COVID-19: Information for Employees and Employers

On this page, we provide information about workers’, employees’ and employers’ legal rights during the COVID-19 pandemic. The information on this page is updated as developments occur.

July 25, 2022

Deemed IDEL Ended in Ontario July 30, 2022: What Happens Next?

On July 30, 2022, the Ontario government ended the Deemed Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL) for non-unionized employees. Read more >>

February 1, 2022

Stress Leave in Ontario During COVID-19: What You Need To Know

As the COVID-19 pandemic drags into a third year and workers continue to face ongoing pressures both in the workplace and at home, many Ontarians are reporting “burnout” and are considering stress leave. Read more >>

October 30, 2021

Updated Guidance on ROE Codes for Non-Compliance with Workplace Vaccination Policies

The Ministry has developed new guidance for the use of codes for employers to indicate the reasons for issuing the ROE under new COVID-19 circumstances. Read more >>

October 27, 2021

UHN Vaccine Mandate and Terminations for Cause

At this time, no judge or Court in Canada has ruled that failure to disclose your vaccination status regarding COVID-19 is justification for a for cause dismissal. Read more >>

October 8, 2021

If You Are Unvaccinated, Can Your Employer Terminate You For Cause?

Many employers are choosing to implement mandatory vaccination policies. Read more >> 

September 23, 2021

Mandatory Vaccination and Employment

Many employees are being asked to be vaccinated or give consent to a mandatory testing protocol. Read more about mandatory vaccination in the workplace >>

April 29, 2021

COVID-19: New Temporary Paid Sick Leave Program in Ontario

The Ontario government has stated that it intends to provide paid sick leave to employees who do not have coverage for leave benefits from their employers. The program is intended to curb the spread of COVID-19. Read more about the proposal >>

April 27, 2021 

COVID-19: Employment Insurance Benefits and Severance Package

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Employment Insurance (“EI”) rules have been temporarily changed in Canada to allow employees to access EI benefits even when they received a severance package. Read more >>

April 21, 2021 

Can Your Employer Make It Compulsory To Get The COVID-19 Vaccine In Ontario?

The short answer is it depends. Mandatory workplace vaccination policies can be part of a larger program for preventing workplace spread of infectious diseases. Read more >>

April 9, 2021

Answers to Top 5 Employment Questions Regarding Ontario’s Stay-at-Home Order

Effective Thursday, April 8, 2021, the Ontario government issued a province-wide Stay-at-Home order. This is the third state of emergency under the Emergency and Civil Protection Act. We cover the top 5 questions all employees ask. Read more >>

April 8, 2020

COVID-19 and Federally Regulated Employees: What Are My Rights?

It is important to highlight the entitlements of those who are federally regulated. Federally regulated employees should understand their rights under the Canada Labour Code (the “Code”) in response to COVID-19. Read more >>

March 16, 2021

Impact Of COVID-19 On Reasonable Notice in Ontario

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to lay off or terminate huge portions of their workforce to stay afloat, and there have been record levels of unemployment. Recent Court decisions suggest the widespread economic downturn and strains on the job market can have the effect of lengthening the reasonable notice entitlements of dismissed employees. Read more >>

October 2, 2020

New Ontario Government Guidelines for Mandatory COVID-19 Workplace Screening

On September 25, 2020 the Ontario government requires all workplaces to conduct a screening for all employees upon arriving at their workplaces, to evaluate the risk of COVID-19 for workers prior to entering their place of work. Read more about screening and best practices >>

December 10, 2020

Employers Frequently Asked Questions About Employment and COVID-19

Employers need to balance keeping employees on payroll and conserving cash in the face of the COVID-19. Read Employers Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 for answers regarding wage subsidies, SUB Plans and Work-Sharing, termination and layoffs.

September 3, 2020

EI, CERB – Government Support for Workers

On September 4, 2020, the government announced a new simplified EI program, read New Increased Access to EI and Additional Recovery Benefits for Canadians (Effective September 27, 2020) to learn more.

