• Tony Wong

COVID-19 Important Update: Infectious Disease Emergency Leave Extension!

Updated: Jul 6

If you have been waiting patiently for the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave to end so the layoff clock could begin counting again, you'll have to wait a little longer, as there has been extension made in June.


How Ontario Infectious Disease Emergency Leave Works?


IDEL (INFECTIOUS DISEASE EMERGENCY LEAVE), O. Reg. 228/20, was established during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Non-unionized workers whose employers have temporarily reduced or cancelled their work hours owing to COVID-19 will be deemed on job-protected infectious disease emergency leave and will not be laid off or constructively fired at this time.


Although most companies are not required to provide benefits to laid-off employees, an IDEL employee is not "considered" laid off and therefore is eligible for benefits.


Click here to learn more about how the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave work.


Ontario Infectious Disease Emergency Leave Extensions


In September 2020, O. Reg. 492/20, was passed to extend deemed emergency leave under the Employment Standards Act (ESA) until January 2, 2021.


On December 17, 2020, O. Reg. 765/20 was passed by the Ontario government to modified extend the deemed emergency leave under the Employment Standards Act from January 2, 2021 to July 3, 2021.


The leave has been further extended on or about June 4, 2021 under O. Reg. 412/21 which further extended the deemed emergency leave under ESA from July 3, 2021 to September 25, 2021.


When Will the Layoffs Clock Get Reset?


On September 26, 2021, the "temporary layoff clock" will be reset, with unpaid temporary layoffs of 13 weeks or longer being a termination of employment, and compensated temporary layoffs of 35 weeks or longer considered a termination of employment.


The only way to know whether the deadline will be extended is to wait and watch.


In other words, until IDEL curtails in September, employment legislation related to layoffs is temporarily statutory stopped.


Prior to COVID, a business could only place an employee on a temporary layoff if the individual's contract permitted it. If the written employment contract does not include a provision for temporary layoffs, the Employer has NO RIGHT to lay off an employee unless the employee has expressly agreed, the employee has acquiesced by his or her conduct (i.e., has accepted previous layoffs without complaint), or there is a demonstrable industry norm that allows for such layoffs on a regular basis.


As a consequence, some workers may not have to wait long, while others may be able to bring a constructive dismissal claim as soon as the IDEL is terminated.


It is generally believed that a Judge would be reluctant to provide common law reliefs such as constructive dismissal in the event of Infectious Disease Emergency Leave.


In fact, at least one court has decided that "you have not been laid off, you have not been constructively fired, and you are on statutory leave of absence in these circumstances (COVID)." See e.g. Taylor v. Hanley Hospitality Inc., 2021 ONSC 3135.


Call us now at 647-849-6582 or Contact Us Now if you have any questions or concerns in related to Infectious Disease Emergency Leave, or you want to book an appointment for an employment lawyer consultation.