Ontario Government Extends COVID-19

Ontario Government Extends COVID-19 Emergency Leaves until January 2, 2021

Recently, the Ontario Government further amended the COVID Regulation under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) to extend the special COVID-19 Period lay-off rules to January 2, 2021. This change allows employers to extend COVID-related lay-offs to January 2, 2021 before an employee is deemed terminated under the ESA. It also extends employees’ special job-protected leave rights relating to COVID-19, including the right to take leave to care for children where the need arises due to COVID-caused circumstances.

Other provinces such as B.C. have not passed such lengthy extensions of their special COVID rules.

Employers should be aware that the regular rules under the ESA governing reduction of hours of work, layoffs and leaves will apply to employees on still on Emergency Leave on January 3, 2021 (unless further extended). In particular, as of that date:

  • Employees will no longer be deemed to be on Emergency Leave when on temporary lay-off or reduced hours.
  • The ESA’s regular rules around reductions in pay or hours constituting a constructive dismissal resume.
  • The ESA’s regular rules around the permissible duration of temporary layoff resume.
  • Employee’s special COVID leave rights end.

For more information about this change and how to take advantage of it, contact us at Howard Employment Law at:

ghoward@howardlaw.ca, 604.424.9686; or

schern@howardlaw.ca 604.424.9688