Health & Safety | Human Resources | Labour | National

2020 provincial Workers’ Compensation updates for retailers

April 13, 2020

Deferral of payments and related measures – listed below from West to East

Governments and organizations across the country have deferred a variety of payments to help retailers with compensation of their workers during the COVID-19 outbreak. Retail Council of Canada has summarized the key programs and measures by province that retailers of all sizes need to consider.

British Columbia

As of March 26, 2020, WorkSafeBC is postponing the payment deadline for Q1 2020, considering the uncertainty and challenges many employers are facing during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

If your business reports payroll and makes payments on a quarterly basis, it may be to your advantage to report your Q1 2020 payroll in order to ensure your account balance is accurate and your clearance status is not negatively impacted.

  • However, you will not be charged a penalty if you do not pay your premium by your usual first quarter deadline of April 20. You can defer payment without penalty until June 30, 2020, although you can still pay your full premiums before then if you are able by using our online services.

Retailers who report payroll on an annual basis do not need to report their 2020 payroll or pay their 2020 premiums until March 2021.

Additional resources

Alberta

As of March 23, 2020: the Alberta government announced new measures to provide immediate financial support to private sector employers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • All private sector employers/retailers will have their 2020 WCB premiums deferred to 2021.
  • When the Board resumes invoicing for 2020 premiums in 2021, small- and medium-sized private sector retailers will have 50 per cent of their 2020 premiums waived.
  • Invoices for 2020 premiums have been stopped for the remainder of the year and WCB will refund retailers who have already made payments towards their 2020 premiums.
  • No interest charges will be applied for unpaid 2020 premiums

Additional resources 

Saskatchewan

As of March 30, 2020: The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) is introducing additional relief measures for retailers who are unable to pay their WCB premium payments.

Effective April 1 until June 30, 2020, the WCB will waive penalties and interest charges for late premium payments.

To provide further relief for Saskatchewan employers, the WCB is:

  • Forgiving interest and penalties for late payments on 2020 premiums applied in the month of March.
  • Prioritizing employer payroll revisions to help retailers reduce their premiums.
  • Suspending payroll audits until further notice except in situations where a retailer may be eligible for a refund.

Retailers who have reduced their workforce are encouraged to submit revisions to their 2020 assessable payroll estimates, which the WCB will use to recalculate their required premiums. Retailers who have concerns about paying their 2020 premiums should contact the WCB to discuss their options.

Additional resources 

Manitoba

As of March 18, 2020:  Given the economic uncertainties, retailers may be challenged with cash flow and require temporary relief from their WCB payment obligations. In response, the WCB of Manitoba will:

  • Defer premium payments until the end of May 2020.
  • Late payment penalties will be waived until further notice.
  • Extend the payroll reporting deadline without penalties until the end of May.
  • Ensure that coverage remains active for accounts that choose to defer payments until the end of May. Clearances will remain in good standing.

Note: These dates may change as the government continues to assess the situation.

Change your payroll estimate

Businesses/retailers that are expecting to see a dramatic change in their payroll compared to what they initially reported to the WCB earlier this year can submit a revised 2020 payroll estimate to the WCB and this year’s premium will be adjusted accordingly. The quickest and most effective way to submit revised payroll would be to send an email with your account number to [email protected]

Deferred payments

Given the uncertainty of how long the pandemic will last, making a premium payment after May 2020 could still be difficult. The WCB will continue to monitor the situation and timeframes will change accordingly. If your business requires additional time to make a payment, WCB will work with you to discuss alternate payment options or deferring future pre-authorized payments. For more information contact Assessment Services:

Additional information 

Ontario

As of March 26, 2020: All retailers covered by the WSIB’s workplace insurance are automatically eligible for the financial relief package.

  • This means that retailers can defer premium reporting and payments until August 31, 2020. This premium deferral impacts businesses who report and pay monthly, quarterly or annually based on their insurable earnings.
  • Additionally, no interest will accrue on outstanding premium payments and no penalties will be charged during this six-month deferred period.

Additional information 

Quebec

As of March 20, 2020: In order to help retailers in connection with the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Commission for Standards, Fairness, Health and Safety at Work (CNESST) is implementing exceptional measures.

