COVID-19 & Legislation Updates | Weekly Workplace Recap from December 17 to December 23, 2021

Below are the key COVID-19 & legislation topics that touch on the workplace from December 17 to December 23, 2021.


Feds temporarily expand access to Lockdown Program and Worker Lockdown Benefit 

Ottawa has announced it will temporarily expand eligibility for key support programs to protect workers and businesses. The government intends to introduce new regulations that would:

  • Expand the Local Lockdown Program to include employers subject to capacity-limiting restrictions of 50% or more; and reduce the current-month revenue decline threshold requirement to 25%. Eligible employers will receive wage and rent subsidies from 25% up to a maximum of 75%, depending on their degree of revenue loss. 
  • Expand the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit to include workers in regions where provincial or territorial governments have introduced capacity-limiting restrictions of 50% or more. As announced previously, this benefit will provide $300 a week in income support to eligible workers who are directly affected by a COVID-19-related public health lockdown, and who have lost 50% or more of their income as a result.

These updated regulations will apply from Dec 19, 2021, to Feb 12, 2022.

News Release & Backgrounder

Bill C-3: 10 days of paid sick leave for federally regulated workers

Bill C-3 received royal assent on Dec 17, 2021. The Act will provide ten days of paid sick leave to all federally regulated private sector employees and enhance protections for health care workers and those accessing health services.

The legislation also amends bereavement leave under Part III of the Canada Labour Code to provide up to eight weeks of leave for employees who lose a child or experience a stillbirth. 

The Government will engage with federally regulated employers, including small and medium-sized enterprises towards the implementation of paid sick leave in Canada.

News Release


Ontario launches rebate program and new cash flow supports for businesses

The Ontario government is introducing  new supports for businesses, including a new Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program and a six-month interest- and penalty-free period to make payments for most provincially administered taxes.

Through the new Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program, eligible businesses will receive rebate payments equivalent to 50% of the property tax and energy costs they incur while subject to the current capacity limits.

Examples of businesses that will be eligible for the Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program include restaurants, smaller retail stores and gyms. A full list of eligible business types will be made available through a program guide in mid-January 2022.

News Release

Full list of Ontario new COVID-19 restrictions

New restrictions came into effect on Dec 19, 2021 including:

  • Indoor social gathering limits have been reduced to 10 people, which 25 people are allowed to gather outdoors
  • 50% capacity limits are being introduced in settings such as restaurants, bars, strip clubs, personal care services, retailers, shopping malls, marinas and boating clubs, gyms and photography studios. Businesses or facilities will need to post signage stating capacity limits
  • In food and event spaces, a maximum of 10 people can be seated at a table, patrons will have to remain seated
  • Food or drink services will be prohibited at sporting events, theatres, cinemas, casinos, etc. The sale of alcohol will be restricted after 10 p.m., consumption of alcohol after 11 p.m. Bars, restaurants, meeting and event spaces and strip clubs will be required to close by 11 p.m.
  • No dancing is permitted, except for workers and performers
  • These limits do not apply to any portion of the business of place being used for a wedding, funeral, religious service, rite or ceremony.

News Release


Health measures expanded and clarified to protect Albertans against the Omicron variant

Alberta is taking immediate actions and clarifying health measures to protect Albertans and the health-care system against the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus. 

British Columbia

B.C. closing bars and gyms, banning indoor weddings and similar events

The PHO has introduced province-wide restrictions. These restrictions must be followed in addition to regional restrictions.

As of Dec 22, 2021:

  • Indoor organized gatherings of any size are not allowed. This includes gatherings like New Year's Eve parties, wedding receptions or other celebrations
  • Indoor events at venues can only have 50% capacity. This includes events like concerts, sports or movies
  • Bars, nightclubs and lounges are closed
  • Restaurants, cafes and pubs can have a maximum of 6 people at each table
  • Adult gyms, fitness centres and dance studios are closed

These restrictions are in effect until Jan 18, 2022.

As of Dec 20, 2021:

  • Indoor personal gatherings are limited to your household plus 10 visitors or 1 other household. Everyone 12 + must be fully vaccinated
  • At restaurants, cafes and pubs, customers must stay seated and cannot move between or visit other tables. Masks are required when not seated
  • All sports tournaments and related travel are not allowed

These restrictions are in effect until Jan 31, 2022.

New Restrictions


Sarah Visca
Sarah Visca is the Operations Manager at ConnectsUs HR, a company that provides tools & resources to quickly set up a Human Resources department.  
You can contact her here