Extension of Temporary Relief from ESA Termination and Severance Provisions

On June 4, 2021, the Ontario government extended the temporary relief measures from the termination and severance provisions of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) until September 25, 2021

The majority of our clients have kept their employees working safely during COVID, but there may be people that are still off on leave and many of those will be returning to workplaces at the end of September when IDEL appears to be ending. 

Canada life did a communication piece to explain what this means to employers (see below). We’ve included it here in the event you find yourself in this position.

IDEL extensions continue up to September 25th, 2021

Earlier this month the Ontario government announced the “deemed” Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL) COVID19 period would be extended to Sept. 25, 2021.

All employees currently on layoff in Ontario continue to be protected under the Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA) deemed Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL). Deemed IDEL allows all in-force coverage, including disability coverage, to remain in force on a premium paying basis, until Sept. 25, 2021. Any coverage that had terminated will remain so until the end of the leave or return to work date, whichever is earlier.

If the Ontario government ends deemed IDEL on Sept. 25, then starting Sept. 26, 2021 the following will apply:

  • The Employment Standards Act (ESA) regular rules around constructive dismissal resume and an employee may be constructively dismissed, even for COVID-19 related reasons. In this case, the group coverage for the employee would be terminated.
  • The ESA regular rules around temporary layoffs resume and the temporary lay-off clock resets. Employees who can’t return to work will be considered on a temporary layoff, with Sept. 26, 2021 being the first day of the temporary layoff. In this case, the employee’s group coverage will be extended (31 days for disability and six months for all other coverage) based on the termination provision of the group contract. If disability coverage was discontinued during the deemed IDEL, it will remain in terminated status.
  • Employees can apply for regular IDEL (not deemed IDEL) if they meet the criteria. An employee’s benefits coverage, minus disability, would continue as this is considered an ESA leave.