March 7, 2017
Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program for Employers
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program is an employer-driven federal immigration pilot program designed to help you fill permanent labour shortages and skill gaps in your business by supporting foreign nationals for permanent residency. There are three different streams which aim to address different needs. The Atlantic High Skilled Program allows you to attract highly skilled individuals, the Atlantic Intermediate Skilled Program allows you to attract semi-skilled individuals, and the Atlantic International Graduate Program allows you to attract recent graduates from Atlantic Canada post-secondary institutions.
To learn more about the eligibility requirements and the application process follow this link to the Office of Immigration.
February 22, 2017
Effective April 1, 2017 PEI Minimum Wage Rises to $11.25 Per Hour
Minimum wage on Prince Edward Island will increase by 25 cents on April 1, to $11.25 per hour. The province’s minimum wage has increased 38 per cent since 2008. By comparison, inflation has risen 11 per cent during that time.
“Our government is pleased to approve this increase in minimum wage, which is intended to improve the quality of life for many Islanders and provide a boost to the economy,” Workforce and Advanced Learning Minister Sonny Gallant said. “Increasing minimum wage puts more money into the economy and into the pockets of Islanders. ”
The other three Atlantic provinces also will raise their minimum wages on April 1:
• New Brunswick’s will rise to $11;
• in Nova Scotia, the rate will increase to $10.35 for inexperienced workers and $10.85 for experienced workers; and
• in Newfoundland and Labrador, minimum wage will rise to $10.75 with a second increase to $11 planned for October 1.
"Government is moving in the right direction increasing minimum wage," said Carl Pursey, president of the Prince Edward Island Federation of Labour. "This is good news for people who are struggling to pay their bills, and it will put more money into the economy because people spend what they make."
The Employment Standards Act requires the Employment Standards Board to review the minimum wage rate each year. It makes recommendations on the minimum wage rate based on economic factors in the province and on input received from the public and stakeholders.
Government increased the basic personal tax exemption to $8,000 last year. It was the first increase since 2008 and it exempted 700 low-income Islanders from paying provincial income tax.
December 14, 2016
Canada Summer Jobs Funding – Application Deadline January 20, 2017
Canada Summer Jobs provides funding to help employers create summer job opportunities for students. It is designed to focus on local priorities, while helping both students and their communities.
Canada Summer Jobs:
- provides work experiences for students
- supports organizations, including those that provide important community services; and
- recognizes that local circumstances, community needs and priorities vary widely
Canada Summer Jobs provides funding to not-for-profit organizations, public-sector employers and small businesses with 50 or fewer employees to create summer job opportunities for young people aged 15 to 30 years who are full-time students intending to return to their studies in the next school year.
For more information visit: Government of Canada
December 2, 2016
Effective January 1, 2017 Workers Compensation Board coverage will now include Island farms
Mandatory coverage for farmers under the Workers Compensation Act will come into effect January 1, 2017. Until then, farm employers are still able to register for optional coverage under the Workers Compensation Act. As requested by farm employers, there will be a comprehensive information and education process which will be delivered during the transition period, in advance of the implementation date.
Farm workers are at high risk of experiencing workplace injuries. While good data on agricultural injuries is difficult to find, Canada’s agricultural industry has among the highest fatality rates of any Canadian occupation. In the absence of mandatory coverage, costs related to workplace injuries are shifted from the employers onto farm workers and their families who must cope with wage loss and medical expenses. The impact of excluding farm employers from workers compensation can be costly for both the farm worker and the farm employer.
The WCB exists to protect workers and employers through a sustainable no-fault injury insurance program. It provides benefits and services to workers following workplace injuries and protection to employers from liability. Farm rates have shown a downward trend since 2011 resulting in lower rates for the majority of farm sectors, with accident costs being the driving factor.
September 28, 2016
New Record Keeping Rules
New record-keeping rules for employers will come into effect on January 1, 2017. The new payroll rules will require employers to make and keep employment records for:
a) paid holiday pay due or paid to an employee;
b) period of a leave of absence of an employee as well as the reason for the absence; and
c) dates of any suspensions, dismissals or layoffs of an employee and the dates of such notices.
The new requirements complement existing record-keeping obligations already required of employers under s. 5.6 of the Employment Standards Act. The changes will also clarify the current payroll rules. These measures are in line with an initiative of the three Maritime Provinces to streamline record-keeping requirements for employers.
