HOLIDAY TURKEY FACTS (WE BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW)

Did you know? 

  • As far back as 1000 A.D., Native American Indians raised turkeys for food. Aztec Indians in Mexico were raising them as early as 200 B.C.

  • Turkeys originally existed in the eastern US. and Mexico.

  • Turkeys are actually a type of pheasant.

  • The heaviest turkey weighed in at 86 pounds. Please pass the stuffing!

  • Turkeys have excellent and a wide range of vision, about 270 degrees.

  • Mature turkeys have about 3,500 feathers. I wonder who took the time to count them?

  • The turkey industry grosses over $1billion a year.

  • The Average American consumes over 15 pounds of Turkey per year.

  • Americans will cook over 45 million turkeys on Christmas Day.

  • 235 million turkeys were raised in 2014. The record is 302.7 million in 1996.

  • Over 770 million pounds of cranberries are consumed on Thanksgiving.

  • Turkey, like poultry, is lower in cholesterol than beef an many other meats. The dark meat (thigh, legs,) contains more fat and cholesterol than white meat. So, that's why dark meat tastes so good!

  • Male Turkeys are called "Toms" or "Gobblers", female turkeys are called "Hens" and baby turkeys are called "poults".

  • How's that taste? Old Toms are better tasting then young toms. Conversely, young hens taste better than old hens.

  • In 2016, there was over 100,000 phone calls to the Butterball Turkey Talk Line. The average call time was 3 munites, and 8 seconds.

  • Only Tom turkeys "gobble".

  • That long, loose skin that hangs down from a turkey's neck is called a "wattle".

  • Turkey eggs are tan in color and speckled with brown. They are about twice as large as chicken eggs.

  • Wild turkeys can fly 55 miles per hour, and run 25 miles per hour.

  • In 1947, the first Presidential pardon was ceremoniously given to a turkey.

  • The  "Turkey Trot" was named after how turkeys walk.... in short, jerky steps.

  • Sleepy after the big meal? Turkey contains an amino acid called "Tryptophan". Tryptophan sets off a chemical chain reaction that calms you down and makes you sleepy.

  • The Native American name for turkey is "Firkee"

  • You can tell the sex of a turkey from their poop. Males form a spiral on the ground, while females leave "J" shaped poop. I'm sure you wanted to know this.

  • Mature turkeys have over 3,500 feathers.

  • Native Americans considered turkeys to be weak. As a result, they would only eat them when food was scarce, or in times of famine.

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CHEAT SHEET FOR CKL BUSINESSES IN THE SECOND SHUTDOWN - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY.

All businesses in the CKL are subject to these general rules or guidelines during the provincial shutdown, beginning December 26:

  • All businesses open must prepare, post and make available a COVID Safety Plan. A sample plan is available here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/develop-your-covid-19-workplace-safety-plan

  • All businesses or facilities that engage in retail sales to the public must post a sign in a location visible to the public that states the maximum capacity they are permitted to operate under

  • Businesses must ensure that masks or face coverings are worn by any person in the indoor area of the business or organization, with limited exceptions.

  • Workplaces must screen any workers or essential visitors entering the work environment. Get the Screening Tool for Workplaces here: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/docs/workplace_screening_tool_guidance.pdf

  • Businesses or places must not permit patrons to line up inside the businesses or place, or to line up or congregate outside of the business or place unless they are maintaining a physical distance of at least two meters from other groups of persons and wearing a mask or face covering that covers their mouth, nose and chin unless they are entitled to an exception set out in the regulation.

  • PPE that provides protection of the eyes, nose, and mouth is required if a worker is required to come within 2 meters of another person who is not wearing a face covering and not separated by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.

  • All businesses or facilities must limit capacity so that every member of the public is able to maintain two meters of physical distancing from every other person, and limit the number of people occupying any room that is open to the public to 50% capacity of the particular room. Some businesses or facilities have additional capacity restrictions that apply beyond the general capacity requirements.

  • Businesses shall ensure that equipment, washrooms, locker rooms, change rooms, showers that are accessible to the public are cleaned and disinfected as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary condition

A full summary of the new shutdown measures is available here, including sector-specific rules and guidelines:

https://embed.documentcloud.org/documents/20433181-provincewide-shutdown-deck-december-21-2020-final/?embed=1&fbclid=IwAR1MoouD9hTBqtFS4euVppAiKWjzTH-6La6wN4Xzm4ePOKfhgrGzx4Nq8C0

 

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NEW BUSINESS SUPPORT GRANT ($10,000-$20,000) NOW AVAILABLE TO ELIGIBLE CKL BUSINESSES DURING THE SECOND SHUTDOWN

During the second lockdown beginning December 26, the Ontario Small Business Support Grant will provide a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 to eligible small businesses required to close or restrict services.

Eligible small businesses include those that:

  • are required to close or significantly restrict services subject to the shutdown effective 12:01 a.m. on December 26, 2020;
  • have less than 100 employees at the enterprise level; and
  • have experienced a minimum of 20 per cent revenue decline in April 2020 compared to April 2019

Essential businesses that are allowed to remain open will not be eligible for this grant.

Further details, including how to apply, will be announced in January 2021.

 

More information is available here:  https://news.ontario.ca/en/backgrounder/59788/post-4
 
Businesses that are impacted by the provincial shutdown will also be eligible for the property tax and energy cost rebates.

Business can apply for the Rebates at www.ontario.ca/smallbusiness

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NEW, FLAT-RATE TAX DEDUCTION FOR WORKING-FROM-HOME EMPLOYEES IN THE CKL

The CRA has announced a new policy for employees and their ability to deduct home office expenses for the 2020 taxation year.

The policy is temporary and made in order to accommodate employees who were required to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2020 tax year.

Employees who were required to work from home at least 50% of the time for at least four consecutive weeks during 2020 due to the pandemic may use the new “simplified process”.

Under that process, employees do not need to calculate the size of their workspace, keep detailed supporting documents, or have their employer sign a Form T2200 (as would normally be required in order to claim home office expenses).

This flat rate method is only available for 2020.

Employees eligible to use the simplified process can deduct $2 for each day they worked at home during 2020 due to COVID-19, up to a maximum of $400 (i.e. 200 working days).

Vacation days or other leave days are not eligible for this deduction. Employees choosing to use the simplified process cannot claim any other type of employment expenses for the 2020 tax year. Employees claiming the flat rate deduction should complete Option 1 of new Form T777S.

Alternatively, employees who wish to deduct their actual home office expenses in 2020 can continue to use the detailed method from prior taxation years.

The CRA has created simplified forms (T2200S and T777S) and an online calculator to assist employees in that process.

Here is the announcement:

https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/line-229-other-employment-expenses/work-space-home-expenses/what-changes.html

Here is the calculator:

https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/line-229-other-employment-expenses/work-space-home-expenses/calculate-expenses.html

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$25,000 TO EMPLOYEE FIRED AFTER RAISING COVID-19 SAFETY CONCERNS

A farmhand complained to his employer about the safety conditions at the farm, or workplace.

He did so shortly after a COVID outbreak at the farm, including the death of a co-worker related to the outbreak.

After raising these concerns, the employer told the farmhand that he would be shipped back to Mexico and bought him a plane ticket.

The employee ultimately stayed in Ontario, believing he had been fired.

Several months afterwards, the employer offered a return to work to the farmhand, but he refused.

The worker filed a complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board alleging he was fired for raising safety concerns. The employer said that the worker resigned, and he had exercised no protected rights under health and safety legislation.

The Board decided the worker was fired because he raised health and safety concerns. This was because the worker was fired the day after he raised the health and safety concerns and during a confrontation about the worker allegedly talking to the media.

The Board concluded that the farm had engaged in a prohibited reprisal under health and safety legislation. The Board said this reprisal was more serious because of the power imbalance between the farm and the seasonal worker. The worker did not speak English and relied on the farm for wages, shelter, and transportation. The Board ordered the farm to pay the worker more than $25,000 in damages for lost wages, loss of future earnings, and pain and suffering among other things.

The Board did not reduce the damages because the worker refused to accept re-employment. The Board said it was reasonable for the worker to refuse without assurances that the employer would correct issues or some proof that it had already done so.

What does this mean for employers? Health and safety concerns raised by workers about COVID-19 should be taken seriously, investigated, and, if necessary, remedial action taken to control the hazard.

This also reminds employers that workers cannot generally be threatened with or subject to a reprisal for the bona fide exercise of rights under health and safety legislation.

Workers can still be disciplined for misconduct unrelated to the bona fide exercise of health and safety rights under legislation. Where this misconduct occurs around the same time as an exercise of safety rights, employers should seek legal advice to ensure they do not inadvertently violate the reprisal protection of health and safety legislation. There is a reverse onus in a reprisal case. It is the employer's burden to prove that a reprisal did not occur. This can be challenging in any case. It is particularly difficult in a case like this where there was conflicting testimony from witnesses, some of whom speak different languages, and little or no documentary evidence.

The Case:

Flores v Scotlynn Sweetpac Growers Inc., 2020 CanLII 88341 (ON LRB).

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OUR FUN, ANNUAL CHRISTMAS TIPS FOR A LAWFUL AND LEGALLY-COMPLIANT HOLIDAY

It will be here before you know it. Our (non-exhaustive) tips to you and your family for a safe, fun and legally-prudent Christmas Day for 2020:

1)       On Christmas Eve after early bed time, apply a liberal, but discreet, thin layer of baby powder on the floor outside each child’s room to discourage middle-of-the-night stocking snooping;

2)       When you retire on Christmas Eve to wait for Santa, fasten green painter’s tape plentifully between the newel posts at the top of the stairs to further discourage over-enthusiastic stocking visitation before Mom and Dad are up, dressed, coffeed-up and ready to go (enough to ensure a child cannot pass through the tape wall without sound and extensive effort);

3)       Turn over the toy gift and actually untie/unravel all of those annoying twist-ties holding your child’s toy in its excessive plastic packaging – don’t try to jam scissors or a sharp knife in to that tight space to try to cut the ties where they wrap around the toy itself; 

4)       Prevent your child (and husband/father) from testing the 9 volt battery for the new toy by pressing it on their tongue – this has actually caused injury and emergency room visits;

5)       Take out all of the pins from your new shirt before trying it on; 

6)       Avoid conveniently grabbing the sharp knife from the kitchen to cut open the hard plastic packaging for that toy – take the time to find and use the correct tool, like scissors or a utility knife with a guard;

7)       Pick up the broken pieces of the hard plastic wrapping from the floor after the gift unwrap – avoid the pieces getting lodged in a barefooted, housecoat-wearing, messy-haired family member;

8)       Read the Pot of Gold chocolate index before selecting – there are reported cases of severe allergic reaction caused by mistakenly believing your choice was the cherry-filled (i.e., avoid the marzipan one);

9)       Don’t carve the turkey after consuming three (3) alcohol drinks or more;

10)     Leave adequate space between you/your children and the Christmas tree branches when retrieving gifts under the tree – eye lacerations are a common Christmas morning accident;

11)     Remind your elderly family members at the Christmas dinner to chew their meat thoroughly – most Christmas mishaps often involve choking at X-Mas dinner;

12)     Ensure the zipper is drawn down before your enthusiastic child tries on that new jumper, coat or hoodie – a common source of eye injury on the holiest of mornings; and

13)     Pull the knife across the avocado and twist it (to remove the stone), rather than stabbing down and prying it out – there are recorded emergency room visits about this. 

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VACCINATION FOR KIDS AND SEPARATED PARENTS - WHO DECIDES? DO THE REST OF US HAVE A SAY?

Vaccines are reportedly on the way.

So, what happens if there is conflict between separated parents about whether a child should be vaccinated?

Who decides?

What about the public health priority?

“Two recent decisions provide a helpful hint as to how our courts might approach disputes between parents about whether their children should be vaccinated.

In Tarkowski v. Lemieux [2020] O.J. No. 2627, both parents argued at trial for sole custody of their 6-year-old daughter. The court ultimately granted custody to the mother with the proviso that the father would have custody over all vaccination-related decisions.

Justice Penny Jones noted evidence that the mother had a checkered history regarding her child’s vaccinations, including a belief that vaccines might be linked to autism or immune system problems.

The court granted the father decision-making power with respect to vaccinations after considering the prevalence and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, this decision-making power included the authority to vaccinate the child with a future COVID-19 vaccine.

The court approached this issue with an eye towards the greater public’s health in addition to the child’s health. As Justice Jones stated at para. 74, “Since children and young people often show little or no reaction to the virus, a decision to vaccinate a child may be informed by a public health concern that COVID-19 is a virus that is easily spread and which disproportionately harms older people, and people with challenged immune systems. Ultimately, a decision to vaccinate [the child] may be a decision to protect other vulnerable people against [the child] spreading the disease.”

In another decision, B.C.J.B. v. E.R.R. [2020] O.J. No. 4273, the court heard a motion that addressed a father’s request to be granted decision-making authority over having their child vaccinated.

At the heart of the dispute was determination of the applicable test for transferring decision-making authority over vaccinations from one parent to the other, prior to a trial of the issue. The father argued that the test was the “best interests of the child,” while the mother, who had sole custody of the child pursuant to an early parenting agreement, argued that in order to change the status quo, the father needed to establish “exigent circumstances.”

The court ultimately held that since this was not a variation case, the focus ought to be on the best interests of the child. The crux of the father’s argument in support of vaccinating the parties’ son was that the child, who had not been vaccinated in accordance with the standard Ontario vaccinations for children of his age, was at an elevated level of risk due to the pandemic, and the best interests of the child therefore necessitated a ruling pretrial.

The motion judge, Justice Alex Finlayson, ruled in favour of the father, stating at paragraph 124, “I find the child is already exposed to risk by not being vaccinated as it is. It is not an answer to argue that the child has not contracted a disease during the last 10 years, so what’s the harm in waiting a few more months to trial. This, in effect, is what the mother argues. If it is in the child’s best interests to act now, then the Court should intervene.”

The motion judge very deliberately stated that the father’s pretrial vaccine powers did not extend to a COVID-19 vaccine, which would need to be addressed at trial.

A takeaway for counsel from these cases is that once a COVID-19 vaccine is released, the best interests of the child will most likely determine whether a child should be vaccinated, irrespective of the de facto custodial parent’s personal views on vaccinations.

It remains to be seen how the court will balance consideration of a child’s best interests with broader public health interests and the prevalence of anti-vaccination beliefs, but these two cases point in the direction of a likely wider judicial affirmation of the necessity of COVID-19 vaccination for children, even where one parent objects.”

Credit:

Garry J. Wise, Simran Bakshi and Joshua Prizant, Wise Law Office, via Lexology.com, Dec. 9, 2020

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CHRISTMAS BONUSES AND HOLIDAY GIFTS BY EMPLOYERS – ENROLLMENT IN THE ‘JELLY-OF-THE-MONTH’ CLUB THIS YEAR? READ THIS BEFORE KIDNAPPING YOUR BOSS ON CHRISTMAS EVE

Holiday bonuses (and gifts) are commonly appreciated, morale-boosting and an opportunity for employers to express gratitude to employees collectively at the end of the work year.

However, if expectations are not met, they can also cause strife, conflict and, in some cases, litigation. 

Bonuses are not legislatively governed in Ontario; rather, they are considered a contractual matter between employers and employees. There is no legal requirement for an employer to pay a holiday bonus, unless contractually required to do so. However, if a bonus paid to an employee on a year-over-year basis evolves into part of that employee’s overall compensation, the employer may by law be required to pay it the employee in future, including during a reasonable notice period following a termination without cause.  Employers may also adopt a workplace policy regarding bonuses, which typically govern availability, amount and other criteria. 

Generally, if employers pay a holiday bonus, or an amount beyond employees’ regular pay, it is either:  

  1. a fixed, recurring holiday bonus annually, usually of a fixed amount, not typically based on work performance or the financial success of the employer’s business;
  2. a pre-determined bonus amount, usually based on either, or both, the employee’s and the business’ performance, often based on set criteria pursuant to a workplace policy; or   
  3. a purely discretionary bonus, decided by the employer each year.

If an employer pays a holiday bonus historically, but changes its mind this year, like Mr. Shirley, an employee’s employment contract should be considered. If the holiday bonus is an important term, the employee may legally be entitled to the bonus. If there is no employment contract, the holiday bonus may have formed a part of the employee’s annual compensation, giving the employee a potential claim to the holiday bonus.

Before employers change their holiday bonus policy or traditional practice, they should review their employment contracts and workplace policies and, if they do not require payment of the holiday bonus, notify employees in advance of the decision to pay no, or a significantly less, holiday bonus. How much notice should be given will likely vary between employees, depending on their duration of employment, nature of their position and even age. 

If an employee is terminated without cause, the employee may be able to successfully claim payment of a holiday bonus as part of the wrongful termination damages. It will depend on the terms of the employee’s employment contract and, if none, whether the bonus would be considered a recurring part of the employee’s annual compensation. If the holiday bonus has been purely discretionary by the employer, it is likely the employee’s claim would not be successful. 

Generally, in Ontario employment law, if an employer gives an employee a holiday gift (not a payment of money), it is considered by the Court to be discretionary, gratuitous and not binding on the employer in future.

However, a workplace governed by a collective bargaining agreement may be different. In a recent case in Quebec, an arbitrator dismissed a grievance of the employer’s unilateral decision to stop giving employees a $50 gift card at Christmas. It was considered a discretionary decision in this case, based on the specific language of the collective bargaining agreement. However, a different outcome may have been reached for different collective bargaining terms. 

For example, other arbitral decisions in Quebec have held that Christmas gifts by employers were determined to be conditions of employment and, therefore, protected by the ‘vested-rights’ clauses in those collective bargaining agreements. Employers that unilaterally stopped these holiday gifts faced a costly and unfavourable grievance process.

Therefore, if you get a “Jelly-of-the-Month Club” card this year, like Clark W. Griswold, when you were expecting much more based on years past, you may have a claim against your employer, but it will depend on your employment contract, if any, past practices by the employer, and whether your historically-received holiday bonus was recurring, not governed by any workplace policy and not nominal in value.

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CHRISTMAS TREE SAFETY TIPS

Both real and fake Christmas trees can conflagrate in mere seconds, filling the room with smoke and fire that can spread relentlessly through your entire home.

