Ontario introduces job protection measures for COVID-19
Proposed legislation would make it clear that an employee will not be required to provide a medical note if they take the leave
TORONTO — On March 16, the Ontario government announced that it 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 day care closures.
“While everyone’s concerns about their health and safety is top of mind, the last thing we need is anyone worrying about job security as the COVID-19 situation evolves,” said Premier Doug Ford in a statement. “That’s why I directed the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development to draft legislation that will protect workers and their families during this difficult period.”
The proposed legislation would, if passed, provide job protection for employees unable to work for 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.
- The employee needs to provide care to a person for a reason related to COVID-19 such as a school or day-care closure.
The proposed legislation would also make it clear that an employee will not be required to provide a medical note if they take the leave. The measures would be retroactive to Jan. 25, 2020, the date that the first presumptive COVID-19 case was confirmed in Ontario.
The province says many workers will be eligible for Employment Insurance sickness benefits, and that is reviewing current access and eligibility to emergency assistance to support individuals who are impacted by the coronavirus and who are not able to meet their basic living expenses.