Source: Government of Prince Edward Island
September 19, 2016
Prince Edward Island’s minimum wage changes effective October 1, 2016
Effective October 1, 2016, a new Minimum Wage Order will come into effect with the minimum wage being set at $11.00 per hour. The Employment Standards Board reviews the minimum wage annually under the terms of the Employment Standards Act. It makes recommendations on the minimum wage rate based on economic factors in the province and on input received from the public and stakeholders. Approximately 9.3 per cent of Island workers are paid at the minimum wage rate.
For a complete history of minimum wage adjustments visit the Department of Justice and Public Safety
June 22, 2016
March 7, 2016
Minimum wage hike does more harm than good: think tank
Raising the minimum wage will do little to reduce poverty mainly because most minimum-wage earners don’t live in low-income households, suggests a new study by the Fraser Institute.
“Despite good intentions, the evidence shows increasing the minimum wage is not an effective policy for helping Canadians struggling with poverty,” said Charles Lammam, director of fiscal studies at the Fraser Institute and report co-author.
To read the full article click here.
February 18, 2016
Skills PEI Job/Career Fair
You are Invited!
Please see the below information on the upcoming Skills PEI Job/Career Fairs. We hope you can join us to set up a booth at one or all of our locations!
There is no cost to attend, and there will be 40-50 employers and organizations from all different sectors at the Charlottetown location.
Mark your calendars for Monday, Feb 29th from 2-6 pm at the Eastlink Centre (Civic Centre). Companies are encouraged to interview potential candidates on the spot at the arranged designated areas, and SkillsPEI is prepared to discuss subsidies to begin immediately!
SkillsPEI will be hosting fairs in four locations across PEI. Here are the dates & places to be:
Montague - Feb 23rd - Wellness Centre
O'Leary - Feb 24th - Mill River
Charlottetown - Feb 29th - Eastlink Center (civic centre)
Summerside - March 1st - Credit Union Place
Attached are the registration form & information sheet, we ask that you return the registration form asap if you are interested in attending, as space is limited.
February 1, 2016
EMPLOYERS ARE REMINDED OF REGISTRATION DEADLINE
The deadline for employers to file their registration renewal with the Workers Compensation Board is February 28, 2016. Employers should submit their 2015-2016 registration renewal by the deadline in order to avoid being assessed a penalty for late filing.
Registration can be renewed electronically using the Workers Compensation Online Services:
January 14, 2016
Construction project manager sentenced to 3.5 years for Christmas eve fatalities
The Metron Construction Corporation ("Metron") project manager who oversaw the construction project on which a swing stage collapsed, resulting in the deaths of four workers and injury to a fifth, has been sentenced to 3.5 years in jail.
In this FTR Now, we discuss the background to this important decision and its significance.Click here to read the full article
December 7, 2015
Canada Summer Jobs 2016
Canada Summer Jobs is a Government of Canada initiative. It provides funding for not-for-profit organizations, public sector employers and small businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees to create summer jobs for students between the ages of 15 and 30.
Please note that the application period will be from January 4 to February 26, 2016.
Please visit the Service Canada website for further details.
November 23, 2015
How vision and clarity made a three-time 'Best Employer'
Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), a global biopharmaceutical company, has been operating in Canada for more than 80 years. For the past three, it has been accredited by Aon Hewitt as a ‘Best Employer’.
To read more click here
Five ways to boost workplace diversity
Many organizations talk about diversity but how many actually make it a priority? With the face of Canada’s population rapidly changing, this is one question that every Human Resources department will need to consider.
November 23, 2015
Planning for a Safe Holiday Party: A Checklist for Employers
It is that time of year again when thoughts are turning to seasonal and holiday celebrations. Whether these celebrations are large or small, it is important that employers take proactive steps to ensure the health and safety of their employees who attend office parties or other celebrations. In this FTR Now, we provide employers with a checklist of measures to consider implementing to help plan a safe holiday celebration for all.
October 28, 2015
Workers Compensation Board eliminates wait period for injured workers
The Workers Compensation Board (WCB) of Prince Edward Island is taking steps to provide more support to injured workers by eliminating a 2 day waiting period before benefits begin.
"Eliminating the wait period will provide wage loss benefits to all workers from the day following an accident," said Stuart Affleck, Chair of the Workers Compensation Board. "This measure will have a direct impact on our most vulnerable injured workers who might not have access to sick leave benefits during this timeframe."
