Earlier today, the Ontario government published a new regulation under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) that is intended to provide temporary relief from the ESA’s termination provisions for employers whose operations have been shut down or otherwise curtailed by COVID-19.
On May 15, 2020 the federal government released a backgrounder (CEWS Backgrounder) regarding the extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy beyond June 6, 2020 to August 29, 2020 and indicated that the details of the extension would follow.
On May 26, 2020 the Ontario government extended most of the emergency orders currently in force under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to June 9, 2020 (O. Reg. 226/20). Some of the emergency orders in place include the closure of non-essential businesses, restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people, and rules…
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 May 19, 2020, Bill 191, Workplace Safety and Insurance Amendment Act (Presumption Respecting COVID-19), 2020 was tabled by a Private Member and carried on First Reading in the Ontario Legislature.
On May 19, 2020, the Ontario government filed five Orders under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA) which extend the existing Orders and which amend some Orders to further ease the provincial restrictions in place as a result of the COVID-19 declared emergency.
As governments start lifting orders and directives made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (or similar legislation in other jurisdictions), it is understandable that employers and employees alike are anxious to return to their ‘pre-COVID-19 normal’. However, in order to ensure a successful return to work during the largest pandemic in modern history, it is crucial that employers turn their minds to the unique labour and employment issues created by COVID-19 and reopen with a solid return to work plan in place.
As provinces begin to roll out reopening plans for non-essential businesses, the logistical challenges of implementing social distancing in some workplaces mean that many employees will continue to work from home for the foreseeable future. As companies consider which employees will be asked to return to the workplace, and when, the legal considerations and risks associated with work from home arrangements should be taken into account.
On May 14, 2020, the Ontario government announced that certain workplaces will be able to resume operations beginning May 19, 2020, signalling the start of Stage 1 of the second phase of the province’s reopening strategy, “A Framework for Reopening our Province” (Stage 1). The government also announced additional seasonal services and activities that may open May 16, 2020.
On May 13, 2020, the Ontario government issued an order (O. Reg. 210/20, Management of Long-Term Care Homes in Outbreak) (Order) made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act which is intended to provide long-term care homes with additional assistance in managing COVID-19 outbreaks.