dren became eligible to have their federal parental
insurance benefts paid over an 18-month period
rather than for 12 months after the birth or adoption of a child. Parents who opt to take more time of
will receive smaller monthly payments. Lawmakers
in Ontario approved legislation along the same lines.
Going one step further, the Liberal government,
led by Trudeau, has introduced the Employment Insurance Parental Sharing Beneft to increase the insurance coverage that parents could receive to up to
40 weeks. However, the full duration of paid leave
will be available only if the second parent―usually
the father―takes the extra fve weeks of. The plan
is based on Quebec’s model.
The proposal, which will go into efect in June 2019,
is a “use-it-or-lose-it scheme,” Durante says. “The hope
is that more fathers will take time of so their family
doesn’t lose out on the beneft.”
Changing attitudes about marijuana
have created unique challenges for
employers on both sides of the border. In the U.S., states have taken
the lead on regulating the substance. In Canada, federal legislation will make cannabis legal across
the country sometime between August
and September 2018, according to recent
estimates. But how that translates into specifc
workplace rules will vary from province to province,
according to Stam.
If you’re operating in Canada, consider revising the
following policies before marijuana becomes legal:
should set policies and clear expectations to ensure
people are ft to work,” Pau says.
Your guidance on pot―whether the drug is legal
or not―should be similar to your rules on alcohol
use. “If a workplace policy prohibits employees from
drinking alcohol on the job or at lunch, it will also
need to prohibit them from using cannabis during
work hours or on breaks,” Stam says.
Impairment tests for marijuana. Canadian
employers generally are not allowed to administer pre-employment or random alcohol and drug
tests in nonsafety-sensitive workplaces, since that
is considered discriminatory by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, a federal agency tasked
with protecting equal opportunity. “Testing for
impairment by marijuana is tricky, as drugs metabolize diferently from alcohol and can remain
detectable in the body long after the efects have
passed,” Stam says.
Duty to accommodate. Canadian employers have
a duty to accommodate employees with disabilities
under federal and provincial laws, so be mindful that
pot is sometimes used to treat an illness or medical
condition. According to statistics from Health Canada, a federal government department, more than
269,000 Canadians have signed up for legal access
to medical cannabis as of December 2017. Canadian
physicians are also increasingly willing to authorize
the substance for their patients, Health Canada reports. However, an accommodation must always be
balanced with worker safety, Stam says.
The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled in recent
years that employers cannot permit random, unannounced drug testing in safety-sensitive work environments like construction, health care and law enforcement or in resource-extraction industries such
as forestry, oil and gas drilling, and mining. Canadian
Canadian and U.S. HR practitioners face
similar issues, including a tightening
labor market, high turnover in the service
industry, low employee engagement
and increasing minimum wages in some
jurisdictions, says Joshua Ostrega, chief
operating officer and co-founder of
Montreal-based software development
company WorkJam, which has satellite
offices in the United States.
Other workforce developments HR
and employment law experts are tracking
include the following:
Predictive scheduling. There’s a push
in both the U.S. and Canada for legislation addressing consistent, stable hours
for shift work in health care, retail and the
Role of independent contractors.
The Canadian Revenue Agency, the
government tax department, has a litmus
test to determine whether a person is an
independent contractor or an employee
for tax purposes. As in the U.S., there
has been a debate about the difference
between the two.
Telecommuting. Telework is on
the rise in both the United States and
Canada. HR professionals in both places
continue to monitor how well remote
workers can do their jobs from a home
office or the local coffee shop.
Technology disruption. Canada has
more-robust privacy laws than the United
States. Any technology that touches on
security, surveillance or monitoring systems or that somehow intersects with an
employee’s e-mail or personal information
will require careful implementation.