Temporary Lay-Off Update: Government Extends Infectious Disease Emergency Leaves

By: David Bleiwas

In an effort to protect jobs and protect employers by delaying severance obligations and/or claims for constructive dismissal, the Provincial government previously passed Regulation 228/20: Infectious Disease Emergency Leave which turned temporary lay-offs into infectious disease emergency leaves (“IDEL’s”). 

A link to an article I previously wrote on this topic can be found here.  Under the original regulation, IDEL’s were to come to an end 6 weeks following the end of the declared state of emergency in Ontario, which ended on July 24, 2020.  As such, IDEL’s were scheduled to end on September 4, 2020 and many employees were expecting to be recalled to work.

However, with little attention on the eve of the long weekend, the government quietly passed Ontario Regulation 492/20, which extends IDEL’s until January 2, 2021.  This means that some employees who were expecting to be recalled to work, or at least be in a better position to move forward with constructive dismissal claims if they were not recalled, may have to wait at least until the new year.   

While this will be welcome news for many employers, it is also likely to cause some concern for employees who are still unsure whether they will qualify for Employment Insurance benefits (or a new Canada Recovery Benefit) once the Federal government transitions from CERB payments following the final CERB period which ends on September 26, 2020. 

While the Federal government has said publicly that its intention is that nobody will be left behind, it is not yet clear whether some may fall through the cracks and, for those who do qualify, the amount they will receive in EI benefits may be less than they were receiving through the CERB program. 

As part of the transition back to EI, the government also introduced the new Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, which will provide $500.00 per week, for up to 2 weeks, for workers who are unable to work because they are sick or who must self-isolate due to COVID-19.  This new benefit will be in place starting September 27, 2020 and, for the time being, will remain in place for one year.   

If you have any questions about how these changes impact you or your company the team at Morrison Brown Sosnovitch LLP is pleased to assist and support your business during this difficult time.  For more information, please contact David Bleiwas at 416-368-5956 or dbleiwas@businesslawyers.com or Christopher Robertson at 416-526-0498  or crobertson@businesslawyers.com.

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