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3 Easy Ways to Misclassify Employees

Posted by Corinne Camara


Apr 8, 2019 9:00:00 AM

3_Easy_Ways_to_Misclassify_EmployeesAs the gig economy has gained steam in Canada, there’s been more attention paid to how companies are hiring and employing people. While there are many upsides to newer forms of employment, some advocates and government officials are concerned about employers taking advantage of uninformed workers.

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One of the emerging concerns is employee misclassification. Some people worry unscrupulous employers are purposefully misclassifying their employees to circumvent their obligations. These might include paying employer portions of benefits or providing paid vacation and holidays.

While there are undoubtedly some employers who seek to take advantage of these “loopholes,” it’s much more common for employers to accidentally misclassify employees. Here are a few easy ways misclassification happens. Once you’re aware of them, you can take steps to avoid classifying your employees incorrectly.

1. The Most Common Mistake Is to Misclassify Employees as Contractors

Most concerns around employee misclassification have cropped up due to the increasing number of people who work as contractors. Often known as freelancers or self-employed professionals, these workers are not considered employees.

Contractors are considered to be businesses, and when they work with your business, it’s a business transaction rather than an employee-employer relationship. The contractor has increased freedoms, such as negotiating their rate of pay, determining their schedule, the ability to outsource work, and ownership of tools.

Since contractors aren’t employees, you aren’t responsible for withholding tax or offering paid vacation.

It’s relatively easy to misclassify employees as contractors. You may believe you’ve hired a contractor. However, you might determine their wage, when they work, and how the work is completed. If so, you may actually have an employee on your hands.

2. Misclassifying Permanent Employees as Temporary

As the staffing industry has grown, a lot of people have decried unscrupulous firms that take advantage of workers who may not know their rights. While many staffing firms are legitimate, these “bad apples” give everyone a bad name.

A supposedly common practice among these agencies and their clients is to define permanent employees as temporary for as long as possible. This usually means the “temporary” employee isn’t entitled to wage increases, benefits, or other perks that would be afforded to a permanent employee. The problem arises when the worker continues to be employed steadily, sometimes for years at a time.

It can actually be somewhat easy to misclassify a permanent employee as a temporary one. You may have a project continue on, so you renew an employee’s contract several times over. They may move to new positions within the company, so you believe they’re “temporary.”

A government official may have another view.

Many governments are now taking steps to make it more difficult to do this, such as forcing temporary contracts to have end dates. In some countries, employers are forced to make an offer of permanent employment if a temporary employee stays on for a certain period of time.

3. Misclassifying Full-Time Workers as Part-Time Workers

This is another relatively easy mistake for employers to make. You hired someone on and allocated them a certain number of hours or shifts per week. You believe they’re part-time workers.

This can depend on the industry you’re in. Some industries have higher or lower hour totals to be considered full-time or part-time. You may also run into a situation where a part-time employee begins working full-time hours regularly, but you don’t change their employment status.

Much like the temporary employee, a part-time employee may not be entitled to the same benefits as full-time employees. This is why it’s a problem when workers who are classified as part-timers put in full-time hours.

If employee misclassification is a concern in your firm, then you’ll want to carefully review the legal definitions and ensure your employment contracts use the same definitions. If you need help checking or maintaining compliance, get in touch with a back office service provider. They can help you avoid misclassification missteps.


Topics: Compliance and Legislation

5 US Employee Benefits Predictions for 2019

Posted by Ray Gonder


Feb 27, 2019 9:00:00 AM

5_US_Employee_Benefits_Predictions_for_2019In the United States, benefits are often a hot topic. Staffing firm owners have been concerned about rising costs, particularly those associated with healthcare insurance. At the same time, they’re also keenly aware that a great employee benefits package can help them attract and retain top talent in their field.

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Employees are also concerned about the benefits they’re provided. Most of the Millennial workforce indicates that benefits are a key factor in their decision-making. If the choice is between your firm and another, benefits could make or break the deal.

Running a staffing agency means keeping up with changing legislation and trends. If your agency is servicing clients in the US, you should know what’s on the horizon. What will happen with US employee benefits packages in 2019? Here are a few predictions for the emerging trends in the new year.

