TORONTO — The Ontario government has extended the temporary changes to the Employment Standards Act that prevents temporary layoffs of non-unionized employees from becoming permanent terminations until July 30, 2022, placing employees on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As we take the necessary steps to safely and gradually re-start the economy, we need to make sure business owners can re-open their doors and workers have jobs to go back to,” says Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “This regulatory change will protect businesses from being forced to permanently lay off their employees due to COVID-19 and suffer a financial loss that could shutter their operations for good.”
This announcement comes after the Ontario Restaurant Hotel Motel Association (ORHMA) and the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) called on Minister McNaughton to extend the deadline unpaid IDEL for help the hardest-hit tourism and hospitality sectors.
“While we are appreciative of the initial extension of unpaid IDEL to December 31, 2021, which has delayed the layoff recall deadline to April 1, 2022, this will no longer be enough for meeting-and-convention and food-and-beverage sectors. While recovery is underway, the pace of business in meetings and conventions and food and beverage is not yet sufficient to begin recalling laid-off staff in these two sectors at the current timeline. Activity is slow due to the longer booking window for meetings and conventions and the usual winter weather-related slowdown for food and beverage,” read the letter from Christopher Bloore, president and CEO of TIAO and Tony Elenis, president and CEO of ORHMA.