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  • Shraddha

    Moderator
    May 17, 2020 at 9:34 pm

    When laying off employees you will be required to file a Record Of Employment (ROE). An ROE must be filed whenever there is a change in the status of an employee including when a business is forced to close by the government.

    Once the ROE is filed your employees will be able to apply for regular Employment Insurance benefits. In many jurisdictions, there is an exemption from giving or paying notice when a business needs to close due to unforeseen circumstances.

  • Shraddha

    Moderator
    May 17, 2020 at 9:28 pm

    Hi Rodney,

    An ROE has to be filed when there is an interruption of earnings of seven days (known as the seven-day rule). The interruption of earnings occurs when there are seven consecutive days with no work and no insurable earnings, or when an employee’s salary falls below 60% of regular weekly earnings due to illness, injury, quarantine, pregnancy, etc.

    If you are filing the ROE electronically, it must be issued within 5 calendar days of the end of the pay period in which the employee’s interruption of earnings occurs. If you are using a paper ROE, it must be issued within 5 calendar days of the employee’s interruption of earnings, or the date you become aware of the interruption of earnings.

    You can complete the ROE through ROEweb either by using a Select Sign-In Partner; or GCKey.

    For more information refer: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/ei/ei-list/reports/roe-guide/understand.html

    • This reply was modified 9 months, 1 week ago by  Shraddha.
    • This reply was modified 9 months, 1 week ago by  Shraddha.
  • Shraddha

    Moderator
    May 17, 2020 at 9:24 pm

    Hi Daisi,

    If
    working from home is an option, you should consider it. If it is not possible,
    ask your employees if they want to take their vacation. If they don’t wish to take their
    vacation, then you will need to file an ROE. Use either Code E for Quit, or
    Code N for Leave of Absence. It is recommended not using Code K or putting any
    comments in the comment box since that will slow the processing time of the
    ROE.

    For more information refer: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/ei/ei-list/reports/roe-guide/instructions.html

  • Shraddha

    Moderator
    May 17, 2020 at 9:21 pm

    No, the Ontario government’s amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 confirm that employees are entitled to unpaid leave if they are unable to work due to COVID-19. The employees can use paid sick time or vacation time to cover this period (if available), as an employer you are advised to encourage employees to apply for Employment Insurance (“EI”) sick leave benefits. Many employers are offering paid sick days to employees to cover this time, but this is not legally required. Individuals who are unable
    to work due to COVID-19 may be eligible for the Canada Emergency Response
    Benefit (CERB).

  • Shraddha

    Moderator
    May 17, 2020 at 9:16 pm

    The Government of Canada is currently recommending that Canadians avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and are recommending that anyone who does travel self-isolates for 14 days upon their return. As an employer, you can develop a policy that strongly recommends that employees avoid traveling at this time, and which imposes a positive duty on employees to report any travel to the employer.

    The policy can also make it clear to employees that, if they choose to travel, they will be required to remain at home for 14 days after they return and, if remote work is not available, that this will be unpaid leave.

    You can take legal advice before implementing the policy.

  • Shraddha

    Moderator
    May 17, 2020 at 9:11 pm

    An employer does
    not have to invent a different job or create work for an employee in order to
    allow them to work remotely. However, as a best practice, an employer should
    ensure that they have explored all options to determine whether remote work
    is possible in the current circumstances.

  • Shraddha

    Moderator
    May 17, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    Hi Alice,

    In such a situation I suggest your response will necessarily depend on the amount of exposure and the safety risk to other workers. All employees who came into contact with the worker should be sent home to mitigate against a further spread of the illness. In some cases, this may mean that all employees in the workplace will need to be sent home. In others, it may mean that only those employees in one department or on one floor will need to self-isolate for a period of time.

  • Shraddha

    Moderator
    May 17, 2020 at 9:06 pm

    Hi Alice,

    In Ontario, employees are entitled to refuse work if they feel it is unsafe. If that happens, an employer is required to investigate the situation and advise the employee whether the safety risk has been resolved or not. If the employee continues to believe there is a safety concern, the Ministry of Labour can be asked to come in to investigate.

    There must be reasonable and legitimate grounds for the employee to believe there is a safety risk in the workplace. Fear of getting sick, if there are no current incidents in the workplace or other risk factors, is likely not sufficient. However, in a situation where another employee has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or where the employee is interacting regularly with the public, there may be a legitimate concern that needs to be addressed by the employer to ensure the health and safety of all workers.

    Employers should also be alert to the fact that some employees may have legitimate safety concerns as a result of their personal health or circumstances (for example, any employees who are immunocompromised). In these cases, the employer will likely have a duty to accommodate the employee up to the point of undue hardship.

    For more information refer to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

  • Shraddha

    Moderator
    May 17, 2020 at 9:04 pm

    Under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”), employers can temporarily layoff employees for a period of up to 13 weeks (in some cases this can be extended to 35 weeks). However, although temporary layoffs are contemplated in the ESA, an employer is not permitted to lay off an employee unless the contract of employment between the parties explicitly or implicitly gives the employer the authority to do so.

    If an employer is struggling to operate its business due to COVID-19 (e.g. where remote work is not available and a significant portion of the staff are in self-isolation, or where the work environment becomes too high risk for employees), an employer may consider asking its employees to agree to a temporary layoff. An employee’s agreement must be obtained before this option will be available to employers.

    It is important to note that if an employee does not agree to a temporary layoff, the employer may have to consider terminating the employee’s employment and providing them with their entitlements on dismissal. In addition, employers should be aware that if the layoff extends beyond the time limits specified by the ESA, the employee will be deemed to have been dismissed as of the first day of the layoff.

