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.
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.
Hicks Morley’s Hossein Moghtaderi authored an article in the Ontario Bar Association’s Labour and Employment Section Insider titled “Action for Constructive Dismissal as a Result of Workplace Harassment Statute-Barred by WSIA.”
Late last week, the Ontario government amended a number of measures already introduced in light of COVID-19. It updated the “COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool” to include an expanded list of symptoms for which self-isolation is required. It made further orders under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act regarding health care, an expanded list of essential workers eligible for child care and seasonal campgrounds. The federal government provided more information on initiatives already underway, including with respect to the eligibility requirements for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
On April 14, 2020, the Ontario government issued an Emergency Order (Order) pursuant to the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) which relates specifically to staffing issues in Ontario’s long-term care sector. The Order, O. Reg. 146/20, Limiting Work to a Single Long-Term Care Home, creates immediate obligations for both long-term care employers and employees working in long-term care homes. Once the requirements of the Order are met, the Order will effectively impose a “single-employer” rule for employees in this sector, preventing them from working for more than one Health Service Provider or retirement home until the Order is lifted.
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has published a “Frequently Asked Questions” page to address questions regarding COVID-19 claims, the impact of COVID-19-related closures on injured workers, and changes in WSIB processes during this period. Below is a brief summary of the key points.
On April 11, 2020, Bill C-14, the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, No. 2, (Bill C-14), received Royal Assent after another emergency session of Parliament. Bill C-14 enacts the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). It includes new details about which employers are eligible, and the calculation of gross revenue and the subsidy. On the same date, the federal government also updated its backgrounder describing the CEWS, reflecting the final form of the legislation.
On April 1, 2020, the federal government provided important additional information about the previously announced expanded wage subsidy program and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada continues to rise, so too are the challenges that employers are facing across the country. Join us for a one-hour webinar as our presenters answer frequently asked questions and provide information on some of the key issues affecting employers with respect to the virus.