Canada: Budget Fédéral De 2017 : Ce Que Les Employeurs Doivent Savoir

Le 22 mars 2017, le gouvernement libéral de Justin Trudeau a déposé le budget fédéral de 2017 (le « budget »). S'il vise essentiellement à bâtir une classe moyenne forte en investissant dans des domaines clés comme l'innovation, la formation axée sur les compétences, les communautés, un certain nombre de modifications proposées pourraient, si elles sont adoptées, avoir des répercussions considérables sur les employeurs, notamment ceux relevant de la compétence fédérale.

Le budget propose plusieurs modifications au Code canadien du travail, notamment :

  • des dispositions qui donneront aux employés sous réglementation fédérale le droit de demander à leur employeur des modalités de travail plus flexibles, comme des heures de travail souples et la possibilité de travailler à domicile;
  • de nouveaux congés non payés pour permettre aux employés de s'acquitter de leurs responsabilités familiales, de participer à des pratiques autochtones traditionnelles et d'obtenir des soins s'ils sont victimes de violence familiale, et pour assouplir le congé de deuil;
  • l'élimination des stages non rémunérés dans les secteurs sous réglementation fédérale, dans les cas où le stage ne fait pas partie d'un programme d'études formel et des mesures permettant aux stagiaires non rémunérés dont le stage s'inscrit dans le cadre d'un programme d'études de bénéficier de diverses protections juridiques, comme l'établissement d'un nombre maximal d'heures de travail, l'octroi de jours de repos hebdomadaire et le respect des jours fériés;
  • une augmentation de 13 M$ en 5 ans à compter de 2017 et de 2,5 M$ par an par la suite pour renforcer les mécanismes de conformité et d'application.

Des changements touchant les prestations d'assurance-emploi (AE) ont également été proposés, notamment :

  • une prestation d'AE destinée aux aidants naturels pendant un maximum de 15 semaines qui s'appliquera à un large éventail de situations dans lesquelles des personnes s'occupent d'un membre adulte de leur famille nécessitant un soutien important pour se remettre d'une maladie ou d'une blessure grave. Les parents d'enfants gravement malades continueront de bénéficier de prestations jusqu'à 35 semaines ainsi que d'une souplesse accrue leur permettant de les partager avec davantage de membres de leur famille;
  • des modifications aux prestations parentales d'AE pour permettre aux parents de toucher des prestations parentales d'AE pendant une période prolongée de 18 mois à un taux inférieur fixé à 33 % de la rémunération hebdomadaire moyenne ou au taux actuel de 55 % pendant un maximum de 12 mois;
  • des modifications offrant la possibilité aux femmes de demander des prestations de maternité au titre de l'AE pendant un maximum de12 semaines avant la date prévue de l'accouchement, ce qui représente 8 semaines supplémentaires par rapport à la norme actuelle;
  • des changements au programme d'AE pour permettre aux demandeurs de suivre une formation autofinancée tout en conservant leur statut d'admissibilité à l'assurance-emploi, ce qui signifie que les personnes sans emploi qui touchent l'AE pourront retourner aux études pour suivre une formation sans devoir renoncer à leurs prestations d'AE.

Pour appliquer ces mesures, le budget de 2017 propose de modifier le Code canadien du travail afin que les travailleurs des secteurs sous réglementation fédérale bénéficient de la protection d'emploi dont ils ont besoin pendant qu'ils touchent des prestations aux proches aidants, des prestations parentales ou des prestations de maternité. Par ailleurs, plusieurs modifications à la Loi sur l'assurance-emploi ont été suggérées.

Quand bien même elles seraient acceptées, les modifications à la Loi sur l'assurance-emploi et les prestations supplémentaires ne donneraient pas le droit aux employés sous réglementation provinciale de prendre des congés avec protection d'emploi, à moins que des changements concomitants ne soient apportés à la législation provinciale en matière de normes d'emploi. Si ces modifications sont adoptées et offrent ces avantages sociaux supplémentaires aux employés sous réglementation fédérale, il faut s'attendre à une pression accrue sur les gouvernements provinciaux pour qu'ils adoptent des modifications similaires et mettent en place des mesures de protection de l'emploi analogues.

Changements sur le plan fiscal

Comparativement à celui de l'an dernier, qui comportait d'importantes hausses pour ce qui est des dépenses au titre des programmes et des dépenses fiscales, le budget de cette année prévoit peu d'argent frais pour les programmes et les initiatives fiscales audacieuses. Aucun changement majeur n'est à signaler pour les employeurs et les employés; cependant, quelques points méritent d'être soulignés.

Tout d'abord, le budget propose la transmission électronique des déclarations de renseignements intitulées « État de la rémunération payée » (« feuillet T4 »), à la demande d'un certain nombre d'employeurs, mesure que beaucoup accueilleraient favorablement. Il s'agirait d'autoriser les employeurs à envoyer les feuillets T4 à leurs employés actuellement actifs par voie électronique sans avoir à obtenir préalablement leur consentement exprès. Cette proposition favoriserait une réduction des coûts d'observation et des gains d'efficience pour les employeurs, en plus de faciliter la vie d'un grand nombre d'employés. Les employeurs devront assurer une protection des renseignements personnels suffisante et fournir des feuillets T4 papier dans certaines circonstances. Cette mesure s'appliquera aux feuillets T4 de 2017 et des années d'imposition ultérieures.

Ensuite, le budget propose de supprimer la déduction des avantages imposables relatifs aux prêts admissibles à la réinstallation. Cette augmentation du coût pour l'application de l'impôt constitue un changement que les employeurs et les employés devront prendre en considération en cas de réinstallation à des fins professionnelles. Cette mesure concernera les avantages obtenus en 2018 et au cours des années d'imposition subséquentes.

Enfin, on constate dans le budget une omission notable qui a beaucoup fait parler dans les jours qui ont précédé la publication du document : à l'instar du budget de l'an dernier, le budget de 2017 ne propose pas de modification par rapport au taux d'inclusion des gains en capital ni au traitement des options sur actions. Certains pensent que ces aspects pourraient être abordés ultérieurement cette année dans une mise à jour budgétaire ou dans une autre annonce.

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