Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Mar 16, 2020

COVID-19 Update – Proposed Provincial Legislation: Job-Protected Leave

By Gillian Howe

On March 16, 2020, Premier Doug Ford and the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, announced that the Provincial Government intends to 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 daycare closures.

The Provincial Government’s proposed legislation would, if passed, provide job-protected leave for employees that are unable to attend work for one or more of 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, or
  • The employee needs to provide care to a person for a reason related to COVID-19 such as a school or daycare closure

Under the proposed legislation, an employee would not be required to provide a medical note in order to take the job protected leave.

The Provincial Government has stated that the proposed legislation and protections therein would be retroactive to January 25, 2020, the date that the first presumptive COVID-19 case was confirmed in Ontario.

In its announcement, the Provincial Government did not indicate a limit to the length of time of this proposed job-protected leave.

Further, at this time, it appears that the proposed job-protected leave would be unpaid. In its announcement the Provincial Government cited employees’ ability to access Employment Insurance sickness benefits, if eligible, and stated that, it is reviewing current access and eligibility to emergency assistance which is available through the Ontario Works program to support individuals who are impacted by COVID-19 and who are not able to meet their basic living expenses.

We will continue to update you on this proposed legislation. If you have any questions about COVID-19 and your workplace, or any other human resource law issue, please contact a member of our team. For more information about dealing with COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 Resource Center.