Sorry, we don’t mean to be The Grinch, but many festive families do not give enough attention to these incendiary homages.

The record is rife with terrible stories about avoidable injury and damage. Even your alarms may not give enough advance warning to keep pace with the agility and speed of the flames.  

 This holiday season, consider taking these steps, if you do not already:

•    Look for a tree with vibrant green needles that are hard to pluck and don't break easily from its branches. The tree shouldn't be shedding its needles readily
•    Always place your tree away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights and keep the tree base filled with water to avoid a dry out
•    Double check your home alarms have fresh batteries and are working properly
•    Make sure all your indoor and outdoor Christmas lights are ESA approved (it should say on the box) and discard/recycle any damaged lights or bulbs
•    Any lights you use outdoors must be labeled suitable for exterior placement and be sure to plug into a ground-fault circuit interrupter protected receptacle
•    Keep all your holiday candles away from your Christmas tree, surrounding furniture and décor
•    Bedtime means lights off - don't forget to turn your Christmas tree light switch each night and, if you use an automated timer, double-check that it is working properly
•    When your tree begins to drop its needles profusely, it's time to say goodbye to your evergreen foliage until next year, even if your holidaying is not quite finished yet
•    If you buy a pre-cut tree, consider sawing off an inch or two from the stump of the tree so water can be easily absorbed

Happy holidays, from the GrinchWards!

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WELCOME TO YELLOW - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

Here’s what Yellow looks like and means:

Organized public events, social gatherings and religious services, rites and ceremonies

  • Limits for functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, barbeques or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, or parks:

    • 10 people indoors

    • 25 people outdoors

  • Limits for organized public events and gatherings in staffed businesses and facilities:

    • 50 people indoors

    • 100 people outdoors

  • Limits for religious services rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services (apply regardless of the venue where held):

    • 30% capacity of the room indoors

    • 100 people outdoors

Restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments

  • Require patrons to be seated; 2 metre minimum or impermeable barrier required between tables

  • Limit of 6 people may be seated together

  • Dancing, singing and performing music is permitted, with restrictions

  • Karaoke permitted, with restrictions (including no private rooms)

  • Require patron contact information for all seated patrons

  • No buffet style service

  • Line-ups and patrons congregating outside venues managed by venue; 2 metres distance and face covering required

  • Face coverings required except when eating or drinking only

  • Personal protective equipment, including eye protection, required when a worker must come within 2 metres of another person who is not wearing a face covering

  • Night clubs only permitted to operate as restaurant or bar

  • Establishments must be closed from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m.

  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 12 a.m. to 9 a.m.

  • Limit volume of music to be low enough that a normal conversation is possible

  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Sports and recreational fitness facilities

  • Maintain 2 metre physical distancing, unless engaged in a sport

  • Capacity limits:

    • 10 people indoors per room or 25 people outdoors in classes

    • 50 people indoors in areas with weights or exercise equipment

  • Maximum of 50 spectators indoors or and 100 outdoors

  • Capacity limits apply on a per-room basis if operating in compliance with a plan approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (Guidance for Facilities for Sport and Recreational Fitness Activities During COVID-19)

  • Team or individual sports must be modified to avoid physical contact with an exemption for high performance athletes, including parasport athletes, and professional leagues; maximum 50 people per league

  • Limit volume of music to be low enough that a normal conversation is possible; measures to prevent shouting by both instructors and members of the public

  • Face coverings required except when exercising

  • Increase spacing between patrons to 3 metres for areas of a sport or recreational facility where there are weights or exercise equipment and in exercise and fitness classes

  • Require contact information for all members of the public that enter the facility

  • Require reservation for entry; one reservation for teams

  • safety plan is required to the prepared and made available upon request

Meeting and event spaces

  • Capacity limits:

    • 50 people indoors

    • 100 people outdoors

    • exception for court and government services

    • religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services:

      •  30% capacity of the room indoors

      • 100 people outdoors

  • Booking multiple rooms for the same event not permitted

  • Maximum of 50 people per room indoors, where physical distancing can be maintained if venue operates in accordance with the approved plan from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (Guidance for Meeting and Event Facilities During COVID-19)

  • Establishments must be closed from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m.

  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 12 a.m. to 9 a.m.

  • Require contact information for all seated patrons

  • Limit of 6 people may be seated together

  • Limit volume of music to be low enough that a normal conversation is possible

  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Retail

  • Fitting rooms must be limited to non-adjacent stalls

  • Line-ups and patrons congregating outside venues managed by venue; 2 metre distance and face covering required

  • Limit volume of music to be low enough that a normal conversation is possible

  • For malls, a safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Personal care services

  • Oxygen bars, steam rooms and saunas closed

  • Require contact information from all patrons

  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments

  • Maximum of 50 people

  • Table games are prohibited

  • Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments can operate in accordance with a plan approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health

  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 12 a.m. to 9 a.m.

  • Require contact information from all patrons

  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Cinemas

  • Maximum of 50 people indoors or 100 outdoors

  • 50 people indoors per indoor auditorium if cinema operates in accordance with the approved plan from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (Guidance for Movie Theatres During COVID-19)

  • Face coverings except when eating or drinking only

  • Drive-in cinemas permitted to operate, subject to restrictions

  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 12 a.m. to 9 a.m.

  • Require contact information from all patrons

  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Performing arts facilities

  • Maximum of 50 spectators indoors and 100 spectators outdoors

  • Singers and players of wind or brass instruments must be separated from spectators by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier

  • Rehearsal or performing a recorded or broadcasted event permitted

  • Performers and employees must maintain 2 metre physical distance except for purposes of the performance

  • Drive-in performances permitted

  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 12 a.m. to 9 a.m.

  • Require contact information from all patrons

  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

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CKL IN THE YELLOW ZONE - SAFETY PLAN NOW REQUIRED FOR MANY BUSINESSES - GET YOUR SAMPLE SAFETY PLAN HERE.

The CKL is moving to Yellow Zone as of 12:01 a.m. on Monday, December 7. 

Certain businesses in the CKL are now required to have a COVID Safety Plan, which must be available upon request. 

These businesses are identified below. 

Here is a link to a sample COVID-19 Safety Plan: 

https://www.hkpr.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/COVID-Safety-Planning-Tool-HKPR.pdf

Restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments

  • Require patrons to be seated; 2 metre minimum or impermeable barrier required between tables

  • Limit of 6 people may be seated together

  • Dancing, singing and performing music is permitted, with restrictions

  • Karaoke permitted, with restrictions (including no private rooms)

  • Require patron contact information for all seated patrons

  • No buffet style service

  • Line-ups and patrons congregating outside venues managed by venue; 2 metres distance and face covering required

  • Face coverings required except when eating or drinking only

  • Personal protective equipment, including eye protection, required when a worker must come within 2 metres of another person who is not wearing a face covering

  • Night clubs only permitted to operate as restaurant or bar

  • Establishments must be closed from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m.

  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 12 a.m. to 9 a.m.

  • Limit volume of music to be low enough that a normal conversation is possible

  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Sports and recreational fitness facilities

  • Maintain 2 metre physical distancing, unless engaged in a sport

  • Capacity limits:

    • 10 people indoors per room or 25 people outdoors in classes

    • 50 people indoors in areas with weights or exercise equipment

  • Maximum of 50 spectators indoors or and 100 outdoors

  • Capacity limits apply on a per-room basis if operating in compliance with a plan approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (Guidance for Facilities for Sport and Recreational Fitness Activities During COVID-19)

  • Team or individual sports must be modified to avoid physical contact with an exemption for high performance athletes, including parasport athletes, and professional leagues; maximum 50 people per league

  • Limit volume of music to be low enough that a normal conversation is possible; measures to prevent shouting by both instructors and members of the public

  • Face coverings required except when exercising

  • Increase spacing between patrons to 3 metres for areas of a sport or recreational facility where there are weights or exercise equipment and in exercise and fitness classes

  • Require contact information for all members of the public that enter the facility

  • Require reservation for entry; one reservation for teams

  • safety plan is required to the prepared and made available upon request

Meeting and event spaces

  • Capacity limits:

    • 50 people indoors

    • 100 people outdoors

    • exception for court and government services

    • religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services:

      •  30% capacity of the room indoors

      • 100 people outdoors

  • Booking multiple rooms for the same event not permitted

  • Maximum of 50 people per room indoors, where physical distancing can be maintained if venue operates in accordance with the approved plan from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (Guidance for Meeting and Event Facilities During COVID-19)

  • Establishments must be closed from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m.

  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 12 a.m. to 9 a.m.

  • Require contact information for all seated patrons

  • Limit of 6 people may be seated together

  • Limit volume of music to be low enough that a normal conversation is possible

  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Retail

  • Fitting rooms must be limited to non-adjacent stalls

  • Line-ups and patrons congregating outside venues managed by venue; 2 metre distance and face covering required

  • Limit volume of music to be low enough that a normal conversation is possible

  • For malls, a safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Personal care services

  • Oxygen bars, steam rooms and saunas closed

  • Require contact information from all patrons

  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments

  • Maximum of 50 people

  • Table games are prohibited

  • Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments can operate in accordance with a plan approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health

  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 12 a.m. to 9 a.m.

  • Require contact information from all patrons

  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Cinemas

  • Maximum of 50 people indoors or 100 outdoors

  • 50 people indoors per indoor auditorium if cinema operates in accordance with the approved plan from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (Guidance for Movie Theatres During COVID-19)

  • Face coverings except when eating or drinking only

  • Drive-in cinemas permitted to operate, subject to restrictions

  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 12 a.m. to 9 a.m.

  • Require contact information from all patrons

  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Performing arts facilities

  • Maximum of 50 spectators indoors and 100 spectators outdoors

  • Singers and players of wind or brass instruments must be separated from spectators by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier

  • Rehearsal or performing a recorded or broadcasted event permitted

  • Performers and employees must maintain 2 metre physical distance except for purposes of the performance

  • Drive-in performances permitted

  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 12 a.m. to 9 a.m.

  • Require contact information from all patrons

  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

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WE MAY BE MOVING TO YELLOW - HERE'S WHAT YELLOW MEANS AND LOOKS LIKE FOR US IN THE CITY OF KAWARTHA LAKES

Kawartha Lakes may soon be moving to the Yellow zone.

Here’s what Yellow looks like and means:

Organized public events, social gatherings and religious services, rites and ceremonies

  • Limits for functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, barbeques or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, or parks:

    • 10 people indoors

    • 25 people outdoors

  • Limits for organized public events and gatherings in staffed businesses and facilities:

    • 50 people indoors

    • 100 people outdoors

  • Limits for religious services rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services (apply regardless of the venue where held):

    • 30% capacity of the room indoors

    • 100 people outdoors

Restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments

  • Require patrons to be seated; 2 metre minimum or impermeable barrier required between tables

  • Limit of 6 people may be seated together

  • Dancing, singing and performing music is permitted, with restrictions

  • Karaoke permitted, with restrictions (including no private rooms)

  • Require patron contact information for all seated patrons

  • No buffet style service

  • Line-ups and patrons congregating outside venues managed by venue; 2 metres distance and face covering required

  • Face coverings required except when eating or drinking only

  • Personal protective equipment, including eye protection, required when a worker must come within 2 metres of another person who is not wearing a face covering

  • Night clubs only permitted to operate as restaurant or bar

  • Establishments must be closed from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m.

  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 12 a.m. to 9 a.m.

  • Limit volume of music to be low enough that a normal conversation is possible

  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Sports and recreational fitness facilities

  • Maintain 2 metre physical distancing, unless engaged in a sport

  • Capacity limits:

    • 10 people indoors per room or 25 people outdoors in classes

    • 50 people indoors in areas with weights or exercise equipment

  • Maximum of 50 spectators indoors or and 100 outdoors

  • Capacity limits apply on a per-room basis if operating in compliance with a plan approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (Guidance for Facilities for Sport and Recreational Fitness Activities During COVID-19)

  • Team or individual sports must be modified to avoid physical contact with an exemption for high performance athletes, including parasport athletes, and professional leagues; maximum 50 people per league

  • Limit volume of music to be low enough that a normal conversation is possible; measures to prevent shouting by both instructors and members of the public

  • Face coverings required except when exercising

  • Increase spacing between patrons to 3 metres for areas of a sport or recreational facility where there are weights or exercise equipment and in exercise and fitness classes

  • Require contact information for all members of the public that enter the facility

  • Require reservation for entry; one reservation for teams

  • safety plan is required to the prepared and made available upon request

Meeting and event spaces

  • Capacity limits:

    • 50 people indoors

    • 100 people outdoors

    • exception for court and government services

    • religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services:

      •  30% capacity of the room indoors

      • 100 people outdoors

  • Booking multiple rooms for the same event not permitted

  • Maximum of 50 people per room indoors, where physical distancing can be maintained if venue operates in accordance with the approved plan from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (Guidance for Meeting and Event Facilities During COVID-19)

  • Establishments must be closed from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m.

  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 12 a.m. to 9 a.m.

  • Require contact information for all seated patrons

  • Limit of 6 people may be seated together

  • Limit volume of music to be low enough that a normal conversation is possible

  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Retail

  • Fitting rooms must be limited to non-adjacent stalls

  • Line-ups and patrons congregating outside venues managed by venue; 2 metre distance and face covering required

  • Limit volume of music to be low enough that a normal conversation is possible

  • For malls, a safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Personal care services

  • Oxygen bars, steam rooms and saunas closed

  • Require contact information from all patrons

  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments

  • Maximum of 50 people

  • Table games are prohibited

  • Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments can operate in accordance with a plan approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health

  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 12 a.m. to 9 a.m.

  • Require contact information from all patrons

  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Cinemas

  • Maximum of 50 people indoors or 100 outdoors

  • 50 people indoors per indoor auditorium if cinema operates in accordance with the approved plan from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (Guidance for Movie Theatres During COVID-19)

  • Face coverings except when eating or drinking only

  • Drive-in cinemas permitted to operate, subject to restrictions

  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 12 a.m. to 9 a.m.

  • Require contact information from all patrons

  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Performing arts facilities

  • Maximum of 50 spectators indoors and 100 spectators outdoors

  • Singers and players of wind or brass instruments must be separated from spectators by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier

  • Rehearsal or performing a recorded or broadcasted event permitted

  • Performers and employees must maintain 2 metre physical distance except for purposes of the performance

  • Drive-in performances permitted

  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 12 a.m. to 9 a.m.

  • Require contact information from all patrons

  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

 

 

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Clearing Snow Or Roof Top Working Without Training or Fall Restraint? Face criminal liability and big fines. Don't be this employer......

Working high without proper training or fall restraints? 

You can face both criminal liability and significant criminal fines, particularly the employer:  

Convicted: North West Lumber Co. Ltd. (NWL), operator of a Home Hardware Building Centre at 3299 Errington Avenue in Chelmsford (City of Greater Sudbury).

Location: The Home Hardware Building Centre in Chelmsford.

Description of Offence: A worker who was removing snow from the roof of a shed fell through a skylight. The worker was not using safety equipment as required by law.

Date of Offence: February 27, 2019.

Date of Conviction: December 1, 2020.

Penalty Imposed:

  • Following a guilty plea, North West Lumber Co. Ltd. was fined $55,000 in provincial offences court in Sudbury by Justice of the Peace Kathleen M. Bryant; Crown Counsel Wes Wilson.

  • The court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

Background:

  • In the yard of the workplace was a shed in which lumber and other building supplies were stored.

  • In the winter of 2018-19 there was a large accumulation of snow on this building.

  • In December/January, structural deformation of a horizontal support beam on the west side of the shed was observed. A third-party contractor was employed to remove the snow load with the assistance of NWL employees.

  • A few weeks later, further bowing and cracking of another structural support beam on the east side was observed.

  • On February 27, 2019 a yard supervisor assembled two employees of NWL for the purpose of removing the accumulated snow load to prevent further structural damage to the building. The third-party contractor was not engaged to perform work on this occasion.

  • That morning the three employees held a brief meeting to discuss the snow clearing work.  One of the topics was the presence of skylights on the shed roof. These were sheets of corrugated plastic, each 2 feet wide and 7 feet long, mounted flush to the shingled roof surface.

  • One of the skylights was at a location near the snow to be cleared. No identification markers were placed to demarcate the skylight, which was more than 17 feet above the floor of the shed.

  • All three workers attended on the roof of the shed and began pushing snow off the sloped roof, which was more than 11 feet above the ground at the edge. None of the three were wearing any type of fall protection equipment and no guardrails were in place at the roof edge or around the skylights. There had been no discussion of fall protection at the morning meeting and no fall protection equipment was provided to the workers by NWL.

  • After lunch one of the workers returned to the roof of the shed and continued clearing snow.  While doing so the worker stepped on the skylight, broke through and fell to the ground below, suffering injuries.

  • The supervisor re-attended on the shed roof to finish clearing the snow and to measure the skylight opening and install a temporary cover. The supervisor was not wearing fall protection.

  • The injured worker did not have training in working at heights.

  • The company was convicted of failing as an employer to ensure the measures and procedures prescribed by section 85(a) of Regulation 851 (the Regulation for Industrial Establishments) were carried out in a workplace, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

  • The regulation requires workers to use a safety belt or harness and lifeline when exposed to the hazard of falling more than 3 metres (about 10 feet).

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PERSONAL FINANCIAL SUPPORT AVAILABLE TO YOU IN THE CKL FROM THE GOVERNMENT DURING THE PANDEMIC - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY.

There are four, primary federal government supports available to individuals in the CKL during the pandemic:

  • Employment Insurance.

  • Canada Recovery Benefit.

  • Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit.

  • Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit.

Employment Insurance (EI)

In response to the pandemic, temporary changes have been made to the EI program that are in effect from September 27, 2020 for a 1-year period. One of the most significant changes is a decrease in the number of hours required to qualify for benefits. Only 120 insured hours is required to qualify due to a one-time credit of either 300 insured hours if you are applying for regular benefits or 480 insured hours if you are applying for sickness, maternity, parental or caregiving benefits. Benefits are paid at a rate of at least $500 per week for regular benefits and $300 per week for extended parental benefits. The requirement to submit a medical certificate if you are applying for sickness benefits has been removed. For those applicants who received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) the 52 week period to accumulate insured hours is extended.

