The pandemic has highlighted the importance of worker health and wellness. These issues are now more important than ever and businesses must take them into account when developing action plans.

A recent survey conducted by the Quebec Order of Psychologists found that people are experiencing higher levels of distress and anxiety due to the pandemic and the resulting public health restrictions. Nearly 86% of psychologists reported seeing increased distress among their clients and 70% said former clients have come back to see them since the beginning of the pandemic. How can we address this problem? Concrete action is needed.

According to the World Health Organization, promoting health in the workplace is a process that gives employees the means to take control of their health.

For businesses, creating a healthy workplace that fosters overall wellness can result in a wide range of benefits, such as:

  • Higher job satisfaction
  • Increased feeling of belonging and engagement
  • Improved productivity
  • Lower insurance costs and incidence of occupational injuries and illnesses
  • Decreased absenteeism

These are just some of the benefits of creating a corporate culture that actively promotes employee wellness.

Creating environments that foster employee wellbeing and personal growth can also help companies boost their employer brand. Since this strategy can help businesses attract talent, it’s especially useful for industries facing a labour shortage.

A brief history of occupational health and wellness

Corporate concern for worker wellbeing is relatively new. The shift started in the early 2000s, when managers started including worker health promotion in their management practices.

For the first time, employee health was an organizational responsibility. Between 2010 and 2020, worker health promotion gained prominence in workplaces and the responsibility became shared. Employers and employees are now expected to uphold the principle of worker health promotion, which is defined as the art and science of helping people make healthier lifestyle choices.

Employee health initiatives

The workplace is the ideal location for implementing health-promotion initiatives. Why? The reason is simple: work is where we spend most of our waking lives. In addition, employers have the opportunity to repeat messages over time to create a shared culture and promote common goals.

Employers aren’t there to save people. Their role, however, is to be an important actor that provides workers with helpful tools to positively impact their personal, social and family lives.

It all starts with caring

Caring is an attitude that shapes the way we interact with others. A caring management style involves being attentive to the wellbeing of your employees and others who contribute to your projects. It involves showing genuine concern for how they’re doing. Caring comes from the heart and manifests itself in day-to-day actions such as taking the time to listen, thank, reassure and advise your team. In short, it’s about showing that you’re interested in them as people.

A commitment from the top

Promoting health and wellness isn’t the sole responsibility of the HR manager or the OHS committee. To be successful, the entire management team has to get behind the initiative.

Healthy Enterprise movement and standard

The Healthy Enterprise movement involves implementing a process developed by experts based on best practices in occupational health and wellness. It works for organizations of any size or sector.

Our firm is recognized as a provider, ambassador and member of the Healthy Enterprise movement.

We’re equipped with the right tools to help you implement a health and wellness culture, strengthen your current initiatives or set your organization on the path to becoming a Healthy Enterprise.

Interested in the Healthy Enterprise movement and standard? Contact us! We’d be happy to tell you more about it.

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E-Commerce in Canada by Non-Residents: New GST/HST Obligations on Sale of Digital Products and Services

As of July 1, 2021, certain non-residents of Canada providing digital products (intangibles) and services to Canadian consumers could be required to register for Goods and Services Tax and Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) purposes.

On November 30, 2020, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Canada, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, tabled the Fall Economic Statement 2020 which proposes to broaden the obligation to register for and collect GST/HST for certain foreign suppliers working in e-commerce.

Currently, the GST/HST system provides that only one person making taxable supplies in Canada in connection with a commercial activity or business that the person operates is required to register for and collect the GST/HST.

Additionally, a consumer or any person who acquires intangibles or taxable services in Canada outside the person’s commercial activity is required to self-assess and pay applicable GST/HST directly to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Currently, the GST/HST is not collected on the purchase of intangibles or services from non-resident vendors and is not paid by consumers who do not self-assess.

Generally, the new measures proposed will require that non-resident suppliers register for and collect GST/HST when they provide digital products or services to consumers in Canada. These new rules will also apply to digital platforms that facilitate third-party sales.

With the announcement of these new measures, the federal government has put in place similar rules to those that went into effect on January 1, 2019 for the purposes of Quebec Sales Taxes (QST), which are in line with market trends, as recommended by several international jurisdictions. Download our document for an overview of the proposed measures.

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Guy Fauteux
Vice-President, Partner | FCPA, FCA | Assurance

As a result of temporary stoppages in the local and global economies, many transportation companies in Quebec have experienced major difficulties. What have been the biggest challenges in this sector?

The onset of the crisis brought about a series of new challenges for trucking companies in Quebec: economic slowdowns, changes in the supply chain, and new measures for cross-border travel. The most significant issue for many trucking companies was profitability and transportation logistics. What makes a trucking company profitable is its ability to manage outbound and inbound delivery logistics.

