Order Fixing November 20, 2021 as the Day on Which Certain Provisions of that Act Come into Force: SI/2021-55
Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 155, Number 18
SI/2021-55 September 1, 2021
BUDGET IMPLEMENTATION ACT, 2018, NO. 2
Order Fixing November 20, 2021 as the Day on Which Certain Provisions of that Act Come into Force
P.C. 2021-865 August 11, 2021
Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Labour, pursuant to subsection 653(1) of the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2, chapter 27 of the Statutes of Canada, 2018, fixes November 20, 2021 as the day on which section 626, subsections 627(2) and (5), sections 628 and 629, subsection 631(2), section 639 and subsections 648(1) and (2) of that Act come into force.
(This note is not part of the Order.)
This Order in Council, pursuant to subsection 653(1) of the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2, chapter 27 of the Statutes of Canada, 2018 (BIA 2018, No. 2), fixes November 20, 2021, as the day on which section 626, subsections 627(2) and (5), sections 628 and 629, subsection 631(2), section 639 and subsections 648(1) and (2) of the BIA 2018, No. 2 come into force, amending the Wage Earner Protection Program Act (WEPP Act).
The objective of this Order is to establish a coming into force date for provisions of the WEPP Act that expand access to the Wage Earner Protection Program (WEPP) during insolvency events that would not otherwise trigger eligibility, and make other miscellaneous changes intended to improve the functioning of the program.
Through WEPP, individuals whose former employer is bankrupt or subject to a receivership can claim unpaid eligible wages (basic wages, disbursements, vacation pay, termination and severance pay) up to a maximum amount equivalent to seven weeks of Employment Insurance's maximum yearly insurable earnings amount ($7,579 for 2021) under the Employment Insurance Act.
To be eligible for a WEPP payment, an individual must meet three conditions:
- they were employed in Canada and their employment had been terminated;
- their former employer must be bankrupt or subject to a receivership in Canada; and
- the individual must be owed eligible wages by their former employer.
The BIA 2018, No. 2, which received royal assent on December 13, 2018, introduced amendments to the WEPP Act to make program eligibility more equitable by addressing
- (1) delays in accessing WEPP when an employer engages in a liquidating restructuring proceeding before filing for bankruptcy or receivership;
- (2) WEPP eligibility for Canadian workers affected by foreign insolvency proceedings; and
- (3) better clarity relating to the Minister's authority to pay fees or expenses of trustees relating to duties under both the WEPP Act and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.
The legislative amendments will allow for the expansion of the program to include two new insolvency events that can lead to a WEPP payment:
- restructuring proceedings that will likely result in a bankruptcy or receivership; and
- foreign proceedings recognized by a Canadian court under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.
The amendments also provide the Governor in Council with the authority to make regulations prescribing the criteria under which payments could be made in relation to these insolvency events.
Additionally, the new legislative provisions will further incentivize the administration of no- or low-asset insolvencies by clarifying the Minister's authority to issue a payment for trustee duties under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. This will improve access to WEPP for individuals employed by small and medium sized businesses that become insolvent.
As well, the BIA 2018, No. 2, makes several housekeeping amendments to the WEPP Act such as updating the long title of the WEPP Act, slightly broadening the purpose of the program to reflect the new insolvency events covered by the program, and clarifying certain terminology.
Many of WEPP amendments made through the BIA 2018, No. 2 were based on findings from the 2015 Five-Year Statutory Review of the WEPP Act, which was tabled in both Houses of Parliament. While the review concluded that WEPP was functioning as intended, stakeholders who contributed input to the review identified areas where WEPP could be further improved. Many of these suggestions were included in Budget 2018 (such as increasing WEPP maximum payment, adding coverage for liquidations, and broadening its coverage to include foreign insolvencies).
The Labour Program consulted stakeholders over an 18-month period from May 2019 to January 2021 on the implementation of amendments to the WEPP Act through consultations on the regulatory amendments needed to bring the legislative amendments into force. Overall, there was general support for the amendments to the WEPP Act.
Labour Standards and Wage Earner Protection Program