Employee Benefits

updated Dec23/13


Frontier has put together an extensive employee benefit program. Here are the details:

Vacation Pay
Continuing Education
Safety boot allowance
Tool allowance
Provincial health care premiums
Extended medical insurance
Exetended health care claims
HCEA - Health Care Expense Account
Sick Pay
SUB-Supplemental Unemployment Insurance Benefits
Long Term Disability
EAP - Employee Assistance Program
Life Insurance
Pension Plan
Travel Coverage

Vacation Pay

Time is money, as they say. Well, that's not exactly true, but that's how annual vacation works. You aren't accumulating vacation days, you are accumulating vacation pay. When you take your vacation time, you get this accumulated money so you can leave work and enjoy yourself.

Vacation pay is calculated at 4% of all wages, sick pay, and bonuses for the first 4 years. This pays for 2 weeks vacation each year. From the beginning of the 5th year onwards, vacation pay is accumulated at 6% per year (or 3 weeks vacation time); after 10 years it's 8% (4 weeks). For every additional year we add 1 day's vacation (or +0.4% each year.) Ask Randy, Larrie, Bill, Geoff or Annette for a printout of your accumulated vacation pay.

Can you take vacation pay as extra cash and just work through your vacation? BC and Alberta laws say no. You must take a minimum of 2 weeks vacation away from the job each year. If you request, you can take shorter periods of vacation time. Please check with your supervisor about scheduling vacations, so Frontier can continue to operate in your absence.

BC Employment Standards - vacation laws
Alberta Employment Standards - vacation laws

A "Leave of Absence" is unpaid time away from work. Some employees ask for a Leave of Absence to go on extended vacations or to take additional time away from work beyond the paid vacation. Frontier will try and accommodate these requests. Please work with your supervisor so we can ensure that Frontier can maintain the usual high levels of customer service during your absence.

"Parental Leave" is similar to a "Leave of Absence" in that it is unpaid. With a new or adopted child you are entitled to take up to 37 weeks of unpaid parental leave. Parental leave is your legal right, and Frontier is obligated to offer you an equivalent job on your return to work.

Continuing Education

Keep learning! Keep your mind active, and make your life more interesting.

Courses taken outside of business hours: Frontier will contribute up to $500 annually for tuition and books that are related to your work. Some of the training Frontier has funded in the past include St. John's industrial first aid, financial administration, imports and exports, management skills, telephone skills, time management, service training courses put on by our vendors, presentation and sales skills, programming skills, purchasing management, and others.

Revenue Canada has restricted the types of courses we can pay for, so we need to show that the course has some relationship to your job. But that really doesn't narrow it down very much. Frontier cannot pay for a cooking course, for example, but we could pay for a computer course. Ask Bill or Geoff if you are unsure.

You must complete and pass the course before Frontier will reimburse your costs.

Apprenticeship training: Funding for these courses is shared by Frontier, the provincial government, and Employment Insurance. Frontier will loan you enough to top up your EI to your normal pay. Once you have passed your course and been back at Frontier for 6 months, Frontier will calculate a bonus equal to the outstanding loan, to zero it out.

Courses taken during business hours: Time away from work needs to be approved by your supervisor. Frontier will contribute the tuition and books (as above). Wages or wage top-ups are handled case by case.

Safety boot allowance

updated June 12/07

Frontier will reimburse up to $150 annually towards safety boots for shop workers. Submit your receipts to Annette for reimbursement.

Tool allowance

updated June 12/07

Frontier will match up to $400 per year for the purchase of mechanic's and electrician's tools. For example if you purchase $600 worth of tools during the year, Frontier will reimburse you for $300. This reimbursement is considered a taxable benefit.

Provincial Health Care Premiums

updated April 24/12

Frontier pays your BC Medical Services Plan premiums. (Alberta and Manitoba no longer charge medical plan premiums.)

These are a 'taxable benefit.' This means that the premiums, although paid by Frontier, are included in your taxable income.

