LAWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
In the 2019 Pipeline
January 1: Bill 32 ESA changes take effect
Oct. 26: A 70¢ increase that takes effect April 1, 2109 will keep PEI’s minimum wage at the top of the Atlantic provinces at $12.25 per hour.
Dec. 5: Add PEI to the list of jurisdictions to revise their ESA laws in accordance with new EI parental and maternity leave benefits. Highlights of Bill 32:
- Maternity leave increased from 11 to 13 weeks
- Parental leave increased from 35 to 62 weeks
- Adoption leave increased from 52 to 62 weeks.
Dec. 5: Other ESA changes made by newly passed Bill 32:
- Waiting period for sick leave cut from 6 to 3 months continuous employment
- Compassionate care and support for family member leave increased from 8 to 28 weeks.
Dec. 5: Following in the footsteps on New Brunswick, PEI passed Bill 42 adding new harassment protections to its OHS Act. Highlights:
- Clarify that Act’s purpose includes ensuring workers’ “psychological wellbeing” at workplace
- Employer need no longer post OHS orders involving workplace harassment that include identifying information about individuals involved
- New duty to implement harassment prevention policy and investigate complaints
- New worker duty to comply with employer harassment policy
- Clarification that JHSC/health safety representative duty to receive and investigate safety complaints doesn’t apply to harassment complaints.
Workers’ Compensation Coverage
Dec. 5: Highlights of workers’ comp changes under Bill 40 which received Royal Assent:
- Workers’ comp coverage for volunteer firefighters
- New presumption that heart injuries suffered by fire inspectors or firefighters within 24 hours of responding to an emergency is work-related
- List of other diseases presumed work-related for fire inspectors or firefighters.
Workers’ Compensation Rates
Jan. 1: The 2019 average assessment is $1.58 per $100 payroll, 2¢ below last year’s rate. Calculated strictly on the basis of actual costs, the average would have been $1.66 but because of the system’s strong financial position, the WCB was able to apply an 8¢ downward adjustment. In addition to lower rates, the WCB will distribute a share of the surplus to eligible employers during November. Meanwhile, maximum assessable earnings increase from $53,400 to $55,000.