1. Employers Improve Benefits Packages

In recent years, the trend has been for employers to reduce or even eliminate benefits. Restructuring has also been common, as employers have tried to curb the costs associated with offering benefits.

Heading into 2019, however, the picture is different. The big change has been the strong economy. With low unemployment becoming the new norm, employers have been faced with a candidates’ market. Talent is becoming scarce, and job seekers are in the driver’s seat.

In this environment, it becomes imperative for employers to have better offerings than their competitors. If you want to attract the best talent, you’re going to need to offer them more than just a competitive salary.

For this reason, you can expect to see US employers offering better and more robust benefits plans.

2. Direct Contracts Become the New Norm

The importance of improving benefits plans doesn’t mean employers aren’t still worried about costs. This is particularly true for healthcare costs, which have risen exponentially over the last decade. Their upward trajectory is predicted to continue.

Employers know they need to offer better benefits, but they also need to be sure they’re keeping costs in check. One of the ways they’re doing this is by turning to direct contracts.

With a direct contract, employers can find better deals. A large care network often increases costs. It may even affect the quality of care provided.

3. Security Is on Your Mind

The tech backlash is continuing in 2019, and benefits administration is no exception to the rule. Employers and benefits administrators alike are more concerned about data security than ever before. Chances are your employees are also concerned about security.

Technology has allowed for many advances in benefits administration, such as increased personalization. For successful customization, however, benefits administrators need to collect more information about individual employees.

Keeping this data safe has become a top priority. The trend began in 2018, and you can expect to see increasing concerns about security factoring into almost every benefits decision made in 2019.

4. A Focus on Communication

Hand in hand with customization is a desire for more communication. Today’s employees are more independent than ever. It’s why they love employee benefits portals and personalization. These features put them in control of their benefits.

This trend is likely to continue strong through 2019. Employees want more tailored benefits packages that fit their needs, and they want more direct communication to get that customization. They don’t want to go through the middleman in HR.

5. Congress Creates Lingering Confusion

Since the end of 2016, the Affordable Care Act’s fate has been undecided. There have been several attempts at reform, and recent developments make it seem as though the Act could be altered or even repealed.

One thing is certain. Both parties are seeking reform, and employers will need to stay on their toes to keep up.

If you’re operating in the US market or plan to expand, keeping an eye on these US employee benefits trends is a smart idea.


Topics: Compliance and Legislation

Your Brief Guide to the Employment Standards Act in BC

Posted by Mai Dowdie


Feb 20, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Your_Brief_Guide_to_the_Employment_Standards_Act_in_BCDoes your staffing firm have operations in British Columbia? Maybe you’re planning to expand into Canada’s westernmost province this year. If so, you’ll want to become familiar with the provisions of the Employment Standards Act.

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This guide will walk you through some of the basics to help you get started.

Minimum Wage and Overtime in BC

Like other provinces, BC mandates a minimum wage to be paid to all workers. The province has been slowly increasing the minimum with a series of scheduled changes. The most recent increase happened in June 2018.

The current minimum wage is $12.65 per hour. Liquor servers have a lower legislated wage, earning $11.40 per hour.

The Act also outlines minimum daily pay. Under this provision, a worker must be paid a minimum of two hours’ wages when they report to work. If they work less than two hours, they still must be paid for two hours. If you send them home or they need to stop work for a reason beyond their control, you must also meet the minimum daily pay requirement.

Overtime provisions are laid out in the Act. You must pay time-and-a-half after eight hours of work. Double time is paid after 12 hours worked in a day.

Workers who exceed 40 hours of work per week are also entitled to overtime pay. Only the first eight hours of a shift count towards the 40-hour workweek.

Breaks and Leaves

BC’s labour legislation contains rules pertaining to breaks. The Act states that employees are entitled to a 30-minute meal break if they work more than five consecutive hours. This break is unpaid unless the employee is required to work or be available.

You don’t need to provide coffee breaks, whether they’re paid or unpaid.

Annual vacation is also outlined. After one year of employment, an employee is entitled to two weeks of paid vacation. This increases to three weeks after five years of service.

