On April 22, 2022, the Ontario government announced that provincial masking requirements, which were set to expire on April 27, 2022, are being extended in certain higher-risk indoor settings until 12:00 a.m. on June 11, 2022. The extended measures have been made in an attempt to manage the sixth wave of COVID-19.

These higher-risk settings include:

  • public transit;
  • health care settings (e.g., hospitals, doctors’ offices, clinics that provide health care services, laboratories, specimen collection centres, and home and community care);
  • long-term care homes;
  • retirement homes; and
  • shelters and other congregate care settings that provide care and services to medically and socially vulnerable individuals.


Continue Reading Before you take off your mask: masking still required in certain Ontario settings

Government changes to the covid-19 safety measures & workplace policiesAcross Canada, government mandates regarding masking and vaccination are lifting. In Ontario, vaccine passports are no longer required as of March 1 and masking mandates were lifted as of March 21. Employers who previously rolled out vaccination policies may be wondering what these wider government changes mean for their workplace policies. 

Is A Vaccination Policy Necessary?

The shift in governmental approach towards COVID-19 safety protocols will likely mean that employers looking to justify invasions of employee privacy – i.e. disclosing vaccination status –  based on reasonable health and safety concerns will be less able to do so. This is because the consensus, as evidenced by the change in government mandates, is that maybe this need is not based on a legitimate health and safety concern. This may vary depending on the workplace, but we note that even the employee vaccination mandate for long-term care homes –  which was legally required – has been lifted. 
Continue Reading What Does the End of Provincial Covid-19 Safety Measures Mean for Workplace Policies?

Religious accommodation for vaccines
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

In the context of the increasing prevalence of vaccine mandates, employee requests for accommodation on religious grounds are becoming common. Religious beliefs and practices and the resulting accommodation requests can be varied and tricky. Today we will take a look at what employers should know and do about requests for accommodation based on religion. 

What Do Employers Need to Accommodate?

Human rights legislation across Canada provides employees with protections from discrimination on the basis of creed or religious beliefs or practices. Employers must accommodate up to the point of undue hardship. 
Continue Reading Religious Accommodation & Vaccination – What’s the deal?

Workplace Law Trends for 2022
Photo by BRUNO EMMANUELLE on Unsplash

Welcome to 2020 Two! It’s hard to believe we’ve been living through a pandemic for nearly 2 years. Workplaces are beyond worn out, stress leaves and harassment complaints continue to increase, parents are juggling remote learning and limited activities for kids once again, and many workplaces struggle to find people to fill the roles. 

Yes, it’s all a bit of a mess, but out of crisis emerge new ways to approach issues and novel solutions to traditional problems. Here are our predictions for workplace law trends and changes in 2022.

#1 – Push for Hybrid and Remote Working

Studies over the last year are showing a deep disconnect between senior bosses and employees about preferred workplaces. Increasingly, employees want – and now expect – at least some remote work option, whereas senior levels of management are more likely to continue to see in-person work better for productivity, mentoring and focus.
Continue Reading Workplace Law Trends for 2022

Office holiday party and Covid-19 considerations
Photo by Kelsey Chance on Unsplash

Likely you’ve noticed that the holiday season is upon us! Often around this time of year, we’ve written a blog post about holiday office parties. Usually, these have revolved around topics like social host liability, drinking and sexual harassment. This year, many workplaces are eager to get the gang back together in person and have the additional consideration of COVID-19! What to do?!

Where to Party?

An easy option, which will allow employers to avoid having to reinvent the wheel, will be to have the holiday party at a restaurant. Restaurants know the local public health rules and you won’t have to ruin the night for your HR person by requiring them to be the mask police all night. Proof of vaccination is required to dine indoors in most jurisdictions and the restaurant will have a set-up for contract tracing and vaccination checks. 
Continue Reading Time to Party IRL?

Recent Changes to the Federal Government’s Covid-19 Benefits Schemes
Photo by Neil Thomas on Unsplash

As of Saturday, October 23, 2021, a suite of federal benefits formerly slated for both individuals and small businesses was set to expire following several extension periods. In partial response, the federal government has earmarked $7.4 billion for new programs intended to maintain some level of support for businesses and individuals throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

What Is Set To Expire?

On October 23, 2021, the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) both expired after their initial implementation in 2020. The Budget Implementation Act would allow the government to extend these programs to November 30, 2021, however, anything beyond this time frame would require the introduction of new legislation. Under the CERS, businesses have a monthly cap of $75,000 on eligible expenses that can be claimed per business location, and $300,000 in total for all locations. In our discussion below, there is potential for an increase in this monthly cap. 
Continue Reading Recent Changes to the Federal Government’s Covid-19 Benefits Schemes

Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policies
Photo by Steven Cornfield on Unsplash

In our recent blog, we discussed the consequences that employees may face for not receiving government-approved COVID-19 vaccinations. We also touched on the legitimate medical or religious reasons that some employees may have for refusing or being unable to be vaccinated. In this blog, we’ll take a deeper dive into what sorts of exemptions employers should be prepared to expect (if they have not already come across them) and the steps they can take to determine whether employees have a valid request for an exemption from vaccination, along with the required accommodations. 

Types of COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination Exemptions Employers May Encounter

Employers should keep an eye out for valid medical and religious/creed-based exemptions employees may have from vaccination. 

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario has provided some examples (of which it emphasizes there are few) of acceptable medical exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccination:
Continue Reading A Deeper Dive into Exemptions from Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policies