    Please note: The government has introduced Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to provide financial support to employers to reduce or eliminate the need for layoffs or dismissals, even in cases where a business must temporarily cease operations. Employers should consider whether they qualify for the CEWS before proceeding with layoffs. This will not only assist employers to avoid the legal issues noted above but ensure they are able to return to regular operations as quickly as possible once the COVID-19 crisis has ended.

  • Shraddha

    Moderator
    May 17, 2020 at 8:57 pm

    Hi Richard,

    Voluntarily if an employee chooses not to return to their job would likely be considered a resignation of the employee’s employment, and would eliminate the employee’s right to severance. If the employee fails to return to work within a reasonable time after being recalled then it may also result in a for-cause termination.

    There are, however, instances when refusing to return to work may be justifiable:

    • The employee is not being provided with proper PPE (personal protective
      equipment) required to safely perform the job or the employer is
      otherwise not complying with the Occupational Health and Safety
      Act by taking required or recommended precautions to limit
      transmission of the COVID virus;
    • The employee has a sincere reason to believe that a machine (or other
      pieces of equipment) or any other device or thing that they are going to
      operate or use to carry out work is likely to endanger them or a
      co-worker;
    • The employee has reason to believe that the employer is not permitted to
      be open or operate at the time of the employee recall; or
    • The terms and conditions which will apply to the employees recall are
      radically different, in terms of their duties and responsibilities or level
      of pay; then the answer may be different.

    In any of these situations, the refusal of an employee may be justifiable, but it is important to note that these types of situations and the employee’s rights are highly dependent on the circumstances surrounding the refusal.

    I suggest this is a complex issue and you should seek legal advice.

  • Shraddha

    Moderator
    May 17, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    Hi Isabelle,

    It is advised that workplaces should have a policy in place that outlines their requirements when people may be sick or absent to care for others. This policy should indicate how to notify the workplace, and if there is a requirement for a doctor’s note and when. Organizations may wish to suspend the need for a doctor’s or medical note for the absence to reduce the burden on the health care system.

    Workplaces can also help by having an infection control plan which may include details such as:

    • Providing clean handwashing facilities.
    • Offering alcohol-based hand sanitizers
      when regular facilities are not available.
    • Cleaning objects that are touched
      frequently, such as doorknobs, handles, railings, kettles, etc. more
      often with household disinfectants or bleach solution.
    • Providing boxes of tissues and encourage
      their use.
    • Reminding staff to not share cups,
      glasses, dishes, and cutlery. Be sure dishes are washed in soap and water after use.
    • Removing magazines and papers from waiting areas or common rooms (such as tea rooms and kitchens).
    • Making sure ventilation systems are working properly.
    • Cleaning a person’s workstation or other
      areas where they have been if a person has been suspected or identified
      with an infection
    • Using social distancing techniques, such
      as using the telephone, video conferencing, or the internet to conduct as
      much business as possible (including within the same building), allow
      employees to work from home, or to work flexible hours to avoid peak
      public transportation times or crowding the workplace.

    The above is just a recommendation however you may implement safety practices as deemed fit for your organization.

  • Shraddha

    Moderator
    May 17, 2020 at 1:38 pm

    Hi Isabelle,

    The general guidelines for public and most workplaces (non-healthcare) include:

    1. Hand washing: reducing the risk of common infections

    2. Good hygiene practices: reducing the speak of infection and viruses

    3. Know the appropriate procedures for general sanitation and infection control, and how to work safely with hazardous products including bleach.

    4. If using gloves when cleaning, always wear the appropriate type of glove for the product you are using.

    5. Keep a distance of 2 meters between you, your coworkers, and customers.

    6. Reduce activities that require close physical proximity or contact with people, such as team meetings.

    7. Increase distance between desks, tables, and workstations.

    For more information refer: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/preventing-covid-19-workplace-employers-employees-essential-service-workers.html

  • Shraddha

    Moderator
    May 17, 2020 at 1:26 pm

    Hi Christian,

    The Occupational Health and Safety (OHSA) is Ontario’s cornerstone legislation for workplace health and safety. Other contributing legislation includes the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA), Part II of which deals with the prevention of occupational injury and disease, and the Human Rights Code, which often has to be considered in dealing with OHS issues.

    For more information, you may refer to https://www.ontario.ca/laws

  • Shraddha

    Moderator
    May 17, 2020 at 1:22 pm

    Hi Christian,

    The Ministry’s goal is for all workplaces to achieve self-compliance with OHSA and regulations through a well-functioning Internal Responsibility System (IRS). Where this does not happen, progressive enforcement results. Enforcement begins with the issuing of orders and may proceed to prosecution.

    Inspectors are the enforcement arm of the Ministry of Labour; their role includes the following:

    · inspection of workplaces

    · issuing of orders where there is a contravention of OHSA or its regulations

    · investigation of accidents and work refusals

    · resolution of disputes

    · recommendation of prosecution.

    For more information refer: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90o01

    • This reply was modified 9 months, 1 week ago by  Shraddha.
  • Shraddha

    Moderator
    May 17, 2020 at 1:19 pm

    Hi Jonathon,

    An occupational hazard is a thing or situation with the potential to harm a worker. Occupational hazards can be divided into two categories: safety hazards that cause accidents that physically injure workers, and health hazards which result in the development of the disease. It is important to note that a “hazard” only represents the potential to cause harm. Whether it does cause harm will depend on circumstances, such as the toxicity of the health hazard, exposure amount, and duration. Hazards can also be rated according to the severity of the harm they cause – a significant hazard being one with the potential to cause a critical injury or death.

    For more information refer: https://www.ccohs.ca/topics/hazards/

    • This reply was modified 9 months, 1 week ago by  Shraddha.
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