Vacations must be scheduled in weekly periods unless the employee requests otherwise. Finally, vacation has to be taken within 12 months of being earned.

The rates of pay for vacation are four percent for employees with less than five years of service and six percent for those with more than five years’ service.

The Act also requires employers to provide unpaid leaves. These include pregnancy leave, parental leave, bereavement leave, and compassionate care leave.

Payroll Rules

The Government of British Columbia mandates that employers pay employees at least twice monthly. The Act also says pay periods can’t be longer than 16 days.

You must provide paper or electronic statements of pay to your employees. This should give information about hours worked, the rate of pay, earnings, and deductions. You’re required to keep payroll records for two years after an employee leaves the company to remain compliant.

You must pay employees in full within 48 hours of terminating them. If the employee quits, you have six days to make payment. This includes weekends and holidays.

You’ll also need to make payroll deductions, which are outlined in the Act. These include income tax, Employment Insurance, and Canadian Pension Plan deductions.

If you wish to deduct other amounts, such as a co-pay for benefits, you’ll need the employee to agree in writing.

The law prohibits you from docking an employee’s pay for losses, such as cash shortages or customers leaving without paying.

Holiday Pay

BC has 10 statutory holidays. Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, and Boxing Day are not statutory. To qualify for holiday pay, an employee must have been employed for at least 30 days and have worked at least 15 of those days.

These are just some of the basic provisions of the Employment Standards Act. The best thing you can do is to become familiar with it and partner with a back office provider who knows the ins and outs.


Topics: Compliance and Legislation

Servicing Clients in the US? 5 Labour Law Differences You Should Know

Posted by Chelsea Henry


Feb 6, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Servicing_Clients_in_the_US_5_Labour_Law_Differences_You_Should_KnowIf you’re running a staffing agency, you may think a great way to expand is to cross the border into the United States. Maybe some of your clients have American branches, or maybe you’re in an area close to the border and know many local businesses that could benefit from your services. You may even be thinking of expanding on a larger scale.

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While international expansion is a great goal for any business, it comes with its own challenges. One of the most common for businesses moving across the Canada-US border is an understanding of labour law.

Labour law in Canada and the US can be quite different. If you’re planning to provide service for clients in the US, you should be aware of these five differences.

1. Understand What a 1099 Employee Is

Employee misclassification is an important legal issue in both Canada and the US. The IRS and many US states tend to shine more of a spotlight on the issue than Canadian governments do.

Part of the problem is the confusion between an employee and a “1099 employee.” A 1099 employee, so named after the tax form you’ll provide them, is actually a contractor. Using a contractor can reduce your obligations to the worker.

Some employers take advantage of these reduced obligations and purposefully misclassify employees as contractors. You might also be at risk of misclassification if you don’t understand the differences between the two terms in the US.

2. At-Will Employment

In Canada, there’s no such thing as at-will employment. You must have solid grounds for terminating someone’s employment with your firm. Termination must be carried out in a specific way, which includes proper notification and the payment of severance.

In the US, at-will employment allows employers and employees to terminate their relationship at any time. Employers don’t need to provide lengthy notice or hefty severance packages. You also may not need as much reason to dismiss someone.

3. Rules around Non-Compete Clauses Vary by State

In Canada, non-compete clauses are somewhat difficult to enforce. Nonetheless, many employers still make use of them. They’re governed by common law.

This is somewhat different from the United States, where non-compete clauses are easier to enforce. The rules change, however, from state to state. Some states will permit the modification of a non-compete clause, rather than striking it out entirely, if it’s deemed too restrictive.

4. Obligations to Employees with Disabilities

You might be familiar with Canada’s rules around accommodating employees with disabilities. Generally speaking, the employer is expected to accommodate an employee with disabilities, such as providing specialized equipment to use or modifying the duties of the role.

It’s difficult to tell where the employer’s duty to accommodate ends. Canadian courts usually draw the line at significant financial burden to the company, but you may be required to prove that.

In the US, you’ll see your financial threshold is much lower. Companies do not need to undertake “significant” financial burden before they’ll be judged to have fulfilled the duty to accommodate.

