On April 29, 2021, the Ontario COVID-19 Worker Income Benefit came into effect and the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) was amended.
Paid infectious disease emergency leave will now continue until December 31, 2021. Eligible employers must make their application for reimbursement to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board within 120 days of the date the employer paid the employee, or by April 30, 2022, whichever is earlier.
Even though the COVID-19 period ends on January 1, 2022 and non-unionized employees will no longer be deemed to be on unpaid infectious disease emergency leave, when certain conditions are met, unionized and non-unionized employees may continue to be eligible for unpaid infectious disease emergency leave if they are not performing the duties of their position for certain reasons related to COVID-19.
Many small businesses are struggling to stay afloat and cover their fixed costs, such as rent and insurance, while taking a negative impact on their revenues. Government assistance has emerged to help businesses pay for their rent, but many have had their fate put into the hands of their landlords to apply for the assistance. The new Canadian Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) is being introduced to provide rent relief for businesses and allows these businesses to apply to the assistance directly as opposed to waiting for their landlords to do so.