Message from Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development:
We want you to be aware of some important information regarding employment standards in Ontario:
- Extension of the COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit
- The end of temporary rules that apply during the “COVID-19 Period”
- A Special Industry Regulation to be revoked
The COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit (WIPB) has been extended to March 31, 2023
- up to three days of paid infectious disease emergency leave under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) for eligible employees who take time off work because of certain reasons related to COVID-19, and
- an employer reimbursement program.
This extension means eligible employers will continue to be entitled to reimbursement for the amount of infectious disease emergency leave pay that they pay to their employees, up to $200 per employee per day taken. Eligible employers must make their application within 120 days of the date the employer paid the employee, or by July 29, 2023, whichever is earlier.
Learn more about Ontario.ca/COVIDworkerbenefit or call the Ontario COVID‑19 Worker Income Protection Benefit Information Centre at 1-888-999-2248 or TTY (for hearing impaired) at 1-866-567-8893.
Certain temporary rules in effect during the “COVID-19 Period” End on July 30, 2022
On May 29, 2020, the government made a regulation under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) in response to COVID‑19. The regulation set out certain temporary rules which apply during the “COVID-19 period.”
This “COVID-19 period” began on March 1, 2020 and will end on July 30, 2022. During this time:
- A non-unionized employee is deemed to be on unpaid infectious disease emergency leave when they are not performing the duties of their position because their employer temporarily reduces or temporarily eliminates their hours of work for reasons related to COVID-19.
- A non-unionized employee is not considered to be laid off under the ESA if their employer temporarily reduces or temporarily eliminates their hours of work or wages for reasons related to COVID-19.
- A non-unionized employee is not considered to be constructively dismissed under the ESA if their employer temporarily reduces or temporarily eliminates their hours of work or wages for reasons related to COVID-19.
Beginning on July 31, 2022:
- Non-unionized employees are no longer deemed to be on unpaid infectious disease emergency leave.
- The ESA’s regular rules around constructive dismissal resume. This means a significant reduction or elimination of an employee’s hours of work or wages may be considered a constructive dismissal, even if it was done for reasons related to COVID-19.
- The ESA’s regular rules around temporary layoff also resume. For practical purposes, a non-unionized employee’s temporary layoff clock resets on July 31, 2022.
Note that unpaid and, where applicable, paid infectious disease emergency leave remain available to employees.
Revocation of a Special Industry Regulation for unionized workplaces in the hospitality, tourism and convention and trade show industries
A regulation (O. Reg. 764/20) under the ESA came into force on December 17, 2020 that created a special rule relating to the system in the ESA that governs the interaction between recall rights, termination pay and severance pay. This regulation is revoked on July 31, 2022.
If you need help understanding your responsibilities and rights under the ESA, you can:
- Visit Your Guide to the Employment Standards Act at Ontario.ca/ESAguide.
- Call the Employment Standards Information Centre at 1-800-531-5551 or TTY (for hearing impaired) at 1-866-567-8893. Information is available in many languages.