MEMBER UPDATE, June 1, 2020, 4:30PM

New Regulation will protect employees from permanent layoffs and businesses from potential closures

As Ontario’s economy gradually and safely reopens, workers will have jobs to return to and businesses will be protected from incurring unsustainable termination costs.

Today, the provincial government announced it enacted a new regulatory amendment to put non-unionized employees on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave during the COVID-19 outbreak any time their hours of work are temporarily reduced by their employer due to COVID-19.

This will ensure businesses aren't forced to terminate employees after their ESA temporary layoff periods have expired.

Terminations triggered when temporary layoffs exceed the permitted length under the Employment Standards Act can result in costly payouts which, for many businesses, could be the difference between survival and closure.

Under the new regulatory change to the Employment Standards Act, non-unionized employees who have had their hours reduced or eliminated because of the pandemic will be deemed to be on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave. Workers will remain employed with legal protections and be eligible for federal emergency income support programs.

The regulatory amendment applies retroactively to March 1, 2020 and will expire six weeks after the declared emergency ends. The regulatory amendments do not include employees represented by a trade union.

The government is also supporting people and businesses by providing billions of dollars in deferrals and relief. That includes deferring $1.9 billion in Workplace Safety and Insurance Board premium payments until August 31, 2020, $10 billion in interest and penalty relief, and other deferrals to improve cash flow, protect jobs and help household budgets.

The province is partnering with the federal government to provide commercial rent relief for commercial tenants and landlords through the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program.

If you have questions about how best to take advantage of the government’s programming, you can always reach out to ONPHA at member.support@onpha.org.