Termination of Employment Upheld for Non-Compliance with COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement
May 4, 2022
Over the past two years, employers have been faced with the difficult task of maintaining a safe work environment during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as navigating murky waters when deciding how to respond to employees who choose not to comply with vaccination and masking requirements. A British Columbia arbitrator has provided insight as to when termination of an employee who refuses to comply COVID-19 policies may be appropriate.
COVID-19 Vaccination Policies and Records of Employment: New Guidance from Service Canada
October 20, 2021
Employment and Social Development Canada (“Service Canada”) has recently updated its website to provide guidance on how to issue records of employment (“ROEs”) for employees during the COVID-19 pandemic and in particular, in the context of employment impacts arising from vaccination policies.
Government of Canada Mandates COVID-19 Vaccination for Federally Regulated Transportation Employees and Travellers
October 6, 2021
On October 6, 2021, the Government of Canada announced several requirements for federally regulated transportation employees and travellers that will be in effect as of October 30, 2021.
COVID-19 Update: City of Calgary Passes COVID-19 Vaccine Bylaw
September 23, 2021
On September 22, 2021, City of Calgary councilors voted to pass a bylaw (the “Bylaw”) that immediately removes the option for eligible Calgary businesses to opt-out of Alberta’s Restriction Exemption Program (the “REP”). The Bylaw also imposes signage requirements on businesses and allows enforcement by municipal officers.
Ministry of Health Offers Guidance for Ontario’s Proof of Vaccination Requirements
September 23, 2021
On September 14, 2021, Ontario’s Ministry of Health released guidance regarding Ontario’s recently implemented proof of vaccination requirements (the “Guidance”). The Guidance delineates between the roles and responsibilities of patrons, businesses and organizations, and includes recommendations for how to operationalize the requirements.
An Update on Vaccination Mandates - The Ontario Human Rights Commission Weighs In
September 22, 2021
As of September 22, 2021, the Government of Ontario requires that patrons of certain non-essential businesses provide proof of full vaccination as a condition of access (the “Provincial Vaccination Certificate Program”).
COVID-19 Update: Alberta Government Clarifies its Restrictions Exemption Program
September 21, 2021
The Alberta Government has issued an Order (the “Order”), which provides further guidance on the Province’s new Restrictions Exemption Program (the “REP”). Among other things, the Order provides additional clarity on the screening requirements imposed on REP-participating businesses and on REP eligibility.
Infectious Disease Emergency Leave Extended to January 1, 2022
September 20, 2021
Pursuant to O. Reg. 650/21: Infectious Disease Emergency Leave, the Government of Ontario has extended the “COVID-19 period” under O. Reg. 228/20: Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (the “IDEL Regulation”) until January 1, 2022.
Ontario Publishes Guidance on Medical Exemptions to COVID-19 Vaccination Rules
September 20, 2021
On September 14, 2021, the Ontario Ministry of Health published guidance on Medical Exemptions to the COVID-19 Vaccination (“Guidance”). While the Guidance is intended “to assist physicians/ specialists and nurse practitioners in evaluating contraindications or precautions to COVID-19 vaccination that may warrant a medical exemption”, it is useful for employers and service providers evaluating requests for accommodation under a mandatory vaccination policy.
COVID-19 Update: Alberta Government Announces Additional Restrictions, Work From Home Mandate and Restriction Exemption Program
September 16, 2021
On September 15, 2021, the Alberta Government announced additional restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These measures include an immediate work from home mandate, a series of restrictions on businesses, and the introduction of a Restriction Exemption Program (the “REP”).
COVID-19 Update: Alberta Government Reintroduces Mandatory Masking; Asks Employers to Pause Return to Work Plans
September 3, 2021
On September 3, 2021, the Alberta Government announced additional restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
BC Introduces Proof of Vaccination Requirement and Reinstates Mask Mandate
August 31, 2021
On August 23, 2021, British Columbia’s Public Health Officer (PHO) announced that individuals 12 years and older will need to show proof of vaccination to access certain discretionary events, services and businesses, such as indoor and outdoor restaurants, indoor ticketed or organized events, and recreation facilities.
