September 25, 2020
On September 3, 2020, the Ontario government enacted Ontario Regulation 492/20, extending the COVID-19 period under Ontario Regulation 228/20 (“the Regulation”) to January 2, 2021. Previously, the COVID-19 period under the Regulation was set to expire on September 4, 2020, which would have ended employer relief from the deemed termination provisions under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”). The Regulation continues to provide employers with temporary relief from the ESA’s deemed termination provisions where operations have been shut down or reduced due to COVID-19. The Regulation only affects non-unionized employees and assignment employees (with necessary modifications).
Originally passed on May 29, 2020, the Regulation deems eligible laid off employees to be on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave. It also provides that layoffs of non-unionized employees will not result in deemed terminations under the ESA during the COVID-19 period. Furthermore, the temporary reduction of hours or wages of non-unionized employees will not be considered a constructive dismissal under the ESA during the COVID-19 period. However, the Regulation does not affect an employees’ rights at common law to claim constructive dismissal as a result of reduced hours, reduced compensation, or layoffs. Consequently, employees can still claim they have been constructively dismissed as a result of being laid off, or changes made to their hours or compensation unless their employment contracts contemplate these changes, or the employee has consented to the changes.
Further information on the Regulation can be found on our previous blog here.
Our firm will continue to provide you with updates as the Ontario Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.
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 lawyers by email or telephone.