Employer News

Looking for information on emerging trends and developments in labour and employment law? Check here regularly for the latest updates on issues that could impact your workplace.

Ontario government extends application of deemed-IDEL regulations to January 2, 2021

As discussed in our June 8, 2020 post, the Ontario government passed Regulation 228/20 to suspend the application of certain provisions of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 to non-union employees whose hours had been reduced or eliminated or whose wages had been reduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The most notable impact of that regulation was that non-union employees that would otherwise be considered to be on a “temporary layoff” were instead deemed to be on “infectious disease emergency leave” (“IDEL”).

With the end to Ontario’s declared emergency on July 24 2020, the application of O Reg. 228/20 was set to expire on September 4, 2020, at which time the 13 or 35 week temporary layoff periods under the ESA would begin to run for those employees who have not yet been recalled to work.

On September 3, 2020, the Ontario government announced that the application of O. Reg 228/20 would be extended to January 2, 2021, to permit employers more time to reopen and return to full operations.

We will continue to monitor developments related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the workplace and will post further updates as information becomes available.

For advice specific to your situation, consider contacting your regular lawyer at Rae Christen Jeffries LLP.

Federal Government Extends CERB and Announces Simplified EI Program and Other Recovery Benefits

On Thursday, August 20, 2020, the federal government announced that the maximum benefit under the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”) would be extended from 24 weeks to 28 weeks. This is the second time the CERB has been extended. It was first extended from 16 weeks to 24 weeks on June 16, 2020. The end date of the last period for which CERB benefits may be paid, October 3, 2020, has not changed.

To facilitate the transition from CERB to EI for those who continue to need support, the federal government also announced changes to the EI program. These changes include the easing of certain EI eligibility requirements and the implementation of a minimum EI benefit of $400/week. These changes take effect September 27, 2020.

The federal government also announced new recovery benefit programs which will also take effect September 27, 2020. These new programs provide weekly benefits to those that will not be eligible for EI (especially the self-employed and gig-economy workers) and to those that cannot work because of childcare obligations. The federal government also announced a one-time benefit for those that are sick or in isolation because of COVID-19.

We will continue to monitor developments related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the workplace and will post further updates as information becomes available.

For advice specific to your situation, consider contacting your regular lawyer at Rae Christen Jeffries LLP.

The Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 is Proclaimed and Ontario Terminates the Declaration of Emergency

On July 24, 2020, the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 was proclaimed and is now in effect. The declaration of emergency was terminated upon proclamation of the Act. The Act provides the Ontario government greater flexibility to extend, amend and revoke orders made under sections 7.0.2 or 7.1 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, even after the end of the declaration of emergency. more >

Ontario Court of Appeal Concludes that Impermissible “Termination for Cause” Provision Invalidates Entire Termination Clause in Employment Contract

On June 17, 2020, the Ontario Court of Appeal issued a decision in Waksdale v Swegon North America Inc (“Waksdale”), which involved a dispute regarding the enforceability of a termination clause in an employment contract. In Waksdale, the Court of Appeal overturned the lower court’s decision that the termination clause in question was enforceable. The Court of Appeal’s decision provides clarification with respect to the interpretation of termination clauses and the limitations of severability clauses in employment agreements. more >

COVID-19: Stage 2 Re-Opening Update

The Ontario government moved the City of Toronto and Peel Region into Stage 2 on June 24, 2020 (joining the other 31 public health regions that entered Stage 2 on June 12, 2020 and June 19, 2020), allowing more businesses and services to open. more >

Ontario Passes Regulation 228/20: Infectious Disease Emergency Leave

On May 29, 2020, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario passed O. Reg. 228/20: Infectious Disease Emergency Leave. The Regulation makes significant changes to the application of the Employment Standards Act for non-unionized employees that have seen reductions in hours or wages as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. more >

Virtual Hearings: What to Expect

With many people working remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of video teleconference platforms has widely increased. Our firm has been participating in virtual mediations and hearings before labour arbitrators, administrative tribunals, and the courts. As the legal community gains experience with virtual platforms, certain protocols and best practices are being developed. more >