Today, the government announced it 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.
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.
Helping ensure the health and safety of Ontario workers and workplaces
Employers and workers in the health sector should be following the Ministry of Health COVID-19 Guidance for the Health Sector.
The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development is responding to inquiries regarding worker protections for COVID-19 and continues to investigate all complaints related to workplace health and safety to provide support, advice and enforcement, including proactive inspections as needed to ensure the health and safety of Ontario's workers.
Employers are required to report all occupational illnesses, including COVID-19, to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development in writing within four days. Employers are also required to notify their joint health and safety committee or a health and safety representative and a trade union, if they exist.
Workers in other settings should be following the Ministry of Health's recommendations on how to protect yourself. For the most up-to-date information on how individuals can protect themselves and what to do if they suspect they may be at risk, please visit Ontario.ca/coronavirus.
Employers and workers are advised that isolation and monitoring requirements are in place for people who are at risk for COVID-19.
Normal practices for cleaning and disinfection procedures should always be followed unless your employer provides additional instructions.
Reviewing Access to Emergency Assistance
As part of the government's response to COVID-19, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services is reviewing access to and eligibility for emergency assistance that is currently available through the Ontario Works program. You can apply online or contact your local Ontario Works office. A simplified application form will be available over the coming days.