It’s been a busy month! Many provinces announced their 2024 budgets with major initiatives that may impact how you pay your employees. Several other provincial changes will have an effect on your payroll, like updates to minimum wage and paid sick leave. We’ve summarized the updates below so you have everything you need to make sure your employees are paid correctly and on time.

This month’s roundup includes:

  • Provincial budget updates and what that means for your payroll
  • Minimum wage increases for Ontario and Manitoba
  • Bill 149 comes into effect in Ontario
  • New incentive payment for wildland firefighting staff in Ontario
  • PEI paid sick leave increase
  • Amendments to Manitoba’s long-term leave
  • Non-refundable tax credit for Québec’s labour-sponsored fund
  • Newfoundland OHSC changes

Read on for more details on this month’s Canadian payroll updates.

Provincial budget updates


The newly approved 2024 provincial budget for Alberta includes several payroll tax changes, including:

New personal income tax bracket

The 2024 budget includes a schedule to phase in a new personal income tax bracket of eight percent on the first $60,000 of income. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The tax reduction will be phased in over two years.
  • In 2026, a new nine percent bracket will be introduced for income up to $60,000.  
  • The rate will then be reduced to eight percent in 2027.

Alberta is Calling Attraction Bonus

The 2024 budget also introduces a new one-time Alberta is Calling Attraction Bonus. The bonus will provide a $5,000 refundable tax credit for skilled trades workers moving to Alberta. Starting in April 2024, eligible new residents must meet the following criteria to qualify:

  • Work full-time in specified jobs
  • File their 2024 taxes in Alberta
  • Live there for a minimum of one year

The newly approved 2024 provincial budget for Nova Scotia includes the following payroll tax changes:

Personal income tax brackets

Beginning January 1, 2025, the province will index personal income tax brackets and several non-refundable tax credits. Taxable income brackets will be subject to annual adjustment. In addition, certain non-refundable tax credits will be indexed: basic personal amount, spouse or common-law partner amount, the amount for an eligible dependant, age amount, and the amount for infirm dependants aged 18 or older.  


Prince Edward Island’s 2024 budget includes the following upcoming payroll tax changes:

Basic personal amount

Starting in January 2025, the basic personal amount will increase from $13,500 to $14,250, adjusting the thresholds for each tax bracket, and reducing the tax rates for the initial four brackets.  


Québec’s 2024-2025 budget does not contain any measures that directly impact payroll professionals, but it does contain initiatives that may affect employers and employees, including:

Adjusting certain tax assistance measures for businesses

As of March 13, 2024, the government plans to abolish the tax credit for businesses to foster the retention of experienced workers (CMETE) due to its lack of efficiency.

Eliminating the pension reduction for seniors with disabilities starting at age 65

As of January 1, 2025, the province will eliminate the retirement pension reduction for seniors with disabilities reaching the age of 65.  

Increasing audits

The government is investing $96.5 million over five years to roll out a series of initiatives aimed at strengthening tax audit and collection. This reinforces the need for employers to maintain proper payroll compliance.


Ontario’s 2024 budget includes the following initiatives that impact payroll:

Reducing WSIB premium rates

The government plans to reduce Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) premium rates while ensuring employee benefits remain unaffected. This approach aims to lower payroll costs, providing financial relief to employers without compromising worker protections.

New pre-apprenticeship program

The government is introducing the rollout of 100 pre-apprenticeship initiatives across the province to introduce young people to various trades. This program will include paid work placements, allowing participants to gain valuable on-the-job experience within local employment markets.

Introducing target benefit framework

Target benefit pension plans offer a monthly retirement income at predictable employer costs. Predominantly established by unions in skilled trades sectors, these multi-employer plans enhance job mobility by allowing continuous plan participation across employers, thus attracting more individuals to skilled trades.

The government plans to activate the permanent target benefit framework on January 1, 2025.

Minimum wage increases


Effective October 1, 2024, Ontario's minimum wage will increase from $16.55 to $17.20 per hour.


Effective October 1, 2024, Manitoba's minimum wage will increase from $15.30 to $15.80 per hour.

Bill 149 comes into effect


Bill 149, known as the Working for Wonders Four Act, 2023, came into effect. It includes the following amendments to the Employment Standards Act (ESA):

  • The inclusion of trial periods within the definition of "training" for the purposes of the ESA aims to address unpaid trial shifts.
  • Prohibitions against employers deducting an employee's wages if a customer does not pay for goods or services, including restaurants, gas stations, and other establishments.

