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Navigating Remote Work: Understanding Province of Employment

In today's dynamic work environment remote work is more common than it used to be. Employers must navigate the complexities of determining their remote workers’ province of employment for payroll deduction purposes. This article was adapted from an article by Julies Melnitzer of Benefits Canada.

The Canada Revenue Agency provided guidance for determining a full-time remote worker’s province of residence that came into effect 1 January 2024. This change has made it more difficult to apply the guidance.

Employers must determine whether a “full-time remote work agreement exists” and whether the employee can be considered “attached to an establishment of the employer.

Full-time remote work agreement must direct or allow the employee to work remotely 100% of the time at locations that don’t belong to the employer. According to an article by Benefits Canada, employers should be tracking locations from which employees are working and specify in the agreement.

Once an employer determines whether a full-time remote agreement exists, the employer must determine whether the employee can reasonably attach to an establishment of the employer. If so, the province of employment will be the province or territory where that establishment is located.

Secondary indicators that go into the determination of a remote employee’s province of employment include the following:

  • Where the employee attends or would attend in-person meetings

  • Where the employee receives work-related material, equipment, instructions, and assistance

  • Where the employer is responsible for or supervises the employee

  • Where the employee would report

When an employee has attachments to more than one establishment, employers will have to consider to which the employee is attached most closely.

Here are some additional considerations around province of employment to keep in mind:

  • Residency vs. Province of Employment: The province where an employee resides may not necessarily be their province of employment for legal and tax purposes. Determining the province of employment requires considering factors such as where the work is performed and managed.

  • Tax Implications: Each province in Canada has its own tax rates and regulations. Employers need to be aware of their responsibilities regarding provincial income tax withholding, which may differ based on where the work is performed versus where the employee resides.

  • Employment Standards: Provincial employment standards legislation varies across Canada. Employers must comply with the standards of the province where the employee is employed, which may depend on factors such as where the work is directed or supervised.

  • Agreements and Documentation: Clear agreements outlining the province of employment and applicable terms are crucial. These should address work location, tax implications, benefits eligibility, and compliance with provincial laws.

  • Impact on Benefits and Insurance: Employee benefits such as health insurance and workers' compensation may be governed by the laws of the province of employment. Employers should ensure compliance and coverage adequacy across provinces.

  • Remote Work Policies: Establishing robust remote work policies that consider province-specific regulations and tax implications can mitigate risks and ensure compliance. Policies should outline expectations, performance measurement, and communication standards.

  • Consultation with Experts: Given the complexities involved, consulting with legal, tax, and HR professionals is advisable. They can provide guidance tailored to your organization's specific circumstances and ensure compliance with provincial laws.

Navigating the determination of remote workers' province of employment in Canada requires careful consideration of legal, tax, and regulatory factors. By understanding these key points and seeking expert advice, employers can effectively manage remote workforce compliance and operational efficiency across provinces.



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