With daily COVID-19 case counts approaching 4,000 in Ontario, the Ontario provincial government announced on January 12, 2021, a state of emergency and a return to stricter lockdown measures that will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on January 14, 2021.
On January 4, 2021, the City of Toronto announced that employers and workplaces operating in Toronto’s public health unit will be subject to new reporting requirements regarding positive COVID-19 cases. In addition, Toronto Public Health announced that it will begin reporting data on workplace outbreaks effective January 7, 2021.
On December 21, 2020, the Ontario government announced province-wide shutdown measures, similar to those recently enacted by the governments of Alberta, Québec, and Manitoba. The government cited the “alarming rate” at which COVID-19 cases are increasing due to travel between public health regions that are subject to different levels of restriction, and the strain on the healthcare system as the driving forces behind the province-wide shutdown.
On December 17, 2020, the government of the Province of Ontario enacted Regulation 764/20, which will permit unions and employers in the hospitality, tourism, and trade show industries to negotiate for greater flexibility in the application of termination pay, severance, recall rights and other related matters under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA).
The Ontario government recently enacted Ontario Regulation 228/20, which created an “infectious disease emergency leave” for employees who are off work due to COVID-19. As a result of a very recent regulation, Ontario Regulation 765/20, the period for this infectious disease emergency leave has been extended until July 3, 2021.
Canada is experiencing an increased number of daily COVID-19 infections in what appears to be a “second wave.” In response to higher positivity rates and increased hospitalisations, some provinces have passed strict public health orders to limit the spread of COVID-19. This article discusses the workplace impacts of measures implemented in Ontario, Québec, and British Columbia.
A Federal Court of Appeal decision, Bank of Montreal v. Li, is a cautionary tale for federally regulated employers about the limits of settlement agreements in resolving unjust dismissal complaints.
On June 12, 2020, Québec’s then minister of justice, Sonia LeBel, tabled in the National Assembly Bill 64, An Act to modernize legislative provisions as regards the protection of personal information.
On October 9, 2020, the Government of Ontario announced additional restrictions on and closures of public gatherings, specific businesses, and indoor food and drink service, in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. These restrictions are currently applicable within the “hotspots” of the “Ottawa, Peel, and Toronto public health unit regions.”
The Ontario government recently amended Ontario Regulation 364/20, Rules for Areas in Stage 3, to include mandatory COVID-19 symptom screening in almost all Ontario workplaces.
Employers operating in Ontario, Canada should be aware that Ontario’s minimum wage rate is set to increase on October 1, 2020. This increase affects not only the general minimum wage rate, but also the alternative minimum wage rates that apply in Ontario.
According to Statistics Canada, two in five employers in Canada have reduced hours or laid off one or more employees since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. One of the risks associated with those difficult decisions is a constructive dismissal claim that would trigger statutory notice and severance requirements under provincial employment standard legislation and under the common law. Ontario’s government has now taken a major step to prevent claims under its Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) resulting from COVID-19.
On April 1, 2020, Canada’s Minister of Finance announced the federal government’s plans for a comprehensive wage subsidy program that would cover up to 75 percent of an employee’s regular wages for up to 3 months. As predicted, the proposed Emergency Wage Subsidy Program has undergone significant changes in the last week in order to extend benefits to a wider class of employers.
On April 1, 2020, Canada’s Minister of Finance outlined the federal government’s plans for a comprehensive wage subsidy plan that, in total, would put as much as $71 Billion (CAD) back into the pockets of participating employers. The stated purpose of the plan is to maximize the ability of employers to maintain employment relationships with their employees during this difficult time.
On March 24, 2020, the British Columbia government made two changes to the BC Employment Standards Act to provide workers with unpaid, job-protected leave due to illness and injury.
On December 6, 2018, the government of Ontario unveiled Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018. The bill is designed to reduce the regulatory and financial burden of operating a business in a number of areas, including employment and labour relations.
In a previous article, we noted the need for the new Ontario government to provide some clarity as to if and when the Pay Transparency Act, 2018 was going to be implemented. The government has now indicated that it will delay the implementation of the Act.
Bill 47, the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018, passed its third reading on November 21, 2018, and will now become law in Ontario. Bill 47 repeals several provisions introduced by the previous liberal government under Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017.
Workplace laws in Canada are in a state of flux following several announcements made by provincial and federal governments in recent weeks.
Canada’s federal government has announced plans to move forward with pay equity legislation that will require federally regulated employers to proactively identify and remedy pay inequities in their workplaces.
With the new Ontario government’s move to repeal a number of key Bill 148 reforms underway, the next question on the minds of many employers is what will happen to the Pay Transparency Act, 2018.
The laws governing Ontario workplaces have been subject to seismic changes throughout the past year.
In 2017, Ontario’s Liberal government enacted Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, which entailed the biggest changes to employment and labour laws in Ontario in a generation. On October 2, 2018, Ontario’s new Conservative government announced that it is planning to repeal Bill 148.
Ontario’s provincial general election is scheduled for June 7, 2018. With this in mind, Ontario employers may want to be mindful of their obligations with respect to employee voting rights on Election Day. This means not only understanding what the law requires of employers but also what it does not require, as employees often have misconceptions about what their rights are.
As we reported in March of 2018, the Ontario government recently introduced legislation designed to create pay transparency by prohibiting employers from asking job applicants about pay history, requiring employers to report their pay practices to the Ministry of Labour, and authorizing the appointment of compliance officers to investigate whether employers have complied with the bill’s requirements, among other things.
The province of Alberta, Canada, enacted significant revisions to its Employment Standards Code effective January 1, 2018, overhauling its foundational employment laws for the first time in almost 30 years. Canadian employment law is generally provincial—and each province has its own core employment legislation with its own regulations governing matters such as overtime pay, job-protected leaves of absence, annual vacation, and termination requirements.
The Ontario government recently introduced Bill 203, the Pay Transparency Act, 2018. The goal of this legislation is to increase transparency in pay practices in the hopes of closing the pay gap between male and female employees. The draft legislation also empowers the Ministry of Labour to impose fines on employers that do not comply with the legislation.
Close on the heels of the sweeping changes brought about by Bill 148, the Ontario government has enacted another set of changes to Ontario’s employment laws. Bill 177, the Stronger, Fairer Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2017, is omnibus legislation that affects a number of Ontario statutes, including the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), as well as transitional updates to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (WSIA).
On November 22, 2017, the Ontario government passed the much anticipated Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, which will result in significant changes to Ontario’s labour and employment landscape. The Act received Royal Assent on November 27, 2017.