In a news release issued on March 16, 2020, Premier Doug Ford announced the Ontario government’s intention to introduce legislation to provide new protections for Ontario workers in response to the ongoing spread of COVID-19.
The news release indicates the goal of the proposed legislation is to ensure employees in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, or those who need to miss work in order to care for their children because of school or day care closures, will not lose their jobs due to their absence from work.
If passed, the proposed legislation would provide job protection for employees unable to work for the following reasons:
- the employee is under medical investigation, supervision or treatment for COVID-19;
- the employee is acting in accordance with an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act;
- the employee is in isolation or quarantine;
- the employee is acting in accordance with public health information or direction;
- the employer directs the employee not to work; and,
- the employee needs to provide care to a person for a reason related to COVID-19, such as a school or day-care closure.
The proposed legislation would also ensure employees will not be required to provide their employers a medical note if they take the leave. The proposed measures would be retroactive to January 25, 2020, the date that the first presumptive COVID-19 case was confirmed in Ontario.
It is unknown when the proposed legislation will come into effect, as the provincial legislature is not currently sitting and is not scheduled to resume until Monday, March 23, 2020.
We will continue to monitor these developments and provide timely updates on this issue as new information becomes available.
The foregoing is for informational purposes only and should in no way be relied upon as legal advice. For legal advice tailored to your circumstances and business, please contact any of SOM LLP’s lawyer’s by email or telephone.