The Ontario Provincial Government announced on March 16, 2020 details of its proposal to amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (Ontario) (“ESA”) to provide job protected leave for workers unable to work as a result of COVID-19 and to ban employers from asking workers to provide sick notes if they are unable to work as a result of a COVID-19.
Amendment to ESA
The proposed amendment to the ESA would apply to Ontario workers unable to work as a result of COVID-19, including to workers who are unable to work because they are subject to an investigation, supervision, treatment, isolation, or quarantine as a result of COVID-19. The amendments would also apply to workers caring for family members and dependents for a purpose relating to COVID-19, including as a result of a school or daycare closures.
The proposed amendments (if passed) would have retroactive effect as of January 25, 2020 and would continue for an indefinite period of time.
Waiver of EI Waiting Period
The announcement of the proposed amendments follows the Federal Government’s recently announced changes to employment insurance, which will waive the one-week waiting period for people who are in quarantine or have been directed to self-isolate and are claiming for Employment Insurance sickness benefits.
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