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Government Extends Time Period for Temporary Layoffs

GATINEAU, Que. — On June 23, the Minister of Labour announced changes to extend time periods for temporary layoffs to allow employers more time to recall laid-off employees. The temporary changes are intended to help protect the jobs of federally regulated private-sector employees and support employers facing economic hardship as a result of the pandemic.

Prior to these changes, employers could temporarily lay-off their employees for up to three months, if no notice with a recall date was provided, or for a period of up to six months if they provided a notice with an expected recall date, before the layoff became a termination. The amendments, which are set out in the Canada Labour Standards Regulations, temporarily extend these time periods by up to six months.

For employees laid off prior to March 31, the time period is extended by six months or to December 30, whichever occurs first. For employees laid off between March 31 and September 30, the time period is extended until December 30, unless a later recall date was provided in a written notice at the time of the layoff.

“We know many employers who have had to temporarily lay off employees intend to bring them back to work. However, there’s still a great deal of uncertainty regarding exactly when that will be possible,” says Minister of Labour Filomena Tassi. “That’s why we’re taking action to protect the jobs of those employees and to support those employers by giving them more time to recall their employees.”

These changes, which came into effect on June 22, don’t apply to employees who are covered by a collective agreement that contains recall rights. These changes also do not apply to employees whose employment had already been terminated prior to the coming into force of the amendments. The previous rules will apply to layoffs occurring after September 30, 2020.

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