Ontario extends temporary layoff provisions

September 3, 2020 | Lisa Goodfellow

Today, the Ontario Government announced further amendments to extend the maximum periods of temporary layoffs to January 2, 2021, before they could be deemed to be terminations under the Employment Standards Act, 2000.

The goal is to preserve jobs longer, and avoid costly termination and severance costs which, for some businesses, may be the difference between survival and closure.

Under the normal rules, a temporary layoff will be deemed a termination after:

  • 13 weeks, if no payments or benefits are continued;
  • 35 weeks, if certain payments or benefits are continued; or
  • for such longer period that an employee retains recall rights under any applicable collective agreement.

Due to COVID-19, the Ontario Government previously suspended the effect of this provision until September 4, 2020, so that employers could extend temporary layoffs beyond the regular limits.  This latest announcement means more flexibility for employers in Ontario.

The Ontario Government has also announced the extension of the job protected Infectious Disease Emergency Leave to parents who feel it is unsafe to return their children to school.


Miller Thomson is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation to ensure that we provide our clients with appropriate support in this rapidly changing environment. For articles, information updates and firm developments, please visit our COVID-19 Resources page.


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