Ontario Healthcare to Bill Back to Private (Company) Plans First

In Ontario, the new pharmacare program — which was set up by the previous Liberal Government to provide free coverage on more than 4,400 drugs to those under 24 — is being amended.  The Progressive Conservatives have changed the legislation to ensure that, for those who are covered under private plans – OHIP would bill those private plans first.

Health Minister Christine Elliot announced “since private insurance plans can cover thousands more drugs than those offered under OHIP+, those aged 24 and younger will be able to access more medications.”

A best practice for IS2 customers or employees, who want to know more about whether a medication is covered or which insurance plan is billed, they should always check with their healthcare provider to determine if medications are covered under private or OHIP insurance.

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WSIB New Model Failing Vulnerable Workers – According to Toronto Star

A new article in the Toronto Star points a stern finger at WSIB’s new organizational model and reports that the new way of doing business is failing workers.

Read more about the Star’s take on the WSIB’s new commitment to providing insurance services in the province of Ontario here:


Are you prepared for Significant Changes to Employment Standards in Ontario?

Significant amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) are expected in 2019. Bill 66, the Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act is scheduled for debate this February. If passed, this bill could yield positive outcomes for both businesses and employees across Ontario. The primary objective for the proposed amendments is to allow for improved cost savings and flexibility for employers and to optimize workforce scheduling for workers.

The following are important changes employers and employees should be aware of:

Excess hours of work and overtime averaging

In order to improve shift flexibility for employers, under Bill 66, employers will no longer need to apply for Ministry of Labour approval for excess weekly hours of work and overtime averaging. The maximum time that an employer could average an employee’s hours of work for determining overtime pay following these changes would be 4 hours.

Workplace ESA Posters

Currently, employers are always required to display an ESA poster at the work site. The new amendment would eliminate this requirement. In place of a physical on-site poster, workers would have access to a digital copy of the poster at all times and at the time of hire.

Visit www.is2.ca/esa for the most up to date ESA posters and documentation required to be provided to Temporary Employees.

Amendment to Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)

WHMIS regulation would be amended to allow for updated labels to be placed on existing chemical containers. Currently any existing chemicals that require updated labels would need to be disposed of and replaced resulting in significant expenses for employers.


For continued updates on changes to the Employment Standards Act in 2019, stay current with IS2.

Ontario Freezes Minimum Wage at $14.00 Until 2020

The Ontario government introduced sweeping labour reforms on Wednesday November 21st 2018. The new law will freeze the minimum wage at $14.00 per hour until 2020 and will cut 2 paid personal leave days for workers.
The change is intended to encourage job growth in the province of Ontario and reduce the burden of costs on businesses.

Originally, the minimum wage was set to rise to $15.00 in 2019 after an initial increase from $11.60 to $14.00 on January 1st 2018. Going forward, any future increases to the Ontario minimum wage will be tied to the rate of inflation. For now the minimum wage will remain at $14.00 until October 2020.

Additional changes introduced by the Conservative Government include:
• Workers earning less than $30,000 a year will be exempt from provincial income tax
• Workers earning above $38,000 will receive a tax cut
• Total personal leave days for workers will be reduced from 10 to 8

Regulations that will remain in place:
• Workers will be granted up to 10 days of leave if they or their child experience domestic or sexual violence
• Ontario workers are granted 3 weeks of paid vacation after 5 years of service

Alberta Minimum Wage Increases to $15.00

On October 1st 2018, Alberta became the first province in Canada to raise the minimum wage for workers to $15.00 per hour. This wage increase is the final stage of a plan set out by the NDP in 2015 promising to raise the minimum wage from the previous rate of $10.20 per hour. This increase will raise wages for approximately 254,000 workers across the province of Alberta.

Of The 254,000 Workers Impacted By The Minimum Wage Increase Approximately:
• 63% are female
• 37% are parents
• 53% work full-time
• 76% have permanent jobs

What Does A Higher Minimum Wage Mean?
• Reduced poverty
• Lower burden on social support programs
• Improve the quality of life for vulnerable people
• Improved employee satisfaction resulting in:
o Lower staff turn over
o Decreased expenses for recruitment and training

With improved satisfaction and productivity of employees, organizations may be in a better position to increase their profits and increase their overall growth over time. The increased minimum wage is also expected to drive increases in consumer spending, and lower wage inequality particularly for women.

