Labour and Employment


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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(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”)

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 travailChrystelle 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.