Canada: Employee Benefits Update

October 24, 2016:

The following changes in employee benefits have been reported by Asinta Partner in Canada, The Williamson GroupA Cowan Company:

Legal/Legislative Changes:

  • All jurisdictions in Canada have a Duty To Accommodate regulation in their Human Rights Code. Duty To Accommodate requires employees to identify and change any rules, practices, expectations or procedures that have or may have  a discriminatory impact based on the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) prohibited grounds (race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, age, sex, etc.).
  • As of January 1, 2016, Ontario employers with 50 or more employees are required to develop formalized, individual accommodation/return to work plans for employees returning to work after a disability leave.
  • ORPP vs CPP: Ontario introduced the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) in 2015. The new legislation would have expanded pension coverage over a 3 year time period. In June, the ORPP became invalid due to a landmark decision to increase the Canadian Pension Plan over a 7 year period starting in 2019. You can read Asinta’s summary of the decision here.

Market Trends:

  • Plan Design – Employers continue to be concerned with selecting the proper plan to best fit their employee benefits needs.
  • Chronic Drug Spending – Likewise, employers are also concerned with the costs associated with chronic drug spending.
  • Disabilities – Disabilities were once considered primarily a physical issue, but psychological disabilities are now being recognized and becoming more common. Work place disability is also on the rise as a whole. As a result, employers are starting to shift gears and look into programs to assist and mitigate risk. New regulations, as with Ontario above, have also brought disabilities to the forefront.
  • Pension & Retirement Plans – Pension and retirement plans have faced challenges this year with the creation (and subsequent cancellation) of ORPP in Ontario. This change in legislation has brought on changes across all Canadian provinces in regards to pension and retirement plans, with more changes to come.

Do you have questions regarding employee benefits in Canada? Do you want to know how any of the above legal/legislative changes may affect your business in Canada? Get connected with Asinta Partner, The Williamson Group via their contact form to have all your questions answered!