Provincial laws and taxes are often the cause of businesses changing locations. This is a current concern in Manitoba, where energy efficiency programs and cuts to advertising may be contributing to the move of at least one company to Alberta. Provinces often have to weigh the importance of certain new laws with the possible repercussions from the business community.
Federal regulations often play a major role in business operations. For Alberta oil sands and pipelines, environmental regulations are a constant business law concern. However, the federal government has recently announced that it plans to not require Alberta energy businesses to pass a tough proposed environmental assessment as long as they fit under the province's existing regulatory plan.
As many business owners know, changes to provincial and federal legislation can have a major impact on operations. In Alberta, business law changes regarding provincial sales tax have been tabled and turned down multiple times since PST was repealed in 1937. Today, every other province has a provincial sales tax while Alberta will be continuing without one under the province's 2018 budget.
Legal issues can have serious consequences for individuals and businesses alike. In Sherwood Park, a dispute between a landlord and his commercial tenant has forced a health club to close its doors. Business law issues, including those around rental agreements, often force businesses to relocate or close altogether.
When businesses break labour or safety codes, they may face a variety of punishments. One Lethbridge restaurant has been under close inspection since Alberta Health Services found evidence of foreign workers sleeping there on mattresses. This violated provincial business law related to health in food services and possibly labour, though Alberta Labour cleared the restaurant of any wrongdoing.
Statistics are often used to inform lawmakers and citizens. Figures about the number of businesses that closed during the economic downturn in Alberta are often quoted in business law discussions, but how accurate are the commonly cited numbers? A recent analysis shows that the oft-cited statistic of 7,000 or even 11,000 lost businesses in Calgary may not be as accurate as previously thought.
Laws governing employers can change quickly, so it is important for business owners to stay aware of new developments. In Alberta, some owners have been caught off-guard by business law changes affecting labour. While most were aware of minimum wage changes, regulations governing holiday pay are also going to affect companies across the province.
A new year often brings legislative changes for Canadians. In Alberta, business owners should be aware of the changes to business law that come into effect in 2018. Along with changes to labour laws, tax increases on carbon and renovation permits may affect businesses across the province. Workers should also take note of the changes which affect their employee rights.
Restitution for business malpractice can be challenging, especially for large businesses whose practices affected a large number of customers. Loblaw Cos. Ltd. was found by a Competition Bureau investigation to be participating in a scheme to increase packaged bread prices for over 14 years. To make amends for these business law violations, they are offering customers who purchased the price-fixed bread in Alberta and throughout Canada $25 gift cards, a move that could cost the company as much as $150 million.
The upcoming legalization of recreational marijuana has led to many legal questions. Among these is the question of how employee use of the drug should be considered under Alberta business law. Human resources professionals across the province and the country are considering how use or abuse of the drug should be considered under workplace regulations, especially those where use of marijuana could be a safety or productivity risk.