March 19, 2020

Job Protected Leave

Ontario Introduces Job Protected Leave for Workers

The Ontario government passed legislation that provides job protected leave for reasons connected to COVID-19. An employee who takes leave for any of the following reasons is protected:

  • 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 in accordance with public health information or direction.
  • The employer directs the employee not to work due to a concern that COVID-19 could be spread in the workplace.
  • The employee needs to provide care to a person for a reason related to COVID-19 such as a school or daycare closure.
  • The employee is prevented from returning to Ontario because of travel restrictions.

Furthermore, an employee will be able to take infectious disease emergency leave to care for a family member, or for someone that the employee considers to be like a family member.

The act also stipulates that an employee will not be required to provide a medical note if they need to take the leave. However, they may be asked to provide other evidence that is reasonable in the circumstances, at a time that is reasonable in the circumstances. This could a note from their daycare provider or evidence that an airline cancelled their flight, but not a medical note.

The government is also reminding employers that they are required to report all occupational illnesses, including COVID-19, to the ministry of labour, training, and skills development in writing within four days. Employers must also notify their joint health and safety committee or a health and safety representative and a trade union, if they exist.