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YXE Benefits Tips On Avoiding Colds and Flu In The Workplace

The YXE Benefits is the simple, stable, smart choice for Saskatoon businesses; combining accessibility, flexibility and the stability of pooled benefits. Saskatoon companies choose the group plan because it offers unsurpassed value & outstanding customer service. The Chambers plan group benefits are for Chamber members.  In our latest post, we discuss avoiding colds and flu becoming an issue in the workplace.

Avoiding Colds And Flu In The Workplace.

Unhealthy employees cost companies money in a myriad of ways, ranging from the merely unmotivated employee to the seriously ill. Less sick employees mean fewer claims on companies plan – and this in turn keeps premiums to a minimum for all!  Many companies don’t realize that they leave piles of money on the table when they neglect their number one resource–health.

The best cold and flu prevention tactics are the simplest.

Many of the best tactics for avoiding colds and flu are very simple and easy to do, but also very easy to forget. But with a little diligence, you can coast through the cold and flu season without finding yourself ill or bedridden.

One of the most basic preventative methods is the flu shot. Medical professionals insist that it is the single best way to prevent the flu.

Vigorous, frequent hand washing with soap and water is another great way to avoid the viruses that cause colds and flu. The rule of thumb is to scrub hard for at least 20 seconds, using the “happy birthday” song to judge the amount of time needed to thoroughly clean your hands, fingers, and nails. Although it may sound silly, just think about how quickly we all rush through washing our hands.

Using alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be a good alternative for when you can’t get to soap and water because it can kill the germs that cause colds and flu.

Other important, easy ways to stay healthy this flu season include:

• Avoid getting close to people who are sick
• Keep your own hands away from your face
• Avoid shaking hands, when possible
• Keep your work area and general surroundings clean• Get enough rest and exercise

• Drink plenty of water and other healthy fluids

Cold and flu season can be a miserable time if you get sick. But by paying attention to the sources of the viruses in your home and workplace that cause illness, you can take practical steps to avoid infection.

We encourage you to connect with us on our new social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin. 

Contact us today for a quote…. find out if you can benefit!

‘Join the Group- It’s Time To Benefit’
www.yxebenefits.ca

The Risk Assessment of Cannabis Legalization In Canada

The YXE Benefits is the simple, stable, smart choice for Saskatoon businesses; combining accessibility, flexibility and the stability of pooled benefits. Saskatoon companies choose the group plan because it offers unsurpassed value & outstanding customer service. The Chambers Plan is a group benefit plan for Chamber members. In our latest post, we share some more tips and information for employers about the 2018 legalization of cannabis and how it relates to policies and safety in your workplace.

Risk Assessment of Cannabis Legalization

Auto, commercial and workplace-related losses seem likely to be the Top 3 claims arising from the legalization of marijuana, according to claims adjuster Crawford & Company (Canada) Inc.

Auto losses related to cannabis use; commercial losses to cannabis producers, retailers and distributors; and employee risk in the form of workplace health and safety, as well as workers’ compensation (occupational) and/or disability (non-occupational) losses, are the most likely risks Crawford Canada anticipates, said president and CEO Pat Van Bakel.

“With increased means of accessing cannabis, there may be an increased risk of impaired driving,” he said Wednesday.

According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, the percentage of Canadian drivers killed in vehicle crashes who test positive for drugs (40%) now exceeds the number who test positive for alcohol (33%).

Now that a whole new legal industry has opened up for business in Canada, there might also be a spike in commercial claims, said Paul Hancock, Crawford’s vice president of Global Technical Services (GTS) Canada.

“Organizations that legally grow, process, package and sell cannabis plants and cannabis products can be subject to risk and losses associated with their business, such as damage to or theft of property, including living plants, materials and finished products,” Hancock said. Other risks and losses include breakdown of specialized equipment, supply chain losses, business interruption or product liability, “similar to any other type of business, although the nature of their losses may be slightly more unique.”

The third type of risk that may arise from marijuana legalization is occupational and non-occupational claims whereby cannabis use was a contributing factor or is being used for treatment purposes.