5. Creating a Severance Policy or Package

In the United States, you might be expected to create a severance policy or package for your employees. This can be quite different from Canada because severance is usually laid out within provincial law. Even having a policy or package may not override your obligation to provide notice of termination.

In the US, where at-will employment exists, employers don’t necessarily need to provide severance or notice. A severance policy usually favours more senior employees, but you may need to know your way around such policies to provide proper support to your clients.

These are just some of the differences between Canadian and American labour law. There are many more. If you’re expanding into the US, it might be helpful to work with a back office solutions provider who can give you the guidance and the support you need to deliver services to your US clients.


Topics: Compliance and Legislation

A Quick Overview of Workplace Protections in Quebec

Posted by Ray Gonder


Jan 30, 2019 9:00:00 AM

A_Quick_Overview_of_Workplace_Protections_in_QuebecQuebec is perhaps the most unique province in Canada, particularly when it comes to its legal framework. While most of Canada’s legal system is based on British common law, Quebec has always followed the French tradition of civil law.

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Such cultural differences are also reflected in Quebec’s different developmental history. The French language and traditions continue to be important today. Until the mid-1960s, the Church wielded a lot of power. Since then, Quebecois people have turned more and more to the state to protect their rights and liberties.

For this reason, Quebec tends to be even more involved with workplace protections. For staffing agencies hoping to operate in the province, Quebec may be both familiar and new at the same time.

This quick guide will help you understand some of the workplace protections in La Belle Province.

The Legal Framework

Most workplace protections are laid out in The Act respecting labour standards, which was passed in the Quebec National Assembly. In recent years, the provincial government has proposed amendments to the Act, so it’s always a good idea to ensure you’re up to date with the latest requirements.

The Act outlines rules on minimum wage, the length of the workweek, and how many breaks a worker is entitled to take.

It also offers provisions about time off, including vacation time, public holidays, sick days, and other absences.

Other parts of the Act describe how employers must deliver notice of terminations or layoffs. The Act also contains a description of the rights of workers who have been terminated.

This law creates minimum standards that all employers must meet or exceed.

Enforcing the Minimum Standards

A law without enforcement is not usually very effective. That’s why the Commission des normes, de l’equite, de la sante et de la securite du travail, or CNESST, exists. This body is in charge of applying the provisions of the Act.

As the name implies, CNESST oversees labour standards, pay equity, and workplace health and safety.

Employees can submit complaints about employers to CNESST. In some cases, CNESST will issue compensation. It may also act as a mediator between employers and employees.

If CNESST has to pay an employee, it reserves the right to sue the employer to recover the funds.

Who the Act Applies To

The Act respecting labour standards covers most workers in Quebec. There are a few notable exceptions.

It does not apply to federal employees. These workers are governed by federal labour standards instead. In all of Canada, only a small percent of the workforce is federal, with the remaining workers falling under provincial jurisdiction.

The self-employed are also exempt from the provisions of the Act.

Senior management and construction workers are also exempt from some of the Act’s rules. They do have access to protection for leaves, but their workweeks don’t need to conform to the Act.

Other exemptions include students who are working in student placement programs, co-ops, or internships, athletes required to attend school, and people providing homecare for others.

There are also differences among employees in different categories. For example, employees working in a sawmill have a longer standard workweek. This means they don’t need to be paid overtime until they’ve worked more hours than in other industries.

What about Staffing Agencies?

The Act respecting labour standards applies to employees wherever they do their work. It will also apply to you if you have any business operations in Quebec.

Staffing agency owners need to register with CNESST. This measure is designed to weed out “bad apple” staffing agencies. It gives CNESST the power to audit agencies that don’t comply and to penalize employers who work with those agencies.

If you plan to operate in Quebec, make a point of familiarizing yourself with the Act respecting labour standards. It will help you understand your responsibilities as a recruiter in Quebec.


