From the impending celebrations at our Nation’s Capital to local celebrations including waving our flag proudly from our homes – Canada’s birthday is the biggest celebration this country has seen in well…150 years.
As the climax of Canada 150 celebrations is fast-approaching, it’s a fantastic opportunity to reflect on how employers manage celebrations in the workplace.
Here are five lessons employer’s can learn from Canada’s Confederation birthday:
1. Events are an effective way to build workplace culture and credibility
If our attendance at Stanley Cup playoff games or the Olympics when a Canadian is in the running is any indication of our devotion to Canada, it’s probably safe to say that we live in an extremely patriotic country. Canada’s reputation lends itself to celebrating 150 years of Confederation in true red, white, maple leaf fashion. Typically seen as a friendly and happy country, it would be weird if we didn’t celebrate this occasion.
Public declarations and celebrations of milestones are opportunities for employers to recognize events in a way that builds their company culture and consequently, their credibility. It’s a lot easier to justify your company’s core values when you have acted on them in a public way. Just as Canada 150 depicts values that we cherish, workplace celebrations should do the same.
2. Perks are a valuable tool that often get overlooked
Canadians (and tourists) were thrilled when the Free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass was announced. Providing free entry to places managed by Parks Canada, the passes were ordered by two million people by January 5, 2017. People love receiving something that’s free and offers some kind of benefit.
Similarly, employers can easily create excitement in the workplace by offering perks. It doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming, it just has to be thoughtful. Bringing Timbits into work is often enough to help employees have a better and brighter work day! This will contribute to boosting employee morale and cultivating a happier workplace environment.
3. It’s possible to make long distance work
Maybe you’re a consulting firm like us and have employees working from various locations, or maybe you’re a large company with offices and employees scattered across the country or continent. Either way, the long-distance ties don’t have to kibosh the celebratory plans. Canada 150 is a huge milestone equalling a huge initiative. There’s no way that every Canadian could gather in the same physical space to participate in the same event. As a result, we are seeing many small and some larger celebrations happening from coast to coast which give everyone the chance to join in on the fun.
If having all of your employees together in one place to celebrate a victory or accomplishment is just not possible, that’s ok. The important thing is to communicate the occasion to all employees and to make sure that everyone is given the same opportunity to celebrate in similar ways.
An effective way to involve employees who are in various locations is by providing them with an opportunity to participate on social media or within a company contest. Using hashtags, sharing pictures, and promoting specific content is a great way to make it easy for employees to participate in a celebration despite where they might be in the world. Creating these opportunities can ensure that whether your employees are in Sweden, Saskatoon, or scattered throughout the same city, they can all be celebrating.
4. Use events as an opportunity for learning
Canada 150 has created a platform for respectful and thoughtful dialogue on Canada’s history, including both positive and negative parts of our past. In spite of some conflict, this initiative has provided the opportunity to have these discussions more openly as they relate to an event and occasion.
Maybe your workplace celebration is a good opportunity to talk about where the company started, where it’s moving, and how employees can get on board with plans for the future. Take the opportunity to share meaningful information with employees if and when it is appropriate to the event. Pairing celebrations with applicable content is a great way to engage employees with information that otherwise might not be as exciting for them.
Employers can also focus on creating opportunities through events and occasions to learn more about their employees and to encourage an open communication environment. For example, Canada 150 lends itself to allowing employees to share their backgrounds, where they came from, and any interesting stories that may surround their family history. Doing this can increase employee engagement, making them feel heard and valued, and in turn increasing their happiness within the workplace. Happy employees equals happy clients/customers - an all-around win!
5. Remember the bigger picture
Although an event is typically a time to have fun, socialize, and take a break from regular routine, it can also invite the potential for disagreements. Remembering the bigger picture can help you to remind people of the cause for celebration in order to guide them back to the root of the event.
HR managers can set the tone of celebrations by acknowledging potential areas of conflict before they actually happen. Communicating to employees that everyone has different opinions that are all welcome, but that they need to be shared in a mature and respectful way, is a great approach that ensures employees have the right mindset going into a celebration. With regards to Canada 150, remind workers that it’s not about division, it’s about celebrating where we all came from!
Canada 150 has not been without conflict – whether it’s neglecting to acknowledge darker parts of our history or questioning how much the government spent on the initiatives. However, focusing on Canada’s accomplishments and contributions is a great way to remember the reason why we are celebrating. On this Canada Day, let’s remember to be thankful for the beautiful country we live in and the freedom we live with each day.
If you have any questions regarding how you can help build employee morale and cultivate a better workplace environment, Clear Path is happy to provide you with advice and support. You can contact Clear Path President, Anna Aceto-Guerin at email@example.com or by phone at 519-624-0800.
We hope you have a wonderful, relaxing, and safe Canada Day weekend!
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The WSIB recently introduced a Work-Related Chronic Mental Stress Policy to support Bill 127 which the Ontario government passed on May 17, 2017. With 39% of Ontario workers indicating that they would not tell their managers if they had a mental health problem (Source: CAMH), this policy is a positive step towards ending the stigma surrounding mental health diagnoses, particularly in the workplace.
