Ontario says more health providers can reopen including dentists, optometrists

I’m slowing down blog posts to avoid overwhelming, and as things start to return to the new normal, I’ll try and get these back to once a week.

I thought it worthwhile to let you know that many of the medical service offices that have been closed are now gearing up to re-open.  Some of these may require huge changes to practices (dentists), others less so (massage therapy), and each will rely on their regulatory body requirements to keep you safe during the transition.

Many insurers have been providing rebates during the closures, but we expect these to be reduced, or end in the near future, as services re-open and claims begin to increase. Stay tuned for more.

Dentists, optometrists and massage therapists are part of a list of health-care providers that the Ontario government says can gradually reopen following a months-long shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chiropractors, physiotherapists, psychologists, dieticians, denturists, and midwives are also included on the list released Wednesday as part of a new order from the province’s chief medical officer of health.


FREE Webinar – Stabilizing & Restoring Your Workplace From COVID-19

Just a reminder of this webinar of interest. I am helping to support the event and sharing with our clients as well as CGIB members who will be making it available to their clients across the country.  Laura is both an interesting and dynamic speaker that leaves you with lots of take-aways you can put to use in your firm.

Details and booking info is below.  We hope you’ll join us.

The New Reality: Stabilizing & Restoring Your Workplace From COVID-19


To sign up: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/williams-hr-proactive-workplace-webinars-tickets-103923273308

Ontario Making Prescription Drugs More Affordable During COVID-19

This post applies to those using the Ontario Drug Benefit program (ODB – generally for seniors) and those with high cost drugs utilizing the Trillium Drug Benefit (TDB).

The provincial government has provided resources to help reduce costs and aid in the application process by allowing fax and e-mailing of application forms.

Please feel free to pass this along to employees, friends or family that may need assistance.

Ontario Making Prescription Drugs More Affordable During COVID-19


Ontario Making Prescription Drugs More Affordable During COVID-19
Province provides relief for Ontarians using the Ontario Drug Benefit Program


Returning to work (or the workplace) after COVID-19

As you begin to prepare to recall staff (or think about it), and what a return to the workplace looks like. I thought I’d share a few links you may find useful.

Many Canadian employers implemented temporary layoffs due to the devastating financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis. These employers are entitled to recall their employees back to work at any point in time prior to the expiry of the applicable statutory layoff period. With community transmission of COVID-19 beginning to slow down, Canada’s federal and provincial governments are beginning to consider easing restrictions and gradually reopening certain businesses. In addition, it will not be long before the applicable layoff periods expire for some employers.




Lay offs and Recalling laid off employees

If you lay-off employees we need to make the insurer aware of when, how long and what benefits are to be extended during the absence.  Many insurers are offering an option to extend LTD coverage (if in place) during the lay-off period up to a maximum of 6 months (Please note that lay-offs with LTD benefits are limited to 6 months and can not be extended to the 35 weeks that the Ontario ESA references.). You are also required to alert the insurer when the laid off employee has quit, been terminated, or has returned to work (recalled)

If you have questions, are laying off, or recalling staff please consult the document below if you are located in Ontario. Any other questions, problems or you need help notifying your insurer, please give us a call (905-886-9203).

Temporary layoff

An employee is on temporary layoff when an employer cuts back or stops the employee’s work without ending their employment (e.g., laying someone off at times when there is not enough work to do). The mere fact that the employer does not specify a recall date when laying the employee off does not necessarily mean that the lay-off is not temporary. Note, however, that a lay-off, even if intended to be temporary, may result in constructive dismissal if it is not allowed by the employment contract.

<portion omitted>

Under the ESA, a “temporary layoff” can last:

  • not more than 13 weeks of layoff in any period of 20 consecutive weeks;
  • more than 13 weeks in any period of 20 consecutive weeks, but less than 35 weeks of layoff in any period of 52 consecutive weeks, where:
    • the employee continues to receive substantial payments from the employer;
    • the employer continues to make payments for the benefit of the employee under a legitimate group or employee insurance plan (such as a medical or drug insurance plan) or a legitimate retirement or pension plan;
    • the employee receives supplementary unemployment benefits;

<portion omitted>

If an employee is laid off for a period longer than a temporary layoff as set out above, the employer is considered to have terminated the employee’s employment. Generally, the employee will then be entitled to termination pay.


Pandemic Recovery Employer Tip Sheets

After several discussions, I think the recovery from the pandemic may be a bit more difficult to get out from, than it was to get in to, for many businesses.  By that I mean that getting staff back to work is going to involve a number of steps that many have not thought about. Everything will mean more change, from maintaining physical distancing, to closing common areas people congregate, disinfecting and maintenance of personal space at work and so on, but also dealing with child care, anxiety with having people around (especially the older staff and those with compromised health) etc.

Every business will respond in their own way, but I thought that the following might provide a few tips as you prepare your own recovery plan.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety has created free tip sheets as guidance while operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each document offers health and safety tips and good practices, for both employers and workers, specific to each industry or sector. Organizations and businesses can adopt this guidance to protect their workers and prevent the spread of infections. The tip sheets cover a range of occupations and industries from construction and trucking to healthcare and daycares.