Information For Employers
To further assist employers leading up to the transition to the $15.00 minimum wage, the Alberta government:
• reduced small business tax rates from 3% to 2%
• introduced the Enhanced Innovation Voucher and Small/Medium Enterprises Support program
• created the ministry of Economic Development and Trade to provide Alberta’s private sector job creators with a one-stop shop for economic development and diversification
• dedicated $34 billion over the next 5 years to support modern, efficient infrastructure for Alberta families and businesses
• provided more capital for ATB Financial and Alberta Enterprise to encourage investment in Alberta businesses
• expanded the mandate for the Alberta Investment Management Corporation
• reinstated the Summer Temporary Employment Program
• implemented the Canada-Alberta Job Grant, a six-year initiative with the Government of Canada to support employers in building a strong workforce through better trained workers
• introduced the Capital Investment Tax Credit to encourage investment and support job creation

British Columbia Minimum Wage Update

B.C.’s minimum wage went up by $1.30 on Friday to boost the province’s previous wage of $11.35 per hour to $12.65. This wage increase is the first of a multi-part plan to raise the living wage to just over $15 per hour by 2021.

In June 2019, B.C.’s minimum wage will rise another $1.20, taking it to $13.85.

Then, in June 2020, the minimum wage will increase 75 cents, to $14.60.

Finally, in June 2021, it will receive an increase of 60 cents, bringing B.C.’s minimum wage to $15.20 an hour.

The increases come as a result of recommendations from the independent Fair Wages Commission, which advised the provincial government on raising minimum hourly wages with increases that can be measured, and regulated so that the province can support the increases with the appropriate infrastructure.

Along with the minimum wage increase from $11.35 per hour to $12.65, there are additional changes that have been made. Below are additional details of what went in to effect this month.

Effective June 1, 2018:

  • Liquor server minimum wage increases 12.9% to $11.40 per hour, an increase of $1.30 per hour.
  • Resident caretaker minimum wage, per month, will increase 11.5% to $759.32 for those that manage from nine to 60 units (plus $30.43 per unit), or $2,586.40, for 61 or more units.
  • Live-in camp leader minimum wage, per day, will increase 11.5% to $101.24.
  • Live-in home support worker, alternate minimum wage, will be eliminated. For any workers remaining in this category, the general minimum wage will apply for all hours worked.

These wage increases are the first of four annual increases that will take effect on June 1 of each year.

In the agricultural sector, farm workers paid by piece rate will see an increase of 11.5 % as of Jan. 1, 2019.

By June 2021, British Columbia’s general minimum wage will rise to at least $15.20 per hour, and the separate lower liquor server wage will be eliminated.

British Columbia is one of a few provinces in Canada that have recently undergone or are planning a re-evaluation of their living wages. Currently, Ontario, at $14 per hour, and Alberta at $13.60 per hour, have the highest minimum wages in Canada. Alberta is planning to raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour in October.

Stay Informed – Public Holiday Pay Change

After reviewing submissions and feedback from a number of businesses in Ontario, on May 7, 2018, the Ontario government announced that it is going to be rolling back their changes to the public holiday pay formula that was implemented with the introduction of Bill 148 on January 1, 2018.

The Bill 148 amendment was highly criticized by employers as costly and confusing and greatly discouraged many employers from utilizing a temporary or seasonal workforce. For example, the Bill 148 method of evaluating public holiday pay required the payment of a full day of pay to any part-time worker who worked just one day in the pay period preceding the holiday. If that part-time worker had two part-time jobs and worked one day at each job in the preceding pay period, he or she would receive two days of pay for one public holiday.

The reinstatement of the old calculation method will come into force on July 1, 2018, which means that any holidays between now and then (such as the Victoria Day holiday) in May will still be subject to the new method of calculating holiday pay that requires employers to divide an employee’s regular wages earned in the pay period prior to the holiday by the number of days the employee worked in the pay period.

This will be the final holiday that follows the new holiday pay calculations, as on July 1st, 2018 Ontario will return to the old format as follows:

  • The employee’s public holiday pay for a given public holiday shall be equal to the total amount of regular wages earned and vacation pay payable to the employee in the four work weeks before the work week in which the public holiday occurred, divided by 20.

This could change the landscape of temporary and seasonal employment once again, and it’s important to keep up to date!

If you have any questions or feedback for this resource or are interested in subscribing to our newsletter to keep up to date on evolving trends in the staffing industry, feel free to email us at marketing@is2.ca

Equal Pay for Equal Work

On April 1, 2018, Ontario became the first jurisdiction in North America to mandate equal pay for equal work between casual, part-time, temporary and seasonal workers, and full-time or permanent workers.

Under the new rules, casual, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees cannot be paid at a rate of pay less than full-time or permanent employees if:

  • They do substantially the same kind of work, in the same establishment
  • Their work requires substantially the same skill, effort and responsibility
  • Their work is performed under similar working conditions

From a temporary staffing perspective, this means that any employee placed on a temporary assignment through a staffing company must be paid at the same rate as a full-time employee that has been hired directly if they’re doing the same kind of work.