Canada Recovery Benefit

The CERB has now been replaced with the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB). The CRB provides support to employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19 and who are not entitled to Employment Insurance Benefits. Eligible individuals will receive $1,000 every two weeks. The benefit is taxable with taxes withheld prior to payment, resulting in a net payment of $900 for each two-week period.

To be eligible for the CRB you must either have lost your employment or self-employment for reasons related to COVID-19 or have had a 50% reduction in your average weekly income compared to the previous year due to COVID19. You cannot receive or apply for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) or the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) or be receiving or applying for short term disability benefits, workers compensation benefit or EI benefits. Other eligibility requirements include:

  • You must not be eligible for EI benefits.

  • You must live and have a home in Canada, but do not have to be a citizen or a permanent resident.

  • You must be present in Canada.

  • You must be at least 15 years old.

  • You must have a valid social insurance number.

  • You must have earned at least $5,000 in 2019, 2020 or in the 12 months before the date you apply for CRB. That income can come from any of the following sources:

    • employment income on a gross basis;

    • net self-employment income, after deduction f expenses; or

    • maternity and parental benefits from EI.

  • You must not have quit your job or reduced your hours voluntarily on or after September 27, 2020 unless it was reasonable to do so.

  • You must be seeking work during the period, either as an employee or in self-employment.

  • You must not have turned down reasonable work during the 2-week period you’re applying for the CRB benefit for.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

This benefit is for employed or self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they are sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19 or have an underlying health condition that puts them at heightened risk of getting COVID-19. The provided benefit is $500 per week, or $450 per week after taxes. The benefit is available for a total of two weeks and the program extends from September 27, 2020 to September 25, 2021. The eligibility requirements for the CRSB are as follows:

  • You must be unable to work at least 50% of your scheduled work week because you are self-isolating due to one of the following:

    • you are sick with COVID-19 or may have COVID-19;

    • you have been advised by either your employer, your doctor, a nurse practitioner, a person in authority, the government or the public health authority to self-isolate due to COVID-19;

    • you have an underlying health condition that puts you at greater risk of getting COVID-19 and have been advised to stay at home due to your health condition by a medical practitioner, a nurse practitioner, a person in authority, the government or your public health authority.

  • You cannot have applied for or received the CRB, CRCB, short term disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits or EI during the same time period.

  • You must live and have a home in Canada but do not have to be a citizen or a permanent resident.

  • You must be present in Canada.

  • You must be at least 15 years old.

  • You must have a valid social insurance number.

  • You must have earned at least $5,000 in 2019, 2020, or in the 12 months before the date that you applied from employment income, net self-employment income, maternity and parental benefits.

  • You cannot be receiving paid leave from your employer for the same period.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

This benefit is for employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they must care for their child who is under the age of 12 or a family member who requires supervised care. The benefit is available if the dependent’s school, regular program or facility is closed or unavailable to them due to COVID-19, or because they are sick, self-isolating, or at risk of serious health complications due to COVID-19. The benefit provided is $500 per week and is available for a total of 26 weeks during the period between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021. The eligibility criteria is as follows:

  • You must be unable to work at least 50% of your scheduled work week because you are caring for a family member.

  • You are caring for your child under the age of 12 or a family member who requires supervised care because they are at home for one of the following reasons:

    • their school, daycare, day program, or care facility is closed or unavailable to them due to COVID-19;

    • their regular care services are unavailable due to COVID-19;

    • the person under your care is:

      • sick with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19;

      • have been advised by a medical professional that they are at risk of serious health complications if they get COVID-19;

      • have been advised by a medical practitioner, a nurse practitioner, a person in authority, the government or the public health authority to self-isolate due to COVID-19.

  • You cannot have applied for or be receiving during the same period benefits under the CRB or CRSB programs, short term disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits or EI.

  • You must live and have a home in Canada, but do not have to be a citizen or a permanent resident.

  • You must be present in Canada.

  • You must be at least 15 years old.

  • You must have a valid social insurance number.

  • You must have earned at least $5,000 in 2019, 2020 or in the 12 months before the date you apply for the benefit from employment income, self-employment income and maternity and parental benefits.

  • You must be the only person in your household applying for the benefit for the week.

  • You must not be receiving paid leave from your employer for the same period.

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ANSWERS TO POPULAR COVID-19 QUESTIONS IN THE CKL (WORKPLACE AND EMPLOYMENT)

Answers to common questions during COVID-19 about workplaces and employment:

 

Question: If an employee chooses to work from home because of childcare, kids’ online learning/homeschooling, but their role is impossible to do at home, are we required to provide alternative work OR do they just go on leave?

 

Answer: There is no requirement for an employer to facilitate working from home. The employee would have job protection under the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (“IDEL”). The employee may also be entitled to the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit or Canada Recovery Benefit.

 

Question: What if an employee works from home because of a medical condition, but we can’t ask for a doctor’s note?

 

Answer: If the employee requests an accommodation related to a protected ground under the Human Rights Code (i.e. disability in this case), then the employee has an obligation to cooperate in the accommodation process, and to assist the employer in understanding what accommodations may be appropriate in light of the employee’s restrictions and prognosis. An employee would be required to provide medical documentation in this scenario.

 

Question: If an employee has a pre-existing condition that puts them at a higher risk for contracting Covid-19, is it sufficient for the employer to provide the employee with PPE and ask them to come into work in the office?

 

Answer: An employer will need to understand the nature of the person’s restrictions by requesting a medical opinion. Providing PPE may be an appropriate accommodation (as part of the accommodation process), but an employer should arrive at an accommodation plan based on a medical opinion and a collaborative discussion with the employee. This reduces the risk of a human rights complaint (HRTO Application), and makes for a happier workplace.

 

Question: Staff are saying their fear of coming into work is related to taking public transit. What can we do?

Answer: Tough question and it depends. Typically an employer’s workplace health and safety obligations wouldn’t include an employee’s commute, but in Covid times this is murky. An employer and employee should discuss the employee’s concerns about public transit, and whether there are alternatives to minimize the risk (e.g. modified schedule for off-peak travel times and better social distancing, employer subsidies for vehicle gas, mileage, and/or parking, occasional work from home, etc.). After that conversation, if the employer’s reasonable precautionary measures don’t suffice and the employee believes they are still unable to get to work, IDEL may be the best alternative. Employers can also require that employees use any outstanding vacation time.

 

Question: What if an employee does not want to come to work, despite the employer’s extensive health and safety measures, and they don’t want to go on IDEL – the only option they will consider is working from home. What are the employer’s options?

 

Answer: Again, employers can require that the employee use any remaining vacation time, or deem the employee to be on IDEL.

In some cases it may be appropriate to assert that an employee has abandoned their job. The threshold for job abandonment is high and first requires a careful review of the facts and communications between the employer and employee.

 

Question: IDEL eligibility seems very broad. When would it not apply?

 

Answer: Where an employee’s situation does not fall within the extensive list of reasons an employee may take IDEL, then IDEL will not apply. Yes, IDEL now applies very broadly!

The ripple effect of shifting government restrictions and an approaching Canadian winter will be significant for many employers. We know the many related legalities and issues are top of mind for businesses. We invite you to join us for our next webinar, “WINTER IS COMING! Covering Your Employer A*$ as We Head Indoors” during which we will continue the conversation and delve into a) employee leaves, b) liabilities if your employee or customer gets sick, c) seasonal layoffs and terminations, and d) other Q&As

Credit: “Covid-19 2nd Wave Workplace Law Issues: Part 2”, Spring Law, M. Baizley and D. Murray, Nov. 12, 2020 (from Lexology.com).

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CKL BUSINESSES - NEW PROTECTION AGAINST LAWSUITS FOR CLIENTS/CUSTOMERS CONTRACTING COVID-19, BUT NOT YOUR EMPLOYEES

On November 17, 2020, the Ontario government passed a law conferring liability protection for businesses for COVID-19 issues, at least in part.

The new Supporting Ontario’s Recovery and Municipal Elections Act, 2020 may apply to any business concerned about liability if a customer or client is exposed or contracts COVID-19.

However, employers are NOT protected from claims from employees.

The legislation reads:

  • 2 (1) No cause of action arises against any person as a direct or indirect result of an individual being or potentially being infected with or exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19) on or after March 17, 2020 as a direct or indirect result of an act or omission of the person if,

    • (a) at the relevant time, the person acted or made a good faith effort to act in accordance with,

      • (i) public health guidance relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) that applied to the person, and

      • (ii) any federal, provincial or municipal law relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) that applied to the person; and

    • (b) the act or omission of the person does not constitute gross negligence.

In other words:

  • A business cannot be sued because its customer, client, etc gets COVID-19;

  • To enjoy the liability protection, the employer must have acted in “good faith” (even if not reasonable or objectively right) and not done something or fail to do something that amounts to “gross negligence” (not just everyday negligence, but really really really bad negligence);

  • This covers the time period since March 17, 2020 (St. Patrick’s Day)

  • The “good faith” acts are legit even if the public health guidance and laws at all 3 levels of government were inconsistent and kinda all over the map during 2020 (which they were)

BUT……….

Sub-section 4(2) of the legislation promulgates that the above section 2 liability protection does NOT apply to a cause of action brought by your team in their course of employment, including:

  • a worker

  • a worker’s survivor

  • an individual in the “performance of work” or “supply of services”, which would include independent contractors and freelancers.

So, effectively, an employer is not protected from claims by employees, contractors or freelancers related to “occupational disease” in the course of the worker’s employment or related to an occupational disease.

The specific workplaces impacted are those that are Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 employers under the Ontario workers’ compensation regime.

The new legislation does specifically declare that the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act and the usual workers’ compensation regime will continue to apply, but this act may permit employees to proceed on two fronts (workers’ compensation and civil), although sub-section 4(4) does state that any conflict between the two will default to the workers’ compensation law.

What Does This Mean?

Although the legislation is generally favourable to businesses in the CKL, the big carve out around employee claims means employers will likely continue to face the exposure of any potential COVID-19 related issues.

What do businesses do?

  • Always act in good faith

  • Stay informed of and strictly adhere to federal, provincial and municipal-level health-related directives, recommendations and advice

  • Limit exposure as much as possible in the workplace

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TORONTO TEMPORARILY BANNED FROM GETTING A DRIVER'S LICENSE IN LINDSAY

The Ontario government is cancelling all in-vehicle road tests in regions in the Grey (Lockdown) level, effective November 23, 2020. This currently applies to all road tests in the City of Toronto and Peel Region, including the Brampton, Downsview, Etobicoke, Metro East, Mississauga and Port Union DriveTest centres. This action is being taken to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Road test cancellations will be without penalty and Toronto or Peel Region residents may not book a road test at a DriveTest centre in another region.

The government has directed its driver testing services provider, DriveTest, to restrict residents in these regions from being able to take a road test at another DriveTest centre in a region with a lower COVID-19 level, effective November 30. If people living in a region in the Grey (Lockdown) level have booked a road test in a different region, it will need to be cancelled.

DriveTest centres in the Grey (Lockdown) level will be open for indoor services, such as knowledge tests, with capacity limits and COVID-19 preventative measures in place. 

DriveTest clients impacted by cancelled tests will receive a credit on the system and may rebook their tests when their region moves to a lower COVID-19 level.

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CKL BUSINESSES - UP TO $1000 AVAILABLE TO OFFSET THE COST OF PPE - PLUS POTENTIAL PROPERTY TAX AND ENERGY REBATES. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY.

Ontario's Main Street Relief Grant: PPE support

Help to small businesses is available from the Ontario government for the unexpected costs of PPE.

Eligibility

To be eligible, your business must have two to nine employees and be in one of the following sectors:

  • retail

  • accommodation and food services

  • repair and maintenance

  • personal and laundry services

What you’ll get

Eligible small businesses will get one-time grants of up to $1,000.

What you’ll need to apply

You will need to submit receipts or proof of costs for PPE purchased since March 17, 2020. This includes:

  • gloves, gowns, face shields, eye protection, masks, sanitizer, sanitizing wipes

  • thermometers, temperature monitors or cameras

  • physical changes, including the installation of hand sanitizer stations and plexiglass dividers

  • signs to guide or inform customers and employees

Property tax and energy bill rebates

Businesses that were required to shut down or significantly restrict services due to provincial public health measures (in areas with modified Stage 2 restrictions or categorized as control or lockdown) can apply for rebates, provided in the form of grants, to help with their fixed costs.

Eligibility

Support is available for businesses that were required to close or significantly restrict services as a result of provincial modified Stage 2 public health measures announced on October 9, 2020. Going forward, areas categorized as control or lockdown qualify.

Types of businesses that are eligible for support include:

  • restaurants and bars

  • gyms, facilities for indoor sports and recreational fitness activities

  • performing arts and cinemas

  • bingo halls, gaming establishments, casinos, conference centres and convention centres

  • community centres, multi-purpose facilities, and museums

  • personal care services (with the exception of oxygen bars)

  • racing venues

  • meeting or event space

  • in-person teaching and instruction

Additional businesses that would become eligible if a region is in lockdown include:

  • retail required to close for in-person shopping

  • shopping malls

  • personal services

  • driving instruction

  • tour and guide services

  • photography services

  • campgrounds

Businesses will not be eligible if they are:

  • located outside provincial modified Stage 2 or control and lockdown regions

  • within the areas subject to public health restrictions, but were not required to close or significantly restrict services

  • owned by the federal, provincial, or a municipal government, or by a person holding federal or provincial office

What you’ll get

Eligible businesses could get rebates for:

  • municipal and education property taxes

  • energy costs, including electricity and natural gas (or where natural gas is not available, propane and heating oil)

Funding will cover the entire length of time that regionally targeted public health restrictions are in place.

Most businesses can expect to receive their rebate payments within a few weeks of submitting a complete application.

What you’ll need to apply

To apply, you will have to submit proof of costs.

For property tax rebates, this includes your property tax bills (or proof of costs associated with property taxes).

For energy cost rebates, this includes a digital copy of the first energy bill (including electricity, natural gas, propane or other) you received on or after the day Stage 2 restrictions were put in place in your region. You can also submit other energy bills if your business is heated by propane or heating oil.

How to apply

Fill out an online application to apply for PPE support, property tax rebates or energy cost rebates.

You will be able to complete a single form to apply for any – or all – of these programs.

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CKL BUSINESSES - THE NEW FEDERAL (COMMERCIAL) RENT SUBSIDY - HOW TO QUALIFY AND APPLY; WHAT YOU'LL GET. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY.

 

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)

CKL's businessesnon-profit organizations, or charities who have seen a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses, starting on September 27, 2020, until June 2021.

This subsidy will provide payments directly to qualifying renters and property owners, without requiring the participation of landlords.

If you are eligible for the base subsidy, you may also be eligible for lockdown support if your business location is significantly affected by a public health order for a week or more.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible to receive the rent subsidy, you must meet all four of the following criteria – you:

1.Meet at least one of these conditions:

1. You had a CRA business number on September 27, 2020

2. You had a payroll account on March 15, 2020, or another person or partnership made payroll remittances on your behalf

3. You purchased the business assets of another person or partnership who meets condition 2 above, and have made an election under the special asset acquisition rules
These special asset acquisition rules are the same for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).

4. You meet other prescribed conditions that might be introduced
Note: there are no prescribed conditions at this time

If you don’t have a business number but you qualify under condition b or c, you will need to set one up before you are able to apply for CERS.

You do not need a payroll account to apply for CERS.

2.You are an eligible business, charity, or non-profit (eligible entity). 

Types of businesses, charities, or non-profits (entities) that are eligible for CERS

  • individuals (other than a trust)

  • corporations (or trusts) that are not exempt from income tax (Part I of the Income Tax Act)

  • the following persons that are exempt from income tax (Part I of the Income Tax Act):

    • non-profit organizations

    • agricultural organizations

    • boards of trade

    • chambers of commerce

    • non-profit corporations for scientific research and experimental development

    • labour organizations or societies

    • benevolent or fraternal benefit societies or orders

  • registered charities

  • partnerships consisting of eligible employers (including partnerships where at least 50% of the interests in the partnership are held by eligible employers)

  • the following prescribed organizations:

    • certain Indigenous government-owned corporations that carry on a business

    • partnerships consisting of eligible employers and certain Indigenous governments

    • registered Canadian amateur athletic associations

    • registered journalism organizations

    • private schools or private colleges, and

    • partnerships consisting of eligible employers (including partnerships where at least 50% of the interests in the partnership are held by eligible employers)

Public institutions are not eligible for the subsidy. This includes municipalities and local governments, Crown corporations, public universities, colleges and schools, and hospitals.

If your business, charity, or non-profit is related to another eligible entity, you may be considered an "affiliated entity".

This may affect your calculations for the subsidy.

If your business, charity, or non-profit is related to another eligible entity, you may be considered an "affiliated entity".

This may affect your calculations for the subsidy.

3.Experienced a drop in revenue

Your drop in revenue is calculated by comparing your eligible revenue during the reference period with your eligible revenue from a previous period (baseline revenue).

There is no minimum revenue drop required to qualify for the subsidy. The rate your revenue has dropped is only used to calculate how much subsidy you receive for these periods.

Calculate your revenue drop online

After you have read about the expenses you can claim, you can use the online calculator to find your revenue drop while calculating how much subsidy you may receive.

A CERS application must be filed no later than 180 days after the end of a claim period.

4.Have eligible expenses

To apply for CERS, you must have a qualifying property. Only certain expenses you pay for qualifying properties are eligible for CERS.

How to apply:

For information about claim periods, including for between November 22 to December 19, 2020, click here: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/subsidy/emergency-rent-subsidy/cers-periods-apply.html

The CERS covers a portion of eligible expenses in respect of a claim period for each qualifying property, subject to certain maximums. The CERS is calculated on a property by property basis.