Your BC Medical Care Card number gives you access to http://www.bchealthguide.org/ -- the online BC Health Guide, and the 24 hour BC Healthguide Nurseline at 604-215-4700.

Extended Medical Insurance

updated March 1/12

Employees are covered by Extended Medical Insurance starting the first day of the month after they have completed the 30 day waiting period. So if you are hired on January 18, coverage begins March 1.

There is no cost to employees for Extended Medical Insurance coverage.

And exhaustive list of what is covered is available at
- register with your Equitable Life of Canada card which has your policy number (811843), certificate number (usually 0+your social insurance number)

Extended health coverage details:
- employees (PDF)
- retirees (PDF)

Extended health care claims

updated March 1/12

Once you have registered on www.equitablehealth.ca, find the claim forms

As of March 2012 this website doesn't work properly with most browsers. We have tested Internet Explorer and Mac Safari, and both seem to work.

- sign in with your userID and password
Plan member > How to submit a health claim or dental claim to Equitable Life

Equitable claim form #466 - fillable PDF

Once completed, upload it to their website with "EZClaim Online"

or mail the completed claim form with receipts to:
Equitable Life of Canada
One Westmount Road North
P.O. Box 1604 Stn. Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario N2J 0A7

They also have an iPhone app for submitting claims

HCEA - Health Care Expense Account

..updated Dec 30/11

Each employee has a set amount of health care money available for you and your family each calendar year. This is in addition to your Provincial Health Care Plan, and Extended Medical insurance. HCEA is usually used for dental and vision care.

There is no deductible, and no cost to employees.

2001-2011 - annual HCEA maximum $2,500
2012 onwards - annual HCEA maximum $3,000

Once you have used up your HCEA maximum for the current year, any unused amount from the previous year is available to you. Unused credits carry over one year, but not to any subsequent years. So you use up this year's money first, then any leftovers from last year.

Dental care: Ask your dentist to make up a standard claim form. You can either pay the dentist directly and submit the form for reimbursement, or submit the form to Frontier's personnel dept. This will be charged against your available HCEA credits. The dentist will be paid through Frontier's accounts payable system.

Vision care includes eye exams (when not covered by your provincial medical plan), prescription glasses and contact lenses. etc.

Other medical expenses not covered by your provincial medical plan or our Extended Benefits can also be paid from the HCEA account, as long as they are mentioned in Canada Revenue Agency's guidelines and the Income Tax Act.

New employees are covered by the HCEA after 30 days. The HCEA allowance is pro-rated by the number of days the employee works for Frontier in a year.

Click here for the HCEA claim form

Sick Pay

.. updated Jan24/08, Bill M

Frontier does not have a written policy on sick pay. BC and Alberta labour laws both say: no work, no pay.

Frontier’s formal policy on sick time is that we do not pay for time off due to sickness. We may pay for the occasional time off for sickness or to attend a doctor’s visit where it cannot be scheduled outside of normal work hours with the approval of your supervisor. (Any payments made are strictly at Frontier’s sole discretion and does not confer that future payments will be made.)

Employment Insurance sickness/maternity/parental benefits kick in after that, and pays 55% of your normal wages. EI runs for 15 weeks, at which point our Long Term Disability Insurance kicks in. (See "Supplementary Unemployment Benefits" below to see how Frontier "tops-up" your EI sick pay.)

EI also provides 6 weeks of EI benefits for "Compassionate Care" of a gravely ill or dying family member.

It would be ideal if employees could schedule doctor's visits outside of working hours. Frontier will pay for medical doctor's visits as "sick pay" if:

In these cases, claim the visit time (up to 2 hours per doctor's visit) as "sick pay" on your regular paycheque. Use the "Calendar" program near the bottom of the Utilities menu to print the form to do this.