September 29, 2015
Federal Election 2015: Employers' Obligation to Provide Paid Time Off to Vote
A federal election has been called for October 19, 2015. Under the Canada Elections Act ("Act") all employees who are electors – Canadian citizens who are 18 years of age or older – are entitled to three (3) consecutive hours on election day during voting hours to cast their vote. In this FTR Now, we provide employers with guidance on their obligations under the Act.
Under the Act, voting hours are determined by the time zone in which the electoral district lies. Click here to find out more.
September 28, 2015
WCB Occupational Health & Safety Education Sessions – Fall 2015
Sessions are free to attend; however, registration is required.
September 16, 2015
Introducing the “Ask the Panel” HR Series for Small Business
Mental Health and Wellness in the Workplace
Join us for an interactive panel discussion on the challenges faced by employers related to workplace health and wellness issues such as stress, absenteeism and addictions. Discover resources available to employers and employees that can help to address these issues and build a healthier team.
September 9th, 2015
The rise of so-called precarious employment in Canada — mainly work in the services and retail sectors — has brought with it some questionable employer practices that have employees stressed out and labour activists fuming.
They’re calling for the elimination of “on-call” shifts, a practice where management schedules shifts for part-time employees each week, but then requires them to call in ahead of their start time to find out if they’re actually working.
August 13, 2015
Get the latest details on The Ontario Retirement Pension Plan from Benefits Canada.
August 10, 2015
Did You Know?
The Canada PEI Job Grant is a new program offered by Workforce and Advanced Learning. The grant is an employer driven approach that helps new and current employees improve skills and participate in training. Employers will receive two-thirds of the training investment on eligible training expenses such as tuition, textbooks and fees. This year $525,000 is available for approved Canada-PEI Job Grants. For more information visit www.skillspei.com/about-job-grant or contact:1-877-491-4766.
June 29th, 2015
Increase to Minimum Wage on July 1, 2015
Effective July 1, 2015, a new Minimum Wage Order has come into effect with the minimum wage being set at $10.50 per hour. Under the Canadian Constitution, the responsibility for enacting and enforcing labour laws, including the minimum wage, rests with the ten provinces as well as the three territories which have been granted this power by federal legislation. This means that each province and territory has its own minimum wage. For a complete history of the minimum wage order on Prince Edward Island visit: Prince Edward Island Department of Environment, Labour, and Justice website
April 22, 2015
2015 Atlantic Canada Minimum Wage Roundup
After a very long winter, the snow is almost gone: time for our annual look at Atlantic Canadian general minimum wage rates. The minimum wage rate in every Atlantic Canadian province is higher than it was a year ago – and there are more increases to come in 2015
March 23, 2015
PEI Jobs for Youth Program and Wage Subsidy (2015)
The Jobs For Youth Program will soon be accepting applications from Island employers for wage support to create additional employment opportunities for Island students aged 16 to 29. This program is funded by the Government of Prince Edward Island and is administered by the Employment Development Agency. Students hired to fill positions on approved projects must be registered with the Employment Development Agency Jobs Registry. Visit Jobs for Youth Program for further details. Employer applications should be available in late March.
January 13, 2015
Canada Pension Plan Cheques Rising 1.8 % for 2015 and Old Age Security Remaing the Same
Canada Pension Plan benefits are rising 1.8 per cent in the new year for people already receiving benefits.
Effective Jan. 1, 2015, the maximum CPP retirement benefit for new recipients age 65 will be $1,065 per month. The increase is calculated on the average yearly maximum pensionable earnings for the last five years. The new CPP rates will be in effect until Dec. 31, 2015.
Old Age Security (OAS) benefits, which consist of the basic OAS pension, the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and the Allowances, will remain the same for the first quarter (January to March) of 2015.
As of January 1, 2015, the basic OAS pension will stay at $563.74 per month. OAS benefits, like CPP benefits, are based on the consumer price index (CPI). But unlike CPP, which is reviewed annually, OAS rates are reviewed quarterly and revised as required to reflect increases in the cost of living.
December 26, 2014
Canada Summer Jobs Grant Deadline (2015)
Canada Summer Jobs provides funding to help employers create summer job opportunities for students. It is designed to focus on local priorities, while helping both students and their communities. Canada Summer Jobs:
- provides work experiences for students;
- supports organizations, including those that provide important community services; and
- recognizes that local circumstances, community needs and priorities vary widely.