Topics: Compliance and Legislation

Ontario to Repeal Parts of the Previous Government’s Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act

Posted by Ray Gonder


Dec 10, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Ontario_Repeal_Parts_of_the_Previous_Governments_Fair_Workplaces_Better_Jobs_ActIn late 2017, the Government of Ontario introduced its Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. The legislation had been proposed much earlier in the year, but it was finally passed into law after much debate. Even after the Act was passed and changes were starting to roll out, there was still controversy.

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The new Ontario government, elected in June, took a much closer look at the Act. In October, with input from concerned advocates, experts, and businesses, the government introduced Bill 47, which proposed to roll back many of the changes included in the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act.

Only parts of the Act are being repealed, with some of the new provisions staying in place. This quick guide will show you what’s changing and what’s staying the same.

What Was in the Fair Workplaces Act?

To understand what’s changing with the introduction of Bill 47, it helps to know some of the new regulations included in the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, better known as Bill 148.

Bill 148 introduced sweeping changes to employment legislation in Ontario. It was based on the report of a committee. In drafting the legislation, however, the government failed to consult with a wide range of stakeholders.

The most talked-about change was the increase to the minimum wage. The Act mandated a hike from $11.60 per hour in October 2017 to $14 per hour in January 2018. It also proposed an additional increase in January 2019 to $15 per hour.

Bill 148 also included new workers’ rights regarding scheduling. Employees could refuse to be oncall if they weren’t notified 96 hours ahead of time. Personal leaves were also expanded to a total of 10 days, with two of them paid.

Stirring Controversy

From the very beginning, Bill 148 stirred controversy in Ontario’s business community. Many felt it created undue burdens for business owners. Some worried minimum wage hikes would push inflation.

The government forged ahead and signed the bill into law, which came into effect in early 2018. One of the earliest signs of trouble was the public holiday pay formula.

The Act introduced a new formula for calculating public holiday pay, but employers quickly found fault with it. In some circumstances, it allowed workers to be paid for the same holiday more than once.

The government suspended the new formula and vowed to review new options. In the meantime, they reinstated the old formula.

Bill 47 Proposes to Undo Much of the Act

When the new government was elected in June, those who had been lobbying the previous government found this new government more open to hearing them out.

Ontario’s government reviewed the Act and echoed concerns that its provisions were creating undue burdens for business owners. To foster a more business-friendly climate and economic growth, the government drafted Bill 47.

Bill 47, entitled the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, reverses much of Bill 148. It suggests puttinga freeze on the minimum wage until 2020 and rolling back personal leave from 10 days to eight, with no paid days.

The old public holiday formula is now staying in place, with no plans to review it and replace it. Other changes proposed include rolling back rights around scheduling.

What Isn’t Changing?

Bill 47 is not repealing the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act in its entirety. While it does propose rolling back large chunks of the Act’s changes, there are also some things that will stay the same.

Minimum wage, for example, will stay at its current level. Provisions ensuring employees of different sexes are paid the same wage for equal work will also remain in place.

With Bill 47, the Ontario government has responded to concerns raised by business owners. With it, Ontario should become a more business-friendly environment.


Topics: Compliance and Legislation

What Staffing Firm Owners Need to Know about Bill 47 in Ontario

Posted by Stacey Jones


Dec 3, 2018 9:00:00 AM

What_Staffing_Firm_Owners_Need_to_Know_about_Bill_47_in_OntarioIn late October, the Ontario government introduced Bill 47, the Making Ontario Open for Business Act. The Act was a direct response to the changes to employment legislation under the previous government. Bill 148, or the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, had received a cool reception in the business community.

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Many of the changes in Bill 148 left business owners, including staffing firm owners, scrambling to adjust. Increased personal leave, new formulas for public holiday pay, revised rights around scheduling, and the minimum wage hike were all rolled out very quickly.

Bill 47 has passed and is here to take the pressure off staffing agency owners. Here’s what you should note.

Minimum Wage Will Hold Until 2020

The minimum wage in Ontario jumped from $11.60 per hour to $14 per hour in January 2018 as mandated by Bill 148. Another proposed hike was to be implemented in January 2019.

Bill 47 puts a freeze on minimum wage increases until 2020. Afterwards, the government will introduce a series of scheduled, inflation-tied increases to the wage.