SUB - Supplemental Unemployment Benefits

updated Sept 2/09

In 1998, when one employee was off sick for several weeks, we found a legal way to "top up" his EI benefits using a S.U.B. plan. This allows Frontier to top up your EI benefits up to 95% of your regular pay when you are off sick AND collecting EI sick pay benefits. As a result, you don't have to worry about your finances if you are off sick for an extended period.

Note that our SUB plan does not apply to maternity, parental or compassionate care EI benefits, only to sick benefits. Our SUB plan applies only to full-time employees who have worked at Frontier for 6 continuous months.

Here are some details on the SUB plan from the Service Canada website:

Long Term Disability

updated June 4/12

LTD coverage starts at 17 weeks off the job, when EI and SUB benefits run out.

The policy pays 2/3 of your normal monthly wage up to $2,500, and 1/2 of the amount over that up to a maximum benefit of $10,000/month.

Frontier charges each employee for their LTD premiums. Under federal tax law, if you are in the unfortunate situation of requiring LTD benefits, they are tax free if you have paid the LTD premiums. If Frontier paid the premiums, LTD benefits would become taxable, so we figured that the employees would be better off under this arrangement. The current LTD premium rate is 1.485% of the monthly benefit. (If your normal earnings are $2900/month, your LTD benefit would be 2/3 of the first $2500 + 1/2 of $400 = $1867, so your monthly premium would be 1.485% x $1867 = $27.72)

The benefits continue for 2 years if you are unable to work at your own profession. After 2 years, the benefits continue if you are unable to work at any profession. For example, if you can no longer work as a mechanic, but could work at a desk, you would be required to take a desk job 2 years after being disabled.

EAP - Employee Assistance Program

updted March 1/12

Details of this program are at http://equitablehealthconnector.ca/
Sign in with your EquitableHealth.ca userID and password

Equitable HealthConnector™
Whether you need help knowing what questions to ask your doctor, are dealing with a family or personal medical issue, or are looking for available health resources near where you live, HealthConnector is here to support you. Speak with a Health Information Specialist who can help you find health resources or to get more information about any of the services below at 1-888-344-5658.

Canadian Health Care Guide
- Finding care - health care providers (doctors, specialists etc.), facilities, expenses
- Managing your health - decision making, tests & treatments, coping with illness, caregiving & support
- Healthy living - workplace health, nutrition & wellness, travel health

Health library
- Canadian health screening guide
- Conditions
- Medications
- Natural products
- Travel health

Health services directory:
- flu vaccination guide
- provincial health care services
- community support groups
- physiciians
- facilities

Lifeworks Employee Assistance Program
comprehensive source for dealing with various challenges throughout ones life.
- parenting & child care
- education
- midlife & retirement
- older adults
- disability
- financial
- legal
- everyday issues
- work
- managing people
- health
- emotional wellbeing
- addiction and recovery
- student life

Start by looking at the website www.lifeworks.com
Speak with a Lifeworks consultant anytime at 1-877-207-8833. This is confidential.

Life Insurance

Updated Oct30/12

Life insurance is set at 2 times annual earnings. Federal tax law states that life insurance premiums are a taxable benefit, so these premiums will show up on your T-4 slip (eventually). Life insurance coverage begins 30 days after you are hired. Life insurance coverage terminates when you retire, or turn 70, whichever comes first.

Accidental death coverage pays an additional amount equal to life insurance.

Optional additional life insurance is available through group life insurance provider. You can purchase this until you turn 65.

Pension Plan

updated Dec 23/13


Can you afford to live on a government pension? If you retired at age 65 today, you would receive $1,526/month from Canada Pension and Old Age Security combined. Sound like enough? Checked the price of "seniors" cat food lately?

You can save up to 18% of your income each year for the future, and save taxes at the same time. You can do this with an RRSP, with Frontier's Pension Plan, or combining the two.

Employees are eligible for Frontier's pension plan after they have been with Frontier for 6 months. (Manitoba full time employees must join after 6 months.) Frontier's pension plans are self-directed--you choose where to invest your money the funds available at Standard Life, our pension plan administrator.

