Extension of COVID-19 Period for Employment Standards

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June 7, 2021

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario government made a regulation that changed certain Employment Standards Act (ESA) rules during the “COVID-19 period.” This regulation has been amended to extend the COVID-19 period to September 25, 2021.

Extension of the COVID-19 Period

During the COVID-19 period (March 1, 2020 to September 25, 2021):

  • A non-unionized employee is deemed to be on a job-protected infectious disease emergency leave under the ESA any time their hours of work are temporarily reduced or temporarily eliminated by their employer 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 September 26, 2021:

  • Non-unionized employees will no longer be deemed to be on infectious disease emergency leave.
  • The ESA’s regular rules around constructive dismissal will 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 resume. For practical purposes, a non-unionized employee’s temporary layoff clock resets on September 26, 2021.  

Learn more about these COVID-19: Temporary changes to ESA rules or read the regulation (O. Reg. 228/20). 

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