August 9, 2020

COVID-19 and the Workplace: What Employees Need to Know  

Employees often feel they are presented with ultimatums and cannot afford to pay for legal advice to learn their options under labor and employment law. After hundreds of free consultations, we have prepared a summary of what employees need to know. Read COVID-19 and the Workplace: What Employees Need to Know to make better decisions and plan ahead.

Some employees are concerned about coming into work, does that amount to job abandonment and does it mean that the employee is not entitled to compensation if fired? The standard for job abandonment is high. Learn more at Unexplained Absences and Tardiness: When Does it Become Job Abandonment?

May 1, 2020

Preparing to Reopen the Workplace after COVID-19

Employers are now working towards reopening their businesses and prepare for the new requirements to keep workplaces safe and productive. Our infographic How to Make a Decision to Return to Work after the COVID-19 Lockdown provides a flow chart for decision making. Read some helpful pointers of what employers should consider at Ontario Reopening Plan: How to Return to Work after COVID-19.

Stage 3 of the Reopening has been extended to all of Ontario, including Toronto, read our tips for employees returning to work and how to deal with privacy, health, child care and public transit concerns at Toronto Stage 3 Reopening: Information for Employees.

April 13, 2020

COVID-19: Canadian Wage Subsidies, Small Businesses and the Self-Employed

On April 11, 2020, the Canadian Parliament passed landmark legislation to help businesses and employees through the COVID-19 pandemic and to implement the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. We have reviewed the legislation to discern what it brings for the self-employed and small businesses, read our analysis here COVID-19: Canadian Wage Subsidies, Small Businesses and the Self-Employed.

April 7, 2020

Short-Term and Long-Term Disability and COVID-19

Employees who have been laid off during the coronavirus pandemic often still have access to their benefits and might be able to apply for disability benefits if they are unable to work for medical reasons including but not limited to anxiety, depression or acute stress (related to the pandemic or not). Read Employee Rights: Short-Term and Long-Term Disability During COVID-19 to learn how your benefits can help during these times.

March 19, 2020

Government Support for Employees during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Employment Insurance, Temporary and Long Term Support

Changes have been made to the Employment Insurance rules for employees that are required to self-quarantine. Now employees can make a claim for sickness benefits when medical reasons are preventing them from working. Find out more about income support in Government Support for Employees During COVID-19: Employment Insurance, Temporary and Long Term Support. This includes Employment Insurance, EI Sickness Benefit, Canada Emergency Response Benefit, Work Sharing, Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Program and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.

On May 22, 2020, the Federal Government introduced online questionnaires to help individuals and businesses to determine which COVID-19 government benefits and support programs they can access.

March 18, 2020

Ontario Employees: Unpaid Job-Protected Emergency Leave Available to Those Affected by the COVID-19 Government Measures

As of March 17, 2020, Ontario employees may be entitled to job-protected unpaid emergency leave if they will not be performing the duties of their position because of the COVID-19. Read more >>

March 17, 2020

Temporary Layoffs and Mass Layoffs

Temporary layoffs are becoming more frequent in Ontario due to coronavirus. What are your rights as an employee? Learn the legal definition of a layoff, when they are permitted, how long they can last and how they differ depending on the type of work week you have. Learn more at Temporary Layoffs in Ontario Due to Coronavirus and Employee Rights.

In this video, Employment Lawyer Andrew Monkhouse speaks about COVID-19 temporary layoffs: When can employers layoff employees? If my employer is suffering financially do I lose my rights? What is your advice to employers and employees during this time? Watch video [3.43 min].

When terminating more than 50 employees, employers must follow specific procedures to comply with the Employment Standards Act in Ontario. Learn more at Special Rules for Mass Terminations.

March 13, 2020

Ontario Employees Rights During the Coronavirus School Shutdown

Read more at Ontario Employees Rights During the Coronavirus School Shutdown, Illness and Quarantine.

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