COVID-19 continues to have a dramatic impact on both our economy and social interactions as we face a potential second lockdown. With most workplaces functioning and schools reopening, we have started to see an uptick in new COVID-19 cases. With the increase in infections comes an overall increase in health risks, and as such, the Government of Ontario has responded by re-introducing modified Stage Two measures in some hotspot areas, including the reduction of gathering limits and the closure of indoor dining. Accordingly, it is possible that we may continue to see our progress towards returning to our “new normal” slow down and even revert to more restrictive temporary norms.
Ontario employers take note: in a surprise announcement on September 3, 2020, the provincial government announced that it had extended its freeze of temporary layoff limitations. Regular layoff rules had been set to resume on September 4, 2020. Pursuant to O. Reg. 492/20, this date has now been pushed back to January 2, 2021.
It’s been almost six months since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Ontario. During this time the government has introduced a number of new income support programs and new laws. There was no play book for handling this crisis.