Changes affecting employers that will take effect on June 21, 2024, are as follows:

  • An employer must pay any tip or gratuity by cash, cheque payable to the employee, direct deposit, or any other prescribed method. If paid by direct deposit, the account in which the pay is deposited must meet the requirements of the ESA.
  • Employer tip-sharing policies must be written, displayed at work, and saved for three years post-termination.
  • Vacation pay amendments require written agreements for any alternative payment arrangements between the employer and the employee.
  • Direct deposit amendments ensure that payments, besides being in the employee's name and exclusively accessible, must also be to an account chosen by the employee.

Other ESA changes that are not currently in force and will take effect in the future on proclamation include:

  • Pay transparency: Employers must include the expected compensation or a range of expected compensation for the position in any publicly advertised job postings.
  • Use of artificial intelligence (AI): employers who utilize AI to screen, assess, or select applicants must disclose the use of AI in their job postings.
  • Prohibition of requiring Canadian experience: Job postings cannot include requirements for Canadian work experience, reducing barriers for internationally trained immigrants.
  • Retention of job postings: employers are mandated to retain copies of all publicly advertised job postings and any associated application forms for three years after they are no longer accessible to the public.

New incentive payment for wildland firefighting staff in Ontario


The Ontario Government recently announced a new retention incentive program, offering up to $5,000 to front-line employees in fire, aviation, and critical support roles.

In addition to the $5,000 incentive payment, all other support staff represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) within the Aviation Forest Fire and Emergency Services Branch at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry are eligible for a one-time payment of up to $1,000.

PEI paid sick leave increase


Under the current provisions of the Employment Standards Act, employees who have been employed for at least three months are entitled to up to three unpaid sick days. After five years of continuous employment with the same employer, employees are entitled to one day of paid sick leave during a 12 calendar-month period in addition to the above three unpaid sick days.

Effective October 1, 2024, employees will be entitled to paid sick leave in addition to the existing unpaid sick leave, as follows:

  • One day of paid sick leave after completing 12 months of continuous service.
  • Two days of paid sick leave after completing 24 months of continuous service.
  • Three days of paid sick leave after completing 36 months of continuous service.

When an employee qualifies for paid leave, they must be provided with this benefit before any unpaid leave.

Employees on paid sick leave will receive compensation equivalent to their usual wages for the hours they would have worked or their regular salary for a day’s work if they are on a salary.

Employers should:

  • Proactively prepare for the upcoming adjustment to safeguard organizational compliance and employee well-being.
  • Review sick leave policies or collective agreements.
  • Revise policies/agreements as necessary to comply with new regulations.

Amendments to long-term leave for serious injury or illness


The Manitoba government introduced Bill 9, a legislative proposal to amend the Employment Standards Code. This amendment seeks to extend the duration of long-term leave for serious injury or illness from 17 to 27 weeks, harmonizing it with the federal Employment Insurance (EI) benefit period.

Currently, eligible employees can take up to 17 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for long-term serious illness or injury within a year, if employed by the same employer for 90 days.

Non-refundable tax credit for a labour-sponsored fund


Currently, individuals purchasing initial qualifying shares in the Fonds de solidarité des travailleurs du Québec (FTQ) or Fondaction are eligible for a 15 percent non-refundable tax credit on amounts paid within the tax year or the first 60 days of the subsequent year, subject to certain conditions. The maximum allowable investment in a labour-sponsored fund to calculate the annual tax credit is limited to $5,000, resulting in a maximum credit of $750.

As of the 2024 tax year, individuals whose income for the two years prior falls within the highest tax bracket would no longer qualify for this credit on shares purchased post-December 31, 2023.

Implementing this adjusted eligibility for the non-refundable tax credit for a labour-sponsored fund will be postponed until January 1, 2027. Therefore, this eligibility criterion will affect tax credits claimed for the tax year 2027 regarding the 2025 income to assess the threshold.

Newfoundland OHSC changes


The Occupational Health and Safety Act amendments came into effect to enhance criteria for occupational health and safety programs and committees. These modifications increase the worker threshold necessary for establishing occupational health and safety programs and committees from a minimum of 10 workers to now requiring 20 or more workers at a worksite. Workplaces with fewer than 20 employees must have an occupational health and safety policy alongside a designated representative. When a worksite has fewer than six employees, the employer must assign a workplace health and safety designate.

The government has clarified that existing occupational health and safety committees at workplaces with 10 to 19 employees are not obliged to dissolve under the new regulations.  

Additional Reading Links

  1. How to be a more strategic payroll leader
  2. 5 ways to advance your payroll career
  3. How to do payroll reconciliation: the 6-step process

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