Free money: Frontier matches your pension plan contributions.
After 6 months, until you have completed 2 years of employment, Frontier matches 3% of your wages
2 - 5 years, Frontier matches 4% of your wages
After 5 years, Frontier matches 5% of your wages

Your contributions must stay in the plan until retirement. You can also transfer money into your Standard Life pension plan from your personal RRSP. =

Employer matching contributions are subject to a different set of rules set by the Pension Standards Act:
- They do not belong to you until you have been enrolled in the pension plan for 2 continuous years.
- If you leave Frontier before the 2 years, you forfeit the employer contributions.
- The employer contributions are "vested" (locked-in until your retirement). Once vested, you cannot get a cash refund, but must receive a deferred life annuity payable from age 55 (or later) onwards. This deferred life annuity cannot be surrendered for cash. You can transfer this another financial institution, but only into a similarly locked-in account. All this is a way of making sure that you actually save for your retirement, and don't spend it earlier.

Once you have joined the pension plan, you cannot stop contributing. However, you can lower your contributions from 1% of your earnings.

If you have unused RRSP contibution room, additional voluntary contributions can be deducted from your paycheque and paid into your pension plan. You save taxes immediately, and there are no strings attached to these extra contributions. You can easily transfer them from your pension plan to your RRSP, or leave them invested in the pension plan funds.

You can manage your pension plan and easily change your investments. Find your account number (on your semi-annual statement) and go to www.standardlife.ca and click "Login"

If you want to change your investment mix, select:
Standard Life VIP room > Manage your plans > Investment instructions > All > Go > Change investments for all accounts in this plan.
- you can then choose one of their mixes, or "Provide your own instructions"
- check "Please rebalance my assets (current holdings) now according to the investment instructions I have provided above" to move your money from one fund to another to match your 'investment mix'
- look at Latest pension plan fund results to get a sense of which funds are the best long-term investments

Note: The Real Estate fund (SLIRE) and the Mortgage fund (MORT) are "limited liquidity investments". Therefore, Standard Life's system cannot rebalance these two particular investments if they are in your portfolio. If you would like to remove these assets, please go to "Manage your plans" and then interfund transfer to sell these investments.


updated Feb 22/12

Equitable Life defines your spouse as your legal spouse, or a person of either gender who has been living with you in a common-law relationship for at least 1 full year and who is publicly represented as your spouse. This seems like a reasonable definition, so Frontier uses this as well for the Health Care Expense Account.

You must notify Equitable Life within 31 days of "acquiring a dependent", or they will may not be covered for pre-existing conditions and will have to prove that they are eligible for coverage. How do you acquire a dependent?
- having a child
- adopting a child
- getting married
- moving in with a partner

Children are covered if they are:

You must apply to Equitable Life in the 31 day period before the child's 21st birthday if they are disabled in order to maintain coverage.

Travel Coverage

updated Feb 22/12

Emergency expenses incurred while traveling outside your home province are covered by BC Medical Services Plan or Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan - (travel booklet) or Manitoba Health. Please contact them directly for their claim procedures. Claims must be submitted to your provincial medical plan within 90 days after the date the services were rendered. Pacific Blue Cross does not reimburse any claims denied by your provincial plan due to missing their claiming deadline.

Most eligible outstanding expenses not covered by your provincial health plan are covered by Equitable Life. To help coordinate benefits, if you or your dependant require medical assistance while travelling, call Travel Assist. This is a multi-lingual service for the traveller, their medical service provider, and the traveller's Canadian physician. They will help in coordinating care, providing travel documents, exchanging messages, and coordinating payments.

Travel Assist:
- Canada / USA - 1-800-321-9998
- elsewhere, call collect 1-519-742-3287

Give Travel Assist:
- your name
- your group policy number
- your certificate number
- your provincial health care number