Starting March 20/2020 and until further notice:

  • Retailers have until August 31, 2020 to make their payment of their Statement of Account linked to the CNESST contribution. In addition, no penalty or interest will be charged during this period.
  • The deadline for filing the 2019 Wage Statement is extended. Employers have until June 1st, 2020 to file.

The CNESST will continue to monitor the situation and timeframes may change accordingly.

Additional resources 

New Brunswick

As of March 20, 2020:  Work Safe NB announced that:

  • For New Brunswick retailers, assessment premiums related to employer payrolls for February, March and April will be deferred for three months without interest charges. This affects retailers who pay their premiums on a monthly basis. It is not a permanent reduction in assessments payable, but a temporary postponement of payment.
  • The premiums will continue to accrue without interest. The deferral is not a permanent reduction in assessments payable, but a temporary postponement of payment to help ease the current financial burden of the business community.
  • In June, when premium payments resume, WorkSafeNB is committed to working with retailers, to establish a payment plan for the deferred months that best meets your needs.

Additional resources

Nova Scotia

As of March 20, 2020: WCB Nova Scotia Is:

  • Working in partnership with the Government of Nova Scotia, it will defer all employer premium payments for three months. Late fees and interest will not be charged until further notice.
  • This temporary change means that covered retailers will not have to worry about paying WCB premiums until July 2020.
  • Retailers pay premiums to the WCB on a wide range of payment frequencies. The announcement means that for all employers/retailers, no payments for WCB premiums are due until July 2020. Late payment and interest are deferred.
  • While those premiums will accrue, they do not need to be paid, and interest and late payment fees will be waived until further notice.

Additional information

Prince Edward Island

As of March 24, 2020: WCB will:

  • Defer all assessment due dates related to 2020 employer payrolls. This temporary change means that covered retailers will not have to pay WCB premiums until June 30, 2020.
  • Neither interest nor penalties will accrue during this time.

Much has changed since retailers filed their 2020 estimated payrolls just a few weeks ago and the Board is asking for retailers to submit any revisions to their 2020 payroll estimates before May 15th to ensure that it is reflected on their June statement in assessment amounts due.

Additional resources

Newfoundland & Labrador

As of March 2020:

  • WorkplaceNL is deferring the collection of employer assessment payments and waiving interest charges or penalties until June 30, 2020.
  • The deferral will be applied to all existing payment plans and post-dated cheques. Retailers do not need to contact WorkplaceNL.

Services that are continuing:

  • All connect online services, including clearance letters
  • Health and safety advisory services
  • WorkplaceNL-hosted health and safety
  • New employer registrations
  • Optional Personal Coverage for independent operators
  • Account updates

Payments from retailers by pre-authorized debit, cheque, money order or through your financial institution – cash and Interac® are not accepted.

Insured retailers will not have to pay assessments until July 2020. The deferral will be applied to all existing payment plans and post-dated cheques.

Additional resources

Yukon

As of March 17, 2020: The Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board (YWCHSB) is offering two reliefs

  • The opportunity to revise a retailer’s annual payroll estimates. This could result in lower assessment premiums. Employers/Retailers may even be eligible for a refund of their 2020 assessment premiums if they have experienced a significant change in their account due directly to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as: having projects cancelled, having bookings cancelled, or a significant decrease of staff.
  • The opportunity to defer a retailer’s assessment premiums without penalty or interest charges to a date that is appropriate for an employers/retailers’ business situation.

Additional resources

Northwest Territories

As of April 8, 2020: The Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) announced relief measures for employers who are unable to make their WSCC assessment payments

The deferral of a retailer’s assessment payment means that retailers currently registered with the WSCC can move to two equal installments paid in August and October 2020. The financial relief measures do not apply to the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Government of Nunavut which remain on a standard four installment schedule.

All retailers with changes to their workforce as a result of COVID-19 are encouraged to look at their payroll and submit a revised estimate to the WSCC for their 2020 assessable payroll as soon as possible. Estimated payroll includes payroll for workers, casual labourers, and any contractors you are covering for work taking place in the Northwest Territories and/or Nunavut in the current calendar year.

Additional resources

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