Manitoba Government Announces Layoffs Due to COVID-19 Not Termination of Employment

Authors: Devin Wehrle, Christine Jeroski

On March 27, 2020, the Manitoba government announced that for the purposes of The Employment Standards Code (Manitoba) (the “Code”), a layoff due to COVID-19 will not constitute termination of employment.

The Employment Standards Regulation (the “Regulation”) under the Code currently provides that a layoff constitutes termination of employment where the employee is laid off for one or more periods exceeding, in total, eight weeks within a 16-week period, subject to some particular exemptions.

The temporary changes to the Regulation announced today by the Manitoba government provide that any period of layoff occurring after March 1, 2020 will not be counted toward the period after which a temporary layoff would become a permanent termination. The changes are specific to situations where employees will eventually be re-hired once the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided and the economy has recovered.

The change will be suspended once Manitoba’s economy begins to recover from the impacts of COVID-19. The decision to implement the change was reached after consultation with representatives of both employer and labour organizations.

Further information regarding the exemption and related changes will likely be announced in the coming days and weeks. Employers considering the impact of these changes on their workforce should contact a member of our labour and employment team in Winnipeg.

Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.