When managing cannabis use in the workplace, employers are placed in an interesting position, said Crawford Canada’s director of operations for Human Risk Services, Anthony Magagna. On one hand, they have an obligation to accommodate individuals who use cannabis for medical reasons, but also have a duty under provincially regulated OH&S legislation to provide a safe work environment and to take all reasonable precautions to protect the health and safety of employees and others in the workplace.

“Their latter duty also applies to managing and protecting against ‘recreational’ users in the workplace,” Magagna said.

It is vital for employers to develop clear policies about what is and isn’t acceptable in terms of cannabis use and the workplace, and to ensure due diligence in the enforcement of those policies. “Managing employees who are on leave or those returning to work in some capacity as a result of an occupational or non-occupational related illness or injury can be tricky in and of itself without cannabis usage having been a contributing factor to either or to be used in the treatment of either,” Magagna said.

In conclusion, when conducting a risk assessment of cannabis legalization in your workplace, consider talking to your YXE Benefits team to discuss your options.

We encourage you to connect with us on our new social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin. 

Contact us today for a quote…. find out if you can benefit!

‘Join the Group- It’s Time To Benefit’
www.yxebenefits.ca

 

Click here to read the Original Article 

Wondering How Canadian Cannabis Legalization Will Impact The Work Place?

What Legal Cannabis May Mean for Employers

Canadian Cannabis LegalizationIn June, the federal government passed Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act. The legislation, proposed in April 2017, will make it legal to buy, possess and consume cannabis in all provinces and territories across Canada starting October 17, 2018.  Are you left wondering how Canadian cannabis legalization will impact your work place?

Specific rules around buying and using cannabis will vary depending on where you live (for example, the minimum age will be 18 in some provinces and 19 in others; some communities will allow cannabis use in public spaces, while others will restrict it to private homes only) But one area in which most provinces will likely be on the same page is “cannabis in the workplace” – meaning the rules for dealing with pot at work will be a little fuzzy everywhere.

Workplace drug use and/or impairment have long been a grey area. Policies around alcohol and drug use at the workplace are the responsibility of employers, not governments, although labour laws in most provinces say employers have the duty to address hazards at the worksite to keep employees safe.

And while you can test for impairment by alcohol, testing for impairment by cannabis is more difficult. There is no simple threshold for cannabis like there is for alcohol; the detection of THC in an employee’s system could be from cannabis consumed a month ago…and that’s not sign of impairment.

The Conference Board of Canada recently released a report that surveyed Canadian employers to learn their concerns about legalization and what they think it will mean for their businesses. The report, Blazing the Trail: What the Legalization of Cannabis Means for Canadian Employers found that:

  • More than half of Canadian organizations are either concerned or very concerned about the legalization of cannabis as it pertains to the workplace.
  • Employers’ top concerns include workplace safety, impairment or intoxication, and increased use of cannabis both inside and outside the workplace.
  • Employers will play a critical role in helping to shape legislation related to impairment, drug testing, and benefits coverage for medical use.

While employers will certainly face some new challenges with cannabis legalization, a good defence is to ensure there’s a solid alcohol and drug use policy in place now – and that it’s been updated to address some of the unique challenges that come with cannabis.

Canadian Cannabis Legalization in the work placeWhen developing a policy for your workplace, ask yourself this: how stringent should your organization be when it comes to alcohol and drug testing and potential discipline for impairment on the job? What are the operational needs of your specific industry and how safety sensitive is the work your employees do?

Here are some other things to consider when developing or updating your company’s alcohol and drug policy:

Talk to a lawyer. Consult with legal partners to make sure your policy respects the privacy and human rights of employees.

Train your managers. Provide supervisors and managers with training so they can recognize impairment, as well as any training that may help them address the subject with employees.

Educate your employees. First, make sure your employees understand that even though cannabis will now be legal in Canada, they can’t come to work under the influence of cannabis and that working while impaired, either by alcohol, cannabis or any other drugs, puts the safety of everyone at risk. Second, make sure they know about the alcohol and drug policy and understand what it means for them. And third, just like for your managers, provide training for employees so they too can recognize if somebody is impaired at work or suffering from substance abuse. Peer-to-peer conversations can be more effective than boss-to-employee confrontations.

