Province Announces New Measures to Protect Workers During COVID-19 Pandemic

The Province of Ontario has announced new measures that will will offer job protection to everybody in the Province during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ONTARIO - The province of Ontario has announced new measures to protect workers during the COVID-19 crisis today.

Today, Premier Doug Ford and Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, announced that the government intends to introduce legislation that, if passed, would immediately provide job-protected leave to employees in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, or those who need to be away from work to care for children because of school or day care closures. Premier Ford says they don't want anyone worrying about job security right now. 

"While everyone's concerns about their health and safety is top of mind, the last thing we need is anyone worrying about job security as the COVID-19 situation evolves. That's why I directed the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development to draft legislation that will protect workers and their families during this difficult period."

Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development echoed those sentiments. 

"Mothers and fathers who need to care for children or dependants shouldn't have to worry about losing their job. The same goes for people who receive medical or public health advice and are required to take precautions as a result. They shouldn't have to worry about losing their job. In this time of uncertainty, we need to support employees who must isolate or quarantine themselves, or who need to care for a loved one."

The proposed legislation would, if passed, provide job protection for employees unable to work for the following reasons:

- The employee is under medical investigation, supervision or treatment for COVID-19.

- The employee is acting in accordance with an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

- The employee is in isolation or quarantine.

- The employee is acting in accordance with public health information or direction.

- The employer directs the employee not to work.

- The employee needs to provide care to a person for a reason related to COVID-19 such as a school or day-care closure.

The proposed legislation would also make it clear that an employee will not be required to provide a medical note if they take the leave. The measures would be retroactive to January 25, 2020, the date that the first presumptive COVID-19 case was confirmed in Ontario.

Many workers will be eligible for Employment Insurance sickness benefits. As well, we are reviewing current access and eligibility to emergency assistance which is available through the Ontario Works (OW) program to support individuals who are impacted by the coronavirus and who are not able to meet their basic living expenses.

Visit Ontario's website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

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