About Bill 127
Also referred to as the Stronger, Healthier Ontario Act, “Bill 127 includes amendments to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act…to allow entitlement to chronic mental stress for workplace injuries that occur on or after January 1, 2018”. The amendment was a result of the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeal Tribunal finding that part of the WSIB’s Operational Policy “violated the equality guarantee in section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and were unconstitutional”.
Source: Hicks Morley
The drafted policy would provide entitlement for traumatic mental stress (ex. someone witnessing a horrific workplace accident), and chronic mental stress (ex. someone being bullied by co-workers). Stress caused by changes to the worker’s employment (ex. change in job duties) would not be covered under the new policy.
According to the WSIB, “work-related chronic mental stress is caused by a substantial work-related stressor or series of stressors”. When evaluating the seriousness of a stressor, its intensity and duration are often examined. Situations such as harassment and bullying in the workplace are definitely seen as stressors that would contribute to chronic mental stress.
In order for a traumatic mental stress or chronic mental stress claim to be ruled on, there has to be a diagnosis in accordance with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Examples may include:
Source: WSIB Ontario
Your Input and Feedback
The WSIB has an open consultation on the policy until July 7, 2017. If you’d like to provide your feedback on the proposed policy, you can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions regarding WSIB claims management, policy development, or other mental health or other workplace issues/topics, our team at Clear Path is happy to provide you with assistance. You can contact Clear Path President, Anna Aceto-Guerin at email@example.com or by phone at 519-624-0800.
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June 15th is the anniversary of Bill 168, Ontario’s workplace violence and harassment legislation. Introduced seven years ago, Bill 168 places an obligation on employers to take the necessary precautions to protect their employees from workplace violence.
Consequently, part of an employer’s responsibility under the legislation is to perform a risk assessment (at least once per year) to evaluate the risk of violence and harassment in their workplace. Seeing as June 15th is fast approaching, have you had a chance to do your annual assessment? What is entailed in this kind of assessment?
What a risk assessment involves
According to the legislation, risk assessments for workplace violence and harassment should be conducted at least once per year, but also whenever there is a significant company change (i.e. moving offices, adjusting customer service processes, etc.). An assessment will look at physical hazards, the history of workplace violence or harassment in your company, and research into incidents at similar businesses.
The risk assessment should help your company identify which areas of your processes and procedures need to be modified in order to reduce the risk of violence or harassment from occurring. This can range from changing a procedure for handling money to addressing standards for employees who work alone. The results of this assessment have to be communicated to the H&S Committee and/or employees.
How to get started
Knowing where to begin with your assessment can be overwhelming. With this in mind, Clear Path created a DIY package to assist employers in implementing a thorough and effective workplace violence and harassment program, including a risk assessment tool that you can use year over year. It includes the following resources:
Clear Path is also able to help employers become compliant with Workplace Violence and Harassment and Sexual Harassment legislation through personalized service and consultation. To learn more, click here.
If you have any other questions, please contact Clear Path President, Anna Aceto-Guerin, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-624-0800.
We wish you success with your assessment, thanks for reading!
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Both Alberta and Ontario have recently begun to overhaul their Employment Standards Act (ESA) and Labour Relations Act (LRA). For Ontario, these changes may not be as pressing as they are for Alberta, who hasn’t substantially reviewed or updated their Acts since 1988. Nevertheless, both provinces’ residents seem to have the same issues with the changes – the lack of time to prepare for them.
The proposals themselves are not bad, but they have the potential to cause negative repercussions if employers don’t have time to adjust to them in an effective and healthy way. In order to better examine the issues at hand, let’s look at some of the proposed changes:
What does this mean for employers?
This is the question that many people have been asking. In theory the proposals sound great, but what about small business who may not be able to afford hiring as many employees as they require given the minimum wage increase? And leaves without doctor’s notes are nice… until employers have difficulty tracking employee attendance and have no way of making sure that the employee absence is justified.
When it comes down to it, these kinds of changes are bound to cause some dispute. Generally, employers may just need more time to strategize how they’re going to adjust. Inevitably, systems and procedures in workplaces will have to be changed in order to meet the new legislation.
What employers can do
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for employers to follow in preparing for these changes. Depending on your resources in house, employers will have to customize their approach to this change, but there are some general steps to take in starting this process:
1. Do your research and understand the changes
This topic has been covered by a lot of media and is also available on the Government of Ontario website. As an employer, it is a good idea to do your research and really understand what the changes are. Make sure you are reading updated information as there were articles issued before the Government announced the actual revision plans.
2. Review and update your current policies and procedures
The best way to understand what these changes will mean for your company is to review your current processes and identify what areas will or are likely to be affected by the new legislation. This will help you to be organized and aware of the changes you’ll need to make moving forward.
3. Talk to your employees about the changes and how they’ll be implemented
An effective way to ensure that these changes do not negatively affect workplace culture is to communicate with employees about the situation and what your approach will be in making the revisions. Because the media is covering this topic, employees are likely to be receiving a lot of information that can be overwhelming and unclear. Creating an open dialogue with employees and keeping them informed ensures that everyone in the workplace is on the same page.
