10 things to do for Onboarding Employees in Canada

The relevance of a good on-boarding program cannot be understated, as it has been found to reap numerous positive organizational outcomes.


A successful on-boarding system has benefits ranging from reducing the time required for new hires to become productive at work, increasing employee retention at the organization, to inspiring greater employee commitment to the organization, and fostering better relationships with colleagues.

Get a Business Number (BN)

Employers need to have a business number (BN) and open a Payroll Deductions Account. A Canadian Business Number (BN) is a 9-digit number issued to companies by the Canada Revenue Agency(CRA). Companies will need to provide the Business Number (BN) to set up a work location in Canada. The business number is a nine-digit number that gives businesses its own unique identity.


People are very excited and quite vulnerable when they take new jobs, so it’s a time in which you can have a big impact,” Michael Watkins, author of the bestselling book, The First 90 Days. “Often the people who get the least attention are those making internal moves,” says Watkins, but those transitions, “can be terribly challenging”. Here’s a guideline to helps you build and develop your onboarding plan within these first and crucial 90 days.

You can get a business number in one of three ways:

Information needed to register your business:

Open a Program account

A program account is what your business gets when it registers for a CRA program. In most cases, you register for a program account to participate in a program. In the case of CRA, you may need to participate in a program to meet your tax obligations. The most common CRA program accounts a business will need are:

A organization requires more than one CRA program accounts as business expands, but only need one BN.

When a business registers for one of the programs, they get a:

An employer needs to open a Payroll Deductions account. To do this you must have a business number. If you already have a business number (BN), you only need to add a payroll program account to your existing BN. If you don’t have a BN, you must ask for one and register for a payroll program account before the date your first remittance is due.If you are registering for a business number you can request a payroll program account at the same time. If you already have a Business Number, you are adding a new account to your existing ones.

You can add a payroll account using one of the following methods:

Clarify Role

The new hire needs to have clarity regarding his role- duties, responsibilities, job duties and expectations, work hours, benefits, salary and probationary period with the key performance indicators from the beginning. He needs to be aware of the level of performance expected from him and how his work will be evaluated and performance appraisal handled. HR Manager should provide clarity into these aspects. Also the job offer has to be complaint with the employment standards of the concerned province or territory.

Check the employee’s Social Insurance Number (SIN).

The Social Insurance Number is used to administer government benefits. As an employer, you need to view every new employee’s SIN card within three days of the employee starting work and record the employee’s name and SIN exactly as they appear on the card. Canada- based employees will be required to provide their Social Insurance Number (SIN) when onboarding. The Social Insurance Number is a nine-digit code that is required for work in Canada or access government programs and benefits.


Watch for SINs that begin with the number “9”! A SIN starting with this number signals a person who is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and who is authorized to work only for a particular employer with a valid employment authorization issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

In addition to their Social Insurance Number, Non-Citizen’s are also required to have following verification documents:

Have the employee fill out Form TD1, Personal Tax Credits Return.

TD1, Personal Tax Credits Return, determines the amount of tax to be deducted from an individual’s employment income or other income, such as pension income.There are federal and provincial/territorial TD1 forms. A new employee has to complete the federal TD1 and the provincial TD1 if more than the basic personal amount is claimed. In Quebec, employees need to use the federal TD1 and Provincial Form.

Prepare yourself and the new hire

A lot can be done and achieved in the weeks and days from hiring an employee to the actual joining date. It is best, to be prepared for the new hire, with respect to their individual needs. Getting things organized and sorted out after an employee joins makes the employee feel unwelcome.

Much of the paper work on the part of the employee can be done prior to joining through an Employee portal, or via mails. Access to employee portal can also help them connect to the organization as a whole, with newsfeed and other company related information.

Setup the employee workstation

Managers and HR could check in on the new hire, during the first week and post the first 30 days. Areas that the new hire is finding difficult to tackle can be dealt with then. It is helpful to take note of things or areas that was not addressed in the onboarding process. This helps to make further improvements for future onboarding training.

Familiarize them with the company culture

A poor integration in the company culture is one of the leading reasons for new hire failures. However, very few companies impart and integrate new hires into the company culture effectively. Imparting the company mission, vision and ethos forms a crucial element in the onboarding process.

Begin a employee record for the new hire

Employee records such as time sheets and performance evaluations need to be collected and forms related to running payroll such as T4 slips have to be handled. Technology makes the new hire onboarding process more efficient, and cuts down on mistakes. While small businesses may find using spreadsheets sufficient, employers who regularly onboard new employees should consider using dedicated technology solutions.

Communication and Feedback

Getting the new hire on his job at the earliest provides a sense of ownership. Even if it is a small task, it is good to start the employee on a job on the first day. This helps them get focused and gets them to start contributing to the team. Communicating expectations, and providing a means of feedback and response will help build confidence. Provide the new hire with clear expectations and goals. Get into the details, and help clarify their doubts should there be any grey areas. Let them know you are committed to their development and career within the organization. Take them through how they can grow, how they can build themselves and the company’s interest in developing its talent pool. Feedback from new hires, at regular intervals, helps to improve on the existing onboarding system. An effective onboarding process is key to building a talent pool, retaining talent and increasing productivity.

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