1. With respect to situations where the employer was temporarily protected against notice pay when laying off employees, will this condition still be in place when the emergency health order is lifted?
No, employers will have 14 days once the orders are lifted to schedule employees back to the workplace or they would need to terminate the working relationship and provide pay instead of notice.
Employees who have not been scheduled are considered terminated and pay instead of notice is due within 14 days. More information on this can be found on page 2 here.
Tip: Keep a record of all contact attempts.
2. Do employees need to be returned to the same position with the same hours and rate of pay?
Workers generally must be returned to work under the same terms and conditions that they had prior to the layoff. The employer should give the employee advance notice of any changes. An employee may not accept the changes, believe they have been terminated, and may decide to pursue a claim for pay instead of notice on the basis that their contract has been unilaterally broken without notice. More information on this question can be found on page 3 here.
3. The public emergency layoff provisions no longer apply, but I am not re-opening or unable to resume business do I still have to schedule employees back?
While this is difficult, employees who are not scheduled by the end of the two weeks following the lifting of restrictions and state of emergency are entitled to pay instead of notice.
4. What if staff refuse to return to work?
We encourage employers to listen to and address employee concerns with returning to work, however if employees don’t return to work as directed, they may end up being considered as having abandoned their job and therefore, resigned.
5. If an employer has seasonal staff, do they have to bring them back within 14 days of the orders being removed?
There is no requirement to recall seasonal staff.
6. As an employer, when are the public emergency group termination notice exemptions over?
Immediately after the end of the public emergency period. There is no two-week grace period, as with the public emergency layoff provisions. More information on this can be found on page 5 here.
7. Now that the orders are removed do I still require an exposure control plan? Can the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety still require me to show an exposure control plan to an officer?
Now that the public health orders have been lifted, not all employers are required to have a COVID-19 exposure control plan. Employers must have a competent person conduct a hazard assessment to determine if they are required to develop a COVID-19 exposure control plan for their workplace.