Remember Waksdale v. Swegon North America, 2020 ONCA 391 (“Waksdale”)? If not, do not despair because you can read all about that decision here. To remind our readers, back in July 2020, the Ontario Court of Appeal released the Waksdale decision and it caused a bit of a stir in the employment law community. So why are we bringing up Waksdale in this blog? Well, Waksdale has just been followed by a lower court in the decision of Sewell v. Provincial Fruit Co. Limited, 2020 ONSC 4406.
The Canadian government has created three new temporary monetary benefits as the pandemic rages on with some Canadian jurisdictions seeing rapidly rising COVID-19 infection rates. These benefits have replaced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”) that was available to help Canadians pay their expenses and support their households while off work because of COVID-19.
On October 1, 2020, the minimum wage in Ontario will rise from $14.00 to $14.25 per hour. Minimum wage is simply the lowest amount per working hour that an employer can legally pay an employee in most jobs. To remind our readers, the last time the minimum wage was increased was back in 2018 when it rose to $14.00 per hour. However, that wage rate has remained the same for nearly two years. The current government has blocked a scheduled increase to the minimum wage at the time in Ontario.
When the Ontario government had declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19 back in March 2020, regulations in the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) were subsequently added to prevent layoffs, wage reductions or pay cuts and reduced working hours that were due to the coronavirus to be subject to constructive dismissal claims by employees under statute. These employees were considered to be on a job-protected leave in the non-unionized context.
On July 24, 2020, the municipality of York Region mandated that all businesses and organizations, which operate in “enclosed public spaces” during Stage 3 of the economic reopening of Ontario, must use best efforts so that only individuals who wear a face covering can enter the premises of those establishments.