Stay up to date on legislative changes that impact group benefits plans across the country with some key dates in 2016.

  • January 3, 2016: Leave of absence changes in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island came into effect.

In Nova Scotia, 28 weeks of compassionate care leave is now available to eligible employees, up from eight weeks. The amendment also extends bereavement to five days, up from three.

In Prince Edward Island, employees are now eligible for up to 37 weeks of unpaid leave if their child is critically ill, up to 52 weeks for the disappearance of a child, or 104 weeks for the death of a child.

Read: Compassionate care benefits boost staff engagement

  • April 1, 2016: Manitoba’s Workers’ Compensation Act recognizes post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

The Act has been amended to recognize PTSD as an occupational disease. Under the amendment, if an employee is exposed to a traumatic event that can trigger PTSD, the disorder must be presumed to be an occupational disease unless it is proven otherwise.

Read: Dealing with PTSD in the workplace

  • April 1, 2016: Nova Scotia changes rules for Seniors’ Pharmacare Program

The co-payment for seniors on prescription drugs will drop to 20% from 30%. The annual maximum co-payment under the program will remain unchanged, at $382.

In addition, annual premiums will be based on seniors’ income levels. From April 1, a single senior with an income below $22,986, and a senior couple with an income below $26,817, will no longer be required to pay the premium.

Single seniors earning more than $75,000 and couples with a combined income of more than $100,000 will each pay monthly premiums of $100.

Read: National drug bulk-buying agreement should represent all Canadians

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