“No free accidents”. If your business’s operations are safety-sensitive, you might consider including a “no free accident” rule in your alcohol and drug policy. This means your employees would agree to disclose any drug addictions or substance abuse problems to you and get treatment before their problems can compromise workplace safety.

Help those who need help. Have a system in place where employees can confidentially seek help, and provide resources and supports for those who have cannabis (or other substance) abuse problems. This could include access to confidential treatment and employee family assistance programs.

 

YXE Benefits offers The Chambers Plan as the simple, stable, smart choice for business; combining accessibility, flexibility & the stability of pooled benefits. Saskatoon companies choose the plan because it offers unsurpassed value & outstanding service

Over half of Canadian workplaces are ‘concerned’ about dealing with legal weed: Report

www.chamberplan.ca/blogs/read,article/63/what-legal-cannabis-may-mean-for-employers

Benefits Fraud Is Increasingly Becoming An Issue For Employers

 

The YXE Benefits is the simple, stable, smart choice for business; combining accessibility, flexibility and the stability of pooled benefits. Saskatoon companies choose the group plan because it offers unsurpassed value & outstanding customer service. The group benefit plan is for members of a Chamber Of Commerce and it is one of the many wonderful benefits and opportunities that come with a membership!  In our latest post, we discuss benefits fraud and we also share some tips for employers.

Is benefits fraud a widespread problem?

 

Benefits Canada held a poll recently and asked the question of whether or not benefits fraud is a widespread problem in employee benefits plans. The majority (63%) of respondents said fraud is a growing problem that requires urgent action due to the need to ensure the sustainability of benefits plans. Some 1 of respondents said it’s not a widespread problem, the majority of employees are honest and other issues such as rising usage and costs per claim are much bigger concerns. Another 23% said there are issues with fraud but suggested the industry needs to be selective about how it addresses them.

In actual fact, according to the Canadian Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, fraudulent claims cost the industry between $1.2 billion to $6 billion every year!

Four tips to help employers curb benefits fraud

1. Keep a close eye on things.

Begin by staying vigilant, says Feher. “Do a thorough retrospective review of the claims utilization, be it drug, paramedical or health services.”

He cites a case where his team had to ask an insurer to change its claims adjudication process for support hose because a group was abusing the benefit. “Manulife was paying $200 per pair, for up to four pairs a year. We had 40 people maxing that out. They were either sharing them with family and friends or getting a kickback,” says Feher, noting it was costing the employer $20,000 a year. “Eventually, Manulife had to change their system, and now a $200 annual maximum has become the norm. We reduced claims to the benefit by 75%.”

Benefits Fraud how to report

2. Always question why.

Feher also encourages employers to consider the purpose of the benefits plan: Why they have it, what they expect from it and what they want employees to gain from it. Answers to those questions could lead to better perspectives and solutions. “For example, your overall costs may be in line with your budgeting, but if those claims are only being utilized by five to 10% of your employees, is that the best use of your dollars?”

Sometimes, employers have a good reason, says Feher. “I had a client with an employee whose daughter had very specialized needs. And the employer wanted to help.” In other cases, it may be outright abuse, he adds. “In one case, we noticed a huge surge in claims for eczema drugs. Upon review, we saw 20% of the employees making claims that were not traceable to the work environment. We ended up putting in a drug cap that was the best solution available.”

3. Educate employees about why they should care.

Ignatz says employees often have a sense of entitlement when it comes to benefits, especially when they contribute to the plan. The attitude is insurers will still make big profits, regardless of their claims.

But benefits plans generally don’t work that way, notes Ignatz. “When you commit fraud, you are really reaching into the pocket of the person next to you. They end up paying higher premiums or losing benefits because the employer can no longer support the claiming patterns.”