Staffing firm owners who were preparing to deal with yet another increase to the minimum wage should be glad to hear they can revise their budgets for 2019.

Personal Leave Is Shorter and Unpaid

Bill 148 had also introduced expanded personal leave for workers. Under it, workers were entitled to 10 days of personal leave per year, and two of those days were paid.

Bill 47 rolls the number of days back to eight in total. It also eliminates the two paid days. An employee, after being employed for 2 consecutive weeks, will now be entitled to up to 8 unpaid days in the following 3 categories:

Sick Leave – up to 3 unpaid days per calendar year for personal illness, injury or medical emergency.  An employer can now ask for a medical note.

Family Responsibility Leave – up to 3 unpaid days per calendar year to be used for illness, injury or medical emergency of a listed family member.

Bereavement Leave – up to 2 unpaid days per calendar year to be used for the death of a listed family member.

While staffing agency owners need to be aware of any obligation to provide leave time, the removal of paid days reduces the administrative and financial burden.

The Old Public Holiday Formula Is Here to Stay

In May 2018, the Ontario government was forced to review the new public holiday pay formula included in Bill 148. Its review concluded the new formula was insufficient and had actually caused problems. It hadn’t been studied properly before being put in place.

The government suspended the new formula.In early May 2018,the government opted to return to the previous public holiday pay calculation. The previous policy came back into effect on June 1, 2018. It will be in place until December 31, 2019.

What does this mean for you? From now until the end of next year, you can continue using the old formula.

Equal Work for Equal Pay

This will remain based on sex. All the provisions implemented with Bill 148 have been removed.

Therefore, the government is no longer requiring equal pay for equal work on the basis of number of hours regularly worked (i.e. part-time or full-time) or differences in the term of employment (i.e. permanent, casual, temporary, seasonal).

6% Vacation Pay

This ruling remains in effect. Once an employee has a period of five consecutive years of employment at the same employer, they are eligible for 6% vacation pay.

New Requirements around Scheduling Are Repealed

One of the aims of the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act was to find better work-life balance for employees. In light of this, it introduced a series of new rights for workers regarding scheduling.

One of the most notable was a provision allowing workers to refuse on-call shifts if they weren’t notified 96 hours beforehand.

Staffing firm owners likely noted the problems this created for them. Sometimes, you don’t have four days’ notice that you’ll require a worker’s services. Sick days, personal leave, and other unexpected absences can leave employers and agency owners alike scrambling to find people to fill in.

Bill 47 rolls back these provisions, relieving the burden from staffing firm owners and other business owners alike.

Bill 148 Amendments That Remain in Place

Employment Standards Act

  1. Extension of pregnancy/parental leave to a total of 18 months is preserved;

  2. Extension of family medical leave from 8 weeks to 28 weeks is preserved;

  3. Creation of critical illness leave, which includes the ability to take critical illness leave to care for a critically ill adult is preserved (replaced critically ill child care leave);

  4. Creation of child death leave (distinct from crime-related child disappearance leave) is preserved.

Labour Relations Act

  1. Deemed sale of business upon a change of building service providers is preserved;

  2. Power of Board to order votes to take place outside the workplace, electronically or by phone, and to give directions about voting process is preserved;

  3. Prohibition on discharge or discipline of employees without just cause during certain bargaining periods is preserved;

  4. Power of Board to make interim decisions and orders, and to do so without providing reasons, is preserved.


Topics: Compliance and Legislation

Is Your Staffing Agency Compliant?

Posted by Chelsea Henry


Nov 21, 2018 9:00:00 AM


Is_Your_Staffing_Agency_CompliantAs a staffing agency owner, there are many tasks you need to look after. The administrative work of the agency is often a full-time job. If you’re busy enough, it may even be enough to keep two or three people occupied on a full-time basis.

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One of the most time-intensive tasks you need to look after is compliance within the agency. Staffing firms need to remain compliant with all of the rules and regulations around employment, including safety laws, legislation regarding vacations and leaves, and so much more.

Compliance is more important than ever before, partially because of an overhaul of provincial employment legislation. Several provinces have made major updates to their legislation in the past 12 months, and it seems likely more changes are coming.