Qualifying property

Properties (business locations) that do qualify include any "real or immovable property" (buildings or land) in Canada that your business or organization:

  • owns or rents, and

  • uses in the course of your ordinary business activities

Properties that do not qualify, include:

  • your home, cottage, or other residence used by you, your family members, or other non-arm’s-length persons

  • any properties you own that are primarily used to earn rental income from arm’s-length parties

Eligible expenses

For each claim period, you can claim eligible expenses up to a maximum of:

  • $75,000 per business location (base and top-up)

  • $300,000 in total for all locations (including any amounts claimed by affiliated businesses)

    • applies to the base subsidy only

    • there is no maximum for the top-up subsidy

Eligibility criteria for expenses

There are a few criteria expenses need to meet, in order to be eligible to be included in your claim for a particular claim period.

  • Only amounts paid or payable to an arm’s-length party can be included

  • The expense must be in respect of the claim period

  • The expense must be paid or payable under a written agreement in place before October 9, 2020 (or a renewal on substantially similar terms or assignment of such an agreement)

If you have not paid the amounts due for your eligible expenses yet, you must attest (confirm) that these amounts will be paid within 60 days of receiving your rent subsidy payment.

You cannot claim expenses that were paid or payable:

  • to non-arm’s-length entities

  • for a timeframe that falls outside of the claim period you are applying for

If you rent the qualifying property, your eligible expenses are:

  • Rent (including rent based on a percentage of sales, profit or similar criteria)

  • Amounts required to be paid or payable by you under a net lease (either to the lessor or a third party). Includes:

    • base rent

    • regular payments for customary operating expenses

    • property and similar taxes

    • regular payments to the lessor for customary ancillary services

You cannot include amounts paid or payable for:

  • sales taxes (such as GST/HST and provincial sales taxes)

  • damages

  • interest or penalties on unpaid amounts

  • other special amounts

If your landlord received an amount under the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program and they applied the amount to your future rent payments, you can still claim the full rent amount in the current period.

If you own the qualifying property, your eligible expenses are:

  • Property and similar taxes

    • Includes school taxes and municipal taxes, if these are part of your property tax assessment

  • Property insurance

  • Interest on commercial mortgages for the purpose of purchasing real property

    • Your mortgage amount cannot exceed the lesser of: the lowest principal amount secured by one or more mortgages on the property at any time it was acquired; OR the cost amount of the property

Expenses that are not eligible include:

  • payments between non-arm’s-length entities

  • amounts that were paid or payable for a time that fall outside of the claim period

If you earned any revenue from sub-leasing space on the property to arm’s-length parties, you must subtract that revenue from your eligible expenses.

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COVID - LANDLORDS CANNOT INTERFERE WITH YOUR REASONABLE USE AND ENJOYMENT OF YOUR RENTAL PROPERTY.

Convicted: 1507418 Ontario Inc.

Location: Toronto

Description of Offence: Knowingly interfering with a tenant's reasonable enjoyment of a rental unit

Date of Offence: October 26, 2017 - October 5, 2018

Date of Conviction: November 13, 2020

Penalty Imposed:

  • Following a guilty plea, 1507418 Inc. was fined $2,000 in Toronto by Justice of the Peace Tina Wassenaar.
  • The court also imposed a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge ($500) as required by the Provincial Offences Act.

Background:

  • 1507418 Ontario Inc. is the landlord of a rental property in Toronto.
  • In late 2017, a fire broke out in the property. The tenant was led to believe that the property needed major renovations and he had to move out for a while. He left his belongings in the property, expecting to later move back in. At some point in 2018 the tenant no longer had access to the unit.
  • The tenant initiated proceedings at the Landlord and Tenant Board. As a result of those proceedings, 1507418 Ontario Inc. paid the tenant $3,500 in compensation and gave the tenant access to his belongings.
  • Under the Residential Tenancies Act, a landlord is not permitted to interfere with a tenant's reasonable enjoyment of a rental unit.
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NEW MASKING IN CKL'S WORKPLACES AND BUSINESSES!!!! MUST BE WORN BY EVERYBODY IF NO SOCIAL DISTANCE OR BARRIER.

CKL remains in the Green zone (Standard Measures), according to the Ontario government.

However, very recently the Green status was changed.

Previously, in a workplace, for example, masks were not required among staff and workers not within a public area of the business or workplace.

Now, however, that has changed.

Now, if staff/workers are performing tasks indoors that require them to be less than two metres from an unmasked or improperly masked individual without a barrier (e.g. Plexiglass, partition, wall), appropriate Personal Protective Equipment must be worn, including proper protection for eyes, nose and mouth.

At a minimum, this would include a medical mask and eye protection.  

So, whether in a “public area” or not within your workplace or business, EVERYONE must now be wearing masks when within six feet of one another.

This may mean re-arranging work stations, consider returning to work-from-home arrangements and changes to WFH protocols.

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IS SOMEONE CASTING YOU FASLELY IN THE PUBLIC EYE, ONLINE OR OTHERWISE? YOU MAY BE ENTITLED TO DAMAGES.

In Ontario, you cannot cast me falsely in the public eye, online or otherwise.

Doing so is considered a form of invasion of my privacy and, if online, cyberbullying. 

In this family law case, a spouse claimed intrusion on seclusion and invasion of privacy, because the other spouse had posted YouTube videos of his interactions with the children at issue, despite Court orders made previously prohibiting him from doing so.

The offending spouse had also created cybercampaigns against the other spouse, her family, a lawyer involved and a judge.

The father was also accused of mocking one of his children with a neurological disorder.

Said the Court:

“Children are particularly vulnerable to the online postings of a parent which expose the intimacy of a child’s life which only a parent should have access to…….” and “Public posting of recorded in-person and Skype access visits with children, photographs of parental moments, and written and video commentary about the children in a cyberbullying campaign directed to undermining the spouse in family law litigation, viewed objectively, is an offensive intrusion on the privacy of the child.” 

What does this mean? Ontario now allows a claim for breach of privacy for publicly placing a person in false light – effectively, it allows a person to attempt to control he or she is presented, or identified, online.  In this case, the focus was on the children of the marriage, but the same principles apply to everyone else.

Prior to this case, Ontario has recognized the following types of breach of privacy claims available to us:

1. Intrusion upon another’s seclusion or solitude, or into his or her private affairs;

2. Public disclosure of embarrassing private facts about the other person;

3. Publicity which places the other person in a false light in the public eye; and

4. Appropriation, for the defendant's advantage, of the other party’s name or likeness.

The court ordered the father to pay damages of $100,000  on the tort of invasion of privacy (false light and public disclosure of private facts), in addition to other payments of post-separation adjustment, spousal support, child support, damages for mental suffering and punitive damages.

The Court did not require that proof of defamation be established; rather, the false light must be highly offensive to a reasonable person and the perpetrator must have had knowledge of or acted in reckless disregard as to the falsity of what he or she was posting.

Businesses may also be impacted by this ‘false light’ privacy claim – they may be exposed to claims of vicarious liability for so-called “deep fakes,” employee misconduct, misleading ads or social media marketing, for example — and there is no requirement to prove actual malice or economic harm.

In other words, corporate announcements, internal investigative outcomes, marketing, advertising, financial reporting, etc., may be exposed to scrutiny on how they portray a person – they cannot do so in a “false light”. This applies not only online, but globally. 

Basically, it’s a recklessness standard – specific malice or ill intent need not be proved to be successful. 

This new development empowers a person to be better able to control his or her information and data, particularly in the public forum. 

So far, there has been no floodgate opened in Ontario in family law cases incorporating this new type of claim, especially if there has been online activity in the case, as there often seems to be these days.

However, most litigants and their counsel will be sure, especially in family law and employment cases, will more certainly investigate any online evidence from any available sources.

The Case:

Yenovkian v. Gulian, 2019 ONSC 7279

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COMPROMISING OR INTIMATE PICS OF YOU POSTED ONLINE WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT? AS MY LAWYER DAD USED TO SAY, "SUE THE BASTARDS".

Publishing online very personal or intimate information or images of another may now be a very costly mistake. 

Not long ago the Ontario Court granted, in a case called Jane Doe 464533 (the Plaintiff’s name cannot be disclosed), damages and costs totaling $141,000, plus an order for the offending Defendant to destroy any video or images he retains of the Plaintiff and prohibiting him from sharing any intimate images of her. He was also ordered not to communicate with the Plaintiff or any of her family.

The Plaintiff was a young woman in her late teens. Due to pressure from her ex-boyfriend, she agreed to share with him a sexually explicit video of herself. He promised he would not share it with anyone else. However, he subsequently posted the intimate video of her on a pornography Web site without her knowledge or consent. The police refused to criminally pursue the matter.

The Plaintiff eventually sued him for breach of her privacy and, specifically, for his public disclosure of embarrassing private information about her, after attempting to settle the matter with lawyers involved. The Defendant boyfriend did not ultimately defend the lawsuit, so the Court decided the case and awarded damages to the Plaintiff without a challenge to the Plaintiff’s claim. However, the Court reviewed the law and provided a well-reasoned, thorough decision, even though the Defendant did not defend the claim. The case is subject to a publication ban of the name of the Plaintiff.

The Plaintiff relied on fairly recent, emerging cases in Ontario recognizing an expanding ability for a person to sue another directly for breach of privacy, or for “intrusion upon seclusion”.

The Court awarded the Plaintiff $100,000 in damages (noting that she had limited her claim to this maximum amount in the lawsuit). These damages are much higher than the $20,000 “cap” that had previously been established by Ontario’s Court of Appeal in the earlier cases for intrusion upon seclusion.

Therefore, this case expands on privacy protection in Ontario and allows a person to civilly claim and be awarded significant damages when that person’s personal/private information is published online, provided this test is met.

To succeed, it must be proved that “the matter publicized or the act of the publication” is “highly offensive to a reasonable person” and is not “of legitimate concern to the public”.

Undoubtedly the law of privacy in Ontario continues to grow and expand. More cases will be needed to clarify and further develop this law, but this case clearly indicates the Court’s willingness to do so, including for “public disclosure of embarrassing private facts”. 

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WHAT IF AN EMPLOYEE TESTS POSITIVE FOR THE VIRUS? STEP-BY-STEP ANSWERS.

What should you do if an employee tests positive for the virus?

[1] the infected employee should not be permitted to return to the workplace until they are clear of COVID-19;

[2] immediately contact the local health unit for guidance and to initiate contact tracing;

[3] in most cases, you do not need to shut down your entire workplace.  Rather, you can close off any areas that were used for prolonged periods of time by the sick person, and then (ideally after waiting 24 hours) thoroughly clean and disinfect those areas.

[4] take additional steps to determine which other employees had worked closely with the infected person and inform them of their exposure risk.  Employers should, as much as possible, maintain confidentiality about the identity of the specific person who was infected.  For employees who were exposed to the infected person for prolonged periods of time, ask them to self-isolate and stay home/work remotely for 14 days to reduce the risk of the infection spreading in the workplace, but seek the guidance of the local health unit before doing so. 

The above steps should be taken promptly once an employer is notified of a COVID-19 infection in their workplace.   

The physical layout of each workplace is different.  Each workplace may also have a different level of interaction between employees in the workplace.  The infected employee may not have attended the workplace often before testing positive.  All of these factors will be relevant to determining which employees worked closely with, or had prolonged exposure to, an infected employee.  

To address some of these issues proactively, larger workplaces can separate employees into cohorts or working groups to reduce the chance of the virus spreading and to make exposures easier to manage.   

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POTENTIALLY VIOLATING ONTARIO'S EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS ACT INVALIDATES AN EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT - PERIOD.

In this case, a “construction” employee had signed an employment agreement purporting to minimize the employee’s entitlements upon termination to only those required by the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”).

However, the Court held the employment contract to be invalid, thereby awarding common law reasonable notice to the employee.

The fatal error by the employer was disentitling the employee in the contract to potential rights under the ESA, even if they currently were not operative.

In other words, potential violation of an employment contract with the ESA will still invalidate the contract, even if it may not at the time of signing (i.e., “construction” workers, which may not be entitled to “termination pay” under the ESA).

Of note, the Court explained:  

  • The common law principle of termination of employment on reasonable notice is a presumption. 

  • The presumption is only rebuttable if an employment agreement clearly specifies another period of notice.

  • The employment agreement is only enforceable if it complies with the minimum employment standards in the ESA. If it does not, the presumption is not rebutted and the employee is entitled to reasonable notice of termination.

  • Some types of employees are not protected by the ESA, including “any prescribed individuals.” (s. 3(5), ESA)

  • However, if an employee has two or more roles in their employment, and only one is not protected by the ESA, the employee will continue to be protected with respect to that other role. (s. 3(6), ESA)

  • Section 2(1) 9 of Regulation 288/01 under the ESA states that construction employees “are prescribed for the purposes of section 55 of the Act as employees who are not entitled to notice of termination or termination pay under Part XV of the Act.”

The court emphasized that since Rutledge was a construction employee throughout his employment, notice of termination (ss. 54-60, ESA) and termination pay (ss. 61-62, ESA) were the only employment standards that did not apply to him. The court said: 

The regulation does not flatly disentitle Rutledge to the protection of the entire ESA as is the case for some of the other occupations listed in s. 3(5) of the ESA. Rutledge continues to be afforded the protection of all other employment standards set out in the ESA, unless otherwise specifically excluded by other legislation. Accordingly, if any wording of an employment contract purports to deny Rutledge those other employment standards, then those provisions are unenforceable. (para. 11)

The court concluded that Rutledge’s employment contract contained the following two errors that rendered the termination provision unenforceable:

[1] An employee cannot contract out of a protected employment standard under the ESA even if it does not yet apply to them.  It is enough if the provision in the contract would potentially violate the ESA at any date after hiring.  If Rutledge’s position changed to something other than a construction employee, his employment contract would deny him his right to benefits during his notice period, a right protected by the ESA.  Although the employment contract stated that Rutledge was employed as an apprentice in the construction industry, “it does not explicitly state that this applies only to him while occupied as a construction employee and that it would be of no force or effect if his position changed.” (para. 15)

[2] Construction employees are entitled to the employment standards guaranteed upon their severance (ss. 63-66, ESA).  “If Canaan grew in size, employing more than 50 employees and then discontinued its business, or else had a payroll more than $2.5 million, Rutledge would be entitled to severance pay, irrespective of his job description.  The Employment Contract clearly disentitles Rutledge to these employment standards.” (para. 16)

The Case:

Rutledge v. Canaan Construction Inc., 2020 ONSC 4246 (CanLII)

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CKL REMAINS COVID-19 "GREEN" - A REFRESHER ON THE RESTRICTIONS IN PLACE FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC

Currently in the “regional” COVID-19 approach by the Ontario government, the City of Kawartha Lakes remains in the green, “PREVENT (Standard Measures”).

What does that mean for the general public, in addition to the usual preventative measures, like proper hand hygiene?

It means this:

• Gathering limit for select organized public events and social gatherings (e.g., private gatherings at home, in parks, etc., barbeques):  

  • 10 people indoors

  • 25 people outdoors

• Gathering limit for organized public events and social gatherings:

  • 50 people indoors

  • 100 people outdoors

• Gathering limit for religious services, rites or ceremonies, including weddings and funerals:

  • 30% capacity of the particular room, subject to physical distancing, indoors

  • 100 people, subject to physical distancing, outdoors

• Requirement for workplace screening

• Requirement for face coverings at indoor workplaces and public spaces, with limited exemptions

• Restrict non-essential travel from areas of high-transmission to areas of low transmission

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STOKE THAT FIRE, BUT KNOW YOUR RIGHTS ABOUT FIRE LOSS. PREVENTION IS KEY.

The cool fall air has finally arrived.  Cords of wood are being delivered and wood stoves are being fired up.  Gas fireplaces are being flicked on.    

The best way to prevent injury and loss from fire is to be prepared.  But when you have been affected by fire, you need to know your legal rights and options for seeking compensation.

If you have suffered damage to your home or property due to fire or smoke damage, you need to be proactive in dealing with your homeowners insurance company to make a fire insurance claim.  Call your insurance agent or company immediately.

Fire loss claims are complex and time-consuming. You will be required to submit a “proof of loss claim” as soon as possible, with a time limit in which to do so under your policy.  If you are displaced from your home, you may claim living expenses.  You may have the option to repair or rebuild your home and it is important to have the right appraisers and contractors working for you. Your insurer may deny your claim based on misrepresentation on your application, failure to advise your insurer of a change of use in the property or that a renovation has been completed. You may need to resort to legal action to obtain compensation from your insurer.

Damage to homes and personal belongings are not the only devastating effects of a fire. On average, 19 children aged 14 and under are killed by fire or smoke each year in Canada and nearly 600 are hospitalized. Fire victims suffer physical pain and emotional trauma. The recovery process for burn injuries can be excruciating and lengthy.

You may have the right to bring a claim for damages against a negligent party who caused a fire, including property designers, owners, managers, landlords and product manufacturers.  A fire can be caused by a failure to maintain or replace wiring, improper storage of flammable materials, lack of or defective fire and CO2 detectors, obstruction of fire exits, non-compliant building code construction, exploding propane or gas tanks, etc.  Also, the origin of a fire may be the result of defective products, including electrical equipment, wiring, circuits or heaters.

And what about your duties and obligations?  It’s the law in Ontario for homeowners to have working smoke alarms on every storey of a home and outside all sleeping areas. Landlords are responsible for ensuring their rental properties comply with the law.  Tenants of rental properties who do not have the required number of smoke alarms should contact their landlord immediately; it is also against the law for tenants to remove the batteries or tamper with an alarm in any way.  Failure to comply with the Fire Code smoke alarm requirements could result in a ticket for $235 or a fine of up to $50,000 for individuals or $100,000 for corporations.

Ontario fire statistics reveal that in about 50 per cent of fatal home fires, the victims had no smoke alarm warning.  Smoke alarms are a proven way to prevent injuries and death from fires - see more here.

The Ontario Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services provides numerous resources (click here) about keeping your loved ones and property safe from fire.

Take some time to get prepared.

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MARRIED V. COMMON LAW SPOUSES - KNOW THE DIFFERENCE FOR RELATIONSHIP BREAKDOWNS AND DEATH.

It can make a big difference, legally, whether you are married or “common law” if you and your partner separate, or one of you unfortunately passes away.

In Ontario, common law spouses are treated differently than married spouses, at law, if there is a separation or a death during the relationship.