Canada Summer Jobs provides funding to not-for-profit organizations, public-sector employers and small businesses with 50 or fewer employees to create summer job opportunities for young people aged 15 to 30 years who are full-time students intending to return to their studies in the next school year.
Down the PDF Version (175 KB) of the Canada Summer Jobs Applicant Guide.
The period to apply for Canada Summer Jobs 2015 will be from December 1, 2014 to January 30, 2015. For more information visit Service Canada
Increase to Minimum Wage on October 1, 2014
Effective 1 October 2014, a new Minimum Wage Order has come into effect with the minimum wage being set at $10.35 per hour. Under the Canadian Constitution, the responsibility for enacting and enforcing labour laws, including the minimum wage, rests with the ten provinces as well as the three territories which have been granted this power by federal legislation. This means that each province and territory has its own minimum wage. For a complete history of the minimum wage order on Prince Edward Island visit: Prince Edward Island Department of Environment, Labour, and Justice website
August 27, 2014
New Canada-PEI Job Grant Announced
The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Member of Parliament for Egmont, on behalf of the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development, today announced the signing of the full agreement for the Canada Job Fund, which includes the launch of theCanada Job Grant, with the Government of Prince Edward Island.
The Honourable Allen F. Roach, Minister of Innovation and Advanced Learning, who participated in the announcement with Minister Shea, announced that Prince Edward Island is now accepting employer applications for the Canada Job Grant, encouraging all employers to help train Islanders for available jobs.
The Canada Job Grant is an innovative, employer-driven approach to help Canadians gain the skills and training they need to fill available jobs. It is designed to be flexible enough to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes, in all industries and regions. By requiring employers to put more skin in the game, the Canada Job Grant will result in training that leads to guaranteed jobs. For further details visit www.skillspei.com (Programs for Organizations)
July 30, 2014
Increasing the Labour Market Participation of Under-Represented Groups
Working Together is a new wage subsidy program that connects job seekers with disabilities with employers by providing a wage subsidy for a minimum of six months. Neil Squire Society is offering this program in partnership with the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce.
The Neil Squire Society is a national not-for-profit organization that uses technology, knowledge and passion to empower Canadians with disabilities. The society has developed innovative programs and services, as well as leading edge assistive technology for people with disabilities. The Society can assist any job seeker who has a disability; is unemployed (or working under 20 hours per week) and wants to return to work; is legally entitled to work in Canada; is not currently receiving EI; or has not collected EI within the last three years.
Advantages for the Employer:
- Provide an individual with a disability with a part-time or full-time employment opportunity, with the likelihood of long-term employment.
- You select the individual and conduct interviews with job seekers before hiring.
- Recruit your own job seeker and receive a wage subsidy.
- Find the right employee for your company.
- Encourage a more diverse and inclusive work environment.
Advantages for the job seeker:
- Reasonable, competitive wages.
- Workplace equipment adjustments provided by the program if required.
- Opportunity to gain new skills and experiences.
- Incentive to the employer increases likelihood of long-term employment.
Employers who would like to learn more about the Working Together Wage Subsidy Program may contact the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce at (902) 628-2000 or the Neil Squire Society at (866) 446-7999 or online at www.neilsquire.ca
June 27, 2014
Prevent Heat Stress at Work
Source: Workers Compensation Board of PEI
With the first heat wave of the summer in the forecast, the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) reminds all Islanders to take precautions to avoid heat stress at work.
Heat stress refers to a variety of heat-related disorders, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can lead to serious or even fatal injury. Symptoms may include weakness, muscle pain, light-headedness, nausea and high body temperatures.
Environmental hazards such as exposure to heat, high humidity and limited air flow can cause heat stress. Contributing factors may also include the worker’s hydration level, clothing, and physical exertion.
“The best defense against heat stress is prevention,” said Bill Reid, Director of Occupational Health and Safety. “It is important for everyone in the workplace to be aware of the hazards, to take adequate precautions to control the risks and to recognize the signs of heat stress.”
The WCB recommends the following to help reduce the risk of heat stress:
- Drink plenty of water.
- Limit sun exposure and wear sunscreen.
- Cover exposed skin with loose fitting, tightly woven clothing.
- Have adequate ventilation in the workplace.
- Take breaks in the shade or an air conditioned space, if possible.
- Keep everyone safe by providing adequate supervision and using a buddy system to watch for signs of heat stress in co-workers. Early detection is critical.
If you experience the initial signs of heat stress, remove yourself from the hazard, drink water, monitor the symptoms and advise someone in case you need further assistance or medical treatment.
