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Jordan Kirkness is a partner in our North America Employment & Compensation Law Practice Group. Advising and representing employers in all areas of labour, employment and compensation law, Jordan has a broad range of experience in both public and private sectors, including union and non-union workplaces. In every matter, Jordan works hard to understand each client’s individual needs, and provides tailored, strategic and pragmatic advice to assist clients in identifying the best legal solution.

In a recent decision, the British Columbia Supreme Court (“BC Court“) ruled that Canada Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”) payments earned during the notice period would be deducted from wrongful dismissal damages. This decision stands in stark contrast to that recently issued in Ontario, where the Superior Court of Justice (“Ontario Court“)

The provincial stay-at-home order expired on June 2, 2021. However, as of June 7, 2021, all measures which were in place under the province-wide emergency break continue to remain in effect, including restrictions on gatherings, businesses, and services and activities. You can find a list of the current restrictions under the emergency break here.

On May 20, 2021, the government of British Columbia passed Bill 13, Employment Standards Amendment Act (No. 2), 2021, which amends the Employment Standards Act, 1996 to provide employees with three days of paid sick leave for reasons related to COVID-19, as well as a permanent paid sick leave for any illness or injury.

On May 20, 2021, the Ontario government announced a “Three-Step Roadmap to Safely Reopen the Province” which outlines its plan to gradually lift COVID-19 public health restrictions based on province-wide vaccination rates and improvements in key public health and health care indicators. The full announcement can be found here, which includes a link to the Roadmap.

The Roadmap outlines three steps to easing public health measures, guided by the following principles:
Continue Reading Ontario Announces New Three-Step Roadmap to Reopen Province

On May 13, 2021, the Ontario government announced that it will extend the province-wide Stay-at-Home Order (O. Reg. 265/21) by two weeks, until June 2, 2021. The government announced that all public health and workplace safety measures under the province-wide emergency brake will remain in effect during this time.
Continue Reading Ontario Extends Province-Wide Stay-at-Home Order Until June 2, 2021

In March of 2021, the Ontario Court of Appeal released a long-awaited and precedent-setting decision in Ontario Nurses’ Association v. Participating Nursing Homes, 2021 ONCA 148 (“Participating Nursing Homes“).

Contrary to practices previously endorsed by the Pay Equity Commission, the Court of Appeal determined that public sector employers who achieved pay equity using the “proxy method” have an ongoing obligation to revisit comparator information of the “proxy employer” to maintain pay equity. The matter has been remitted to the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal (the “Tribunal”) to specify what procedures should be used to ensure that pay equity is maintained under “proxy plans” with ongoing reference to male comparators.

This is the second of a two-part series. Part One provided an overview of the pay equity maintenance obligation. This Part Two will explain how the Court of Appeal’s decision in Participating Nursing Homes affects the pay equity maintenance obligation for “proxy employers” in the broader public sector.
Continue Reading Ontario Court of Appeal: Pay Equity Maintenance Requires Ongoing Reference to Male Comparators. PART II: How does the Ontario Court of Appeal’s recent decision affect pay equity maintenance obligations?

In March 2021, the Ontario Court of Appeal released a long-awaited and precedent-setting decision in Ontario Nurses’ Association v. Participating Nursing Homes, 2021 ONCA 148 (“Participating Nursing Homes“).

Contrary to practices previously endorsed by the Pay Equity Commission, the Court of Appeal determined that public sector employers who achieved pay equity using the “proxy method” have an ongoing obligation to revisit comparator information of the “proxy employer” to maintain pay equity. The matter has been remitted to the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal (the “Tribunal”) to specify what procedures should be used to ensure that pay equity is maintained under “proxy plans” with ongoing reference to male comparators.

This is the first of a two-part series. Part One will provide an overview of the pay equity maintenance obligation. Part Two will explain how the Court of Appeal’s decision in Participating Nursing Homes affects the pay equity maintenance obligation for “proxy employers” in the broader public sector.
Continue Reading Ontario Court of Appeal: Pay Equity Maintenance Requires Ongoing Reference to Male Comparators – PART I: What is pay equity maintenance?

The Toronto Order

The Toronto class order made pursuant to Section 22 (5.0.1) of the Health Protection and Promotion Act (“Toronto Order“), which can be found here, requires owners, operators or occupiers of a business to notify Toronto Public Health via the online COVID-19 Workplace Reporting Tool as soon as they become aware of 5 or more COVID infections in the workplace within a 14-calendar-day period. The Toronto Order grants discretion to the City to order a full or partial closure of the workplace, or shift/work area mass dismissal, when there has been 5 or more confirmed or probable COVID cases within a 14-calendar-day period. Once closed, the owners, operators and/or occupiers of a workplace cannot attend the workplace unless necessary to:

  • comply with any applicable laws;
  • allow for inspections, maintenance and repairs to be carried out;
  • allow for security services to be provided;
  • to deal with critical matters relating to the closure of the workplace if they cannot be done remotely; and
  • access materials, goods, or supplies that may be necessary for the business or organization to continue to operate remotely.


Continue Reading Toronto and Peel Region Public Health Release Orders Requiring Closure of Businesses with 5 or More COVID Infections

On April 7, 2021, in response to a rise in COVID-19 infections, the Ontario government declared a third provincial emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, and has issued a second Stay-at-Home-Order (“Order“), effective Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. The new Order is fundamentally the same as Ontario’s last Stay-at-Home Order, but comes on the heels of the province-wide “emergency brake” which came into effect on April 3, 2021.

Ontario’s new measures affect many Ontario employers. The Order does not amend the list of essential businesses which are permitted to continue operating, but the government will increase inspections and enforcement by health and safety inspectors and provincial offenses officers at essential businesses, particularly in regional hot zones.


Continue Reading New Measures for Ontario Employers: Ontario Declares Emergency and Implements Second Stay-at-Home Order

To ensure Ontario employers are up-to-date, we outline two new developments affecting businesses operating during the COVID-19 pandemic below, including:

  • the implementation of enhanced COVID-19 outbreak protocols for workplaces in the City of Toronto; and
  • revisions to the COVID-19 screening tool required for Ontario employees.


Continue Reading COVID-19 Update: Ontario Screening Requirements & Toronto Workplace Outbreak Protocols