For example, did you know that:

  • unlike married spouses, common law spouses have no automatic rights upon the death of a spouse who does not leave a will, while married spouses are statutorily entitled to a receive a “preferential share” and additional percentage of a predeceasing married spouse’s estate on an intestacy (i.e., dying with no valid will in effect);

  • divorced spouses are treated the same as common law spouses on the death of the other partner - no 'preferential share';

  • married spouses have the right to elect for an equalization of net family property, pursuant to Ontario’s Family Law Act on death of the other married spouse, unlike common law spouses who have no such rights on death of the other;

  • marriage automatically revokes a will (unless executed in contemplation of the marriage), while enjoying a common law relationship has no such effect; and

  • a separation (unless there is a valid separation agreement directly addressing the issues) does not revoke a will or any gifts made to a separated spouse, but gifts made under a pre-separation will to a divorced spouse are generally revoked by statute and the divorced spouse is regarded legally as having predeceased the spouse who dies.

So, there are very important differences between married and common law spouses in the event of a relationship breakdown or the death of one of the partners.

It is important to know your rights in your relationship, which can also be altered by a solid domestic contract, including to avoid potentially harsh consequences to a surviving common law spouse, who may be left a legacy of litigation, unintentionally.  

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TAKING CARE OF AN ADULT FAMILY MEMBER DURING THE PANDEMIC? BE MINDFUL - YOU MAY HAVE BECOME A "FIDUCIARY" - A HIGHER LEGAL EXPECTATION MAY APPLY.

Caregivers are increasingly being held to a higher legal standard. They are now generally regarded as a “fiduciary” to the person to whom they provide care. A fiduciary has higher obligations legally – caregivers are now in that category. 

Historically there are general categories of fiduciary relationships that have evolved in Ontario. They include: agent to principal; lawyer to client; trustee to beneficiary; business partner to partner; and, director to corporation.

Generally, a fiduciary obligation on a person will be imposed when:

  1. The fiduciary has scope for the exercise of some discretion or power;

  2. The fiduciary can unilaterally exercise that power or discretion so as to affect the beneficiary’s legal or practical interests; and

  3. The beneficiary is peculiarly vulnerable to, or at the mercy of, the fiduciary holding the discretion or power.

Vulnerability of the other person is often a key consideration.

This is important if a caregiver, for example (which may include a family member) is added to a bank account of a person in need of care, handles finances for a parent or generally provide financial assistance to, for example, an elderly parent or disabled person.

A recent case in British Columbia illustrates this trend in the law: Reeves v. Dean.

In this case, the caregiver was found to have misappropriated money from a bank account to which the caregiver was added by the person in need of the caregiver services. 

There are special remedies available from the Court when it is found that a fiduciary has acted unlawfully. They include: a constructive trust, accounting for profits, compensation to to the aggreived person (to restore them to their former position) and others. Generally, the remedies are identified by the Supreme Court of Canada in Frame v. Smith (1987).

Therefore, if you act as a caregiver, be very mindful of your higher duty.

On the other hand, if you receive, or you know someone who receives, caregiver services (particularly if they related to handling personal finances), be sure to speak to a qualified lawyer if you suspect there has potentially been wrongdoing by the caregiver. 

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EMPLOYERS WHO REVOKE A JOB OFFER DURING THE PANDEMIC MAY BE SUED AND HELD LIABLE FOR DAMAGES IN ONTARIO

In Kim v. BT Express Freight Systems (2020), 317 A.C.W.S. (3d) 255, Ontario’s Superior Court confirmed that an employer may be liable for damages if it withdraws an accepted offer of employment or terminates employment without cause prior to the start date. 

In this case, the employee had entered into an employment contract with the employer, which it breached by unilaterally terminating it without cause and without notice.  

The Court noted:

A valid employment contract creates an employment relationship even before any work begins.  An employee is entitled to reasonable notice for breach of that contract, and may sue for damages if appropriate notice is not given. (para. 11)”

The court also held that “viewed through the lens of wrongful dismissal or repudiation of contract,” or otherwise, the following were relevant to an assessment of damages:

  • the factors set out in Bardal v. Globe & Mail Ltd. (1960), 24 D.L.R. (2d) 140, for assessing the reasonable notice period: character of the employment, length of service, age, and the availability of similar employment, considering the experience, training and qualifications of the employee;

  • the terms of the employment contract, including the existence of a probationary period and its length (probation).

While the court also stated that probation is relevant to an assessment of damages, in this case, probation was not applicable because the employee was never given the opportunity to start the job. 

The court awarded damages equivalent to three months’ salary, but damages for the last two weeks of the three months were reduced by income from new employment.

In assessing a three-month notice period, subject to this mitigated income, the Court applied the following factors:

  • the employee was 37;

  • he worked an import supervisor for 20 months at $50,000 per year;

  • he was not searching for another job, but was induced to change jobs on the employer’s promise of a higher salary and the possibility of advancement;

  • he was able to find another job at $52,000 per year 10 weeks after leaving. 

Based on the above, the Court found that the employment contact contemplated by the parties was, indeed, of a longer term in nature.

The Court also agreed the employee “was not treated properly by BTE”; however, this was properly addressed by the damage award. 

Bottom Line for Employers

Accordingly, if employers enter into a valid employment agreement, an employment relationship exists even before the employee begins to perform work. 

Even before the start date, an employee is entitled to reasonable notice for breach of the employment agreement unless an enforceable termination clause in the employment contract provides otherwise. 

If appropriate notice is not given and the circumstances permit, the employee may successfully sue for damages. 

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NEIGHBOUR DISPUTES DURING COVID-19 - DON'T IRRITATE THE COURT - A POX ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES!

The Dispute:

Mutual allegations about by neighbours about family pets, profanity, disturbing the peace and misbehaviour generally. An injunction was sought.

The Outcome:

A pox on both their houses. The Court dismissed all of the claims and, effectively, admonished both sides for usurping the limited resources of the judiciary as a forum for their Hatfield-McCoy-style dispute. Both sides, which obviously were sufficiently wealthy to fund this litigation, got no costs.

Here is the actual decision:

ENDORSEMENT

[1]               The parties to this action live across the road from each other in Toronto’s tony Forest Hill neighbourhood. The video footage played at the hearing shows that both families live in stately houses on a well-manicured, picturesque street. They have numerous high end automobiles parked outside their homes.

[2]               The Plaintiff, John Morland-Jones, is an oil company executive; the Defendant, Gary Taerk, is a psychiatrist. They do not seem to like each other, and neither do their respective spouses, the Plaintiff, Paris Morland-Jones and the Defendant, Audrey Taerk.

[3]               In this motion, the Plaintiffs seek various forms of injunctive relief on an interlocutory basis. It all flows from the Plaintiffs’ allegation that the Defendants have been misbehaving and disturbing their peaceful life in this leafy corner of paradise.

[4]               As counsel for the Plaintiffs explains it, the Plaintiffs’ house is ringed with eleven video cameras for security purposes. Two of them are aimed directly at the Defendants’ front door and driveway. They record, 24/7/365, every movement in and out of the Defendants’ home. The Plaintiffs can see when Ms. Taerk leaves to go shopping, they can study what the Defendants are wearing every morning when they pick up their newspaper on the front step, they have a videotaped record of when Mr. Taerk goes to work or walks his dog, etc.

[5]               Nothing that the Defendants do escapes the Plaintiffs’ video camera lens. The cameras trained on the Defendants’ house may or may not provide the Plaintiffs with a sense of security, but as demonstrated by the dozen or so videos produced in this motion, the Plaintiff’s “security system” is as much a sword as it is a shield.

[6]               The hearing before me started off with counsel for the Plaintiffs playing a short excerpt from security footage shot by the Plaintiffs several years ago, in which Ms. Taerk is seen performing a “poop and scoop” after a dog did its business on her front lawn. The Plaintiffs’ security camera shows her crossing the street with the plastic bag-full in hand, and then walking toward the Plaintiffs’ driveway where the garbage cans were out for collection. Although the impugned deed actually takes place off camera, Ms. Taerk can be seen moments later returning to her side of the street empty-handed.

[7]               Apparently, much to the consternation of the Plaintiffs, she deposited the goods in the Plaintiffs’ garbage can. In doing so, she failed to walk to the back of her house to place it in her own receptacle like a truly good neighbour would do.

[8]               The “dog feces incident”, as counsel for the Plaintiffs calls it, is a high point of this claim. At the hearing, it was followed by counsel’s description of a cease and desist letter sent to the Defendants in 2008 by a lawyer then representing the Plaintiffs, which describes what is now referred to by counsel as the “dog urination issue”. This letter enclosed photographs – apparently stills taken from the Plaintiffs’ non-stop video footage – documenting Mr. Taerk walking his dog and occasionally allowing it to lift its leg in a canine way next to the bushes lining the Plaintiffs’ lawn.

[9]               The Defendants did not respond to this erudite piece of legal correspondence. Counsel for the Plaintiffs characterizes this silence as an “admission”, although it is unclear just what legal wrong was being admitted to.

[10]           And it goes downhill from there. For example, the Defendants are accused of occasionally parking one of their cars on the street in a legal parking spot in front of the Plaintiff’s home. The Defendants do this now and then, according to the Plaintiffs, just to annoy them. This accusation was admittedly pressed rather sheepishly by Plaintiffs’ counsel, since the Plaintiffs have conceded that they park one of their own cars in front of the Defendants’ home every day. Indeed, the Plaintiffs cannot help but concede that fact, since their own non-stop video surveillance of the Defendant’s house shows the Plaintiff’s car sitting there day after day.

[11]           The Plaintiffs also complain quite vociferously about the fact that the Defendants – in particular Ms. Taerk – are in the habit of sometimes standing in their own driveway and taking cell phone pictures of the Plaintiffs’ house across the street. Apparently, the Plaintiffs, who keep two video cameras trained on the Defendants’ house night and day, do not like their own house being the target of Ms. Taerk’s occasional point-and-click.

[12]           The Plaintiffs also accuse Ms. Taerk of taking pictures of the Plaintiffs’ housekeeper taking their dog for its daily constitutional. The video tapes show the housekeeper leading the dog to what they describe as its favorite grassy spot in a parkette only feet from the Defendants’ front lawn. The housekeeper has deposed that she goes there with the dog every day. Ms. Taerk has made of show of documenting that activity.

[13]           Another complaint submitted by the Plaintiffs is that Mr. Taerk has taken up the habit of walking by their house with a voice recorder in hand, trying to catch some of the verbal exchanges between the parties. According to Mr. Taerk’s affidavit, Ms. Morland-Jones occasionally shouts profanity or other insults at him when he is on his walks, so he now only ventures onto the road armed with his dictaphone. He tends to hold it at the ready in his right hand as he walks rather than holstering it on his hip. 

[14]           The controversy has even extended to other lucky residents. The Plaintiffs summoned under Rule 39.03 no less than four of their neighbours to testify on the pending motion, no doubt endearing themselves to all of them. One witness, a lawyer, was asked to confirm that he had warned the Plaintiffs about the Defendants when they first moved into the neighbourhood; he responded that can recall saying no such thing. Another witness, a professor, was asked to confirm that she sold her house for below market value just to get away from the Defendants; she said she did not.

[15]           Each of the summonsed witnesses was asked by Plaintiffs’ counsel to confirm the affidavit evidence sworn by Mr. Morland-Jones that the Defendants are difficult people. None of them seemed to want to do that, although one of them did recount that the Defendants had objected to a renovation permit that the Plaintiffs once sought, and that the matter had proceeded to the Ontario Municipal Board. Another of the neighbours was asked to recount the rude nicknames that some neighbourhood children had given Ms. Taerk when she was a substitute teacher at a nearby school.

[16]           In what is perhaps the piece de resistance of the claim, the Plaintiffs allege that the Defendants – again focusing primarily on Ms. Taerk – sometimes stand in their own driveway or elsewhere on their property and look at the Plaintiffs’ house. One of the video exhibits shows Ms. Taerk doing just that, casting her gaze from her own property across the street and resting her eyes on the Plaintiffs’ abode for a full 25 seconds. There is no denying that Ms. Taerk is guilty as charged. The camera doesn’t lie.

[17]           For their part, the Defendants have not been entirely innocent. They appear to have learned that the Plaintiffs – and especially Ms. Morland-Jones – have certain sensitivities, and they seem to relish playing on those sensitivities. They realize, for example, that Ms. Morland-Jones does not enjoy having her house photographed, and so Ms. Taerk tends to take her cell phone out and point it at the Plaintiffs’ house precisely when Ms. Morland-Jones can see her doing it.

[18]           Ms. Taerk has testified that, in fact, she has not taken any pictures but rather has been pretending to do so by simply pointing her phone and clicking it randomly. Ms. Taerk presents this as a justification for not producing any photographs in the evidentiary record, but of course the explanation reflects more malevolence than what it attempts to excuse. In any case, Ms. Morland-Jones can be counted on to respond as predicted. It is a repeated form of hijinks that could, if a sponsor were found, be broadcast and screened weekly, although probably limited to the cable channels high up in the 300’s.

[19]           The same is true with Mr. Taerk’s voice recording technique. Although Mr. Taerk may have started carrying this device in order to record Ms. Morland-Jones’ spontaneous eruptions, cause and effect have now been reversed. Mr. Taerk appears to enjoy walking by the Plaintiffs’ residence with his dictaphone conspicuously raised to shoulder level when he sees Ms. Morland-Jones in her garden, which then prompts the very outbursts that he was at first reacting to. On one of the tapes, Ms. Taerk can actually be heard prompting Mr. Taerk to go out and goad Ms. Morland-Jones in this fashion.

[20]           The Plaintiffs’ teenage son has testified that when he was 10 years old, Ms. Taerk instructed him to stay off the public parkette adjacent to her home, saying that it belongs to the Defendants. He also deposed that when he was 16 the Defendants appeared to be photographing him one day as he sat in a parked car in front of his house – or, more accurately, just across from the Defendants’ house – with his girlfriend. He speculated, but could not entirely recall, precisely what he and the young woman were doing in the car at that moment.

[21]           The antics have only gotten worse since then. Ms. Morland-Jones has shouted at the Taerks from her front yard, and Ms. Taerk has given Ms. Morland-Jones “the finger” from her front driveway. The Defendants have apparently called the police on the Plaintiffs numerous times in recent years; the Plaintiffs have responded by retaining a criminal lawyer to attempt to have a peace bond issued that would restrict the Defendants’ movements. All of that has been to no avail.

[22]           Now the Plaintiffs have pursued civil litigation. To their credit, or perhaps to the credit of their counsel who has advised them well in this regard, the Defendants have not counterclaimed. Having acted provocatively to egg the Plaintiffs on and to prompt this gem of a lawsuit, the Defendants did not need to bring any claim themselves. The Plaintiffs have been their own worst adversaries.

[23]           In my view, the parties do not need a judge; what they need is a rather stern kindergarten teacher. I say this with the greatest of respect, as both the Plaintiffs and the Defendants are educated professionals who are successful in their work lives and are otherwise productive members of the community. Despite their many advantages in life, however, they are acting like children. And now that the matter has taken up an entire day in what is already a crowded motions court, they are doing so at the taxpayer’s expense.

[24]           As I explained to Plaintiffs’ counsel at the hearing, a court cannot order the Defendants to be nice to the Plaintiffs. Litigation must focus on legal wrongs and legal rights – commodities which are in remarkably short supply in this action. As my colleague Perell J. put it in High Parklane Consulting Inc. v  Royal Group Technologies Ltd., [2007] OJ No 107 (SCJ), at para 36, “[i]t is trite to say that making a living is a stressful activity and that much of life can be nasty and brutish. Tort law does not provide compensation for all stress-causing and nasty conduct that individuals may suffer at the hands of another…”

[25]           I cannot help but comment that the courts as public institutions are already bursting at the seams with all manner of claims. To add to that public burden the type of exchanges that these parties have engaged in would be to let the litigious society stray without a leash – or perhaps without a lis.  I note the observation made to this effect by the Supreme Court of New York in Johnson v Douglas, 734 NYS 2d 847, 187 Misc 2d 509, at 510 (2001):

Although we live in a particularly litigious society, the court is not about to recognize a tortious cause of action to recover for emotional distress due to the death of a family pet. Such an expansion of the law would place an unnecessary burden on the ever burgeoning case loads of the court in resolving serious tort claims for injuries to individuals.

[26]           What is true regarding the death of a family pet is certainly true regarding the scatology of a family pet. There is no claim for pooping and scooping into the neighbour’s garbage can, and there is no claim for letting Rover water the neighbour’s hedge. Likewise, there is no claim for looking at the neighbour’s pretty house, parking a car legally but with malintent, engaging in faux photography on a public street, raising objections at a municipal hearing, walking on the sidewalk with dictaphone in hand, or just plain thinking badly of a person who lives nearby.

[27]           There is no serious issue to be tried in this action. The Plaintiff’s motion is therefore dismissed.

[28]           Both counsel have submitted costs outlines indicating that the parties have spent tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. Costs awards are a discretionary matter under section 131 of the Courts of Justice Act. In exercising that discretion, Rule 57.01(1) of the Rules of Civil Procedure authorizes me to consider a number of factors including, in Rule 57.01(1)(d), “the importance of the issues”.

[29]           There will be no costs order. Each side deserves to bear its own costs.

The CaseMorland-Jones v. Taerk, 2014 ONSC 3061 (CanLII)

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UGH...SNOW. YOUR LEGAL DUTY AS A HOMEOWNER (SIDEWALKS, STEPS AND DRIVEWAYS)

Let it snow, let is snow, let is snow......What am I obliged to do, as a homeowner, for snow and ice?

In Ontario, homeowners have a a duty to keep their property reasonably safe for others.

Section 3 of the Occupiers’ Liability Act (Ontario) reads:

3. (1) An occupier of premises owes a duty to take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that persons entering on the premises, and the property brought on the premises by those persons are reasonably safe while on the premises.

Idem

(2) The duty of care provided for in subsection (1) applies whether the danger is caused by the condition of the premises or by an activity carried on on the premises.”

This means that you, as a homeowner, need to keep your driveway, steps and the like reasonably clear of snow and ice for others who visit you, including delivery people, guests and even strangers, such as canvassers and people trying to inspect your hot water heater to sell you an allegedly better program.  

If you do not, you may face liability for failing to keep your property reasonably safe for others.