These changes are the result of the province’s Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 –representing the largest update to Ontario’s labour laws in a generation. The provincial government raised the minimum wage to $14 an hour on January 1, 2018, and will further increase it to $15 an hour on January 1, 2019.

Other provisions of the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 from which the above information has been presented have already come into force, including more paid vacation time for employees with five years of employment with the same employer, and expanding and increasing several leaves of absence.


Employer Implications & Recommendations

To ensure compliance with these changes and to minimize the impact of these changes, provincially-regulated employers in Ontario should consider taking steps to:

  • Review current workforce in Ontario to determine if any employees at a facility are performing the same kind of work requiring the same skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions and are being paid different wages.
  • If the above applies to your workforce, then you should determine if there are exceptions (e.g., seniority system, merit system, etc). If none of the exceptions apply, consider increasing pay rates before a wage review request and to ensure employees are being paid equally, regardless of their employment status.
  • Prepare for part-time employees asking to have their rate of pay reviewed, in which case you will want to:
    • draft job descriptions that can  be used later on to justify differences in wages
    • Ensure everything is documented –  performance management and employee evaluations. These can be referred to in order to differentiate between the quality of work of different employees
    • Establish standard procedures for how employee wage reviews will be handled and how it will be communicated

Have questions or feedback for this resource?

Do you want to subscribe to our newsletter and get more information that can help you hire the right people?

Email us at marketing@is2.ca

Employer Branding Matters

Every company cares what potential customers think of their brand but not enough care what potential employees think. The reality is today’s candidates want more than just a job. Most people want to work for a company that provides an ideal employee experience.

According to a recent hiring statistical analysis for 2017, 84% of candidates would consider leaving their current company if another company with an excellent reputation offered them a similar job. Conversely, 11% of job seekers would turn down a job from a company with a negative reputation or brand even if they were unemployed.

A company’s brand strength is paramount to their continued success and this article will detail how you can ensure your company brand attracts and retains the right people!

What is your value proposition?

We’ve all heard this one. “Value proposition” is a nifty marketing phrase that refers to the description on why potential customers should use your organization’s services or buy your product. It’s a concise statement that sums up your competitive advantages in the industry. This concept has been shown time and time again to work when attracting new customers, yet so many companies don’t apply this concept to their own hiring strategies.

Creating an effective employer branding strategy starts with defining your employer value proposition. How are people going to know why you’re a great company to work for if you don’t show them?

When defining your company’s employer value proposition, consider some of the following:

Company Culture & Values

  • What is your office atmosphere or company personality?
  • How can you sum up your company culture and objectives into some strong values that you stand for?


  • The standard employee benefits like health insurance, retirement savings and time
  • The nice-to-have benefits like gym memberships, commuter benefits and tuition reimbursement.
  • Any other unique perks your company offers like employee discounts, Friday half days in the summer, travel opportunities, internal training programs, or a well-designed office.

Many companies already offer a number of these employee perks, but they don’t let candidates know about them in advance!

Make It Real!

The main thing to keep in mind when forming your employee value proposition is to be authentic and honest. Don’t make claims about your company that aren’t true or fail to provide the full picture of your culture. Doing so will damage your employer brand in the long run and cause numerous hiring and retention problems.

Your value proposition will be the backbone of all employer branding efforts so be sure to give it the attention it deserves.

Let the world see you!

Share the experiences of your employees and show everyone how great your work environment is.

The best way to do this is to give your employees the chance to express what they like about their role in ways that they are comfortable with. A couple things you could try:

  • Share posts on your website about workplace events, employee achievements and other company happenings.
  • Share photos of your workplace and team members on social media.
  • Create a great recruiting video that highlights your

Recruiting videos are becoming a large part of the employer branding strategy. Some companies (like us!) even use them to help provide orientations to their employees to ensure there are no surprises. Nobody likes to step in to day 1 at their new job and find out the reality is very different from the promise.

Encourage your employees to promote your Brand

Think of it this way: If you were a job seeker and you wanted to learn about a company or position, who would you trust to give you the information you need, the company’s marketing department or your friend who works there?

Something else to consider – 76% of people see companies whose executive leadership team use social media to communicate their brand as more trustworthy than those who don’t. That’s huge!

Live up to your reputation!

Okay, so now that everyone sees that your company is a fantastic place to work, you need to live up to that reputation when they are undergoing the hiring process. 69% of active job seekers will decide whether or not to apply to a company because of its brand, so it can be a real slap in the face to them if the hiring process isn’t in line with what they expected based on what’s been shared!

