Manitoba State of Emergency Lifted: Considerations for Employers

Authors: Shandra Czarnecki, Christine Jeroski

The province-wide state of emergency declared in Manitoba under The Emergency Measures Act expires on October 21, 2021.

Manitoba-based employers who have employees on layoff should be aware of the employment standards related consequences when the state of emergency expires.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Manitoba amended the Employment Standards Regulation to temporarily suspend the deemed termination provisions. In accordance with the deemed termination provisions, a layoff or periods of layoff that exceeded, in total, eight weeks within a 16-week period constitutes a termination of employment other than in certain specified circumstances. The application of the deemed termination provisions was suspended under The Emergency Measures Act. More particularly, a COVID-19-specific amendment provided that any period of layoff occurring during the period beginning on March 1, 2020 and ending the day that the state of emergency expires is not considered under the deemed termination provisions of the Employment Standards Regulation. For more information read our Manitoba Government Announces Layoffs Due to COVID-19 Not Termination of Employment blog.

In light of the expiry of the provincial state of emergency, employers must recall any laid-off employees back to work no later than eight weeks from October 22, 2021 to avoid the application of the deemed termination provisions under the Employment Standards Regulation. The latest employers can recall laid-off employees without being subject to the deemed termination provisions is December 17, 2021. If employers do not schedule laid-off employees back to work within this timeframe, those employees are deemed to have been terminated and are entitled to termination pay in lieu of notice calculated from the original date they were laid off.

Employers navigating concerns regarding the expiry of the provincial state of emergency and its impact on their operations 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.