Special thanks to moderator Benjamin Ho and presenters Liliana Hernandez-Salgado (Mexico City), Leticia Ribeiro (Sao Paulo – Trench Rossi Watanabe), Maria Cecilia Reyes (Bogota) and Matias Herrero (Buenos Aires).

Our four-part Global Guided Tour for US Multinational Employers webinar series is your passport to ensure that your organization is up to speed on the key labor and employment issues affecting business operations in Europe, the AmericasAsia Pacific, and the Middle East and Africa.

During the Americas stop on our tour, moderated by Ben Ho, Baker McKenzie’s in-market presenters discussed the most recent developments and challenges impacting employers and shared legal updates, practical tips and takeaways for companies to action now.

Please click here to view a recording of the webinar highlighting the Americas.

Join us at the upcoming sessions applicable to your organization:

ASIA PACIFIC, Wednesday, June 16, 3pm PT / 6pm ET

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA, Wednesday, June 23, 9am PT / 12pm ET

Click here to view the program details, to register and to view recordings of any sessions you may have missed.

We are pleased to share with you the BNN Bloomberg interview, “Workers will be required to return to the office if their employer wants them to.” Kevin Coon discusses the realities of bringing people back into the workplace post the COVID-19 pandemic. He notes a hybrid model is likely to be put in place as most employers now see the benefits of flexible work practices.

Click here here to watch the interview.

This interview was originally posted in BNN Bloomberg.

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, services and activities. You can find a list of the current restrictions under the emergency break here.

On June 7, 2021, the Ontario government announced that the province will enter Step 1 of the Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, June 11, 2021. Under Step 1, non-essential retail will be permitted to operate at 15% capacity, and essential and other select retail will be permitted at 25% capacity. Restrictions regarding the sale of certain goods will be lifted for both essential and non-essential retail. Children’s day camps will also be permitted to operate in a manner consistent with safety guidelines from the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

The province will remain in Step 1 for at least 21 days to evaluate any impacts on public health. If certain public health conditions are met, the province will move to Step 2 of the Roadmap. You can find our blog post on the province’s three-step Roadmap to Reopen here.

Employers should continue to pay close attention to the latest public health restrictions to understand how they affect their business. If you have any questions about what the current restrictions mean for your business, please contact our team.

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.

Eligibility for Paid Leave for Reasons Related to COVID-19

Full-time and part-time employees are eligible for up to three days of paid sick leave if they are unable to work for the following reasons related to COVID-19:

  • the employee is diagnosed with COVID-19 and is acting in accordance with an order or instructions of a medical health officer or advice of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner or registered nurse;
  • the employee is in quarantine or self-isolated as required by law; and/or
  • the employee is being directed to stay home by their employer due to exposure-related risks.

Employers will be required to pay employees their full wages for the duration of the leave. Employers without an existing paid sick leave program/policy will be able to seek reimbursement of up to $200 per employee per day from the government. Employers with employees earning more than $200 per day will be responsible for covering the excess daily wages.

This leave is in addition to the three days of unpaid leave that are already available to workers under the ESA, is separate from the workers’ compensation system and will not impact WorkSafeBC’s employer premiums or its accident fund. It will only be in effect until December 31, 2021. WorkSafe BC will administer the reimbursement program. Details on this program and how employers can register will be made available in June.

Permanent Paid Sick Leave Day

Bill 13 also introduces provisions for a permanent paid sick leave program for workers who cannot work due to any illness or injury starting January 1, 2022. While Bill 13 does not provide any further details relating to the number of paid days and other supports for this permanent leave, the Government of British Columbia has announced that details will be determined following consultations with relevant stakeholders over the next several months. We will continue to monitor for further information.

Key Takeaways

Employers should review the amendments to the ESA and review existing policies and practices to address the availability of this leave. Eligible employers should also monitor WorkSafe BC’s website for details on the reimbursement program and how to register and apply for a reimbursement.

Because employees are not required to provide a doctor’s note in order to take a COVID-19 related sick day, employers should train human resources staff on validating and managing COVID-related leave requests and remind staff about the sensitive nature of the information being collected and the need to maintain privacy and confidentiality.

Governments across Canada are rapidly responding to the impact that COVID-19 continues to have on economic and employment life. The provinces and territories are regularly amending COVID-19 related economic measures and extending minimum protections and other provinces have started to introduce paid sick days for reasons related to COVID-19. For example, the Ontario government passed Bill 284, COVID-19 Putting Workers First Act, 2021 amending the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA“) to require employers to provide employees with up to three days of paid leave if they miss work for reasons related to COVID-19. Similarly, provinces such as Manitoba, have added a paid leave for COVID-19 vaccinations. We continue to monitor changes as other provinces and territories introduce similar leaves.

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

Companies are facing critical business challenges in regard to their most important asset – their people. While workforce transformation is not a new concept for global organizations, the pandemic has forced us to rapidly adapt our standard ways of working and how we engage with employees to ensure the long-term viability of the business. We have a new understanding of what’s possible – from remote working to flexible employment models – and an opportunity to shape organizations for the future. There has never been a more critical time to innovate and revolutionize working practices.

In February through March 2021, we held our fifth FutureWorks conversation series, bringing together inspiring employment leaders from around the globe to analyze how organizations can embrace the large-scale trends changing the nature of work itself amid disruptive global events.

From our discussions, we have distilled the key messages and insights into an easy-to-digest summary to learn more about the key trends affecting the future of work and their impact on your multinational workforce.

• Building a New Workforce Reality
• Integrating Resilience into the Workforce Strategy
• Workforce Wellbeing, Psychological Health, and Pandemic Times
• The Future is Diverse: Harnessing the Power of Inclusion
• Reconceptualizing the Important of Place
• Leading the Digital Workforce
• Beyond COVID-19: Guidance for Multinational Employers

Click here to read the full report.

As COVID-19 vaccines become more readily available across Canada, employers have questions about how this changes the return to the workplace. In this Quick Chat video, our Labour and Employment lawyers discuss the vaccine policies and procedures being adopted by companies operating in Canada, as well as the legal and practical considerations to address.

Click here to watch the video.

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?