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Ontario Releases New Framework for COVID-19 Public Health Restrictions

On November 3, 2020, the Ontario government released its COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open (Framework) which the government states “will serve as an early warning system allowing [it] to scale up and scale back public health restrictions on a regional or community basis in response to surges and waves of COVID-19.” The Framework will apply to businesses and organizations that operate within the applicable public health units, and it also contains sector-specific health and safety measures.

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Ontario Tables Bill to Protect Persons from COVID-19-Related Liability

On October 20, 2020, Ontario introduced Bill 218, Supporting Ontario’s Recovery and Municipal Elections Act, 2020. If passed, it would enact The Supporting Ontario’s Recovery Act, 2020 (Act) which provides protection for persons from liability for actions related to COVID-19. It would also remove the framework in the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 providing for ranked ballot elections for municipal council officers. As of today’s date, the Bill is at Second Reading in the Ontario legislature.

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Supreme Court Finds Inability of Pension Plan Members to “Buy Back” Full Pension Credit for Job-Sharing Service to be Unconstitutional

On October 16, 2020, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in Fraser v. Canada (Attorney General). Justice Abella, writing for the majority, held that the inability of members who participated in a job-sharing program to “buy back” pension credits under the employer’s pension plan amounted to discrimination on the basis of sex, contrary to s. 15(1) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In separate dissenting reasons, Justices Brown and Rowe on the one hand and Justice Côté on the other held that the appeal ought to have been dismissed, although for different reasons.

Human Resources Legislative Update

York Region Moves to Modified Stage 2, Further Changes to Stage 2 Rules

On October 16, 2020, the Ontario government announced that it is moving York Region into the Rules for Areas in Stage 2, effective October 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in that area. This is in effect for 28 days. We discussed the modifications made to the Rules for…

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Important Updates Regarding the Extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

On October 14, 2020, the Department of Finance Canada released its latest backgrounder regarding the CEWS. The Extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy backgrounder (Backgrounder) summarizes a number of new and recently announced changes to the CEWS, including the extension of the CEWS to June 2021.

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Ottawa, Toronto and Peel Region Now Subject to Modified Stage 2 Rules

Effective October 10, 2020, Ottawa, Toronto and Peel Region are subject to the Rules for Areas in Stage 2 as modified by O. Reg. 572/20 (Modified Rules) as a result of the increase in COVID-19 cases in these areas. The Office of the Premier has advised that the Modified Rules will be in place for a minimum of 28 days and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.