Ontario’s Declared Emergency Has Come to an EndWhat Does This Mean for Employers?
July 31, 2020
On July 24, 2020, the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (“Bill 195”) came into force and Ontario’s declared emergency came to an end. This legislation impacts Ontario employers in two significant ways, each discussed below.
Temporary Layoff Under the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”)
As discussed in our earlier briefing note (found here), on May 29, 2020 the Government of Ontario introduced a regulation under the ESA to address the legal impact of a temporary reduction in hours of work and/or wages for COVID-19 related reasons.
Under the regulation, if a non-unionized employee is laid off or their hours and/or wages temporarily reduced for COVID-19-related reasons during the “COVID-19 Period” (defined below), the employee is not be considered laid off for the purpose of the termination and severance pay provisions of the ESA.1 Similarly, in most cases, such a layoff or reduction does not constitute a constructive dismissal.
The regulation defines the “COVID-19 Period” as the period from March 1, 2020 until six weeks after the declared emergency in Ontario is terminated or disallowed. With the passage of Bill 195, this six week period ends on September 4, 2020.
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