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Author Archive - Alan McEwen

Alan R. McEwen‘s involvement in payroll spans over 20 years. As a practitioner, he has implemented and managed outsourced payroll operations for both large and small employers. As a consultant, he has worked with many organizations, public and private, on HR/payroll process re-engineering, strategic systems decisions and forensic payroll audits. Read more

Have SIN card changes been well thought out?

In its omnibus budget Bill C-38, the federal government is giving itself the ability to eliminate the use of physical Social Insurance Number cards. According to an article in the May 16 issue of the Globe and Mail, actual SIN cards will no longer be issued as of March 2014. Currently Employment Insurance and Canada Pension Plan legislation requires employers to ask to see the actual card.


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What’s wrong with this picture? Settlement excludes amount of vacation pay owing

In Ontario, employers owe vacation pay on employee wages. Wages are defined in section 1 of the Employment Standards Act to include “any payment required to be made by an employer to an employee.” Here is where it gets tricky. In Ontario, the employment standards may require two separate types of payments to an employee who is terminated without cause.


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Researching budget changes

The day after the federal budget, it might be useful to share some thoughts about researching this budget, as well as related provincial budgets, for changes that might affect payroll source deduction and reporting.


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Nortel, robo-calls and refusing unlawful employer instructions

Employers normally have the right to expect that instructions to employees will be faithfully carried out. But what happens when the employer asks that employees do something dodgy or potentially illegal? What would you do when faced with an employer request you felt might not be within the law?


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Advising departing employees on their right to EI benefits

Employers are often asked by their employees for advice on Employment Insurance. Specifically, if they will be able to qualify for EI benefits. Employers should know what to say in response to such questions.


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Québec and Ontario sales taxes on group employee benefits

Employee benefits are subject to provincial sales in both Ontario and Québec, at 8 and 9 percent respectively. These sales taxes only apply to coverage provided through group plans so, for example, term life insurance provided to just one individual is not subject to tax. These taxes are separate from the normal HST, GST or QST that apply in these provinces. These taxes apply to both employee and employer payments of premiums for the coverage or benefits supplied.


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CRA and MRQ 2012 source deduction and reporting changes

These are the most important things you need to know before you begin your first 2012 payrolls and while preparing to issue T4s, T4As and RL-1s for 2011. We break this down between new reporting requirements for the 2011 tax year and new source deduction requirements for payments made after January 1, 2012.


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Supplemental Unemployment Benefit (top-up) plan reporting

We set up a Supplemental Unemployment Benefit (SUB) plan in the last year (also known as a top-up plan). How do I report the payments our employees received under the plan in 2011? Before answering this question, let’s clarify a couple of terms…


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Is severance pay required when an employee is terminated?

When I speak at conferences, I am often asked the following question: “Is severance pay required when an employee is terminated?”

Before this question can be answered, we have to first confront the difficulty that some payroll terms traditionally used to describe both termination, as well as any payments resulting from this event, haven’t always been defined with the greatest of clarity. My preference has always been for those terms that convey the clearest meaning of the related employment standards and source deduction requirements.


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Changes to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contribution rules in 2012

Starting in 2012, the federal and provincial governments are making a series of changes to the Canada Pension Plan that affect employees aged between 60 and 70. These changes permit CPP and QPP contributions for employees when CPP or QPP retirement benefits are received, before employees turn 70 years of age. These changes bring the CPP into line with similar changes made to the QPP in 1997.The purpose, in part, is to offer more support to employees who wish to phase in their retirement.


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Payroll deductions relating to long term disability premiums

Recently, one of our subscribers was wondering how to deal with payroll deductions relating to long-term disability (LTD) premiums. They wanted to know if the amount they deduct from the employee’s paycheque must include the Ontario sales tax on the LTD premium?


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