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Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Apr 23, 2020

Ontario Government Issues Single-Employer Emergency Orders for Long-Term Care Homes and Retirement Homes

By Gillian Howe
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Recently the Ontario Government issued two new emergency orders pursuant to the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (the Act”) imposing a single-employer directive with respect to employees of long-term care providers and retirement home licensees, and with it new obligations on employers and employees in the long-term care and retirement home sectors.

These emergency orders are Ontario Regulation 146/20, Limiting Work to a Single Long-Term Care Home, and Ontario Regulation 158/20, Limiting Work to a Single Retirement Home (the “Single-Employer Emergency Orders”).

The Single-Employer Emergency Orders are subject to the extension and revocation provisions of Section 7.0.8 of the Act, which effectively state that emergency orders remain in effect for a period of 14 days following their date of issuance, unless extended or revoked by the Ontario Government.

The Single-Employer Emergency Orders use the defined term Health Service Provider, which refers to the same definition of Health Service Provider contained in section 2(1) of the Connecting Care Act, 2019. Therefore, the Single-Employer Emergency Orders apply to a broad range of employees whose employers fall within the definition of either a long-term care provider, retirement home licensee or Health Service Provider.

Obligations of Employees

  • Any person who performs work as an employee of a long-term care home or retirement home, that also performs work as an employee of any other long-term care home, retirement home or a Health Service Provider was required to inform each of the person's employers that they are subject to one or both of the Single-Employer Emergency Orders. The deadline was Friday April 17, 2020 by 5:00 p.m. for employees of long-term care homes and Monday April 20, 2020 by 9:00 a.m. for employees of retirement homes.
  • Effective as of Wednesday April 22, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., any person who performs work as an employee of a long-term care home or retirement home shall not also perform work: (1) in another long-term care home or retirement home operated or maintained by their employer; (2) as an employee of any other long-term care home or retirement home; and/or (3) as an employee of a Health Service Provider.
  • An employee is required to comply with the Single-Employer Emergency Orders even if doing so would violate the provisions of a collective agreement.

Obligations of Employers

  • Effective as of Wednesday April 22, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., as employers, long-term care homes and retirement homes are required to ensure that any of its employees who are currently performing work in a home that it operates or maintains is not also performing work (1) in another long-term care home or retirement home operated or maintained by the employer; (2) as an employee of any other long-term care home or retirement home; and/or (3) as an employee of a Health Service Provider.
  • A copy of the applicable Single-Employer Emergency Orders must be posted in each individual long-term care home and retirement home, in a conspicuous and easily accessible location.

Employee Job Protection

Section 7.02(6) of the Act, which provides employees with job protection when complying with an emergency order, applies to employees acting in compliance with the Single-Employer Emergency Orders. Therefore, employers are prohibited from terminating an employee as a result of the employee selecting another employer as their single-employer for the duration of the Single-Employer Emergency Orders, and declining to perform work for reasons in compliance with the Single-Employer Emergency Orders


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