As these changes come into play, it’s a good time to take stock of compliance in your organization.

Is Your Staffing Agency Insured?

One of the first things you’ll want to look at is your insurance needs. Most agencies require general liability insurance, which protects you if something goes wrong at the worksite, or if a client suffers damages or losses and decides to sue.

You might also want to look into specific types of business insurance, which can help you protect your agency in a number of different scenarios. One example might be commercial auto insurance if employees drive company vehicles.

You should also be working with the workers’ compensation board in your province or provinces of operation. You’ll want to be sure you’re making applicable contributions from payroll to cover insurance in the case of a worker accident or injury. This is all the more important in light of new rules about your legal liability in these situations.

Are You in Line with All Pay Requirements?

There have been many changes to things like minimum wage, vacation pay, and holiday pay in some provinces recently. Now is a great time to check and ensure your staffing agency is still complying with all the of the rules.

Ontario, for example, introduced a new holiday pay scheme in early 2018. This was rolled back in May 2018. The new provincial government is supposed to study the issue and make recommendations, so the formula for calculating holiday pay in Ontario may be changing again.

If you’ve recently expanded to a new province, you’ll want to be sure you’re in line with their regulations about calculating various types of pay.

Are You Offering Training?

Most provinces have requirements for you to provide some forms of training to employees, and training requirements may vary from job site to job site. You should be providing all candidates with information about their rights, safety measures they should be taking, and how to deal with an accident or injury.

This kind of information is especially important for young and vulnerable workers who may need additional support.

Compliance is clearly an important part of running a successful staffing agency. Keep an eye on it, and you’ll be in a better position.


Topics: Compliance and Legislation

Marijuana in the Workplace: What Staffing Firms Need to Know

Posted by Stacey Jones


Oct 8, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Marijuana_in_the_Workplace_What_Staffing_Firms_Need_to_KnowThe Cannabis Act passed in Parliament in June 2018, setting the stage for legal recreational marijuana in Canada. This makes Canada only the second country in the developed world to make cannabis legal outside of the medical field.

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The Cannabis Act will come into effect in October 2018. There will be many changes when marijuana becomes legal for recreational users, and many industries are already preparing for these new realities. Those in the insurance sector are revising their automobile insurance and homeowners’ policies. Educators are wondering how to keep children safe.

Employers and staffing firms also have many questions about the changes the Cannabis Act will bring to the workplace. How will you deal with a worker who decides to use recreational marijuana? What changes need to be made to employment contracts? What are your responsibilities as an employer?

These questions are important, and staffing firms need to know how to handle marijuana in the workplace.

Staffing Firms Have No Duty to Accommodate Recreational Marijuana

Marijuana will be legal for recreational use in October. What does that mean for staffing firms who are sending workers to clients’ job sites?

First, it’s important to understand there is no duty to accommodate recreational marijuana users. If a worker arrives to a job site under the influence, he or she may be sent home or even dismissed. A worker who is under the influence may not be able to safely perform his or her job, so they cannot remain on the job site.

Clients will need to report these incidents to you if you’re responsible for the discipline of employees. You may need to terminate a worker’s contract with a client. If there are multiple infractions, you may need to terminate your relationship with the worker.

Staffing Agencies Must Clearly Communicate Policies

Many employers are moving to a zero-tolerance policy regarding recreational marijuana usage. If a worker arrives to the work site already impaired or uses marijuana during their shift, they may be sent home or terminated.

Staffing agencies will likely want to consider similar policies. You must clearly communicate these policies to workers. It is important they understand the consequences of using cannabis at the job site or arriving impaired.

You’ll likely need to review and revise some of your other policies. If you conduct drug testing of potential job candidates, marijuana is no longer considered an illegal substance. You may need to revise language in contracts related to past use as it is no longer a criminal act.

Exceptions for Medical Marijuana Usage

Staffing agencies do have a duty to accommodate medical marijuana patients. Workers with an authorization for medical cannabis do not need to submit documentation of their medical need but may opt to do so. This could include a copy of the authorization and a doctor’s note.

