On July 21, 2020, Bill 195, Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 received Royal Assent. The Ontario government has announced that the new Act will be proclaimed in force on July 24, 2020. As set out in greater detail in our FTR Now of July 15, 2020, this means that the COVID-19 declared emergency will come to an end on July 24, 2020.
Ontario employers who are planning for an eventual return to work have been keeping a close eye on the province’s COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool (Tool). The Tool directs Ontarians to self-isolate in certain circumstances. This is important because it relates to employers’ Occupational Health and Safety Act duties and their duty to provide statutorily-protected leaves under the Employment Standards Act, 2000.
On Thursday, July 16, the Ontario government published a regulation that amends the existing Stage 2 Closure Order (Order) made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA). The amendments took effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 17, 2020, and are therefore already in force.
Further to our FTR Now of July 15, 2020 in which we outlined the changes proposed by Bill 195, Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2000, it has come to our attention that by motion in the Legislature on July 13, 2020, the Ontario government extended the declared emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) to July 24, 2020.
Premier Ford recently signaled that he is hopeful another extension of the declared emergency made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) will not be needed. Presumably to this end, on July 7, 2020, the government introduced Bill 195, Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2000 (Bill 195) which, if passed, will enable it to continue Orders made under sections 7.0.2 or 7.1 of the EMCPA even after the declared emergency comes to an end.
On July 13, 2020, the Ontario government filed two Orders made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act regarding Stage 3 of the reopening of the province. The first Order, Stages of Reopening, is a new regulation that identifies which regions of the province are at Stage 1, 2 or 3 of the reopening plan.
On Monday, July 13, the Ontario government announced that 24 regions in Ontario are moving to the Stage 3 of the provincial re-opening plans effective Friday, July 17, 2020. The Orders made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act giving effect to this announcement have not yet been published and we will provide further updates on the Stage 3 reopening as may be necessary. In order that you may continue your Return to Work planning, however, here is what we know as of today.
Participating employers in the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) should be aware of five amendments to the OMERS Primary Pension Plan (Primary Plan) approved by the OMERS Sponsors Corporation Board (SC Board) on June 24, 2020. The changes will be of interest to employers in the municipal and school board sectors with employees who participate in OMERS and include several amendments to address COVID-19-related issues. In addition, two non-COVID-19-related amendments were adopted, including a major change to eligibility for non-full-time employees.
On June 10, 2020, the federal government introduced Bill C-17, An Act respecting additional COVID-19 measures (Bill C-17). Among other changes, if passed in its current form, Bill C-17 would amend the Income Tax Act to revise the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).
The Canadian Association of Pension Supervisory Authorities (CAPSA) has announced the adoption of the 2020 Agreement Respecting Multi-Jurisdictional Pension Plans (2020 Agreement), which will become effective on July 1, 2020.