Coronavirus | Finance & Taxation | Human Resources | Ontario

Reopening Ontario Act – Bill 195 begins

July 24, 2020

The Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, which came into force July 24, 2020, ends the state of emergency in Ontario but continues certain orders for up to a year that were made under the province’s COVID-19 emergency legislation.

For retailers, the ending of the state of emergency is significant as it means the six-week countdown for temporary layoffs starts now. On Sept 4, 2020 any employee who remains temporarily laid off, and who has been laid off for more than 13 weeks in the past 20 consecutive weeks, shall be deemed constructively dismissed.


Update: Declared Emergency Leave (DEL) under the Employment Standards Act (ESA) is no longer available to employees as of July 24, 2020. For employees on DEL, however, nearly all employees will be able to transition to a new type of leave, called Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL), which lasts until September 4, 2020. Transition criteria include:

  • Employees are entitled to IDEL under the ESA if their hours of work are temporarily reduced or eliminated by the employer for reasons related to COVID-19,
  • Employees whose hours of work or wages are temporarily reduced or temporarily eliminated by the employer for reasons related to COVID-19 are not considered to be laid off under the ESA, and
  • A temporary reduction or temporary elimination in an employee’s hours of work or wages by the employer for reasons related to COVID-19 does not constitute a constructive dismissal under the ESA.

After September 4, 2020, IDEL ends. This means that all employees will be subject to the normal ESA rules for temporary lay-offs. For further information, visit Ontario.ca/ESAguide, or call the Employment Standards Information Centre at 1-800-531-5551.

View more information about changes to EI regulations on our Relief Measures for Retailers page.

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