Important Information for Employers in the City of Toronto – Vaccine Policies are now Mandatory
August 26, 2021
On August 24, 2021, the Ontario Government issued Ontario Regulation 577/21 amending the existing Rules for Step 3.
Symptomatic and COVID-19 Positive Alberta Employees Can’t Report to the Workplace This Week
August 16, 2021
On August 13, 2021, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health announced that Alberta would extend the following COVID-19 prevention measures until at least September 27, 2021
BC Court reduces Wrongful Dismissal Damages finding that CERB Payments are to be considered Mitigation Income
July 28, 2021
The recent decision in Hogan v. 1187938 B.C. Ltd., 2021 BCSC 1021 (“Hogan”), is the first British Columbia Supreme Court case to address the treatment of Canada Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”) payments in connection with wrongful dismissal claims.
COVID-19 UPDATE: Update from the BC Human Rights Commissioner on vaccination status policies during the COVID-19 pandemic
July 28, 2021
On July 13, 2021, the BC Human Rights Commissioner (the “Commissioner”), published a guidance statement (the “Guidance”) that provides information for employers in British Columbia on requiring proof of vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic and the intersection with human rights.
COVID-19 Update: Ontario Government Further Extends Infectious Disease Emergency Leave to September 25, 2021
June 11, 2021
The Ontario government has amended Regulation 228/20 made under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) to extend the COVID-19 Period for Infectious Disease Emergency Leave from July 3, 2021 to September 25, 2021.
Ontario Court Confirms that Employees Deemed to be on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave Have Not Been Constructively Dismissed under the Common Law
June 11, 2021
Many Ontario businesses have been forced to temporarily shutter their doors and layoff their employees due to operational restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. In consideration of this, the Ontario Government introduced the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (“IDEL”) which, among other things, deemed non-unionized employees to be on a job-protected leave where their hours of work were temporarily reduced or temporarily eliminated for reasons related to COVID-19. Despite the wording of the legislation, employers are facing a barrage of constructive dismissal claims from employees that were or continue to be on IDEL. A recent decision out of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (the “ONSC”) brings some reprise to employers that have relied upon IDEL.
Returning Employees to Work during COVID-19 – Best Practices for Employers
June 3, 2021
The employment landscape during COVID-19 continues to evolve. As employers and employees alike begin to adjust and adapt to these circumstances, employers will need to determine the safe and efficient way to return employees to work. This week’s Spotlight Series blog outlines the best practices for employers in returning employees to work.
Key Considerations for Employers In Responding to Employee Requests to Work From Home
May 20, 2021
During the pandemic, many employers and employees have demonstrated exceptional adaptability in shifting their place of work from the office to the home. As COVID-19 case numbers decline and a return to office begins, however, some employees may wish to continue working from home. This blog outlines the key considerations that employers should keep in mind as they respond to employee requests to work from home beyond the pandemic.
Limiting Long-Term Incentives upon Termination & the Impact of the Pandemic on Notice Periods
May 21, 2021
The Ontario Superior Court’s recent decision in Marazzato v Dell Canada Inc. provides important guidance on two key issues: (1) the onus on employees to prove the pandemic’s negative impact on their ability to mitigate; and (2) the type of language required to limit an employee’s entitlements to long term incentives upon termination
COVID-19 Update: Temporary Paid COVID-19 Leave Becomes Law in BC
May 17, 2021
On May 11, 2021, the BC Government introduced an amendment to the Employment Standards Act (the “Act”), Bill 13 – 2021: Employment Standards Amendment Act (No. 2) (the “Bill”), which seeks to establish three days of paid leave for employees who qualify for COVID-19-Related Leave under s. 52.12.
