Update: Extension of Temporary Relief from ESA Termination and Severance Provisions

On September 3, 2020, the Ontario government announced an extension to the temporary relief measures from the termination and severance provisions of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) until January 2, 2021. The temporary measures were initially set to expire September 4, 2020.

Due to this extension, non-union employees with reduced or eliminated hours of work because of COVID-19 are deemed not to be on layoff under the ESA but continue on deemed Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL).

Implications of this change

Those employers concerned about temporary layoff periods restarting again on September 4th, 2020 will appreciate the breathing room offered by this extension. These employers are not completely out of the woods however as the IDEL Regulation only amends the ESA rulesrelated to layoffs and constructive dismissal. We have yet to see how our courts will treat the interaction between the IDEL and the common law.

For employees, once the “COVID-19 Period” under the Regulation comes to an end on January 2, 2021, the usual ESA rules related to layoffs and constructive dismissal will apply. If their employer is unable to fully resume operations by that time, these employees are encouraged to retain counsel and explore available options. Employers too will need to carefully consider how they will address their ongoing employment issues during this dynamic time in employment law.

If you have any questions related to temporary layoffs and the IDEL Regulation, please contact an Emerge LLP lawyer.

The article in this community update provides general information and should not be relied on as legal advice or opinion.