Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.
On December 7, 2021, Ontario announced it would extend the availability of Paid Infectious Disease Leave (Paid IDEL) until July 31, 2022, and the temporary relief measures from the termination and severance provisions of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) (Deemed IDEL) until July 30, 2022.
On December 9, 2021, Ontario filed O. Reg. 834/21, which amends O. Reg. 228/20, Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL Regulation) to provide for the extension of Paid IDEL. Prior to this extension, Paid IDEL was scheduled to expire on December 31, 2021.
Paid IDEL requires employers to provide employees up to three days’ pay if they need to miss work for reasons related to COVID-19, including to get tested, to await the results of a COVID-19 test, while sick with COVID-19, to get individual medical treatment for mental health reasons relating to COVID-19, to get vaccinated, while experiencing side effects from a vaccination, to self-isolate, or to provide care or support to certain relatives for COVID-19-related reasons. In its announcement, Ontario noted that the extension “will help more workers take time off to get their booster shots and help more parents take time off to get their children vaccinated.”
Eligible employers may apply for a reimbursement of payments from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, up to a maximum of $200 per day per employee. Applications for reimbursement must be made within 120 days of the paid leave. We provided detailed information about Paid IDEL here.
Deemed IDEL/Extension of “COVID-19 Period”
O. Reg. 834/21 also amends O. Reg. 228/20 to define the “COVID-19 period” as beginning on March 1, 2020 and ending on July 30, 2022. Prior to this extension, the “COVID-19 period” was scheduled to expire on January 1, 2022.
O. Reg. 228/20 provides that a non-unionized employee who, any time during the COVID-19 period, does not perform the duties of their position because their work hours are temporarily reduced or eliminated by their employer for reasons related to COVID-19, is deemed to be on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (Deemed IDEL). The Regulation amends layoff and constructive dismissal rules exclusively under the ESA, and in most cases, eliminates temporary layoffs and the risk of a constructive dismissal claim under the statute for the defined “COVID-19 period.” We provided detailed information about Deemed IDEL here.