In the last week, the federal government announced two significant developments which will impact federal workplaces. First, it has made changes to the Canada Labour Standards Regulations to extend the period for recalling employees placed on temporary layoff because of COVID-19…
As the 2019 – 2020 school year draws to a close, it would be an understatement to say that the year did not go as expected. From the hurried transition to online learning to the ongoing adjustment to the “new normal” of synchronous learning, we know that our clients have successfully navigated unprecedented and difficult challenges – and that there will be more to come.
The last week has seen numerous announcements and regulatory changes as the Ontario government continues to ease restrictions and permit more businesses to resume their operations. Effective June 19, 2020, Durham, Haldimand-Norfolk, Halton, Hamilton, Lambton, Niagara and York have been moved to Stage 2.
In a series of announcements and regulatory changes from last week, the Ontario government provided guidance on the reopening of postsecondary education in the province. The developments reviewed in this FTR Now apply to universities, colleges of applied arts and technology, private career colleges and other postsecondary institutions.
On April 25, 2019, the Ontario government announced that it would be providing temporary pandemic pay to frontline workers fighting COVID-19. At the time, we observed that there were some key unknown elements about pandemic pay that required further direction from the government.
On Friday, May 29, 2020, 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 and severance provisions for employers whose operations have been shut down or otherwise curtailed by COVID-19 – O. Reg. 228/20, Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL Regulation).
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.
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.