Profitability of transportation

The transportation industry is highly dependent on the dynamics of the supply chain. Production stoppages for many companies around the world have had an impact on delivery and distribution needs. The decline in the flow of goods, caused by the global economic downturn, has affected the demand for deliveries to and from Canada.

For transportation companies, this meant that it was not uncommon to have a delivery request, but with no guarantee of a return trip with goods, which affected the profitability of a truck trip. As a result, transportation sector companies negotiated higher prices, with some of them having to increase prices by 40% in order to respond to the logistical changes caused by the pandemic.

Today, the impacts of the pandemic on the transportation and distribution sector are somewhat less pronounced in some companies since the production of several goods has resumed. In addition, the transportation sector remains an essential service in our economy.

Labour shortage

However, one of the biggest challenges affecting this sector, which was already very prevalent long before the pandemic, is the labour shortage.

This shortage of truck drivers has more devastating impacts within the sector than the pandemic. Even if companies increase wages, they are not able to meet their market demand. Across Quebec, it is projected that by 2023, there will be a labour shortage in 117 of the assessed occupations, including the transportation sector, where a large number of vacancies will need to be filled.

This labour shortage has rapidly worsened due to the pandemic as many truckers now refuse to make deliveries outside of Canada.

However, international recruitment can solve this problem. Auray Sourcing, one of our subsidiaries, offers Quebec and Canadian companies a recruiting and international mobility service to address the labour shortage issue.

Ensure the longevity of your business in times of crisis

Although transportation and distribution companies have been able to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, particularly thanks to their status as an essential service, this sector still faces significant challenges. In these times of crisis, it is essential to have a well-established plan in place to ensure your business’s sustainability.

Watch the interview with our expert on the new normal in the transportation and distribution sector.

03 Dec 2020  |  Written by :

Guy Fauteux is a vice-president at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. Contact him today!

See the profile

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Updated on July 15, 2021

Several questions arise in the case of non-residents who sell real estate in Canada.

In the past year, we have witnessed a significant increase in real estate transactions and, more specifically, transactions involving the sale of properties by non-residents of Canada.

This type of transaction is governed by specific tax rules and this article aims to demystify the role of the various stakeholders in terms of tax compliance.

Non-resident sellers’ responsibilities

Non-residents who dispose of real property located in Canada must notify the tax authorities of the disposition. This notification will enable them to obtain certificates of compliance attesting that everything is in order from a tax perspective.

The notification forms T2062 (federal) and TP 1097 (Quebec) are used to determine the capital gain on the sale of the property and the corresponding tax instalment to be paid to the tax authorities to obtain the certificates of compliance. The tax instalment is generally 37.875% of the capital gain for property located in Quebec.

Note, however, that the tax instalment to be paid will be higher in the case of a rental property for which capital cost allowance has been claimed in the past and the non-resident seller will also have to file federal Form T2062A.

Non-resident sellers may send this notice before the planned date of sale based on an intent to purchase (future disposition) and no later than 10 days after the signing of the deed of sale (actual disposition).

Non-resident sellers who do not meet this legal requirement may be subject to a penalty of up to $5,000 ($2,500 at the federal level and $2,500 in Quebec).

Note: Non-resident sellers are required to file an income tax return by April 30 of the year following the year in which the sale took place to report the capital gain and calculate the actual tax on the capital gain according to the progressive tax table for individuals. If the actual tax is less than the installment paid at the time of the transaction, they can claim a refund for the difference.

Buyers’ responsibilities

The buyer guarantees payment of the capital gains tax instalment. If the seller does not obtain the certificates of compliance prior to the sale, the buyer will be responsible for withholding an amount corresponding to 37.875% of the sale price at the time of signing the sales contract. This amount must be paid to the tax authorities, on behalf of the non-resident seller, within 30 days following the end of the month in which the property is acquired. A buyer who fails to do so becomes personally liable to pay the tax resulting from the transaction. The withholding tax amounts to 80% (50% at the federal level and 30% in Quebec) if the property is a rental property.

Central role of the notary and tax advisor

The notary who represents the buyer in the transaction and the tax specialist who is mandated by the seller play a central role in this process.

It is the notary’s professional responsibility to ensure that buyers fulfill their withholding tax obligations and to advise sellers of their responsibility to file applications for certificates of compliance.

The tax advisor explains the importance for the non-resident seller of filing applications for certificates of compliance, which will reduce withholding tax on the proceeds of sale and avoid significant penalties for failure to file the prescribed forms. The tax specialist also assists the non-resident seller in preparing the applications and calculating the capital gain and taxes to be paid.

In conclusion, in real estate sales transactions involving non-resident sellers, the notary works with the sellers’ tax advisor to ensure compliance with the specific tax requirements for this type of transaction.

Our team of international tax experts offers personalized assistance based on the specifics of each transaction. Contact us to speak with one of our specialists.