COVID-19 Update – New Details Regarding Ontario Government’s Proposed Legislation to Protect Workers Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic

During a press conference this morning, Premier Doug Ford and Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, announced that the Ontario government would introduce legislation that provides workers affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic with unpaid job protected leave.

If passed, the proposed legislation would:

  • Provide job protection for workers if a worker is unable to work for the following reasons:
    • The worker is under medical investigation, supervision or treatment for COVID-19.
    • The worker is acting in accordance with an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
    • The worker is in isolation or quarantine.
    • The worker is acting in accordance with public health information or direction.
    • The employer directs the worker not to work.
    • The worker needs to provide care to a person for a reason related to COVID-19 such as a school or day-care closure.
  • Eliminate the need for a worker to provide a medical note if they take the leave.[1]

The proposed legislation will be retroactive to January 25, 2020, the date that the first presumptive COVID-19 case was confirmed in Ontario. It also remains unclear how quickly this legislation will be introduced and passed, given that the provincial legislature is not anticipated to resume until March 23, 2020.

[1]Ontario Government, Premier Ford Announces Job Protection for Workers during the COVID-19 Situation: Ontario to Protect Workers who Take Leaves from Work, https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/premier-ford-announces-job-protection-for-workers-during-the-covid-19-situation.html

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