4. Try to make the transition gradual
It’s hard on everyone, employers and workers, to have drastic change in the workplace overnight. It is best to strategize on how the changes you need to make can be implemented gradually instead of all at once. This makes the entire process less stressful for you and the employees.
At Clear Path, we are happy to help you with policy development and strategies on how to implement these new legislative changes. Contact Anna Aceto-Guerin, Clear Path’s President for information on how we can assist you in this process.
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Employer Level Premium Rate Adjustments
This blog is the final chapter of a three-part series which examines the fundamental proposed changes to WSIB’s method of business classification and application of premium rates. Part one of this series explored how WSIB proposes to re-categorize Ontario businesses into 34 industries, based solely on “business activity”. Part two dove into how the WSIB planned to maintain a fair premium rating through the implementation of a “Class Level Premium Rate Setting.”
The final question on everyone’s mind is how the new system will affect potential rebate and surcharges. This blog will outline how the WSIB proposes on rewarding and encouraging employers to improve their health and safety outcomes.
If I have minimal claims, will I still receive a rebate?
No, but you will also no longer receive a surcharge! Remember in Part Two of this series when we talked about the cabinet making company’s competitor who was recently showcased in the media for a string of serious workplace accidents? One would expect the company to receive a hefty surcharge from WSIB come September. Not anymore! Under the proposed system, the WSIB is now planning on setting employer centric premium rates that will consider the individual employer’s own claim experience for the upcoming year and will gradually move the employer toward a premium rate that is more reflective of their own claim experience. Simply put, any increase or decrease in one year’s claim costs will be reflected in the following year’s PREMIUM RATE, as opposed to a rebate or surcharge.
In Part Two of this series, we briefly touched on how WSIB will calculate this adjustment through risk. The remainder of this chapter will provide a high-level look at WSIB’s proposed nine-step process calculating Employer Actual Premium Rates.
Step A: Determining an Employer’s Actuarial Predictability
In this step, WSIB will determine how much an employer’s premium rate will be affected by their own individual claim experience versus the collective experience of their respective class and will be based primarily on insurable earnings and the number of allowed claims in a given year. For example, employers with high insurable earnings and a high total number of claims will have more consideration placed on their individual experience, as opposed to those with lower insurable earnings and a low number of total claims, whose consideration will be more heavily placed on the collective experience of their class.
Step B: Determining an Employer’s Weighted Claims Cost
The WSIB is proposing to review all of the claims costs that occurred over a rolling six year period. This means that for the 2017 premium year, WSIB would use 2010 to 2015 injury years.
Step C: Determining an Employer’s Weighted Insurable Earnings
The WSIB would then obtain the insurable earnings for the same six year period.
Step D: Determining an Employer’s Risk Profile
Using steps B and C, the WSIB would then determine an employer’s risk profile using the following formula.
Step E: Determining the Class Risk Profile
In order to compare how the employer’s risk profile stands against the class risk profile, the WSIB will need to obtain the total claims costs and insurable earnings within the employer’s class.
Step F: Determining an Employer’s Adjusted Risk Profile
The WSIB would then multiply the employer’s Actuarial Predictability Factor (Step A) against their Risk Profile (Step D) in order to obtain an employer’s Adjusted Risk Profile. By using an adjusted Risk Profile, the WSIB is better able to generate a premium rate that is reflective of the employer’s own past experience, while not subjecting them to unpredictable premium rate fluctuations.
Step G: Determining an Employer’s Risk Profile Index
The WSIB would then assess the employer’s results against the class risk profile (Step E) to determine how this employer performed versus the average of all the other employers in the same class.
Step H: Determining an Employer’s Projected Premium Rate
In order to calculate this, the WSIB will need to determine the employer’s target RISK BAND relative to the Class Target Premium Rate, as well as the collective cost component of the class.
What’s a RISK BAND? Under the proposed system, each employer’s premium rate will be adjusted higher or lower than the Class Projected Premium Rate based on the risk that the employer brings to the system. In short, Risk Bands are hierarchical series of divisions within each class where each division represents a different level of risk where employers will be placed, relative to the risk band corresponding to the Class Projected Premium Rate. Employer therefore with similar risk profiles would be grouped together and pay a common premium rate.
Step I: Determining an Employer’s Actual Premium Rate
In this step, the WSIB will gradually move an employer toward their Project Premium Rate in a manner that would enable them to better predict their WSIB premiums from one year to the next using a “three risk band limitation movement”.
A Gradual Approach
This gradual approach to what WSIB considers greater employer accountability will arguably provide an opportunity for employers to take steps to address workplace drivers of their high claims costs. The WSIB is proposing to structure the gradual approach as follows:
We want to hear from you! Contact Anna Aceto-Guerin from Clear Path Employer Services with your questions on the Proposed Rate Framework’s Employer Level Premium Rate Adjustments. Want to learn more about how to get yourself in a prime position on your NEER prior to the implementation of this new system? Join us for our upcoming NEER workshops to learn more.
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