With the stated goal of protecting jobs and businesses, the Ontario government has extended the timeline for when temporary lay-offs are deemed permanent job losses.

The Ontario government passed a Regulation that changed certain rules under the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”) (described in our publication on March 19 and March 20, 2020). This Regulation has been amended, extending the “COVID-19 period” to January 2, 2021.

During the COVID-19 period i.e from March 1, 2020 to January 2, 2021, employees may be deemed to be on a job-protected infectious disease emergency leave and employees will not considered to be constructively dismissed under the ESA if their wages or hours of work have been temporarily reduced due to COVID-19.

After the COVID-19 period, i.e beginning January 3, 2021, the ESA’s regular rules around layoffs and constructive dismissal will resume. This means that an employee’s temporary layoff clock resets on January 3, 2021 and employees will no longer be deemed to be on infectious disease emergency leave.