Canadian Lawyer

July 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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UPFRONT 8 ONTARIO UPDATE EMPLOYMENT LAWYERS are helping cli- ents understand their new obligations under Ontario's recently implemented COVID- related paid leave requirements. However, some employers complain the measure rewards employers who do not offer paid sick leave while doing nothing for those that already do. On Apr. 29, Ontario enacted Bill 284, COVID-19 Putting Workers First Act, 2021. Under the amendments to s. 50.1 of the Employment Standards Act, provincially regulated employers must provide employees with up to three days of paid leave for COVID- related reasons. These reasons include being sick with COVID, testing, isolating while waiting for test results, vaccination appoint- ments, vaccination side-effects and caring for a dependent with the virus. The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board will reimburse employers up to $200 per day for an employee missing work for one of these reasons. "As with what happened last time the What employment law clients are saying about the new three-day COVID- related paid sick leave days get reimbursed from WSIB for COVID- related leave? As of Apr. 19, if a person had three or more sick days, which would apply to one of the COVID-related reasons, that person would not get additional days, says Shaw. And employers who already offer paid sick leave will not be reimbursed by WSIB for an employee taking COVID-related leave. "So that's unfortunate because, understand- ably, many employers feel that they're essen- tially being punished for stepping up to the plate before they were required to do so," says Ashton. Ontario previously required employers to provide two paid sick days, but the Progressive Conservative government repealed the mea- sure in 2018. During the pandemic, Premier Doug Ford faced public pressure from many medical professionals to re-institute the policy. Initially, the province responded that employees were already entitled to vari- ous federal benefits, including the Canadian Recovery Sickness Benefit and the Canadian Recovery Caregiver Benefit, says Ashton. Some clients say it unfairly rewards companies that don't offer paid sick leave over those that do government attempted to legislate sick pay, there's a lot of questions and pushback from employers. And it normally comes down to three main issues," says Christine Ashton, a partner at Wilson Vukelich LLP, who practises labour and employment law and tax litigation. First, employers are uncertain of how the three days will work, she says. Clients are ask- ing whether the three days are available forever or for a limited time and whether employees get three days per COVID-related leave or three, total, even if they are required to take more than one COVID-related leave. They also want to know whether an employee will get three, total, or three per employer if they hap- pen to have switched jobs, Ashton says. The second issue concerns employers who currently have paid sick days, she says. Clients had the same questions in 2018 under the old paid-sick-day policy. Do these three days tack-on to existing available sick days, and do employers who already offered paid sick NEWS BRIEFS Court of Appeal rejects entrapment argument in four cases arising from sting operation Four men arrested and charged in an undercover police operation targeting purchasers of child sex work were not entrapped, said the court. The appeals were the first opportunity the OCA has had to apply the SCC's entrapment case, R. v. Ahmad, to a different context than aside from a dial-a- dope operations, says Richard Litkowski, who acted for one of the parties. "The case will now go to the SCC to consider of how Ahmad applies to virtual spaces," says Litkowski. Ombudsman for crime victims backs all recommendations of missing person investigations report The Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime has welcomed all 151 recommendations in the final report of the Independent Civilian Review into Missing Person Investigations, submitted on Apr. 9 to the Toronto Police Services Board. Heidi Illingworth, the federal ombudsman for victims of crime, issued a statement supporting the report's recommendations to eliminate discrimination. "Many employers feel that they're essentially being punished for stepping up to the plate before they were required to do so." Christine Ashton, Wilson Vukelich LLP

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