While home insurance is designed to offer some protection to you, it is important that you act reasonably to keep your property reasonably clear of ice and snow – you should not do nothing and rely on a home insurance policy to protect you if you are sued. Claims will also cause your premiums to increase, too, if your home insurer does not decide to drop you as a insured client altogether if you make a claim and you failed to take reasonable steps to keep your property reasonably clear of ice and snow.

There is also a question in Ontario about whether a homeowner must also take reasonable steps to keep the municipal sidewalk clear of dangerous snow or ice. The best practice is to keep it monitored and, if the municipality is not properly clearing it regularly and keeping it in good condition, taking steps should be considered, such as shoveling, using sand or salt and calling the municipality to attend to take proper steps.

You should take these steps as soon as you can after a snowfall or ice build up. If you are too busy or away, you should consider hiring a snow removal contractor to help you or ask a neighbour to do it for you temporarily.

Avoid a lawsuit, be winter safe at your home.   

This WARDS PC BLAWG is for general information only. It is not legal advice, or intended to be. Specific or more information may be necessary before advice could be provided for your circumstances.

More information? We're here to help - jason@wardlegal.ca  www.wardlegal.ca

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SUED FOR DEFAMATION? CONSIDER "I'M SORRY" TO REDUCE YOUR POTENTIAL LIABILITY - IT WORKS.

In Ontario, unlike any other jurisdiction to my knowledge, we’ve made the act of saying “sorry” part of our legal system, for which there are legal ramifications, both for saying it and for not saying it.

In fact, we’ve made it legislation; namely, Ontario’s “Apology Act” (the “Act”).

This is uniquely an Ontario-only legal initiative.

Before the Act, if an apology were made, such as in a defamation case, that apology could be used against the alleged defamer in Court, including to prove the defamation itself and the harm it must have caused.

Not anymore.

Now, an “apology” is legally defined as “an expression of sympathy or regret” and not “an admission of fault or liability in connection with the matter to which the words or actions relate.”

Before the Act was passed, an “apology” statement could technically be construed as an admission of your guilt or wrongdoing.

The Act is great Ontario law, because now we can say “sorry” without fear, legally speaking.

In fact, in a defamation case, for example, making an apology often impacts the legal case, or least may reduce the damages awarded by the Court.

Making an apology impacts other types of cases, too, legally, so there is always advantage in considering making an apology and, if so, the maker need not be worried that it would legally be held against he or she – it can only help. 

The Act is fairly short and straightforward – the key parts are highlighted below. 

Apology Act, 2009

S.O. 2009, CHAPTER 3

Consolidation Period: From April 23, 2009 to the e-Laws currency date.

No Amendments.

Definition

1. In this Act,

“apology” means an expression of sympathy or regret, a statement that a person is sorry or any other words or actions indicating contrition or commiseration, whether or not the words or actions admit fault or liability or imply an admission of fault or liability in connection with the matter to which the words or actions relate. 2009, c. 3, s. 1.

Effect of apology on liability

2. (1) An apology made by or on behalf of a person in connection with any matter,

(a) does not, in law, constitute an express or implied admission of fault or liability by the person in connection with that matter;

(b) does not, despite any wording to the contrary in any contract of insurance or indemnity and despite any other Act or law, void, impair or otherwise affect any insurance or indemnity coverage for any person in connection with that matter; and

(c) shall not be taken into account in any determination of fault or liability in connection with that matter. 2009, c. 3, s. 2 (1).

Exception

(2) Clauses (1) (a) and (c) do not apply for the purposes of proceedings under the Provincial Offences Act. 2009, c. 3, s. 2 (2).

Evidence of apology not admissible

(3) Despite any other Act or law, evidence of an apology made by or on behalf of a person in connection with any matter is not admissible in any civil proceeding, administrative proceeding or arbitration as evidence of the fault or liability of any person in connection with that matter. 2009, c. 3, s. 2 (3).

Exception

(4) However, if a person makes an apology while testifying at a civil proceeding, including while testifying at an out of court examination in the context of the civil proceeding, at an administrative proceeding or at an arbitration, this section does not apply to the apology for the purposes of that proceeding or arbitration. 2009, c. 3, s. 2 (4).

Criminal or provincial offence proceeding or conviction

3. Nothing in this Act affects,

(a) the admissibility of any evidence in,

(i) a criminal proceeding, including a prosecution for perjury, or

(ii) a proceeding under the Provincial Offences Act; or

(b) the use that may be made in the proceedings referred to in subsection 2 (3) of a conviction for a criminal or provincial offence. 2009, c. 3, s. 3.

Acknowledgment, Limitations Act, 2002

4. For the purposes of section 13 of the Limitations Act, 2002, nothing in this Act,

(a) affects whether an apology constitutes an acknowledgment of liability; or

(b) prevents an apology from being admitted in evidence. 2009, c. 3, s. 4.

5. Omitted (provides for coming into force of provisions of this Act). 2009, c. 3, s. 5.

6. Omitted (enacts short title of this Act). 2009, c. 3, s. 6.

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NEW LAW IN ONTARIO LIMITING LAWSUITS FOR CONTRACTING COVID IN BUSINESSES AND BY WORKERS

As anticipated, Bill 218, Supporting Ontario's Recovery and Municipal Elections Act, 2020 has been tabled by the Ontario government and, if passed, will prevent lawsuits relating to COVID-19 infections or exposure from being brought against businesses and workers that make an honest effort to follow public health guidelines and laws aimed at preventing exposure to COVID-19.

The new legislation provides that no cause of action arises against any person as a direct or indirect result of an individual being or potentially being infected with or exposed to COVID-19 on or after March 17, 2020, as a direct or indirect result of an act or omission of the person if:

  1. at the relevant time, the person acted or made a good faith effort to act in accordance with, (i) public health guidance relating to COVID-19 that applied to the person, and (ii) any federal, provincial or municipal law relating to COVID-19 that applied to the person; and

  2. the act or omission of the person does not constitute gross negligence.

What constitutes “public health guidance” is defined broadly and includes advice and recommendations from a long list of individuals and government bodies, including the Chief Medical Officer of Health, public health officials in the Government of Canada, ministers or ministries of the Government of Ontario or Canada and its officers or employees, and municipalities and their officers or employees, among others [subsection 1(1)]. The protection from liability applies “regardless of any conflict or inconsistency in the public health guidance or laws applicable to the person” [subsection 2(2)].

A “good faith effort” is defined to “include an honest effort, whether or not that effort is reasonable” [subsection 1(1)].

Exceptions

However, the proposed legislation provides for a number of important exceptions to the liability protection.

For example, it excludes lawsuits against those whose actions constitute gross negligence.

It also allows for lawsuits stemming from acts or omissions of a person that occurred while a law required the person’s operations to close (in whole or in part), and that relate to an aspect of the person’s operations that was required to close under the law [section 3].

Lastly, it provides broad exceptions relating to employment and the performance of work [subsection 4(2)], including causes of actions by workers in respect of an exposure to or infection with COVID-19 that occurred in the course of or as a result of employment, regardless of whether or not the employer has workers’ compensation coverage.

The legislation also confirms that workers’ compensation legislation (to the extent that an employer participates in the provincial scheme) may still cover COVID-19 exposures and infections.
 

Retroactive Effect

The new legislation, if passed, is intended to have retrospective effect.

No proceedings may be brought or maintained that relate to anything referred to in subsection 2(1), regardless of whether the cause of action arose before, on or after the day the legislation comes into force.

Any such proceedings that are commenced before the legislation comes into force are deemed to have been dismissed, without costs, on the day the legislation comes into force.
 

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UPCOMING DEADLINES FOR CKL BUSINESSES - ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Under Ontario's Accessibility for Ontarians With Disabilities Act ("AODA"), there are some upcoming deadlines CKL businesses may need to be aware of: 

Accessible Websites Required for 2021

Particularly timely with so many of us working, shopping and generally living online is the obligation to make websites accessible. That is set to be in force on the first day of 2021 for private and non-profit organizations with fifty or more employees, as well as all public-sector organizations.

Specifically, this requirement means that all public websites and web content posted after January 1, 2012 must meet WCAG 2.0 Level AA other than criteria 1.2.4 (live captions) and 1.2.5 (pre-recorded audio descriptions).

For guidance on how to make your website and web content accessible so as be compliant, check out this guide.

Compliance Reports due December 31, 2020 June 30, 2021

The deadline to file the 2020 Accessibility Compliance Report, which was the end of this year, has been deferred to the end of June 2021.

The Accessibility Compliance Report is mandatory and confirms that an organization has met its accessibility requirements under the AODA. For more guidance on how to complete it, check out this guide provided by the government. You can download the form here.

The report is required for businesses or non-profit organizations with 20 or more employees, as well as designated public-sector organizations. Ignoring this requirement is risky, as failure to file the report on time can result in financial penalties.

Note that if your circumstances change, you are expected to update your profile. According to the guidelines, if you have a change in:

  • Address

  • Primary contact information

  • Number of employees

  • Status (for example is no longer in business or has fewer than 20 employees)

You can use this form to update your organization’s profile.  

 

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WHAT IS A "PEACE BOND" AND HOW DO I GET ONE AGAINST SOMEONE ELSE? PEACE BONDS - A TO Z.

What is a peace bond?

A peace bond is a court order that is a signed promise, in writing, to keep the peace and be of good behaviour. It can include conditions. For example, the other party may promise not to contact you. 

Anyone can apply for a peace bond under section 810 of the Criminal Code.

These peace bonds are sometimes called "section 810 peace bonds" or "810 recognizances".

To apply for a peace bond, you must go to criminal court and explain why you need a peace bond. For example, you should tell the court why you are afraid that your partner might hurt you, your children, your property, or your pets.

A section 810 peace bond can last for up to one year. If you need to be protected after your peace bond ends, you have to apply for another one.

Applying for a peace bond

To get a peace bond, you need to go to criminal court. Usually, you need to ask a justice of the peace (JP) for a peace bond. To find a JP, call your local courthouse or go to www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/how-do-i/find-a-justice-of-the-peace.

You need to tell the JP why you think you need a peace bond. If the JP thinks there is enough evidence for your application to go to court, they will issue a summons to your partner to appear in court on a specific date.

Summons: a document that orders the other party to go to court on a specific date.

If the other party does not agree to a peace bond, there might be many delays before the court decides whether to give you a peace bond at a hearing.

The court looks at the evidence and decides whether or not they should order a peace bond and what conditions it should include.

You can have a lawyer represent you in court. Usually, you have to come to court to tell your side of the story. But you do not have to come if the other party agrees before the court date to sign a peace bond.

Important: Sometimes a JP or criminal court judge will suggest that both people sign a peace bond. This is called a "mutual" peace bond. Never agree to sign a mutual peace bond without getting legal advice first. It would mean that you must follow the same conditions as the other party. An cagey other party might try to get you to break a condition and then call the police to report you.

Conditions in a peace bond

Even though it is a court order, the peace bond will not give the other party a criminal record. But if the other party breaks any of the bond's conditions, call the police. The other party might be charged with breaching a peace bond, which is a criminal offence. If he or she is found guilty, he or she can be sentenced to time in jail.

Peace bonds are entered on the police information computer system. The police can arrest anyone who breaks any of the conditions.

After you get a peace bond

Keep a certified copy of the peace bond with you at all times. The police need to see it before they can do anything if the other party does not follow the peace bond.

You might also want to give a copy to others. 

Note, however, that if the other party opposes your request for a peace bond, there could be a hearing, which may mean time and expense for everyone involved.   

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WHAT DOES "PROBATE" MEAN? DO I REALLY NEED A LAWYER TO "PROBATE" A WILL?

So, you have been named as an “estate trustee” (i.e., executor) in a last will and testament – what now?

This is typically an onerous role, so it is important you understand your duties and potential liabilities if you accept this role, which you must decide at the outset.

In Ontario, “probate” is an antiquated legal term, but it commonly used in estate-related matters to this day.

Probate is the court processes that proves the validity of a will and provides the power and control to the estate trustee (also known as a Personal Representative) to act on the instructions left in the will by the deceased. 

Upon a successful granting of probate, the will is confirmed by the courts as the last valid will of the deceased.  

Importantly the process requires notice to those who are involved in the estate (directly through being named in the will) or should be involved in the will (through statute). For instance, if the deceased did not make any provisions for his or her spouse in the will, the spouse has to be notified of the probate. 

What does the probate process look like?

Speaking generally, probate looks like:

  1. Some investigation into the estate (What did the deceased own? Are there outstanding debts?);

  2.  A sizeable amount of paperwork (known as application forms, available online or through your lawyer);

  3. Swearing or affirming that paperwork in front of a Commissioner for Oaths; and

  4. Electronically filing your paperwork with the Court, after properly serving the paperwork on everyone who is required by statute.   

The court clerks then review the forms. If they require any changes or have any concerns they will contact you for revisions. If the documents are in order, the forms will be provided to a Superior Court Justice for review and, if all is in order, approval. 

You will then be notified by the clerks that you have received a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee With a Will (sometimes referred to as a “grant of probate”). 

Handling probate without a lawyer

Do you need a lawyer?

In straightforward situations it can be relatively easy. If the will is straightforward and the estate is straightforward an estate trustee may not require the professional assistance of a lawyer. 

If this is not the case an estate trustee may want the assistance of a lawyer to help navigate through the application and filing processes.  

Sometimes it can be hard to know if a will or an estate is straightforward and an estate trustee may not know whether they even need a lawyer. 

Things to consider

Questions to consider include:

  1. Does the will meet the formal requirements of a valid will?

  2. Is it clear what the testator’s estate is comprised of?

  3. Is the will clear as to who should receive the estate under the will?

  4. Did the testator exclude someone who is required by statute to receive notice of probate? 

  5. Should the executor take additional steps to locate creditors or debts of the deceased?

There are many other issues that may make a probate process contentious. 

Contentious probate

A contentious probate means there is a dispute relating to the administration of the estate. 

This could be:

  • a dispute over the validity and/or interpretation of a will, 

  • a dispute over the circumstances of the execution of the will (the capacity of the testator for instance), 

  • a dispute between the estate trustee and a beneficiary, or 

  • a dispute of the worth of the estate… to name a few. 

Not all of these disputes can be avoided, but an executor who is aware of these issues at the outset is better able to take informed steps in the process and ideally better serve the estate.

Credit:  Eleanor Carlson, Carbert Waite LLP, published via Lexology.com on Oct. 15, 2020

 

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HALLOWE'EN IN THE CKL - ON OR OFF? SAFETY TIPS FOR TRICK-OR-TREATING AND SPOOKY GATHERINGS

The Health Unit recommends rethinking the usual door-to-door trick-or-treating this year due to COVID-19 concerns.

They encourage creative ways to celebrate at home.

TRICK-OR-TREATING:

However, if you do decide to do a little trick-or-treating this year………….

  • Individually wrap goodie bags and leave them out on a table or chair at the end of your walk or driveway.

  • Don't go trick-or-treating if feeling ill, even if symptoms are minor

  • Choose costumes that allow a non-medical mask to be worn underneath - make sure you can see and breathe comfortably

  • Minimize contact with others: trick-or-treat with your family or cohort, remain within your community, and stay 2 metres apart

  • Avoid touching doorbells or railings: call "trick or treat" from 2 metres away, knock instead of using doorbells, use hand sanitizer after touching surfaces

  • Wash hands and disinfect packages before eating candy

HANDING OUT CANDY:

  • Don't hand out candy if feeling ill or isolating

  • Wear a non-medical mask that fully covers your nose and mouth

  • Ask trick-or-treaters to knock or call out instead of ringing the doorbell

  • Use tongs to hand out pre-packaged candy to avoid handling treats

Find creative ways to maintain distance from trick-or-treaters:

  • Hand out treats from your driveway or front lawn, if weather permits

  • Set up a table or desk to help keep yourself distanced

  • Make candy bags and space them out on a table or blanket; don't leave out self-serve bowls of bulk candy

  • Build a candy slide, candy catapult or other fun, non-touch delivery methods

HALLOWE’EN GET TOGETHERS:

  • Stay home if feeling ill, even if symptoms are mild

  • Spend time with people you know - the smaller the group the better

  • Choose games and activities that don't use shared items and allows people to stay 2 metres apart

  • Don't share drinks, food, cigarettes, vapes or cannabis

  • Host your party outdoors, if weather permits. If you must stay indoors:

  • reduce your gathering size (max is ten people indoors; 25 outdoors)

  • choose a location that allows for physical distancing between people from separate families and cohorts

  • provide hand sanitizer

  • Wash or sanitize your hands often

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HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT YOUR TURKEY? FUN TURKEY FACTS.

Gobble, gobble. How much do you really know about your festive bird this year? 

Did you know? 

  • As far back as 1000 A.D., Native American Indians raised turkeys for food. Aztec Indians in Mexico were raising them as early as 200 B.C.

  • Turkeys originally existed in the eastern US. and Mexico.

  • Turkeys are actually a type of pheasant.

  • The heaviest turkey weighed in at 86 pounds. Please pass the stuffing!

  • Turkeys have excellent and a wide range of vision, about 270 degrees.

  • Mature turkeys have about 3,500 feathers. I wonder who took the time to count them?

  • The turkey industry grosses over $1billion a year.

  • The Average American consumes over 15 pounds of Turkey per year.

  • Americans will cook over 45 million turkeys on Thanksgiving Day.

  • 235 million turkeys were raised in 2014. The record is 302.7 million in 1996.

  • Over 770 million pounds of cranberries are consumed on Thanksgiving.

  • Turkey, like poultry, is lower in cholesterol than beef an many other meats. The dark meat (thigh, legs,) contains more fat and cholesterol than white meat. So, that's why dark meat tastes so good!

  • Male Turkeys are called "Toms" or "Gobblers", female turkeys are called "Hens" and baby turkeys are called "poults".

  • How's that taste? Old Toms are better tasting then young toms. Conversely, young hens taste better than old hens.

  • In 2016, there was over 100,000 phone calls to the Butterball Turkey Talk Line. The average call time was 3 munites, and 8 seconds.

  • Only Tom turkeys "gobble".

  • That long, loose skin that hangs down from a turkey's neck is called a "wattle".