COVID-19 Update: Alberta Government Announces Expanded Restrictions in High Case Regions Impacting Workplaces
May 05, 2021
On May 4, 2021, the Alberta Government announced additional restrictions in response to COVID-19. Some of the new restrictions apply throughout the Province while others are targeted to more specific areas. The restrictions will be in place for three weeks, with additional extensions as necessary. The restrictions will be enforced with $2,000 fines.
COVID-19 Update: Ontario Introduces Paid COVID-19 Leave
April 30, 2021
On April 29, 2021, Bill 284, COVID-19 Putting Workers First Act, 2021 received Royal Assent. Section 50.1 of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) has been amended to provide employees with an entitlement to three paid days of leave in certain circumstances related to a designated infectious disease.
BCHRT screening decision addresses worker denied entry to workplace based on his refusal to wear mask due to alleged religious reasons
April 27, 2021
On April 8, 2021, the BC Human Rights Tribunal (the “Tribunal”) issued another screening decision providing guidance on human rights considerations and mandatory mask policies. In the Tribunal’s newest published screening decision, The Worker v. The District Managers, 2021 BCHRT 41, the Tribunal considered whether an employer had contravened the Code by denying an employee entry because he refused to wear a mask on religious grounds.
3 Hour Paid Leave for Alberta Employees Obtaining COVID-19 Vaccinations
April 22, 2021
On April 22, 2021, The Government of Alberta amended the Employment Standards Code, to allow employees to access paid, job-protected time off in order to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Bill 71: Employment Standards (COVID-19 Vaccination Leave) Amendment Act, 2021 passed first reading in the legislature Wednesday evening.
COVID-19 Update: Toronto and Peel to Close Some Workplaces to Manage COVID-19 Outbreaks
April 20, 2021
Toronto Public Health announced that it will implement a Section 22 Order to require the closure of certain workplaces, or portions of workplaces, where five or more cases are identified within a 14-day period and where cases could reasonably have been acquired through infection in the workplace. The Section 22 Order came into effect on April 23, 2021.
Vaccines in the Workplace - Top Questions Employers Are Asking
March 31, 2021
As the rates of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to climb in many Canadian jurisdictions, with workplace-related outbreaks involved from time to time, the future of the return to in-office work for many employers and workplaces depends on vaccination rates and the achievement of some version of herd immunity.
Bill C-4: Canada Passes New Extended Recovery Benefits Related to COVID-19 and Amendments to the Canada Labour Code
October 8, 2020
On October 2, 2020, Bill C-4 – An Act relating to certain measures in response to COVID-19 received Royal Assent in the House of Commons. The Bill created three new temporary recovery benefits for Canadians who are unable to work for reasons related to COVID-19.
New Screening Requirements for Ontario Workplaces
October 1, 2020
Due to the recent rise of COVID-19 cases, the Ontario government amended Ontario Regulation 364/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 3, under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, effective September 26, 2020, province-wide. The Amendment requires, among other things, businesses or organizations in Stage 3 to comply with any advice, recommendations, and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health on screening for COVID-19.
COVID-19 Update: Canada Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”) Extension, Employment Insurance (“EI”) Expansion, New Sickness and Caregiving Benefit
August 24, 2020
On August 20th, 2020, the Government of Canada announced a further $37-billion in new income-support measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These measures extend the CERB for an additional one month, ease the eligibility rules for EI, and add a new sick leave and caregiving benefit.
COVID-19 Update: A Possible Exception to the End of BC’s COVID-19 Temporary Layoff Period
August 14, 2020
On June 25, 2020, British Columbia’s Ministry of Labour extended the maximum temporary layoff period under the Employment Standards Act, RSBC 1996, c. 113 (the “Act”) to assist employers and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the maximum period for a temporary layoff due in whole or in part to the “COVID-emergency” increased to 24 weeks in any 28-week period, ending on or before August 30, 2020.
