Employment law continues to evolve due to Covid for what is now being called Covid Employment Law. In Ontario, the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to Covid-19) Act came into force on July 24, 2020. This Act brings the declared emergency to an end as of the 24th of July and all orders made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) in existence on July 24, 2020 will continue. The orders made under the EMCPA will last for 30 days from July 24th, but can be renewed by the Lieutenant General if needed.
Concerning specific leaves of absence under the Employment Standards Act (ESA) as a result of COVID-19 some of these leaves will be affected by the termination of the declared state of emergency as of July 24, 2020.
If an employee is on Declared Emergency Leave, then this leave would expire as of the date the emergency is declared over, July 24th. But this can be extended in limited circumstances and considering personal circumstances of the employee.
If an employee is on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL), which was added in an amendment to the ESA due to COVID), then the leave lasts for as long as COVID-19 is designated as an infectious disease under the ESA.
Deemed IDEL was also added as an amendment to the ESA, this amendment deemed employees whose hours were reduced or eliminated due to COVID-19 as being on Deemed IDEL retroactive to March 1, 2020. In this case, the deemed IDEL leave period will end 6-weeks after termination of the declared state of emergency. If the employer cannot bring the employee back after the expiry of this 6 week period, then regular ESA provisions take over. From our understanding this is not an “order” that the Lieutenant General could renew under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to Covid-19) Act as it was an amendment to the statute and therefore the 6-week period has started to run from July 24th when the emergency was declared over.
Depending on the type of leave the employee is on the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to Covid-19) Act will have different effect on their employment. For more information feel free to contact one of our legal professionals.
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