Layoffs And The Law

This week, TraveLaw Online’s Doug Crozier and Tim Law of Heifetz, Crozier, Law respond to a question from a reader about the rules currently relating to laid off employees.

Q: We laid off many of our employees more than two months ago hoping that we could bring them back before now. Because of a lack of business, we are not in a position to bring them back now but the short-term layoff is supposed to end soon. Someone told me about a change in this law, is that true?

A: Yes. A number of provinces have made changes to their employment laws. A change to the Ontario Employment Standards Act at the end of May now means that employees who were coming to the end of what was a temporary layoff of 13 weeks will not be considered to have been let go from their employment.

Before that change, anyone laid off for more than 13 weeks was deemed to have been dismissed from their employment.

As a result of this change, they will not be owed any payment in lieu of notice at this time.

In Ontario, this change applies to non-unionized employees whose layoff began on or after March 1, 2020.

These employees will be considered to be on an infectious disease emergency leave and if the employer was not making any benefit contributions before May 29, 2020 there is no obligation to do so going forwards.

This change applies until 6 weeks after the emergency declared on March 17, 2020 comes to an end.

TraveLaw Online appears in Press Today every Wednesday and if you have a question, you can contact Crozier or Law at [email protected] or connect with Bob Mowat at Canadian Travel Press/Baxter Media at [email protected].

Heifetz, Crozier, Law is a Toronto law firm that has for years represented all aspects of the Canadian travel industry. The lawyers at HCL also maintain a non-travel practice, covering litigation, real estate, Wills, corporate/commercial matters, etc. To contact HCL, e-mail [email protected].