Federal Government extends temporary layoffs due to COVID-19

On June 23, 2020, the Federal Government announced that it is extending the temporary layoff provisions under the Canada Labour Standards Regulations (the “Regulations”). These amendments have been made in order to give federally regulated employers additional time before the temporary layoffs are deemed a termination under the Canada Labour Code (the “Code”).

Part III of the Code requires employers to provide notice and to pay severance to employees as a result of the termination of their employment. Group termination notice is also required if more than 50 employees are terminated in a 4-week period.

The Regulations identify situations that constitute a temporary layoff and not a termination under the Code. Notice and severance need not be paid to employees on temporary layoff in accordance with the Regulations.

Amongst other things, the Regulations state that the following layoffs do not constitute a termination of employment:

(i) a layoff of less than 3 months (section 30(1)(c) of the Regulations); and

(ii) layoff that is longer than 3 months but less than 6 months if the employee is told of the specific period or date on which he or she will be recalled to work and is in fact recalled to work on that date (section 30(1)(d) of the Regulations).

The new amendments introduced by the Federal Government extend the temporary layoff periods under sections 30(1)(c) and 30(1)(d) of the Regulations, and in particular:

    1. The 3 month period in section 30(1)(c) is extended:
    2. by six months for employees laid off prior to March 31, 2020; and
    3. to December 30, 2020 for employees laid off between March 31, 2020 and September 30, 2020.
    4. The specific date or specific period of layoff (of less than 6 months) in section 30(1)(d) is extended:
    5. by six months or until December 30, 2020, whichever occurs first, for employees laid off prior to March 31, 2020; and
    6. to December 30, 2020 for employees laid off between March 31, 2020 and September 30, 2020 (where the fixed date or fixed period of recall occurs before December 30, 2020).

Employers should be mindful that they are required to comply with the group termination obligations (in addition to paying individual termination notice and severance) if more than 50 employees are deemed terminated on December 30, 2020.

If you have any questions about this article, please contact Sari Wiens, Ilan BurkesNicole Toye or Jessica Fairbairn.

Note to our Readers: Information regarding COVID-19 is rapidly evolving. We are working to bring you up-to-date articles as the legal issues develop and to keep our previous posts updated. Given that the legal issues related to COVID-19 are constantly changing, if you are looking for legal advice or are dealing with an issue in relation to COVID-19, please contact your Harris lawyer or a member of our COVID-19 response team: Sari Wiens, Ilan BurkesNicole Toye or Jessica Fairbairn.

To read our most recent articles and other updates on COVID-19, visit our COVID-19 Updates page.