Difficult Decisions May Be on the Horizon as Ontario’s Declaration of Emergency has Ended Effective July 24, 2020
August 11, 2020
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March placed an enormous burden on employers. The pandemic necessitated difficult decisions, such as placing employees on temporary layoff or to reducing hours of work or pay. Ontario’s provincial declaration of emergency ended on July 24, 2020. This means that the “COVID-19 Period” is set to end on September 4, 2020.
COVID-19: Ontario Moving to Stage 3 of Regional Re-Opening
July 13, 2020
The Ontario Government has announced that it will move most businesses outside of the GTA and other excluded regions to Stage 3 of re-opening on Friday July 17, 2020.
COVID-19 Update: Further Extension of Temporary Layoff Periods In British Columbia
June 30, 2020
The Province of British Columbia recently extended the maximum temporary layoff period under the Employment Standards Act to 24 weeks in a 28-week period, ending on or before August 30, 2020. The new temporary layoff period corresponds to the Federal Government’s extension of the availability of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and only applies to temporary layoffs that commenced before June 1, 2020.
COVID-19 Update: Returning to New Office Life
June 29, 2020
In recent discussions with business leaders across industries, we’ve explored the myriad issues that organizations face as they transition back to office life. Here we summarize the insights, challenges and opportunities they have shared for organizations developing their return-to-office plans.
COVID-19 Update: Government of Canada Temporarily Extends the Time Periods for Temporary Layoffs of Federally Regulated Employees
June 25, 2020
The Government of Canada announced a temporary extension of the permissible time periods for temporary layoffs. Our team discusses the details of this announcement and the implications for federal employers here.
COVID-19 Update: Alberta Extends COVID-19 Related Temporary Layoffs to 180 Days
June 19, 2020
With the expiry of Alberta’s state of public health emergency on June 15, 2020, the Government of Alberta introduced Bill 24, the COVID-19 Pandemic Response Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 (“Bill 24”), which aims to continue or extend certain pandemic response efforts. Bill 24 proposes amendments to 15 different statutes, seeking to ensure Albertans have access to the support and services they need as the economy re-opens.
COVID-19 Update - What Employers Need to Know About the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
June 18, 2020
Lawyers from the Labour and Employment group break down additional details about the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).
COVID-19: Ontario Takes a Creative Approach to the Temporary Layoff Dilemma with O. Reg. 228/20
May 31, 2020
The impact of COVID-19 has forced many employers to resort to temporary layoffs, hours reductions or wage reductions to address the economic reality of the shutdown. On May 29, 2020, the Ontario Government, recognizing that many employers and employees were facing a possible deemed termination deadline associated with such temporary layoffs, too a creative approach to the problem, filing O. Reg. 228/20. This blog summarizes the changes made by this regulation.
BC Issues New Orders and Guidance to Employers for Phase 2 of its Restart Plan
May 21, 2020
As part of its Restart Plan, the BC Government has ordered BC workplaces to develop and implement COVID-19 plans to minimize the risk of transmission of infection among persons working at or attending the business. This blog post also summarizes the latest orders and guidance from the BC Provincial Health Office and WorkSafeBC.
COVID-19 Update: Alberta Workplaces Must Develop and Implement COVID-19 Plans and Post Within 7 Days of Re-opening
May 15, 2020
As part of its Relaunch Strategy, the Alberta Government has ordered Alberta workplaces to develop and implement COVID-19 plans to minimize the risk of transmission of infection among persons working at or attending the business. These plans must be posted within 7 days of the public being able to attend the business.
COVID-19 Update: Moving Forward - Considerations for the Re-Opening of Physical Workplaces
April 29, 2020
Governments and businesses have now begun to turn their minds toward the re-opening of the economy and physical workplaces. As employers start to plan for the re-opening of their physical workplaces, there are a myriad of considerations unique to every business as there is no one-size-fits-all approach. As we move toward a “new normal”, the primary consideration is consistent – that the focus of any re-opening process should be grounded in health and safety considerations with the goal of protecting the workplace from the spread of COVID-19 now and in the future, recognizing the risk of a second wave. This blog sets out a series of considerations for employers as they plan for re-opening and the return of employees to the physical workplace.
