Focus Alerts

Our Focus Alerts provide up-to-the minute information about significant cases and other developments in labour and employment law.

The articles listed below are intended to provide readers with general information. They should not be regarded or relied upon as legal advice or opinion.

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New Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations Published in the Canada Gazette

August 6, 2020

In a previous Focus Alert, we discussed the provisions of Bill C-65, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1 (the “Act”). Readers will recall that one of the primary purposes of Bill C-65 was to expand employer obligations under Part II (Occupational Health and Safety) of the Canada Labour Code (the “Code”) to prevent and protect against workplace harassment and violence, respond to occurrences of harassment and violence, provide support to employees affected by harassment and violence, and investigate, record and…

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Ontario Court of Appeal finds that illegal “just cause” provision voids all termination provisions

June 23, 2020

Recently in Waksdale v. Swegon North America Inc., 2020 ONCA 391, the Ontario Court of Appeal was faced with an employment agreement which contained two separate termination provisions, contained in different paragraphs within the agreement. One provision addressed termination on a “just cause” basis, which the parties agreed was illegal because it provided a lesser benefit than the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”). The other provision addressed termination on a “without cause” basis, which the parties agreed was lawful and compliant with the ESA when considered as a stand-alone provision. The issue for the Court of Appeal was whether…

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Federal Government Introduces Increased Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

April 2, 2020

As all Canadians adjust to a new “normal” in the era of COVID-19, many employers – whether they continue to operate as an essential service or not – are facing significant economic uncertainty. Since March 18, 2020, the federal government has announced a number of economic measures to stabilize the economy, including billions of dollars in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses. One of the measures which is intended specifically to assist employers in continuing to pay their employees and avoiding lay-offs where possible is the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.   What is the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy The…

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COVID-19 Emergency Response Act Receives Royal Assent

March 26, 2020

On March 25, 2020, the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act (Bill C-13) received Royal Assent. The legislation outlines broad amendments and measures to address wide-ranging economic and other issues arising as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have included below some of the key provisions that are most relevant for employers. Canada Emergency Response Benefit Act The COVID-19 Emergency Response Act enacts the Canada Emergency Response Benefit Act (the “Act”), to provide for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This benefit replaces both the Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit previously announced by the Government of Canada…

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Ontario Government Makes Emergency Order for Staffing and Redeployment for Health Service Providers Due to COVID-19

March 25, 2020

On March 17, 2020, the Ontario Government declared an emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (the “Act”) as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. On March 21, the Government filed a further Order under the Act providing certain health service providers with broad authority to address staffing and work deployment needs relating to COVID-19.   Application of the Order The Order applies province-wide to the following health service providers: Public hospitals under the Public Hospitals Act; Private hospitals under the Private Hospitals Act; Psychiatric facilities under the Mental Health Act, except facilities that are correctional institutions, prisons…

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Ontario Government Files Emergency Order and Amends Regulations Relating to Long-Term Care Homes in Response to COVID-19. Also Amends Retirement Homes Act Regulation

Public health authorities have advised that the elderly and people with underlying chronic or immunocompromising medical conditions are particularly at risk from COVID-19. There have also been concerns raised about the health care system’s ability to provide the level of care and service that may be needed if COVID-19 cases surge. The Ontario Government has made regulatory changes to address the needs of long-term care homes during the pandemic. On March 20, the Government filed amendments to Regulation 79/10 under the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007. The purposes of the amendments are to: Protect the health and safety of long-term…

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Remote Work Considerations: An Employer’s Guide

As the world manages its way through the current COVID-19 global pandemic, employers are required to act quickly to implement remote work arrangements. The urgency in implementing such arrangements has only become greater since the government of Ontario announced the closure of all non-essential workplaces effective March 24th, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. For more information see our Focus alert Ontario orders mandatory closure of non-essential workplaces. As a consequence of this announcement, remote work arrangements may become the only option for some non-essential workplaces to continue some or all of their operations for the duration of the closure. Although the…

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Ontario orders mandatory closure of non-essential workplaces

March 24, 2020

To further contain the spread of COVID-19, the Ontario Government has ordered the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces to be effective as of March 24, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. This order will be in effect for 14 days with the possibility of being extended as the situation evolves. For the purposes of this order, businesses include any for-profit, non-profit or other entity providing the goods and services described therein. This does not preclude the provision of work and services by entities not on the list either online, by telephone or by mail/delivery. Furthermore, teleworking and online commerce are permitted…

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Canada’s COVID-19 economic response plan

March 20, 2020

On March 18, 2020, the federal government announced a new set of economic measures to support workers and businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak. These measures will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to those facing hardship as a result of COVID-19.   Temporary Income Support for Workers and Parents The federal government has introduced measures to support Canadian workers who do not have paid sick leave (or similar workplace accommodation) who are sick, quarantined, or forced to stay home to care for children. For these individuals, the government will: waive the one-week waiting period for Employment Insurance (EI)…

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Ontario expands ESA job-protected leaves for COVID-19

On March 19, 2020, the Ontario Legislature met in an emergency session and passed Bill 186 – the Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies), 2020, to amend the job-protected leaves of absence under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA). Bill 186 repeals much of the existing Declared Emergency Leave provisions and replaces it with a new leave called “Emergency leave: declared emergencies and infectious disease emergencies.” These measures are retroactive to January 25, 2020, the date the first presumptive COVID-19 case was confirmed in Ontario.   Declared Emergencies The amended declared emergency leave remains available if an employee cannot…

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