Ontario's State of Emergency has declared no gatherings of over 50 people and the closure of certain public spaces. For example:
- Bars and restaurants (takeout and delivery may be still available)
- Licensed child-care centres
- Schools and Private schools
- Recreation Centres (including visitor services at parks) and gyms
- Visitor and Cultural attractions
What can I do to protect myself if I am unable to work from home?
The public health guidance is to work from home wherever possible. However working remotely is not feasible in many workplaces. If you are in this situation, it is important that you follow all health and safety protocols related to your workplace. Under the Occupational Health & Safety Act, most of Ontario’s workers have the right to refuse unsafe work. If you are in a unionized workplace, consult your staff rep before refusing any work. It is also recommended that you practice social distancing and proper hygiene as much as possible to reduce the risk of infection.
Is there any financial help available?
The Federal Government announced new economic measures to help workers, families and businesses cope with financial hardship. This includes expanded EI and Canada Child Benefit and the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to eligible
For more information, visit here.
Who is Eligible for EI?
Workers who pay EI premiums are eligible for EI if:
- you cannot work because of a medical condition, such as COVID-19;
- you have lost at least 40 per cent of your usual weekly pay; and
- you have worked a minimum of 600 hours in the year before your claim, or since your last EI claim.
The one-week EI sickness benefits waiting period is being waived if you are in COVID-19 quarantine. Call the new dedicated toll-free phone number so you can be paid for the first week of your claim:
Telephone: 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free)
Do I need to provide a doctor’s note to my employer to get my sick-leave benefits?
While a medical certificate signed by your doctor is usually required to get sick-leave benefits, this will not be the case during the COVID-19 crisis. During this time, the government is waiving the need for a sick note for patients who are required to miss work due to self-isolation or quarantine.
Will my time off during self-isolation or quarantine be paid by my employer?
If your work can be done remotely for the period of self-isolation or quarantine where you are not sick, your employer should allow remote work paid at your usual rate of compensation. If you become sick, your sick day entitlements will vary depending on the language in your contract or collective agreement. If you have zero sick leave benefits—the Employment Standards Act applies, which is currently three unpaid days.
The federal government has indicated it will provide financial support to businesses to continue to pay employees during self-isolation and quarantine.
The provincial government has passed emergency legislation to provide infectious disease emergency leave for anyone unable to work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes provides unpaid leave and job protection for individuals under quarantine or in isolation, or providing care to a child as a result of school and day care closures. More details here.