(Quebec) The new provincial government program, PACME, in a nutshell
April 7 2020
This article summarizes the main features of the Quebec government’s new subsidy program for the reimbursement of employee training related expenses, the Programme d’actions concertées pour le maintien en emploi (“PACME”)
COVID-19 UPDATE: Updates on COVID-19 from the BC Human Rights Commission and WorkSafeBC
April 7, 2020
A summary of recent commentary on the intersection of COVID-19 and human rights from the B.C. Human Rights Commissioner and WorkSafeBC’s guidelines on keeping employees safe at work.
Québec’s new Temporary work assistance program
March 17, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose challenges for Canadian employers, particularly in relation to the various measures put in place by governmental authorities to encourage workers’ self-isolation.
COVID-19 Update: Court/Tribunal/Board Cancellations in Ontario
March 16, 2020
In light of the recent recommendations from Government and Health Officials, Ontario Courts, Tribunals and Boards have cancelled all in person hearings. The following is a summary of the closures as of March 16, 2020
COVID-19 Update: How Does the Right to Refuse Unsafe Work Come into Play?
March 16, 2020
COVID-19 is creating considerable uncertainty in the workplace, especially in situations where employees are unable to work from home and must continue to attend at their employer’s worksite every day.
COVID-19 Update: EI Sickness Benefits and Work-Sharing
March 15, 2020
In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, the Federal Government of Canada has announced several measures to assist eligible employers and employees. In particular, the Government has announced changes to the Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits and the federal Work-Sharing program.
Understanding when COVID-19 is a Reportable and Compensable Claim and Anticipated Changes to Alberta’s Employment Standards Code
March 15, 2020
Alberta Changes: Members of our Alberta Labour & Employment Group are providing insight into when COVID-19 claims may constitute reportable and compensable claims under WCB legislation, as well as potential changes to Alberta’s Employment Standards Code resulting from COVID-19.
Managing through COVID-19: What to Think About When Considering Temporary Layoffs
March 16, 2020
Temporary Layoffs: Our National Labour & Employment Group provide critical information to employers contemplating the possibility of temporary layoffs as a result of COVID-19 and associated business challenges. French language translation to follow.
COVID-19 Update – Things to Think About When Contemplating Workforce Adjustments or Reductions
Workforce Reductions: Our National Labour & Employer Group presents key things to think about for employers looking to address challenges imposed by COVID-19 through workforce adjustments or reductions. French language translation to follow.
School's Out - An Update on Managing the Impact of COVID-19 on Workplaces
March 12, 2020
Members of our National Labour & Employment Group including Partner and National Practice Group Leader Tim Lawson, as well as Partners Trevor Lawson and Kate McNeill-Keller, summarize their perspectives on critical employment questions our clients have been asking us, including questions around employer obligations and communicating with employees. The article also includes a quick reference list of key contacts and information sources for employers.
Read more COVID-19 analysis from the Labour & Employment Group on their blog.
On Episode 4: Undue Hazards, Adam Goldenberg speaks to leading Labour & Employment lawyers Kate McNeill-Keller, Jacques Rousse, and Donovan Plomp about how the law of the workplace will shape employers' response to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when employees seek to exercise their right to refuse unsafe work, and when temporary layoffs become necessary.
This program qualifies for up to 0.75 hours of CPD credit under the mandatory education regimes in British Columbia and Ontario.
Barreau du Québec Continuing Education: This program contains 0.75 hours of content. Upon completion of this podcast, contact us to request your certificate of attendance.
Dans l'épisode 3 (In French only): Vos questions répondues : Relations de travail, Chrystelle Chevalier-Gagnon discute avec Caroline-Ariane Bernier, avocate en droit du droit du travail et de l’emploi, des questions les plus fréquemment posées par les employeurs ces derniers jours.
Ce programme a été reconnu à titre de formation admissible pour une durée de 0,3 heure sous le régime de formation continue obligatoire de l’Ontario.