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.
A major change to Alberta business law kicked in on Jan. 1, 2018, with employment standard changes added to Bill 17. Under the new laws, overtime pay must be at least 1.5 times an employee’s regular wage unless a written agreement provides otherwise. Additionally, employees with disabilities must be paid the same minimum wage as other employees. Minimum wage will increase to $15 per hour on Oct. 1, 2018. Unpaid job protection for maternity leave has also been extended to 63 weeks.
Changes to Alberta tax law may also affect businesses in the new year. The provincial carbon tax rate has now increased to $30 from $20 per tonne. This will add an additional 2.24 cents per litre of gasoline and 2.68 cents per litre of diesel. In Edmonton, city residents will also see an increase in residential property taxes, as well as an expected increase in the cost of building permits and home renovation permits. Development and building fees also increased on Jan. 1 in Edmonton.
The new employment laws will be backed by an online enforcement system. Employers in violation of the new business law standards may be fined up to $6,000. Those facing a business or employment dispute should contact an Alberta lawyer for support.
Source: Edmonton Journal, “New year, new charges: Fees, taxes and employment changes for 2018“, Emma Graney, Dec. 29, 2017