More information is available in the WCB's Guide to the Prevention of Heat Stress at Work. To learn more about safety matters at work, visit the Safe Workplaces section of the WCB website or call 902-368-5680 or 1-800-237-5049.
May 26, 2014
PEI Leading in Temporary Foreign Worker Program in Atlantic Canada
The number of temporary foreign workers in Atlantic Canada tripled between 2005 and 2012 to reach 10,900 workers in December 2012 according to research by the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council. Prince Edward Island is leading the way in the number of temporary foreign workers:
- 139 in 2005
- 644 in 2009
- 1,000+ in 2012
The largest increases in the number of temporary foreign workers have been in lower paying, lower skill occupations such as fish plant and food service workers. Recent and proposed changes to the temporary foreign worker program will make it more difficult for some Atlantic businesses to use the program. Pending further review, the food services sector is currently under a moratorium for access to the Temporary Foreign Worker program.http://tinyurl.com/krtlnqg
April 14, 2014
Minimum Wage Increase
The minimum wage in Prince Edward Island will be increased to $10.20 cents an hour as of June 1 and to $10.35 an hour as of October 1, says Environment, Labour and Justice Minister Janice Sherry.
“The new rates take into account both the interests of employers and employees,” said Minister Sherry. “As well, the increase reflects a stronger and more buoyant economy and greater confidence in our prospects as a province.”
The new rates were approved by the provincial cabinet based on an annual review and recommendation by the Employment Standards Board. The Board held consultations with employers and employees last fall.
The current minimum wage is $10 an hour. It has been in effect since April 1 of 2012. The new rates are in line with those of the other Atlantic provinces. The current rate in New Brunswick is $10 an hour, it is $10.40 in Nova Scotia for experienced workers and $9.90 for those lacking experience, and the rate in Newfoundland and Labrador will increase to $10.25 on October 1.
The minimum wage has increased from $7.50 an hour in 2007, up by 38 percent.
April 2, 2014
Gender Identity Added to Human Rights Act
The P.E.I. Human Rights Act now expressly prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression.
The act previously prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex or sexual orientation. The amendments, made in December 2013, underline that the Act also covers the right of people to choose how they express gender identity.
As a result of the changes, businesses may need to review policies related to such items as dress codes or gender neutral washrooms.
New Text for the Human Rights Act
"age, colour, creed, disability, ethnic or national origin, family status, gender expression, gender identity, marital status, political belief, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or source of income"
For further information visit online at PEI Human Rights Commission
March 10, 2014
Talk about safety during Canadian Agricultural Safety Week
March 9-15, 2014 is Canadian Agricultural Safety Week, an annual event that raises awareness about the importance of farming safely. With this year’s theme, Let’s Talk About It, the Workers Compensation Board encourages farm employers and workers to initiate a conversation about safety hazards and ways to work safely.
“Dialogue creates valuable opportunities to learn from one another,” said Nancy Guptill, Workers Compensation Board Chair. “With a topic as important as workplace safety, a simple conversation can mean the difference between getting hurt and making it home safely.”
A new farming resource developed by the WCB can help to kick start the safety conversation. The guide, Safety Guidelines for Potato Producers, provides information to help farmers, workers and families to work safely.
At this time of year, when farmers are planning for the upcoming season, the guidelines provide helpful information about equipment maintenance. The document is also a great starting point for training new workers who may not be familiar with safety hazards. Important tips include:
- Equip all machinery with the proper guarding.
- Replace any guards that have been temporarily removed during maintenance.
- Ensure all workers, including family members, have annual safety training.
- Turn off equipment before cleaning or servicing.
If you would like more information about farm safety, please contact WCB Farm Safety Specialist, Tara Huestis, at 902-368-6562 or 1-800-237-5049. There are also a variety of workplace safety resources available in the Safe Workplaces section of the WCB website at www.wcb.pe.ca
March 3, 2014
Improved food safety regulations to increase consumer protection
New food safety regulations will ensure Prince Edward Island stays current with national standards, says Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison.
“Over the coming months, Prince Edward Island will be updating regulations to ensure the highest levels of food safety in food serving establishments,” said Dr. Morrison. “They will also make sure that the Chief Public Health Office has the ability to enforce safe food handling requirements.”
The purpose of the food safety regulations is to ensure that food is properly stored, handled and served.