  • Turkey eggs are tan in color and speckled with brown. They are about twice as large as chicken eggs.

  • Wild turkeys can fly 55 miles per hour, and run 25 miles per hour.

  • In 1947, the first Presidential pardon was ceremoniously given to a turkey.

  • The  "Turkey Trot" was named after how turkeys walk.... in short, jerky steps.

  • Sleepy after the big meal? Turkey contains an amino acid called "Tryptophan". Tryptophan sets off a chemical chain reaction that calms you down and makes you sleepy.

  • At the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621, the pilgrims did not serve pumpkin pie, Rather, they made stewed pumpkin.

  • The Native American name for turkey is "Firkee"

  • You can tell the sex of a turkey from their poop. Males form a spiral on the ground, while females leave "J" shaped poop. I'm sure you wanted to know this.

  • Mature turkeys have over 3,500 feathers.

  • Native Americans considered turkeys to be weak. As a result, they would only eat them when food was scarce, or in times of famine.

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GOBBLE, GOBBLE - REMINDER - GATHERING RULES (THANKSGIVING) STIFF FINES TO BOTH VISITORS AND HOSTS - POLICE HAVE NOW BEEN DIRECTED TO ENFORCE, NOT EDUCATE.

Unmonitored and private social gatherings include functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, BBQs or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, parks and other recreational areas.

The limit on the number of people allowed to attend an unmonitored private social gathering across the province is:

  • 10 people at an indoor event or gathering (previous limit of 50); or

  • 25 people at an outdoor event or gathering (previous limit of 100).

Indoor and outdoor events and gatherings cannot be merged together. Gatherings of 35 (25 outdoors and 10 indoors) are not permitted.

These limits do not apply to events or gatherings held in staffed businesses and facilities, such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, convention centres, banquet halls, gyms, places of worship, recreational sporting or performing art events.

Existing rules, including public health and workplace safety measures for these businesses and facilities, continue to be in effect.

The new amendments to the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act establish:

  • a new offence regarding hosting or organizing a gathering in residential premises or other prescribed premises that exceeds limits under an order.

  • A minimum fine of $10,000 for organizers of these gatherings.

  • Authority for the Lieutenant Governor in Council to prescribe additional types of premises for the purpose of the new offence.

  • Authority for a police officer, special constable or First Nations constable to order the temporary closure of a premises where there are reasonable grounds to believe that any gathering exceeding the number of people allowed is taking place and require individuals to leave the premises.

It remains important for everyone to continue following public health advice. This includes:

  • staying home when ill, or keeping your child home from school when ill, even with mild symptoms;

  • practising physical distancing with those outside your household or social circle, or at gatherings;

  • wearing a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge or where it is mandatory to do so;

  • washing your hands frequently and thoroughly; and

  • adhering to gathering limits and rules.

For additional protection, the Ontario government is encouraging everyone to download the new COVID Alert app on their smart phone from the Apple and Google Play app stores.

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MASKING 101 IN THE CKL - DO YOU HAVE TO PROVE YOU ARE EXEMPTED? WHAT ABOUT IN THE CAR WHILE WORKING? MORE TO KNOW.........

Ontario government amended Regulation 364/20 to establish additional COVID-19-related requirements for Ontario businesses and other organizations.

The Regulation now requires businesses and other organizations to ensure that any person - including but not limited to employees - wears a mask or face covering whenever the person is in an indoor area or in a vehicle that is operating as part of the business or organization.

The Regulation sets out a number of specific exceptions to the mask requirement. Most notably for employers, individuals are not required to wear a mask if they:

  • Have a medical condition that inhibits their ability to wear a mask or face covering;

  • Are unable to put on or remove their mask or face covering without the assistance of another person;

  • Are being accommodated under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act;

  • Are being reasonably accommodated under the Human Rights Code;

  • Perform work for the business or organization, are in an area that is not accessible to members of the public, and are able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person while in the indoor area.

The amended Regulation expressly states that a person is not required to provide evidence to demonstrate that they fall within one of the exceptions.

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CERB IS OVER - THE NEW EI EXPLAINED - DO i NEED TO RE-APPLY? THE NEW BENEFITS AVAILABLE TO REPLACE CERB IN THE CKL. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.........

Although the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”) ended on October 3, 2020, many Canadians still find themselves in need of financial assistance due to the impact of COVID-19.

As a result, changes have been implemented to make Employment Insurance (“EI”) benefits more accessible. These changes are anticipated to be in effect for one year starting September 27, 2020.

Under the revised EI program, Canadians who were on CERB will receive $500 per week, the same amount they had received on CERB.

Canadians can also work while on EI and earn up to a maximum of $38,000 annually.

If a Canadian received CERB through Service Canada, in order to receive EI, most will not have to apply. However in order to continue receiving benefits, Canadians are required to continue completing reports to demonstrate their eligibility.

If a Canadian does not qualify for EI, they will be notified by mail. Those that will need to reapply include those who have a SIN that starts with a 9, those who are self-employed, and those who declared that they returned to full-time work on their CERB report.

If a Canadian received CERB through the Canada Revenue Agency (the “CRA”),  they will need to apply for EI.

Canadians may be eligible for EI If the following criteria are met:

  • did not leave their employment voluntarily;

  • for regular EI benefits, they must be ready, willing, and capable to work each day;

  • for EI maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care, and family caregiver benefits the individual must be unable to work due to providing care for someone else; and

  • employed for at least 120 insurable hours in the past year (however, if an individual received CERB, the period to accumulate insured hours will be increased).

On October 2, 2020, the COVID-19 Response Measures Act, SC 2020, c 12 was passed, creating three new recovery benefits in an attempt to fill gaps in the EI program. It had been unclear whether this bill would be passed and Canadians would receive the three new recovery benefits. These benefits are now retroactive to September 27, 2020 and will be available for one year, ending September 25, 2021. The three new benefits are as follows:

  • The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit will provide $500 weekly for up to two weeks to workers who are unable to work at least half of the week for multiple reasons related to COVID-19, including contracting COVID-19 and self-isolating due to COVID-19.

  • The Canada Recovery Benefit provides Canadians $500 per week for up to 26 weeks if they have stopped working, are not eligible for EI, or have had their income reduced by at least 50% as a result of COVID-19.

  • The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit provides $500 weekly for up to 26 weeks for Canadians who are unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they must care for an individual whose school or care facility is closed due to COVID-19, the individual they care for is sick or required to quarantine, or the individual they care for is particularly susceptible to poor outcomes from COVID-19. Only one household member may collect this benefit.

It is clear that COVID-19 has had a lasting impact on the finances and employment of many Canadians. It is hoped that the transition from EI to CERB will be seamless and provide Canadians with the financial assistance they require.  At the same time, it is hoped that the benefits will not hinder the transition back to work for employees who have been given the option of returning to their workplace. 

Credit: 

Deanna Froese, Harper Grey LLP, published on Lexology.com on Oct. 7, 2020 

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YOUR A-Z FOR MASKING - DO I WEAR IT AT WORK? WHAT ABOUT HEALTHCARE WORKERS? WHEN CAN I TAKE IT OFF? WEAR IT IN EVERY PUBLIC PLACE? DO'S AND DON'TS, TOO!

As the number of new cases continues to rise, the province is taking more action to prevent and stop the spread of the virus and avoid future lockdowns.

These new restrictions were adopted through the amended order O. Reg 364/20 (Rules for Areas in Stage 3 under the Reopening Ontario [A Flexible Response to COVID-19] Act, 2020).

They include mandating the use of face coverings in all public indoor settings across the province, such as businesses, facilities and workplaces, with limited exemptions, including corrections and developmental services.

The best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) is by staying home and avoiding close contact with others outside of your household.

When you do go out, you must use a face covering (non-medical mask, such as a cloth mask) in public indoor spaces and whenever physical distancing is a challenge.

This includes:

  • public spaces (for example, inside stores, event spaces, entertainment facilities and common areas in hotels)

  • workplaces, even those that are not open to the public

  • vehicles that operate as part of a business or organization, including taxis and rideshares

Face coverings will not stop you from getting COVID-19, but may help protect others.

Medical masks (surgical, medical procedure face masks and respirators like N95 masks) should be reserved for use by health care workers and first responders.

When you don’t have to wear a face covering

There are some situations when you do not need to wear a face covering.

You do not need medical documentation to support any of the exceptions below.

Children

Children do not have to wear a face covering indoors if they are younger than two years old.

Health and accommodations

You do not need to wear a face covering if you:

  • have a medical condition that inhibits your ability to wear a face covering

  • are unable to put on or remove your face covering without help from someone else

  • are receiving accommodations according to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 or the Human Rights Code

Correctional institutions

You do not need to wear a face covering if you are in a:

  • correctional institution

  • custody program for young persons in conflict with the law

  • detention program for young persons in conflict with the law

Workplaces

You do not need to wear a face covering when you are working in an area that allows you to maintain a distance of at least 2 metres from anyone else while you are indoors.

Residences and dwellings

You do not need to wear a face covering in:

  • university dorms, retirement homes, long-term care homes or other similar dwellings except when you are in a common area and can’t maintain 2 metres from others

  • residences for people with disabilities (any residences listed in the definition of“residential services and supports”in subsection 4 (2) of the Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008)

Performing or rehearsing

You do not need to wear a face covering while you are performing or rehearsing for a:

  • film or television production

  • concert

  • artistic event

  • theatrical performance

Temporarily taking off your face covering

You can take off your face covering temporarily:

  • to receive services that require you to take it off (for example, at the dentist, when receiving some personal care services such as facials, or when you have to verify your identity)  

  • to engage in an athletic or fitness activity

  • to eat or drink

  • as necessary for health and safety purposes

Fit

Non-medical masks or face coverings should:

  • fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops

  • maintain their shape after washing and drying

  • be made of at least two layers of tightly woven material (such as cotton or linen)

  • be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose and mouth without gaping

Face coverings will not protect you from getting COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself is to:

  • minimize errands to a single trip where possible

  • avoid close contact with others and keep at least two metres from others outside your household

  • wash your hands regularly (or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available)

  • practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette (for example, sneeze and cough into your sleeve and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth)

How to properly use face coverings

When wearing a face covering, you should:

  • wash your hands immediately before putting it on and immediately after taking it off (practise good hand hygiene while you are wearing the face covering)

  • make sure the face covering fits well around your nose and mouth

  • avoid moving the mask around or adjusting it often

  • avoid touching the covering while using it

  • not share it with others

Face coverings should be changed when they get slightly wet or dirty.

Remove or dispose of face coverings

When removing a face covering, you should:

  • throw it out into a lined garbage bin

  • wash your hands

Do not leave any discarded face coverings in shopping carts or on the ground.

Cleaning

If the face covering can be cleaned, you should:

  • put it directly into the washing machine or a bag that can be emptied into the washing machine

  • wash with other items using a hot cycle with laundry detergent (no special soaps are needed), and dry thoroughly

  • wash your hands after putting the face covering into the laundry

All face coverings that cannot be cleaned should be thrown out and replaced as soon as they get slightly wet, dirty or crumpled.

For more information, please read the Public Health Ontario (PHO) fact sheet.

Summary dos and don’ts

Do:

  • wash your hands immediately before putting on and immediately after taking off a face covering or face mask

  • practise good hand hygiene while you are wearing the face covering

  • make sure the face covering fits well around your nose and mouth

  • avoid moving the mask around or adjusting it often

  • avoid touching the covering while using it

  • change the face covering or face mask when it gets slightly wet or dirty

Do not:

  • share face coverings or face masks with others

  • place on children under the age of two years or on anyone unable to remove without assistance or who has trouble breathing

  • use plastic or other non-breathable materials as a face covering or face mask

Guidance for health care workers

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a garment or device worn by health care workers to protect themselves from infection when they:

  • are in close contact with people who are infected

  • can’t maintain a safe physical distance

  • do not have access to a physical barrier

PPE includes:

  • surgical masks, also called procedural or medical masks, which prevent droplets and splashes from passing through the mask material  

  • respirators, such as the N95 respirator, which have a filter and seal around the nose and mouth to help prevent exposure to airborne particles

  • gowns

  • gloves

  • eye protection, such as goggles or face shields

The type of PPE you need depends on the type of health care work you do. Health care workers who provide direct care to patients with suspected or confirmed COVID‑19 need to:

  • follow droplet and contact precautions

  • use a surgical mask, isolation gown, gloves and eye protection

 

 

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CAN MY BOSS TELL ME WHEN I CAN TAKE MY VACATION? YES....

I just returned to work. Can my boss tell me when I can take my vacation this year? Yes. 

Because the COVID-19 pandemic has made travel impossible or risky to one’s health, employers may face employee requests to delay vacation time. In this Insight, we help employers in Ontario understand their rights and obligations when faced with such a request.

What is an Employee’s Vacation Entitlement?

Under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA)

Part XI of the ESA sets out the minimum requirements for an employee’s annual vacation:1

  • An employee whose period of employment is less than five years is entitled to two weeks of vacation time after the completion of each 12-month vacation entitlement year; and

  • An employee whose period of employment is five years or more is entitled to three weeks of vacation time after the completion of each 12-month vacation entitlement year.2

The “period of employment” is the period when the employee has been employed by the employer since the employee’s hire date. Inactive periods of employment (e.g., leaves or temporary lay-offs) do not affect the period of employment; both active and inactive periods of employment are included when determining an employee’s vacation entitlement.3

The ESA defines a “standard vacation entitlement year” as a recurring 12-month period beginning on the date of hire.4 An employer may establish an “alternative vacation entitlement year,” which is defined as a recurring 12-month period chosen by the employer and beginning on a date other than the first day of the employee’s employment.5 An employee is entitled to a pro-rated amount of vacation time for the period of employment (the "stub period") that precedes the first alternative vacation entitlement year.6

If an employee will not be taking vacation in complete weeks, the employer must base the number of vacation days to which the employee is entitled:

  • On the number of days in the employee’s regular work week; or

  • If the employee does not have a regular work week, on the average number of days the employee worked per week during the most recently completed vacation entitlement year.7

An employee must request permission, in writing, from their employer to take vacation time in days rather than weeks; if the employer agrees to this in writing, the employee may do so.8

Under an Employment Contract

The employer and employee may agree in an employment contract that the employee will be entitled to a vacation period greater than the employee’s statutory entitlement. If such an agreement is reached, the greater vacation period will prevail.9 Furthermore, vacation time can be taken prior to the expiry of the 12-month vacation entitlement year if the employer agrees, or the employee’s contract of employment clearly so provides.

Circumstances in Which an Employee May Forgo Vacation

If the Director of Employment Standards approves and an employee’s employer agrees, an employee may be allowed to forego taking vacation to which they are entitled under Part XI of the ESA.10

Determining the Timing of Vacation

The employer has the right and obligation to determine when an employee may take vacation for a vacation entitlement year, subject to the following rules:

  • The vacation must be completed no later than 10 months after the end of the vacation entitlement year for which it is given.

  • If the employee’s period of employment is less than five years, the vacation must be (a) a two-week period; or (b) two periods of one week each, unless the employee requests in writing that the vacation be taken in shorter periods and the employer agrees to that request.

  • If the employee’s period of employment is five years or more, the vacation must be (a) a three-week period; (b) a two-week period and a one-week period; or (c) three periods of one week each, unless the employee requests in writing that the vacation be taken in shorter periods and the employer agrees to that request.11

An employer may not schedule an employee’s vacation during the statutory notice of termination period, unless the employee, after having received the notice, agrees to the inclusion of the vacation time during the statutory notice period.12

Timing of Vacation if Employer Establishes Alternative Vacation Entitlement Year

If an employer establishes an alternative vacation entitlement year for an employee, the employer has the right and the obligation to determine when an employee may take the vacation time earned for the stub period.13 However, the vacation must be completed no later than 10 months after the start of the first alternative vacation entitlement year. Unless the employee requests in writing that the vacation be taken in shorter periods and the employer agrees to that request, if the vacation entitlement is equal to two or more days, the vacation must be taken in a period of consecutive days. However, if the vacation entitlement is equal to or more than five days, at least five vacation days must be taken in a period of consecutive days and the remaining vacation days may be taken in a separate period of consecutive days.14

Bottom Line for Employers

During the COVID-19 pandemic and otherwise, employers in Ontario have the right and obligation to determine when an employee may take vacation. Employers are not required to allow an employee to delay their vacation, but may allow an employee to do so. However, should an employer decide to allow an employee to delay their vacation, rules set out in the ESA apply. For a standard vacation entitlement year, the employer must ensure that the employee’s vacation is completed no later than 10 months after the end of the vacation entitlement year; for an alternative vacation entitlement year, the employer must ensure that the vacation is completed no later than 10 months after the start of the first alternative vacation entitlement year. In addition, the employer must not schedule the employee’s vacation during the statutory notice of termination period unless the employee, after having received the notice, agrees to the inclusion of the vacation time during the statutory notice period.

Credit

Littler LLP - Rhonda B. Levy and Barry Kuretzky, published on Lexology.com on October 6, 2020. 

 

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$#@&% COLLECTION AGENCY - CAN THEY DO THIS TO ME? WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS? YOUR ANSWERS.......

Can this *&$@*# collection agency do this? What are my rights?

In Ontario, collection agencies must be registered with the Government of Ontario and must follow the rules set out in Ontario’s Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act.

When a collection agency contacts you to collect money that you may owe or when you can’t pay a debt, they must follow those rules.

If you’re contacted:

Before a collection agency can contact you they need to send you a written notice through regular mail (email doesn’t count).

This notice must include:

  • the name of the person or business that says you owe them money (known as the creditor)

  • the amount of money that the creditor says you owe

  • the name of the collection agency and a statement that the creditor has asked them to collect the debt

After sending the notice, the agency must wait six days before they can contact you in person or by phone.

After their first conversation with you, an agency can’t contact you more than three times in a seven-day period without your consent.

“Contact” means the agents must actually speak with you, email you or leave you a voice mail. If you don’t answer the phone and the agents don’t leave a message, it doesn’t count as a contact. A letter sent by regular mail also does not count as a contact.

If the debt is mistake or an incorrect amount:

If you think that they have the wrong person or that the debt is incorrect:

Contact the collection agency and explain. They must take reasonable steps to make sure you are the right person to contact about the debt:

• If you are not the right person, they can’t keep contacting you.