Therefore, it’s imperative that employees understand the cost of fraud. When employees come to realize they’re reaching into other people’s pockets, it becomes personalized and they’re more likely to follow their better nature, says Ignatz. “Once they understand that, encourage them to stay vigilant of providers misusing their plan dollars. Most insurance companies facilitate anonymous tip reporting — usually by phone or online. Make the presence of these services known and encourage members to use them when appropriate,” he adds.

Employees also need to understand they can’t blindly trust their health-care service provider. Many clinics make submissions on a person’s behalf, which can lead to overbilling, warns Ignatz. “So when in doubt, ask for clarification. Know what your plan is being billed for.”

For example, people are often shocked to learn that a unit of dental scaling is 15 minutes, says Ignatz. So when the dentist bills for four units, it means the employee sat through an hour of teeth scraping. “When a patient knows things like these and asks probing questions, the provider is less likely to stretch the truth.”

4. Get creative with plan design.

Plan design is the best protection against fraud, according to Ignatz. Combined and family maximums, as well as benefits for just the employee, are certainly worth considering. “Does it make sense for an employer with office workers who primarily sit all day to offer to cover orthotics?” he says. “Even an employer whose employees work in a warehouse could consider covering orthotics just for employees and not their dependents.”

Copayments and deductibles are another effective prevention mechanism because they force plan members to take more responsibility for the cost and frequency of their claims submissions, notes Ignatz.

Health-care spending accounts also help deter fraud to a degree, says Ignatz. “Not only is it a finite amount, but that amount is displayed at the bottom of each explanation of benefits. Members see that amount decrease with each claim and they generally want those funds to be there when they need them for legitimate expenses.”

 

We encourage you to connect with us on our new social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin. 

Contact us today for a quote…. find out if you can benefit!

‘Join the Group- It’s Time To Benefit’
www.yxebenefits.ca

 

 

 

Benefits Canada Source articles:

Have your say: Are new sick day entitlements a concern for employers?

Help employers curb benefits fraud

Gift Of Obama Inspiration for a Saskatoon Big Sister

 

 Saskatoon Big Sister Volunteer Gifted Michelle Obama Experience.

The YXE Benefits Plan team ran a contest on our Facebook Page  recently for a pair of tickets to attend the Michelle Obama event, presented by  The Greater Saskatoon Chamber Of Commerce. The contest had 100’s of entries and it reached nearly 40,000 people in Saskatoon and area. March 20th, the lucky winner was randomly drawn. Priscilla Mah, owner of Floral Acres was contacted with the happy news. She replied the next day thanking us, but that she already had tickets. In that message,  she asked us if we would gift them to someone deserving.

The time line was pretty tight, so we put our heads together to discuss suitable options. During that conversation, one of the core YXE Benefits Plan team members Colton Wiegers of Wiegers Financial and Benefits  suggested that a Big Sister would be a great choice! Being a Big Brother himself, Colton knew the BBBS Saskatoon organization. We all agreed that they would be a great fit and we reached out to them immediately.

If you are not familiar with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Saskatoon and Area, they have made a difference in the lives of Saskatoon youth for over 30 years. They are focused on providing a caring adult friend to a child who could benefit from adult companionship and mentorship. 

The Big Sisters mentoring program provides girls and young women with a role model to talk to and share the experiences of growing up with. Through regular outings, a relationship is developed between the mentor and the mentee, which is built on trust and common interests. The result is a life-changing experience for both the mentor and the mentee. Find out more about the BBBS programs here.

Kim Megyesi from BBBS  got back to us and was so excited to be able to reward a Big Sister volunteer with this inspirational gift! See Shawna picking up her tickets at Saskatoon BBBS and at the Michelle Obama event on the evening with her guest Kyra!

 

YXE Benefits Plan is the simple, stable, smart choice for business; combining accessibility, flexibility and the stability of pooled benefits. Saskatoon companies choose the plan year after year because it offers unsurpassed value and outstanding customer service. The YXE Benefits Plan – Greater Saskatoon Chamber Members group benefit plan- GET A QUOTE today!

 

Premier Of Saskatchewan Reinstates PST Exemption on Life & Health Insurance

Have you heard the good news about PST?