Changes to the Eating Establishments and Licensed Premises Regulations are expected to include more training, written cleaning and sanitizing procedures, and food safety management plans. To help ensure compliance, the regulations provide for placing conditions on licences, and imposing suspensions and fines. National guidelines for water testing will be adopted for operators with private wells.
“The last major review of food safety regulations was more than 30 years ago. However over that time food safety standards have increased, along with the expectations of consumers,” said Dr. Morrison. “Islanders should be able to feel confident that the food they’re purchasing has been prepared properly. These changes reflect the best practices being used across Canada.”
The draft regulations can be viewed at www.gov.pe.ca/health/foodregs. Feedback can be sent email@example.com. Deadline for consultation is April 15, 2014.
February 28, 2014
Canada’s Premiers Achieve Improvements in the Renewal of Funding for Skills Training
Premiers are committed to creating good jobs and driving economic growth through a skilled and productive workforce, and providing Canadians support to contribute to Canada’s economic prosperity. By working together, Canada’s Premiers have achieved a modest number of changes to the federal government’s proposed Canada Job Grant* − changes which minimize the negative impact of the initial federal proposal. Although Premiers still share important concerns about the design of the Canada Job Grant, they are prepared to move ahead with implementation discussions on the basis of the compromise which has been worked out.
In response to provincial and territorial advocacy, the federal government has agreed to eliminate the cost-matching requirement for provinces and territories, allocate a greater proportion of the Labour Market Agreement for existing programming for vulnerable workers, and review the program by the end of 2015 which is a critical step to ensure it is meeting the needs of Canadians and employers.
Provinces and territories will now begin work to finalize the renewal of bilateral Labour Market Agreements.
While the federal government agreed to a number of changes to the proposed program, Premiers noted that there remain some significant, outstanding issues. There will be less federal funding available for existing, successful skills and training programs for our most vulnerable and unemployed than under the current program. As well, the proposed program may not be flexible enough to allow some employers, especially small and medium sized businesses, to participate. Premiers are concerned that if businesses are not able to use the Canada Job Grant, funding that would otherwise be going to organizations that provide employment supports to vulnerable Canadians would be lost.
Given the federal approach of negotiating a Canada-wide program through a series of bilateral agreements, Canada’s Premiers would expect a betterment clause in the agreements which will ensure that all provinces are able to offer similar programming in the implementation of the Canada Job Grant. Premiers encourage the federal government to collaborate with provinces and territories so as to ensure that effective programs will continue to benefit Canadians. Regarding Labour Market Development Agreements that the federal government has indicated it wants to discuss, Premiers agree it is essential that the federal government proceed by working collaboratively with provinces and territories. *Québec has already indicated that it intends to opt out of the Canada Job Grant initiative with full compensation.
February 27, 2014
Awareness is the first step to preventing Repetitive Strain Injuries
Every year, the last day in February is Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Awareness Day. This February 28th, the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) encourages Islanders to take steps to avoid injury by recognizing the potential RSI hazards in their workplace.
Repetitive strain injury is a term that describes disorders of the muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves, most frequently of the upper extremities, such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Tendonitis. Common causes of RSIs include frequent, forceful movements and activities with sustained awkward postures.
“When a worker experiences a repetitive strain injury, the effects can be widespread,” said Nancy Guptill, Workers Compensation Board Chair. “An RSI can result in unnecessary pain and suffering, disruption to work and home life and reduced productivity, all of which is preventable.”
To reduce the risk of repetitive strain, everyone in the workplace should be aware of the hazards, have the proper equipment to perform the work safely and be trained to prevent injury. Some of the tasks and factors that can put workers at risk of injury include:
• Sustained awkward posture of arms, hands or wrists
• Frequent difficult or forceful gripping
• Continuous work with hands above shoulders or far away from the body
• Excessive vibration from hand tools
• Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures without adequate protection
• Repeated lifting and carrying
For more information on safety matters and workplace injury prevention, visit the WCB website at www.wcb.pe.ca or contact the Workers Compensation Board at 902‐368‐5680 or 1‐800‐237‐5049 (toll free in Atlantic Canada).
December 20, 2013
Regulated Health Professions Act in effect
The Regulated Health Professions Act will help ensure safety and consistency in our Island health care system, says Minister of Health and Wellness Doug Currie.
“This legislation will ensure that designated health professions are meeting certain standards and levels of training,” said Minister Currie. “Our main priority is ensuring the safety of Islanders throughout the spectrum of health care services that are provided in our province.”