These workers will need to be provided with accommodation on the job site. It is your duty to find suitable employment for them that they can perform safely.

The Next Steps

Before October, you should review your employment contracts and language about the use of illegal substances. If cannabis use is mentioned, it will need to be removed from these sections.

You’ll also want to revise your policies about impairment in the workplace. You may already have a policy in place about the use of alcohol during working hours. A policy about cannabis use could be added here. Finally, you’ll need to communicate these new policies and their consequences to your workers. Although marijuana may soon be legal, you do not need to tolerate its use in the workplace.

Finding it hard to keep up with constant changes in legislation? A back office service provider can be a valuable partner to help you remain compliant.


Topics: Compliance and Legislation

5 Expenses Your Staffing Agency Can’t Claim as a Business Expense

Posted by Anna Mastrandrea


Sep 24, 2018 9:00:00 AM

5_Expenses_Your_Staffing_Agency_Can_t_Claim_as_a_Business_ExpenseAs a business owner, you probably know a good deal about business expenses. After all, almost everything you purchase for your staffing agency is considered a business expense of one kind or another. Of course, only some of those expenses are actually tax deductible.

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While you may hear business owners eagerly claiming they can “write that off,” there are many things you may not be able to claim on your taxes.

“What business expenses can I claim?” is a common enough question from staffing agency owners.

The CRA says businesses can deduct certain costs that are reasonable for a particular type of business, so long as they’re incurred for the purposes of earning an income. A staffing agency, for example, could claim the expense of applicant tracking software, since it’s an important tool that allows them to earn income.

What can’t you claim as a business expense? The list may surprise you.

1. You Can’t Claim Snacks for the Staffing Agency Office

Unless you’re a rickshaw driver or bicycle delivery person, the CRA doesn’t consider snacks to be a legitimate business expense. There are a few other exceptions to the rule, such as when you’re travelling for business or you meet at a coffee shop to discuss business with a client or partner.

If you’ve been keeping the office pantry stocked with coffee, tea, and pastries in hopes of deducting the expense on your taxes, you won’t be able to. The same goes for grabbing coffee and donuts for the office meeting. Conferences and more formal meetings may be considered exceptions to the rule.

2. You Can’t Always Claim the Entire Expense

What happens if you purchase a vehicle and use it partially for the staffing agency and partially as a personal vehicle?

You can only write off a portion of the costs, so long as they pertain to the business. If you drive the vehicle for the agency 50 percent of the time, then you can claim 50 percent of the expenses associated with the vehicle. The other 50 percent is considered personal use and is therefore non-deductible.

This may not be as much of a concern for larger agencies, but it is something to keep in mind whenever you make a purchase that will function jointly for personal and professional usage.

3. Life Insurance Is Non-Deductible

You may have heard that you can deduct employee benefits from your tax bill. While this is somewhat true, there are exceptions to the rules. In most cases, you’ll only be able to claim a portion of what you pay unless you’re using something like a health reimbursement arrangement.

Life insurance, however, is always non-deductible, even when it’s included as part of the employee benefits package.

4. You Can’t Claim Grants or Rebates

Suppose you needed to upgrade your IT systems at the agency. As a small supplier, you applied to a government program for assistance with this upgrade. You were given a small grant or a tax rebate.

Those amounts must be deducted from the purchase amount, even if it’s a legitimate business expense. Essentially, this prevents businesses from claiming the same expense twice. If you’ve received financial assistance, you’ve already been paid for it once.

5. You Can’t Claim Owner Salary

If you’re the owner of the staffing agency and you draw from the business or pay yourself a salary, it may surprise you to know this is considered non-deductible by the CRA. While you can write off salaries for most other employees, your own is not considered a business expense in the same way.

The CRA maintains a comprehensive list of tax-deductible business expenses, which you should familiarize yourself with. If you’re still not sure, talk to the experts and get some good advice on what you can and cannot claim for your staffing agency. Whether you’re just starting a staffing firm or have been in business for a while, it pays to know what you can claim.

Everything You Need to Know about Starting a Successful Staffing Firm

Topics: Compliance and Legislation

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