 8:55:00 AM

Canadian vs. American: Drug Testing and Background Checks

Background Checks and Drug Testing

These two often go hand in hand in the U.S. and are a precursor to employment but in Canada the rules and perception surrounding drug testing and background checks are very different.

Drug testing a potential employee is rarely permitted in Canada and is not worth the legal risk with the Human Rights Commission. Although this issue has seen some press as of late, the majority of Canadian employers are not permitted to maintain policies in regards to pre-employment drug testing and random drug testing during employment. The exceptions are safety sensitive positions where an accident or incident has occurred or where being ‘under the influence’ could cause irreparable damages or death.

A great example of this can be seen in the recent lexology article ‘Suncor random drug and alcohol testing decision released’ written by Caitlin Nobes; 

Recently in Alberta, with the oil industry booming the issue of safety has come up because workers living on worksites are suspected of being intoxicated while working. Suncor was set to begin random drug testing on their employees but it was put on hold due to an injunction and the panel who made the decision said “the program cannot be justified” and “In our view, the evidence does not demonstrate a culture at the Oil Sands Operations where the consumption of alcohol is so pervasive as to be accepted by employees, where employees go together to drink openly and where such activity is either condoned or encouraged by management’s practices or inaction”

Unifor Local 707A President Roland Lefort, who represents the workers at the affected sites says:

"Random drug testing of workers that have done nothing wrong is a violation of their basic rights, we will work with Suncor to achieve the highest possible levels of workplace safety with education and prevention, not invasive medical procedures."

The practise of drug testing employees is for the most part, considered a human rights violation in Canada.

Unlike in the U.S., it is not common practice to run a background check on every potential employee. Although there is no law in regards to this, it is best practice in Canada to only run a background check on a potential employee if they will be engaged in a job working directly with money or highly sensitive information. Many times U.S. companies have run these checks on a Canadian out of habit and end up with a disenchanted potential hire.

For those American companies keen on hiring Canadian employees without a good understanding of the rules and regulations to do so, should engage with an Employer of Record (EOR) service for legislative and legal compliance. Canadian EOR's (known as PEO's in the United States) can ensure seamless integration into the Canadian market without the daunting task of understanding foreign employment compliance.

For more information on our Employer of Record Services
Contact one of our Employer of Record specialists.


What Are You Leaving to Chance by Handling Payroll on Your Own

Topics: EOR, Professional Employer Organization, Employment Standards Act, Canadian Employer of Record, American PEO, American Business in Canada, Compliance, Canadian-Based EOR, Canadian EOR

Changes to Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulations

Posted by Stacey Duggan


Oct 23, 2013 9:00:00 AM

October 1 Changes to Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety RegulationsOne of the biggest challenges of running a business is navigating an ever-changing sea of statutory requirements. Regulations can, and often do, change with little or no notice, forcing businesses to scramble to keep up. This year is no different. Amendments to the Alberta Health and Safety Compliance rules went into effect on October 1st, 2013. As explained in this article on Lexology.com, these amendments can have a significant impact on how a business monitors, manages, and reports on workplace safety issues.

Information Access

Current copies of the Occupational Health and Safety act regulations and codes must be made readily accessible to workers. These copies can be digital downloads or hard copies. Either way, they must be easily accessible to any employee who wants to reference them. The amendments are not clear about whether the copies must be physically present at the work site, but it’s probably better to error on the side of caution and have copies on hand.

Worksite Conditions

Prior to the new regulations taking effect, workers were only required to report any equipment problems that could lead to health and safety issues. This has been expanded and now requires workers to make a report any time they “believe an unsafe or harmful work site condition or act exists.” As an employer, any report will then require you to “review the situation and take any necessary corrective action in a timely manner.”

What Constitutes a “Hazardous Work Site”

The previous definition of a hazardous work site as a “restricted area and a blasting area” has been widely expanded. The new definition, “a blasting area and an area of a work site where there is a reasonable chance that the airborne concentration of asbestos, silica, coal dust or lead exceeds or may exceed the occupational exposure limit for one or more of the substances under an adopted code” will require changes to the way worksites are monitored and managed. Since areas far outside of the previous hazardous work site may exceed exposure limits, it could force businesses to classify much larger areas as hazardous.

Notifiable Diseases

Following the implementation of these amendments, all asbestos-induced cancers are now considered notifiable diseases. In a semantic change, “lead poisoning” has now been changed to “elevated blood lead level,” though it is still a notifiable disease if the level exceeds “0.5 micromoles per litre.”

Director’s Permitting Authority

One of the goals of the amendments is to better align the suspension and cancellation rules as they pertain to the mining certification program and non-mining blasters’ permits. To accomplish this goal, the Director of Inspection has been given greater authority to issue suspensions and cancellations, reassess competencies, require additional training, or all of the above. As of October 1st, the Director has the power to suspend or cancel mining certificates or blaster’s permits “if there is reason to believe that its holder has done or failed to do anything that, in the Director’s opinion, warrants the cancellation or suspension.” In addition, the director can reassess the competency of the permit or certificate holder “for any reason.”

Measuring the Impact

As these amendments to the Alberta Health and Safety Compliance regulations have just gone into effect, it’s difficult to know how they’ll be applied, and what lasting effect they’ll have on employers. Keeping up with changes to the Alberta Health and Safety Compliance regulations, and other statutes, can be time consuming and frustrating. The penalties, should you make a mistake, are dire. Working with a reputable outsourced back office service provider makes it easier to maintain compliance with regulations that are constantly in a state of flux.

7 Signs It's Time to Outsource Payroll

Topics: Payroll Service Provider, Canadian Payroll, Government Compliance, Canadian Payroll Service, Temporary Staff Agency, Compliance, Alberta, Health and Saftety, Health and Safety Regulations, Alberta Health and Safety Compliance

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