By Season Osborne
Nursery and landscape companies are like the plants they grow. They flourish from spring to fall, and then they’re cut back for the winter when employees are laid off. In fact, this seasonal industry issues more Records of Employment (ROEs) per year than most others.
Roberta Cook does payroll at Scott’s Nursery in Lincoln, New Brunswick. The nursery, garden centre, and flower shop have 145 employees, but only 45 of them remain year round. Cook issues 100 ROEs every year, in late May and June, after most people have planted their gardens.
For years, Cook issued paper ROEs to employees. Then, in 2009, the company registered with Service Canada to submit electronic ROEs, and she began using ROE Web.
“It’s no more difficult than paper ones. You just do it on the computer, rather than write the information on paper,” she says. “It’s the same basic form.”
Kim Riediger does payroll for Gatemen-Milloy, a landscaping and construction company in Kitchener, Ontario, that employs 155 people. She fills out about 50 ROEs a year, most of which are issued in the late fall at the end of the landscaping season.
She has been filing ROEs electronically for eight years and is enthusiastic about ROE Web.
“It’s so simple to do, especially for a payroll system—if you are doing it manually, electronically should be a breeze,” she says. “There is no learning curve at all. It’s just a matter of filling in the blanks.”
For Riediger, there’s no looking back.
“With the paper ROEs, I always had to tell the employee to wait a week before they got their copy,” she says. “What’s really nice for the employees now is that you can say to them ‘I put them on the Web yesterday, so you should be able to get them today.’”
Employees need Records of Employment to apply for Employment Insurance (EI). Submitting ROEs electronically speeds up the EI application process, as the ROE is sent automatically to the Service Canada database. Once the employer submits the ROE, the employee can view it using their My Service Canada account.
Riediger lists the top-three benefits the company has experienced using ROE Web.
“It’s not time-consuming, it’s beneficial to the employee for sure, because they get their ROE electronically, and there’s no paper,” she adds. “You don’t file anything.”
Cook agrees that not having paper is a huge benefit.
“We no longer have to mail in carbon copies, and don’t have to keep a paper copy.” She adds, “If your computer crashes, you don’t lose them. They are always accessible on the Web, as Service Canada stores them.”
ROE Web not only saves paper, but time and money too. Not having to use carbon copies, saves time by not filling them in manually, and saves the cost of mailing copies to employees and Service Canada.
So, for nursery and landscaping companies, going electronic means having more time to spend on the important things—like watching things grow and making money.
To learn more about ROE Web and how to register, visit servicecanada.gc.ca/roeweb or call the Employer Contact Centre at 1-800-367-5693 (TTY: 1-855-881-9874).
Recognizing Canadian companies that raise the level of professionalism in the landscape industry.
Minimum standards for the nursery industry, for use by students, educators and professionals.
An independent industry body with a mandate to administer nursery certification programs in Canada.
Provides the framework for basic training sessions to develop an informed well-rounded employee.