Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - 12:00

legislative updates for july—august 2017

Every year, The Williamson Group publishes its Guide to Canadian Benefits Legislation and Guide Supplement. Together with monthly updates on our blog, these documents offer a high level overview of some of the benefits currently available through various Canadian government programs and legislation.

Below you will find a quick summary of noteworthy legislative changes that have occurred since the last update.



Generic drugs agreement, spread over 5 years, makes it possible to avoid application of the bidding process under the Act to reduce the cost of certain drugs covered by the General Insurance Plan. 

Source: The Government of Quebec website.

Bill 92.  Quebec’s Bill 92 (passed into law December 7, 2016) takes effect September 1, 2017.  This legislation requires pharmacies to provide a breakdown of prescription drug costs on receipts, including:  DIN cost; wholesaler’s mark-up; professional fees (dispensing fee and pharmacy’s mark-up).

For more information visit: The Government of Quebec website.

RAMQ changes. Effective July 1, 2017, RAMQ has mandated changes to out-of-pocket expenses for those covered by the RAMQ formulary: the annual out-of-pocket maximum will increase from $1,046 to $1,066, and the coinsurance will increase from 34.5% of the prescription cost to 34.8%. For more information visit: The Government of Quebec RAMQ website.

Quebec Parental Insurance Plan premium rates to remain the same in 2018.  The premium rate (as a percentage of insurable income) is 0.548% for salaried workers, 0.767% for employers and 0.973% for self-employed workers.  Source: The Government of Quebec QPIP webpage.



Manitoba introduces dispensing fee cap for provincial drug programs, effective August 18, 2017. Pharmacies will be able to charge provincial drug programs up to $30 per prescription, regardless of the base cost of a drug or how a drug is packaged (pill bottle or blister pack).  In addition, pharmacies will be able to charge Pharmacare up to $30 for compounding services in a pharmacy. More information can be found on: The Government of Manitoba website..

Manitoba scales back chiropractic coverage. Effective June 1 2017, Manitoba has enacted a regulation that reduces funding and coverage for chiropractic care from 12 visits per year to 7; the amount of coverage per visit is decreasing from $12.30 to $8.29 per visit. For more information visit: The Government of Manitoba website.



Province covers drugs for treatment of alcohol use disorder. Effective July 1, 2017, the Saskatchewan Prescription Drug Plan provides coverage for two drug products for the treatment of alcohol use disorder:  Revia (naltrexone) and Campral (acamprosate). Source:  The Government of Saskatchewan website.

Saskatchewan extends deadline for PST to be added to insurance premiums. Saskatchewan has deferred the effective date for the application of PST to insurance premiums from July 1, 2017 to August 1, 2017 Saskatchewan will also apply tax to ASO plans.  For more information, visit: The Government of Saskatchewan website.


British Columbia

BC government announces $100 increase to income assistance and disability rates, effective September 20, 2017.

Source: The Government of British Columbia website.

Minimum wage increase announced. Effective September 15, 2017, minimum wage in BC will increase from $10.85 to $11.35 per hour For more information, visit: The Government of British Columbia website.

BC 2017 Budget Update.  The BC Liberal government was defeated in a confidence vote, so the 2017 budget was not passed.  The new NDP government will be tabling a budget update on Sept.11, 2017. For more information, visit The Government of British Columbia website.



2018 WCB Average Assessment Rate announced.  A 3% increase for 2018 was announced. Next year the average assessment rate will rise to $1.93 from the current rate of $1.87. For more information, visit: the Yukon WCB website.

image of the canadian flag and with a gavel superimposed



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