• If you are the right person, but the debt is incorrect, you can take the following steps:

  1. if you already paid the debt, contact the collection agency and, if applicable, original creditor to correct the error. Provide supporting documentation if available.

  2. check your credit report to see if the amount is correct and write to the credit reporting agency and provide the correct information.

A collection agency cannot do any of the following to you, or anyone else:

• phone on holidays, Sundays (except between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.), or on any other days between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., unless you request it;

• use threatening, profane, intimidating or coercive language;

• use undue, excessive or unreasonable pressure; or harass you;

• contact you more than three times in seven days on behalf of the same creditor, subject to certain exceptions;

• give false or misleading information to any person;

• contact you in a way you told them to stop using because it cost you money; or

• charge you any fees, other than for non-sufficient funds on cheques.

A collection agency can contact the following people but only in limited circumstances:

  1. Your employer:

• once only to confirm your employment, business title or business address;

• if your employer has guaranteed the debt and the contact is about that guarantee;

• if it’s about a court order or an automatic salary deduction (wage assignment); or

• if you have given the collection agency written permission.

2.Your spouse, family or household member, relative, neighbour, friend or acquaintance:

• to get your contact information if the agency doesn’t have it already;

• if you asked the agency to discuss the debt with that person; or

• if that person has guaranteed the debt and the contact is about that guarantee.

Ask the right questions when a collection agency contacts you, such as:

  • may I have your Ontario registration number?

  • have you sent me a written notice with my creditor’s name and the amount of money that I owe?

  • how often will you be contacting me?

If you’re contacted by mistake

A collection agency can’t keep contacting you if:

  • you send a registered letter to the agency saying that you dispute the debt and suggest the matter be taken to court

  • you (or your lawyer or paralegal) send a registered letter with your lawyer or paralegal’s contact information telling the agency to communicate only with your lawyer or paralegal

  • you have told them that you are not the person they are looking for, unless the agency has taken reasonable steps to make sure you are the person that they should be contacting

A collection agency can’t contact your spouse, family member, a relative, neighbour or friend except to get your address and telephone number, unless:

  • the person has guaranteed the debt

  • you have given permission for the person to be contacted to act on your behalf

Also, a collection agency can’t:

  • give false or misleading information to any person

  • recommend that a creditor take legal action against you without sending you notice first

File a complaint

If a collection agency has broken the rules, you can send the agency a letter and include what you believe they did wrong and that you expect them to follow the law

If this does not resolve the problem, you can file a complaint. Learn more how you can do this at http://www.ontario.ca/consumers/filing-consumer-complaint

If you file a complaint, be sure to include documents and evidence to support it. For example, you can include:

  • all letters, emails and faxes that you sent or received from the collection agency

  • a record of the date, time and details of the phone calls or messages you received

  • a photograph of your telephone display showing the collector’s phone number and the time they called

  • digital recordings of phone messages or conversations

  • letters from your employer, co-workers, family or friends confirming that the collector contacted them

Tips to deal with debt

If you are contacted by a collection agency, try to pay the money you owe as soon as possible. Otherwise, the problem could get worse. If you can’t pay the full amount that you owe at once, try to arrange monthly payments.

The person or business that you owe money to might:

  • take you to court and get a judgement against you, allowing them to seize your assets or take part of your salary

  • sell your debt to another person (your rights under Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act would not apply unless that person hires a collection agency)

  • report the debt to a consumer reporting agency, which could lead to you having a bad credit record

When paying off your debt, make sure to:

  • never send cash and always get a receipt or proof of payment

  • not bounce cheques and miss payments

  • contact the collection agency in writing if your financial circumstances change or you can’t make payments

  • contact the agency and the original creditor if there is a mistake in your account

  • deal only with the collection agency to avoid any confusion, if everything is correct

Where to get help

If your financial problems are getting out of hand, consider contacting a credit counselling service for help through:

  • The Ontario Association of Credit Counselling Services

  • Credit Counselling Canada

  • The Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals (CAIRP)

Credit counsellors are different than debt settlement services. Debt settlement services will charge you a fee to help you negotiate a plan to repay your debts. Credit counsellors are often not-for-profit organizations.

Watch out for debt settlement companies that:

  • say they can reduce your debt by 50% or more

  • charge large, upfront fees

  • claim that if you work with them there will be no negative effect on your credit report

  • claim that their program is approved by the government

  • say they can get collection agencies to stop calling you

Always take the time to understand your contract.

Remember that some of these companies will charge a cancellation fee if you want to end your contract before the end of its term.

They may also not refund any money that you paid them.

 

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WHAT IF THERE IS A SCHOOL OUTBREAK? WHO DOES WHAT? WHO'S ON FIRST? YOUR ANSWERS.......

What happens if there is a local school outbreak? Who does what? Who's on first? 

Firstly, the “Local Public Health Unit” (“LPHU”) may declare an outbreak if it determines two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in students/staff/visitors in a school with an epidemiological link within a 14-day period where at least one case could have reasonably acquired their infection in the school (including transportation and before and after school care).

Secondly, if so……..

The Health Unit will:

  • notify District School Board (DSB) COVID-19 Lead and school principal of outbreak declaration and request further information;  

  • determine which cohort(s) must isolate and indicates partial or full school dismissal;

  • communicate cohort isolation requirements and outbreak masures and enhanced cleaning requirements to the District School Board COVID-19 Lead and school principal;

  • post outbreak notice on website (included in cumulative total/dashboard);

  • conduct contact tracing of determined close contacts of positive case and provides guidance on testing and isolation; and

  • notify Dstrict School Board COVID-19 Lead and school principal when safe return to school is indicated.

The school should:

  • compile information needed in relation to staff/student cohort(s) and provides to LPHU, including:

• attendance records;

• class/cohort lists and seating charts;

• before/after school child care lists;

• transportation lists and seating charts;

• current contact info for students/staff;

• special assignments/programs/activities (e.g., Special Education); and

• records of essential visitors;

  • distribute parent communications as directed by District School Board and in collaboration with LPHU; and

  • implement any/all outbreak measures recommended by LPHU including:

• posting outbreak signage at entrance and affected areas;

• informing outside agencies that use the school of the outbreak;  

• only allowing essential visitors into the school;  

• further minimizing the movement of staff between cohorts;

• limiting student activities to their required cohorts and discontinuing extracurricular activities, as much as possible;  

• restricting all staff (including school, transportation, staff from home care agencies or others that provide medical services to those in school) from working in other schools; and

• for social settings outside of the school recommend to staff, students and their families, adherence to the social bubble (size based on current provincial recommendations).

The School Board should:

  • notify School Principal of outbreak; and  

  • considers communication linking to outbreak posting on school board website.

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WHAT IF MY KID FAILS THE MORNING SCREENING? DO WE GO TO SCHOOL? WHAT DO WE DO? YOUR ANSWERS......

WHAT IF MY KID FAILS THE VIRUS SCREENING IN THE MORNING?

Firstly, if your child has a chronic medical condition, are the child’s symptoms worse or different than normal?

If the same, your kid may attend school (with stable symptoms of a known chronic condition), but speak to your family doctor if you have any concerns.

If yes, call the school and inform them of your kid’s illness. Your kid should stay home and seek medical advice.

However, if your kid was tested they are required self-isolate while the results are pending. If the results are negative, and your kid has no known exposure, attend school when the symptoms are resolved for 24 hours.

If it has been recommended to be tested, but you did not get tested, and if no alternative diagnosis was given, your kid should self-isolate for 14 days from the onset of the symptoms.

Source: https://www.hkpr.on.ca/

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CKL BUSINESSES - YOU MUST NOW "SCREEN" ALL STAFF AND SERVICE PROVIDERS TO ENTER YOUR BUSINESS - WHAT YOU NEED NOW TODAY.

By order of Ontario health officials, starting September 25, 20200, all workplaces in Ontario must screen all workers, contractors, volunteers and outside service providers for COVID-19 as a condition of entry to the premises.

Failure to comply can lead to significant penalties, including potentially fines and imprisonment under the legislation. 

The new "COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces (Businesses and Organizations)" (PDF - the "Screening Tool") is available here:

http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/docs/workplace_screening_tool_guidance.pdf

Per the Screening Tool, virtually everyone must be screened to enter the workplace; namely:

  • workers, which means all staff and is "intended to include students, contractors or volunteers that conduct business or related activities where applicable and appropriate"; and

  • essential visitors, which "includes individuals providing a service in the establishment who are not employees or patrons of the establishment (e.g., delivery, maintenance, contract workers)."

You do not need to screen:

  • patrons of an establishment; or

  • "emergency services or other first responders entering a workplace for emergency purposes".

However, businesses are not prohibited by the Screening Tool from subjecting these individuals to screening in accordance with applicable legal requirements. 

The Screening Tool outlines three screening questions that should be used "at a minimum". Each individual subject to the Screening Tool is to be asked:

  • whether the individual has any new or worsening symptoms or signs of COVID-19;

  • whether the individual has travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days; and

  • whether the individual has had close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19.

These screening questions are to be applied before or at the time a worker enters the workplace at the beginning of their workday or shift, or when an essential visitor arrives.

If the worker or essential visitor answers "yes" to any of the three questions, then pursuant to the Screening Tool, the individual should be advised that they should not enter the workplace, should self-isolate at home and should call their health care provider or Telehealth Ontario.

The Screening Tool also applies to any outdoor or partially outdoor workplace.

What is a "probable case of COVID-19"?

Per the Ontario Ministry of Health's Case Definition for COVID-19 (PDF), which as of August 6, 2020, defines a probable case as follows:

A. a person (who has not had a laboratory test) with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 AND:

  1. traveled to an affected area (including inside of Canada) in the 14 days prior to symptom onset; OR

  2. had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19; OR

  3. lived in or worked in a facility known to be experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19 (e.g. long-term care, prison),

OR

B. a person with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 AND in whom laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19 is inconclusive.

Overview

Before this, employers were already required to operate workplaces in compliance with the "advice, recommendations and instructions of public health officials", which would include public health officials at the municipal, provincial and federal level as applicable.

Now, Ontario employers must now specifically comply with the requirements of the Screening Tool, and to implement such screening at any physical workplaces it operates in the province.

Any employer who was not already screening workers and other visitors to their premises should implement the Screening Tool as a condition of entry.  Employers who are already screening workers and other visitors should review their screening procedures in light of the requirements of the Screening Tool.

The Screening Tool has an acknowledgement that it "may be adapted based on need and the specific setting" and, therefore, there appears to be some flexibility in how it is implemented.

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CKL - MINIMUM WAGES INCREASE OCT. 1 - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.

Employers operating in Ontario, Canada should be aware that Ontario’s minimum wage rate is set to increase on October 1, 2020. This increase affects not only the general minimum wage rate, but also the alternative minimum wage rates that apply in Ontario.

Effective on October 1, 2020, all minimum wage rates are increasing as follows:

 

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WHAT HAPPENS IF I DIE WITHOUT A WILL? WHAT'S ALL THE FUSS ABOUT?

You know you should do it - make an estate plan. Do a last will and testament and your powers of attorney. Don't let the government take more than necessary; protect your beneficiaries. 

But what happens if you don't listen and you have no will or estate plan? Is it really that bad? 

Answer - yes, it can be. Read on. 

What happens if I die without a valid will?

An individual is said to die "intestate" if there is no properly executed Will. When a person dies intestate a number of questions present themselves. Among them will be, who will administer my estate? How will my assets be distributed?

Under these circumstances, in order to deal with your assets, someone has to apply to the Court, in order to become the legal representative of your estate and to receive what is known as a Certificate of Estate Trustee Without a Will (frequently referred to informally as “probate”). That person will be the closest relative who wants to assume the burden of looking after your assets, paying your taxes and other debts, selling your assets and distributing the balance of your estate to a person or persons, in accordance with a very specific list of relatives prescribed by law. If more than one such relative wishes to be appointed, in a Court application which must be made, a Judge will decide who will be appointed, after a hearing and substantial expense.

When making the original application for a Certificate, “probate fees” (formally, Ontario “Estate Administration Tax”) will be payable on the fair market value of your assets. It is calculated at 1.5% of the gross value of assets in excess of $50,000 ($15 per $1,000). In arriving at values, for purposes of that tax, the gross values of all assets are included. However, only the value of real estate situated in Ontario is included. The only debts deductible from gross values of assets are the amounts owing on any mortgages registered against Ontario real estate.

Where a person dies intestate, and regardless of any desires of the deceased to leave specific items to particular people, the total estate, after payment of debts, including Income Tax, will be divided strictly in accordance with existing laws.

In Ontario, the distribution of an estate where there is no valid will is as follows:

a) Where the deceased was married but had no children, the surviving spouse inherits the whole of the estate.

b) Where the deceased was married and had children, the first $200,000 goes to the surviving spouse and the remainder is divided as follows:

i) If the deceased had one child, the remainder of the estate will be divided equally between the spouse and the child. But, if the child had died before the deceased, leaving children then alive, that child’s share of the estate will be divided among those surviving children.

ii) If the deceased had more than one child, 1/3 of the remainder of the estate goes to the spouse and the remaining 2/3rds is divided equally among the children. But, if any child had died before the deceased, leaving children then alive, that child’s share of the estate will be divided among those surviving children.

iii) If there is no surviving spouse, but there is a surviving child or children, the estate will be divided equally among those children. But, as before, if a child had died before the deceased, leaving children then alive, that child’s share is divided among those surviving children.

iv) If there is no surviving spouse, child or deceased child’s children, the estate is divided between surviving parents, equally.

v) If no surviving parents, but there are brothers or sisters, then they share equally.

vi) If no brothers or sisters, then nieces and nephews (by blood, not marriage) share equally.

vii) If no nieces or nephews, the estate is distributed equally to the next closest next of kin.

viii) If no such next of kin survive, then the estate becomes the property of the Ontario government.

It should be noted that if anyone under the age of 18 is entitled to any share in the Estate, the amount has to be paid into Court and will only be received by the beneficiary on a special application to the Court, otherwise, only when reaching 18.

Those are likely most unhappy results!

Credit: 

Aird & Berlis LLP/Aird & McBurney LP, published via Lexology.com on Sep. 28, 2020 

 

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CERB IS OVER - WHAT'S NEXT? THE NEW, EXPANDED EI BENEFITS EXPLAINED. GIG WORKERS, TOO!

As CERB ends, the Federal Government has announced the introduction of Bill C-2, An Act relating to economic recovery in response to COVID-19, to create three new temporary Recovery Benefits for Canadians who are unable to work for reasons related to COVID-19. These benefits will be provided to workers who are not eligible for EI. If Bill C-2 is passed, these three benefits will provide income support to Canadians:

  • A Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) of $500 per week for up to 26 weeks, for self-employed workers or workers who are not eligible for EI but still need income support. The CRB would aid Canadians who have not returned to work or who have returned to work but have had their income decrease by at least 50%. Workers receiving this benefit must be available and looking for work and must accept work where the request is reasonable;

  • A Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) of $500 per week for up to two weeks, available to workers who are sick or must self-isolate due to COVID-19; and,

  • A Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) of $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household, available for Canadians who are unable to work because they have to care for a child under the age of 12 or another family member because schools, day cares, or care facilities are closed because of COVID-19 or because the individual receiving care is sick or must quarantine.

CRB, CRSB, and CRCB will be available for Canadians to apply for through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for up to one year maximum until September 21, 2021.

As previously announced, temporary measures to make EI benefits more accessible to Canadians are also coming into effect on September 27, 2020 for one year. The changes to accessing EI will create a minimum weekly benefit payment of $500 for all those receiving EI, at the same level as the CRB.

Bill C-2 also proposes amendments to the Canada Labour Code to make sure that federally regulated employees have job-protected leave so they may utilize the Benefits if necessary.

The Government of Canada will also invest $1.5 billion in Workforce Development Agreements with provinces and territories. This is in addition to the $3.4 billion already provided to provinces and territories under Labour Markets Development Agreements and Workforce Development Agreements. The announced goal is to provide Canadians with the skills training and employment supports they need to re-enter the workforce, especially those in sectors hit hardest by the pandemic.

Bill C-2, including detailed eligibility criteria, can be found on the Parliament of Canada’s website.

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HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR CANADA WAGE SUBSIDY

The Canada Revenue Agency’s has an online calculator for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (“CEWS”).

As a Canadian employer who has seen a drop in revenue due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of your employee wages, retroactive to March 15. This subsidy will enable you to re-hire workers, help prevent further job losses, and ease you back into normal operations.

The CEWS is extended to December 19, 2020, but is likely to be extended to the summer of 2021.

It now uses a new variable-rate subsidy, but the subsidy is arguably now more difficult to calculate, mostly because it is comprised of two, variable-rate, subsidies:

  • the “base subsidy,” which is available to employers with any monthly revenue drop; and
  • the “top-up subsidy,” which is only available to employers with a 3-month average revenue drop of over 50%.

The base subsidy is calculated as a multiple of the employer’s monthly revenue drop percentage, and the multiple varies depending on the Claim Period. 

Both the base subsidy and the top-up subsidy are subject to a maximum threshold.

Employers may also compare revenue based on the current month or the prior month, as well as a special “safe harbour rule” for Claim Periods 5 and 6 to ensure employers receive a subsidy at least equal to what they would have received under the previous flat-rate subsidy rules. These too are of course welcome measures, but also create additional complexity.

One advantage of the calculator is that, to account for the changes to the rules beginning in Claim Period 5, it will automatically apply the best available subsidy rate based on the information entered.

The calculator is designed to assist employers in navigating the new rules, as well as to enable them to:

  • calculate (based on their particular circumstances) their base and/or top-up subsidy amounts to enter into their CEWS online application form;
  • preview their total estimated subsidy; and
  • print their results and save them to validate their claim.

For employers with under 20 employees, who are entering employee pay on a weekly basis, there is an online calculator option available, into which each employee’s data is entered directly. Employers with 20 or more employees, or who wish to enter pay on a bi-weekly basis, will need to download and complete a spreadsheet to calculate the total eligible remuneration, the base subsidy, and the top-up subsidy.

The current calculator can be used only for Claim Periods 1 to 5, with more periods to be added going forward.

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