On June 23, the Federal Government announced changes to the temporary layoff provisions of the Canada Labour Standards Regulations (the “Regulations”) under the Canada Labour Code (the “Code”). The changes are made to assist federally-regulated employers impacted by COVID-19 and the related economic disruptions.
Prior to these changes, there were several different scenarios where a temporary layoff did not constitute termination of employment for the purposes of the Code. The changes to the Regulations impacts two of those scenarios:
- the term of the layoff is three months or less; or
- the term of the layoff is more than three months and the employer:
- notifies the employee in writing at or before the time of the layoff that he/she will be recalled to work on a fixed date or within a fixed period neither of which shall be more than six months from the date of the layoff, and
- recalls the employee to his/her employment on the fixed date or within the fixed period.
The changes announced today will extend the above time periods as follows:
- For employees laid off before March 31, 2020:
- the period of three months or less referred to in (a) above is extended by six months, such that those employees may be laid off for up to nine months before the layoff will be deemed a termination for the purposes of the Code; and
- the fixed date and fixed period referred to in (b)(i) above are extended by six months or to December 30, 2020, whichever occurs first.
- For employees laid off on or after March 31, 2020 and before September 30, 2020:
- the period of three months or less referred to in (a) above is extended to December 30, 2020; and
- the fixed date and fixed period referred to in (b)(i) above are extended to December 30, 2020 where the provided recall date occurs before December 30, 2020. Employers may also indicate a recall date past December 30, 2020, which would then apply, provided that it is not more than six months from the date of layoff.
Different provisions apply to unionized workplaces, and provincially regulated employers are subject to the particular provisions of their respective province. Employers considering the impact and benefits of these changes should contact a member of the MLT Aikins labour and employment team for advice.