On September 3, 2020, the Government of Ontario announced that the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave regulation, which deemed employees who were placed on a temporary layoff due to COVID-19 to be on a job-protected leave of absence, will be extended to January 2, 2021. The deemed leave of absence was previously set to expire on September 4, 2020.

Under the amended regulation (which has not yet been published), non-unionized employees whose hours of work are temporarily reduced or eliminated by the employer for reasons related to COVID-19 are automatically deemed to be on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave, and the reduction or elimination of hours/wages will not constitute a layoff or a constructive dismissal under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) until after the regulation expires on January 2, 2021.

Effective January 3, 2021, employees will no longer be deemed to be on the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave and the ESA’s regular rules regarding constructive dismissal and temporary layoff will resume.

In light of this amendment, employees who are currently on the leave of absence, and who cannot be returned to work by September 4, 2020, will no longer have to be placed on a temporary layoff.