Labour & Employment Law Blog

Important changes in Ontario concerning wage cuts and layoffs related to COVID-19

Important changes in Ontario concerning wage cuts and layoffs related to COVID-19

On May 28, 2020, the Ontario government created Ontario Regulation 228/20 (“Regulation”) in the Employment Standards Act, 2000, in an effort to address and alleviate some of the financial hardship suffered by local businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other things, the aforementioned Regulation has brought about to two key developments in the ever-shifting landscape of employment law in Ontario.

Firstly, the Regulation sets out that a temporary decrease in work hours or pay for reasons related to COVID-19 is not constructive dismissal. The Regulation contemplates the relevant period in relation to any such decreases to be March 1, 2020, and lasting up to the date that is six weeks after the day the Ontario emergency state ends.

A second and similar change applies to the law of layoff. Specifically, the Regulation sets out that any temporary layoffs that arose for reasons related to COVID-19 have now been converted to leaves of absence. Much like with reduction in work hours and pay, changes concerning the laws of layoff relate to the period commencing on March 1, 2020, and ending on the date that is six weeks after the day the Ontario emergency state ends.

It is unclear whether these important changes in the law apply to the Employment Standards Act, 2000, only or the employee’s rights at common law also, which are often far more robust and for which an employee may bring a civil action. With the exception of some circumstances such as the filing of the claims before May 29, 2020, or the expiry of the layoff period by the aforementioned date, proceedings filed with the Ministry of Labour in relation to the aforementioned issues are deemed to have not been filed.

We estimate that these serious changes in the law are likely to result in uncertainty on numerous fronts for both employers and employees and it remains to be seen how these changes are going to be interpreted by both the Ministry of Labour and the courts.

The above article is for general information purposes only, does not constitute legal advice or create a solicitor-client relationship. Because each case is unique and factually driven, if you have concerns with regard to the foregoing issues, please make an appointment with one of our lawyers or a qualified legal practitioner elsewhere. We represent clients in the Greater Toronto Area including Toronto, North York, Markham, Vaughan, Thornhill, Newmarket, Aurora, Brampton, Mississauga, Barrie, Ajax, Whitby, Pickering and Oshawa.

Legal Receptionist

Zeilikman Law is an employment law firm located in Vaughan, Ontario. We are looking to hire a legal receptionist to join our firm. Preference will be given to candidates who have experience working as a receptionist at another law firm.

Location: Vaughan, Ontario.

Start Date: Immediately.

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Full time. In-person only. This is not a remote work position.

Wages: 35,000 to 40,000 per year.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Manage our firm’s multi-line telephone system to receive incoming calls.  Screen incoming telephone call inquiries to determine the nature of the telephone call and provide standard information related to our legal services.  Take and deliver messages and route incoming telephone calls to the appropriate staff person.
  • Answer general inquiries coming from the firm’s social media and website email.
  • Welcome in-person visitors upon arrival.  Direct visitors to the appropriate staff person and / or office or boardroom.
  • Organize in-person visitor schedule to prevent overlap and multiple bookings.
  • Receive, sort, and distribute daily mail and deliveries.
  • Arrange for couriers.
  • Keep front reception, kitchenette area and boardroom tidy.
  • Perform various clerical duties such as filing, photocopying, and faxing on an as-needed basis.
  • Process client or other payments.
  • May be asked to run minor errands outside of office such as attending post office to arrange a courier or pick up mail.
  • May be asked to assist other law clerks or lawyers of the firm as required and as appropriate.
  • Any other basic administrative duties or tasks as deemed appropriate.

Required Skills:

  • Basic knowledge of general office procedures including filing, faxing, and printing and copying.
  • Basic word processing computer skills.
  • Proficient in receptionist and telephone practices, etiquette, and decorum.
  • Professional attitude and appearance.
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • Positive customer service attitude is a must.
  • Must be able to maintain confidential and sensitive information.

Education and Experience:

  • Highschool diploma or equivalent.
  • 1 – 2 years’ experience in an office setting with an emphasis in accounting, reception or clerical work is required.   We would prefer experience in a law firm environment.

Applications for this position should be sent via email to jennifer@zeilikmanlaw.com. All applications should include a cover letter, resume and at least two references. Only successful candidates will be contacted.