“ePayroll” is a term used by government to refer to immediately sharing, in digital form, the detailed payroll data of all workers with government every time organizations process that information. The government’s objective is to significantly reduce the administrative burden on employers, improve the worker experience, and provide government with authoritative real-time employment information to improve decision making. The federal government would also use real time payroll data to more effectively deliver programs to Canadians.
The National Payroll Institute, as an advisor to government and a dedicated advocate for the payroll profession, has successfully collaborated with federal and provincial governments on reducing red tape and related costs borne by employers. Helping to shape the government’s ePayroll initiative is an appropriate way to continue this mission in a period of rapid change in government policy, and the accelerated adoption of digital technology.
Employment Insurance Reform:
The technology used for Canada’s EI system has been in place for 50 years and is extremely outdated. As EI continues to be expanded to different kinds of workers, it has become evident that the 50-year old technology is not adequate for the work landscape of today.
As the Government of Canada works towards modernizing the EI system, a comprehensive analysis is warranted to ensure that enhancements and expansions to the program do not increase cost and administrative burden for employers who are responsible for funding 7/12 of EI premiums, and for remitting 100 per cent of employee and employer premiums to the federal government.
The National Payroll Institute represents employers, and advocates on behalf of payroll professionals to reduce payroll-related administrative burden. Through our EI risk brief, the Institute looks at possible changes to the EI program and identifies key questions that should first be asked in order to mitigate possible risks to employers, employees, and the government.
Greater harmonization across jurisdictions:
The National Payroll Institute continues to work with all levels of government to increase harmonization of legislation and regulations across jurisdictions — whether it relates to employment standards, workers’ compensation, or payroll administration. A recent survey of Institute members confirmed that greater harmonization across jurisdictions should continue to be a top priority.
Taxable benefits simplification:
Taxable benefits administration is a crucial part of the payroll function. This can be challenging, and National Payroll Institute members have voiced their concern. A majority of member responses to our recent advocacy survey indicated that taxable benefits simplification would make their job as a payroll professional more efficient. We are at the table with government, sharing best practices and recommendations that will simplify the administration of taxable benefits.
Workers’ compensation partnership with the Canada Revenue Agency:
Employers in industries that are covered by a Workers’ Compensation Board must register with and send payroll remittances directly to their local Board. Since employers already send payroll remittances to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) related to Canada Pension Plan contributions, Employment Insurance premiums, and income tax deductions, the current requirements result in employers having to send payroll remittances to two government bodies.
This administrative redundancy leads to inefficiencies for employers, as they are forced to juggle multiple and competing deadlines to ensure timely remittance, while also having to make additional trips to the bank to ensure that their WCB remittances are received on time. Since remittance obligations recur yearly, this redundancy will continue to affect employers on a regular basis barring intervention.
To address these issues, the National Payroll Institute recommended that Workers’ Compensation Boards partner with the CRA to contract out payroll remittance collection functions to the CRA. In effect, this would mean that employers would remit workers’ compensation premiums to the CRA which would direct these funds to the Board. While remittance collection would be through the CRA, provincial/territorial governments would continue to exercise sole authority over premium setting, work and safety policy, adjudication of claims, etc. This is a model that has already drastically decreased employer burden while increasing compliance in Nova Scotia and Quebec, and is currently being explored in Ontario.