The Regulated Health Professions Act provides consistent licensing, complaint and discipline processes applicable to all designated health care professions. In addition, the legislation provides criteria for regulation, a formal application and assessment process for requests for regulation.
There are currently 16 regulated health professions in Prince Edward Island governed by 14 different statutes and regulations. These professions are self-regulated through a professional college or independent board. In addition, there are many unregulated health professions including, but not limited to, naturopathic doctors, massage therapists, and medical laboratory technologists who have shown interest in becoming regulated.
Under this new legislation, these unregulated health professions can apply to become regulated. Many professions who are currently regulated under stand-alone legislation have indicated their intention to seek designation under the Regulated Health Professions Act.
“The Province of Prince Edward Island values the hard work and expertise of our health care professionals and looks forward to working with them in the delivery of quality health care services for all Islanders,” said Minister Currie.
December 14, 2013
French Language Services Act Proclaimed
The new French Language Services Act and its regulations have been proclaimed in their entirety, says Premier Robert Ghiz, Minister responsible for Acadian and Francophone Affairs. The French Language Services Act, the first major legislative overhaul of French language services in over a decade, was passed during the Spring Sitting of the Legislative Assembly.
The Act and General Regulations clearly outline government’s obligations in matters related to planning and reporting on French language services, correspondence received in French, public consultations and the first series of services to be officially designated as bilingual. These designated services include the 511 traveller information service, highway traffic signs and the French public libraries located in Abram-Village, Summerside and Charlottetown.
For more information on the French Language Services Act and government programs and services offered in French, please consult the Acadian and Francophone Affairs Secretariat website at www.ipeservicesfrancais.ca.
October 24, 2013
Workers Compensation Board Reduces Rates for Island Employers
The Workers Compensation Board (WCB) of Prince Edward Island is pleased to announce a seven cent reduction in its average assessment rate for 2014. Next year, Island employers will pay an average of $1.90 per $100 of payroll to fund the provincial workplace safety and compensation system, continuing the downward trend in WCB premiums since 2004.
The average rate reduction was a result of the WCB’s positive investment returns and stable financial position. The WCB’s fully-funded status has had a positive impact on the assessment revenue required to fund the system. With the reduction in the average assessment rate, 85% of Island employers will experience a group rate decrease.
“An effective workers compensation system balances the interests of workers and employers,” said Nancy Guptill, Workers Compensation Board Chair. “We know the system is working when we are able to enhance worker benefits while at the same time, keeping the system sustainable and affordable for the employers who fund it.”
All Island employers will be advised of their individual assessment rates in December 2013, which are based on the claims cost experience and the risks of workplace injury in their industries. For more information about WCB rates and ways to reduce costs through injury prevention and return to work programs, visit the WCB website at www. wcb.pe.ca or contact the WCB Office at 902-368-5680 or 1-800-237-5049 (toll free in Atlantic Canada).
October 15, 2013
eForcePEI partnership provides business with free online learning
A new partnership between Holland College, Government of Prince Edward Island and Bluedrop Performance learning will allow Island businesses to benefit from 2,000 free, online professional development course bundles, says Innovation and Advanced Learning Minister Allen Roach.
“The new eForcePEI partnership will provide learning opportunities to small and medium-sized businesses and allow Island enterprises to become more productive and more competitive,” said Minister Roach. “This is a vital part of the Island economy and eForcePEI will allow us to help business people learn in a way that is cost-effective and widely accessible.”
eForcePEI will use Bluedrop’s online learning platform CoursePark.com in order to provide access to courses from leading publishers and subject experts. The courses are expected to appeal to small and medium-sized business, non-profit organizations, as well as to individuals interested in improving their skills and knowledge.
“Holland College is pleased to partner with the Province of Prince Edward Island and Bluedrop to deliver this important initiative. We are committed to supporting the sustainability of our province by providing training opportunities in a variety of ways to give all Islanders the ability to participate in life-long learning. eForcePEI helps us to accomplish that goal.”
SkillsPEI is supporting this project with $275,000 in support for Bluedrop and a further $242,000 to help Holland College with delivery and promotion of the eForcePEI initiative. Funding is provided under the Labour Market Development Agreement. For further details visit: Innovation and Advanced Learning
September 24, 2013
Learn About Workplace Safety During Learn at Work Week
Learn about workplace safety during Learn at Work Week September 23-27, 2013, is Learn at Work Week, recognizing the positive impact that training and professional development has on the workplace. The Workers Compensation Board (WCB) encourages Island workers and employers to take this week to learn more about workplace safety and what to do in the event of a workplace injury.