“Premier Moe made the important decision yesterday to reinstate the PST exemption on agriculture, life and health insurance.  This is great news for Saskatchewan but it’s going to take time for insurance carriers to update their systems and reimburse taxes paid.  We encourage everyone to patiently watch for updates as they come available.  Thank you, Premier Moe! ” Deb Wiegers – Wiegers Financial & Benefits

PST Exemption on Life & Health Insurance

Global News covered the story here: www.globalnews.ca/news/4047640/pst-exemption-reinstated-saskatchewan-agriculture-life-health-premiums

The Saskatchewan government is exempting the provincial sales tax on agriculture, life and health insurance premiums effective immediately.

The PST was added to those premiums on Aug. 1, 2017. Premier Scott Moe had made reinstating the exemption part of his Saskatchewan Party leadership campaign.

“Our government will help families and small businesses save money, invest and help our province grow,” Moe said in a statement.

“Part of that commitment is to exempt agriculture, life and health insurance from PST.”

Moe said he heard business owners say that paying PST on group health plans may have resulted in fewer jobs being created going forward.

The change is forecast to have a $65-million financial impact on revenue forecast in 2017-18, down to $81 million from $146 million. This covers August 2017 until the end of March 2018. The financial impact for the 2018-19 budget is expected to be $120 million from a projected $240 million in projected insurance PST revenue.

Moe said the loss of revenue will be accommodated in his three-year plan to balance the budget.

“Our fiscal plan remains on track, even with this reinstatement of the PST exemption on crop, life and health insurance,” Moe said.

The exemption is retroactive to Aug. 1, 2017.

As for home and vehicle insurance, those are both sticking around. Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said money is part of the reason.

“It’s definitely significant financially, but we also looked jurisdictionally and we’re not standing alone in having a provincial tax on the other insurances,” she said.

Both Harpauer and Moe said future changes to taxation are ongoing discussions around the cabinet table when asked about potential future repeals of PST on home and vehicle insurance.

Opposition leader Nicole Sarauer said that if the Saskatchewan Party listened to residents prior to the previous budget when this PST was introduced there wouldn’t have been a need for this reversal.

“If they were actually listening to Saskatchewan people and business we would have also seen the walk-back for house and car insurance, for restaurants, for construction; both of which are taking a huge hit and are actually experiencing a slowdown,” Sarauer said.

Officials with the Ministry of Finance said they will be working with the insurance industry to determine the best way to refund people and businesses with PST that has been paid on agriculture, life and health insurance premiums.

More details are expected to be announced on April 10.

 

For more information see http://www.benefitscanada.com/news/saskatchewan-reinstates-tax-exemption-on-health-insurance-premiums-111227

 

The YXE Benefits  is the simple, stable, smart choice for business; combining accessibility, flexibility and the stability of pooled benefits. Saskatoon companies choose the plan because it offers unsurpassed value & outstanding customer service.  We encourage you to connect with us on our new social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin. 

‘Join the Group- It’s Time To Benefit’
www.yxebenefits.ca

A Saskatoon Employee Benefit Plan with a twist

So why do we say we can provide a Saskatoon Employee Benefit Plan with a twist?

How would you like a Saskatoon employee benefit plan that offers rate stability, innovative offerings and unbeatable guarantees for small business? That’s what the Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan® has been providing small businesses for over four decades.

This not-for-profit Plan’s sole purpose is to provide comprehensive, affordable benefits to Chamber members and their employees.


Choose the Chambers YXE Benefit Plan.

Your YXE Benefits advisors are a source of knowledge and experience. They can identify coverage solutions for your firm’s unique needs. Whether it’s simply to review your current coverage, or to address budget or coverage questions, our advisors will help you choose options that best suit your company.

Your Local YXE Benefit Advisor Will be There for You
From answering your employees’ questions to helping with a claim, they are members of your community – always there to help you.

The Best of Both Worlds
With the Chambers Plan, you have the support of a local presence who knows your business, and the strength of a national program specifically designed for small to midsize businesses.

Check out the YXE Benefit Plan, we guarantee that it won’t squeeze your budget.

GET A FREE QUOTE Online Today

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