Canadian Plastics

Ontario announces job protection for workers during the COVID-19 outbreak

Ontario’s provincial government will introduce legislation that, if passed, would immediately provide job-protected leave to employees in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, or those who need to be away from work to care for children because of school or day care closures.

March 16, 2020   Canadian Plastics

Ontario’s provincial government will introduce legislation that, if passed, would immediately provide job-protected leave to employees in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, or those who need to be away from work to care for children because of school or day care closures.

In a March 16 announcement, Premier Doug Ford said that he has directed Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, to draft legislation that will protect workers and their families during the global COVID-19 outbreak.

“Mothers and fathers who need to care for children or dependants shouldn’t have to worry about losing their job,” McNaughton said in a press release. “The same goes for people who receive medical or public health advice and are required to take precautions as a result. They shouldn’t have to worry about losing their job. In this time of uncertainty, we need to support employees who must isolate or quarantine themselves, or who need to care for a loved one.”

The proposed legislation would, if passed, provide job protection for employees unable to work for the following reasons:

  • The employee is under medical investigation, supervision or treatment for COVID-19.
  • The employee is acting in accordance with an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
  • The employee is in isolation or quarantine.
  • The employee is acting in accordance with public health information or direction.
  • The employer directs the employee not to work.
  • The employee needs to provide care to a person for a reason related to COVID-19 such as a school or day-care closure.

The proposed legislation would also make it clear that an employee will not be required to provide a medical note if they take the leave. The measures would be retroactive to January 25, 2020, the date that the first presumptive COVID-19 case was confirmed in Ontario.

“Many workers will be eligible for Employment Insurance sickness benefits,” the government’s press release said. “As well, we are reviewing current access and eligibility to emergency assistance which is available through the Ontario Works (OW) program to support individuals who are impacted by the coronavirus and who are not able to meet their basic living expenses.”


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