When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Ontario, many employers temporarily laid off employees or reduced their compensation because business revenues plummeted. This blog considers the legal implications of these layoffs and reductions in compensation under the Employment Standards Act and at common law.
This issue has arisen in several recent mediations that I have conducted. As regular readers will know, Employment Insurance benefits are usually deducted from money paid out in lieu of notice of dismissal. At mediation, the plaintiff will be asked if they received EI benefits; if they did, then a mechanism for obtaining a statement of account/debt from Service Canada, and a holdback of funds to cover any repayment obligation, is typical.
In Taylor v Hanley Hospitality (2021 ONSC 3135) released June 7, 2021, Ferguson J. ruled that Coutinho v Ocular Health Centre (20121 ONSC 3076) was wrongly decided and thus does not have to be followed. The Plaintiff was put on IDEL leave on March 27, 2020, then recalled and returned to work on September 3, 2020.