January 18, 2022

Volume XII, Number 18

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January 18, 2022

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Ontario to Introduce Paid Leave for Time Off Related to COVID-19

On April 29, 2021, the Government of Ontario stated that it plans to introduce the COVID-19 Putting Workers First Act. When passed, this legislation “would require employers to provide employees with up to three days of paid leave because of certain reasons related to COVID-19.” According to a government press release, the act would apply retroactively to April 19, 2021, and would expire on September 25, 2021.

To qualify for this new temporary leave, employees must be provincially regulated and covered by Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000. Therefore, federally regulated employees and independent contractors are not eligible to take this leave. Employers that already provide paid sick leave are not required to provide these additional paid days.

Amounts Paid and Reimbursement

Under the proposed legislation, employers would be required to pay employees up to $200 per day. The proposed law does not require employees to take these three paid sick days consecutively. Certain eligible employers could apply for reimbursement of the $200 daily payments from the Ontario government. As of the publication of this article, Ontario has not released information on the reimbursement criteria or the particulars of employer edibility.

Employee Eligibility

According to the proposed law, employees may take this new paid leave for the following reasons:

  • “going for a COVID-19 test

  • staying home awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test

  • being sick with COVID-19

  • going to get vaccinated

  • experiencing a side effect from a COVID-19 vaccination

  • having been advised to self-isolate due to COVID-19 by an employer, medical practitioner or other authority

  • taking care of a dependent who is:

    • sick with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19

    • self-isolating due to COVID-19”

Key Takeaways for Employers

Once this act becomes law, employers would be obligated to provide three days of paid leave for COVID-19 related reasons. Employers may ask for proof of an employee’s entitlement to this leave, but must be cautious as the proposed law prohibits employers from asking for a doctor’s notes as evidence.

© 2022, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 119
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About this Author

Emily Cohen-Gallant Labor Attorney Ogletree Deakins
Associate

Emily Cohen-Gallant is an associate in the Toronto office of Ogletree Deakins.

Emily is dedicated to helping her clients navigate complex workplace issues by providing practical advice and efficient, innovative representation. She forges strong connections with her clients by applying her keen problem-solving skills to delivering exceptional customer service.

Emily’s practice encompasses a wide-range of employment law matters, including wrongful dismissal, harassment, human rights and disciplinary issues, as well as drafting, negotiating and advising on terminations,...

1-416-637-9052
Caroline M. DeBruin of Ogletree Deakins Toronto Office Labour and employment law attorney
Associate

Caroline is an associate in the Toronto office of Ogletree Deakins. Caroline also completed summer student and articling terms at the firm.

Caroline is developing a broad labour and employment law practice. Throughout her time with the firm, Caroline has assisted with wrongful dismissal litigation, policy and disciplinary grievance arbitrations, collective bargaining, and other labour relations proceedings. She has also helped draft submissions, employment contracts, and workplace policies.

Caroline holds a Juris Doctor from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Arts from...

416-637-9070
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