The WCB provides educational materials and workshops throughout the year on a variety of workplace topics, including occupational health and safety, reporting a workplace injury, return to work planning and ways to reduce assessment rates. Sessions are free for all participants and are offered to the public or in the workplace.
During Learn at Work Week, the WCB is offering two sessions on Safety for Managers and Supervisors. The seminars will be held in Charlottetown on September 24th and in Summerside on September 26th. They will focus on the importance of adequate safety training and supervision to keep workplaces safe. For more information and to register, visit the WCB website at www.wcb.pe.ca or contact WCB Education Consultant, Lori Wakelin, at 902-368-5698 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 8, 2013
Canadian Agricultural Safety Week
March 10-16, 2013, is Canadian Agricultural Safety Week to raise awareness about the importance of safety matters in farm workplaces. With the summer employment season just around the corner, the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) reminds all growers that there is no better time to develop a plan for farm safety.
Many farm employers will have workers who are new to the job this season, whose lack of familiarity with the workplace may increase their risk of workplace injury. An effective farm safety training plan can help to reduce this risk.
When developing training for farm workers, the WCB advises employers to:
• Bring every hazard to the workers’ attention.
• Use past incidents or “close calls” as learning opportunities.
• Identify any tasks, equipment, or areas of the operation that are off-limits to the worker or only authorized/trained workers are allowed to do and review the associated safe work practices.
• Discuss the safeguards in place to eliminate or minimize hazards.
• Ensure that all workers know what personal protective equipment (PPE) to use and how to use it.
• Have the worker perform tasks under the supervision of a trained, responsible person prior to attempting the work alone.
• Keep written records of the training workers receive.
The Farm Safety Code of Practice, which is available in the Safe Workplaces section of the WCB website, provides additional information about farm safety.
January 25, 2013
Changes to Employment Insurance (EI) Program
In 2012 and at the beginning of 2013, the Employment Insurance (EI) program underwent a number of changes following the passage of the Budget 2012 implementation bills (C-38 and C-45), the passage of Bill C-44, which creates a new type of EI benefit for parents of critically ill children, and following various consequential amendments to the Employment Insurance Regulations. Some of the changes relate to: 1) Definition of Suitable Employment and Customary Efforts; 2) Persons not Authorized to Work in Canada and Collection of Overpayments; 3) Hiring Credit for Small Business 4) Changes to Employment Insurance (Fishing) Regulations) and more. For comprehensive details on these changes please visit http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/LOP/ResearchPublications/2013-03-e.htm
January 10, 2013
Province launches Workforce Development Fund
The Workforce Development Fund is designed to support training solutions identified by private sector businesses and/or industry. This is a partnership between SkillsPEI and Innovation PEI. The three components of the Workforce Development Fund are:
- Workforce Learning: skills assessments for employees, skill gap analysis for industry and/or program development material.
- Workforce Innovation: training costs, certification process costs and/or a portion of employee wages while participating in training.
- Workforce Exposure: participant allowances/wages and/or a portion of employer related cost.
The program is funded through Skills PEI, as funded in whole or in part through the Canada-PEI Labour Market Development Agreement and/or Labour Market Agreement.
November 7, 2012
The Workers Compensation Board (WCB) advises all Island workplaces that the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulations related to First Aid will change as of January 31, 2013.
The amendments to Section 9 of the OHS Regulations will put additional measures in place to protect workers and employers, while reflecting the various hazard levels in the different types of workplaces on Prince Edward Island.
Highlights of the upcoming regulation changes include:
- The first aid requirements for low hazard workplaces, including training requirements for first aid providers, will be reflected in the Regulations.
- In workplaces that are not considered to be low hazard, a first aid room will be required where there are 100 or more workers per shift.
- First aid providers will be required in workplaces with less than 5 workers.
- Workplaces with as few as one worker will require a first aid kit.
Due to the availability of onsite medical treatment, hospitals and nursing homes will be exempt from these Regulations.
For further details please visit Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act and Regulations.
July 31, 2012
Charlottetown - The business community of Prince Edward Island recognizes the challenges of identifying and maintaining a healthy workforce, yet over eighty percent of these employers do not often have access to in-house human resource management expertise. The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce has facilitated the development of an on-line Human Resources Toolkit to assist the business community with timely information to address a broa