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A Further Update on COVID-19 – Province of Ontario Proposes Paid COVID-19 Leave, Toronto and Peel to Temporarily Close Businesses Experiencing an Active Outbreak – April 29, 2021

April 29, 2021
by Israel Foulon LLP


On April 28, 2021, the Government of Ontario announced plans to introduce legislation which if passed, would provide eligible individuals with three (3) days of paid sick leave in the event that they were required to miss work because of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis or risk exposure to someone who recently tested positive.

In addition, the cities of Toronto and Peel have implemented public health orders which will require businesses experiencing an active outbreak to close for a period of up to ten (10) calendar days.

Paid COVID-19 Leave

On April 29, 2021, the Government of Ontario will introduce the COVID-19 Putting Workers First Act, which would require employers to provide employees with paid leave of up to $200 per day (less if the employee’s regular rate of pay is under $200 per day) for up to three (3) days because of certain reasons related to COVID-19, including:

  • 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; and
  • taking care of a dependent who is (a) sick with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19 or (b) is self-isolating due to COVID-19.

If passed, the program would only be available to those under who qualify as “employees” under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and those who do not already receive paid sick time through their employer. A doctor’s note would not be required as evidence.

The program would be administered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) and will cover the period from April 19, 2021 until September 25, 2021 (the date the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit will expire). Under the program, employers will be eligible to be reimbursed for up to $200 per day for each employee.

In addition to the proposed legislation, the Government of Ontario has announced that it plans to continue discussions with the federal government over its proposal to supplement the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (“CRSB”) by an additional $500 dollars per week. Pending agreement by the federal government to administer the funds, eligible individuals would be entitled to payment of $1,000.00 per week if they are required to miss at least 50% of their scheduled work week because of COVID-19.

We expect that there will be further announcements in the coming days. You can review the full Ontario Newsroom press release HERE.

Toronto and Peel to Temporarily Close Businesses Experiencing an Active Outbreak

In response to the rise of positive cases involving the new COVID-19 variants, both Toronto and Peel Region’s public health units have issued orders under section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act that will empower public health officials to temporarily close businesses that have experienced an active outbreak within the last 14 days.

Effective immediately, all workplaces in Toronto and Peel experiencing an active outbreak must comply with the following requirements:

  • You must notify public health officials, as soon as you become aware of five or more individuals, who have tested positive for COVID-19, within a two-week period in connection with your workplace.
  • Where there is evidence of five or more positive cases, or evidence of confirmed or probable transmission within a 14 calendar-day period in connection with the workplace, Public Health may require:
    1. full workplace closure to immediately occur and continue for a minimum period of 10 calendar days; or
    2. partial workplace closure or shift or work area mass dismissal to immediately occur and continue for a minimum period of 10 calendar days; or
    3. other significant interventions necessary to address circumstances at a specific workplace.

You can review the City of Toronto’s full health and safety order HERE.

Register Now For Israel Foulon Wong LLP’s Webinar:

Please be advised that we still have a few spots available for our annual breakfast Webinar, scheduled to be held on May 11, 2021 from 8:30am – 10:00am, but they are going quickly! We will be discussing the most pressing issues impacting your business, COVID-19, mandatory vaccines, and how recent case law has impacted your employment agreements. Registration is free. To secure your reservation, please RSVP at ubillar@israelfoulon.com. A Zoom link and seminar materials will be provided in advance of the Webinar.

Israel Foulon Wong’s Response to COVID-19

Israel Foulon Wong is assessing the situation as it evolves, and is taking all necessary precautions within its workplace. To slow the spread of COVID-19 and for the health of our team and clients, absent extraordinary circumstances we are working remotely until further notice whenever possible. However, please be aware that our offices remain open and are fully functioning. In the circumstances, we encourage our clients to contact us by phone and email to the extent possible. Voicemail messages left at our office phone numbers are immediately forwarded via email. All messages will be promptly responded to. We remain steadfast in our commitment to our clients and would be more than happy to assist you with concerns regarding COVID-19 or any other employment or labour matters.

Legal Disclaimer

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice, which in all circumstances must be tailored to the specific facts of any problem. You should obtain a proper legal consultation in order to determine how this article applies to your specific situation. Please feel free to contact Israel Foulon LLP to learn more at 416-640-1550.