What makes for a positive candidate experience?

  • A page that shows your employee value proposition
  • An application process that is user friendly and, most importantly, not time consuming to complete
  • An interviewing process that is similarly not too lengthy and keeps the candidate updated.
  • A fair and painless salary
  • An onboarding process that sets the person you’ve just hired up for success.

Treating your candidates with respect keeps the best candidates interested and supports your company’s reputation as a great place to work.


Have questions or feedback for this resource?

Do you want to subscribe to our newsletter and get more information that can help you hire the right people?

Email us at marketing@is2.ca


Should you use a Staffing Agency?

Did you know the cost of hiring can exceed $5,000 per employee?

While some of that expense is in training and lost productivity, a large part of the cost is in the hiring process itself: how much time your managers spend discussing the opening and the objectives of the hire; advertising; screening; interviewing; re-interviewing; background checking; and everything else involved with making sure you’ve got the right person for the job.

Companies frequently take these steps only to find they have to restart the process when the hire falls through due to something outside of their control.

So why use a staffing agency? For smaller organizations, where employees’ time is already stretched thin, recruiting in-house is often not a feasible solution, nor do these companies have the resources to recruit effectively without losing focus in another critical area of their business. If you don’t have a dedicated recruiter, you’re pulling valuable work time away from other employees, time that affects your bottom line. Using a staffing agency may be the optimal choice if you want to see the most value out of each dollar spent on hiring.

How often do you hire?

When you’re considering bringing on a staffing agency, you should have an understanding of your hiring objectives in order to know how to best use the agency’s services.

Let’s say you’re only hiring once or twice per year, having a recruiter on staff is a cost you don’t need. An agency can get the right candidate in the door, screened and guaranteed. Your additional responsibilities will be minimal – set up meetings to see if they’re a good fit and make the hire once you’ve decided you’ve found the right person.

Let’s say you hire frequently:  you’re typically posting, interviewing, verifying, or onboarding. This can be a lot to handle for one person. Having an entire department to help would be great, but not every organization has this luxury. A staffing firm can be your HR department: They can take the bulk of the work off your hands and free you up to hire for quality, rather than quantity. In many cases, they even handle the payroll functions, which is another responsibility off your plate.

You are ALWAYS hiring. You’re growing, you have high turnover (if you ever get time, you might ask why), or you’re hiring to fill multiple seasonal spots. You need help!

Many of our clients hire 400+ seasonal staff members every spring to ready for the summer rush or every fall for the Christmas rush. It can be a challenge to find all these people when you’ve also got to worry about the logistics involved for each one of them. Some agencies are equipped to deal with this type of volume: They work with community agencies, foreign workers (and verify work visas for you), and other outreach programs to help with large staffing needs, not to mention they place a large focus on advertising for you.

Take advantage of the Guarantee!

In addition to the recruitment help, all agencies offer guarantee periods. If the hire doesn’t work out, you don’t pay and they start the search over, not you.

Consider that 62% of businesses have reported making the wrong hire within the last 2 years. As we know it can cost up to $5,000 to hire an employee, over half the businesses in North America may be spending double that in order to get the right person for the job.

Your guarantee period is an opportunity to assure the new hire is the right hire.

What about cost?

There are many types of agencies out there, with varied fee and guarantee structures. Here are the two main types you’ll see the most frequently:

These agencies are paid contingent on you hiring one of their candidates and not before then. They are paid to fill positions, not line up interviews.

Temporary or Temp to Perm
These agencies provide temporary workers who can come and go, or, if you find they’re a good fit, can transfer to your payroll. Their contract can be bought out for a fee, or after a length of time you can have them for free. There’s typically a sliding scale on the buyout: The sooner you take them off the agency payroll and onto yours, the higher the cost.

Keep in Mind!

The Canadian unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in 40 years. This means there are less people actively looking for work than ever. LinkedIn has previously reported that as little as 12% of people on their platform are actively seeking new employment. Agency recruiters won’t just wait for a quality candidate to walk in their door – they’ll target your competitors and the marketplace for people in similar positions, to see if anyone is interested in looking. Because the core function of an agency is recruiting, agency recruiters have the time to identify and reach out to passive candidates in a way that’s probably just not possible for your team.

Recruitment agencies can turn a month-long search into one that lasts just a few days. Knowing when and how to use them effectively can not only reduce the stress of recruiting, it can help you guarantee the right hire.


Have questions or feedback for this resource?

Do you want to subscribe to our newsletter and get more information that can help you hire the right people?

Email us at marketing@is2.ca