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COVID-19 Updates | Weekly Workplace Recap from April 23 to April 29, 2021

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Below are the key announcements from the Ontario, Alberta and BC governments that touch on workplace issues from April 23 to April 29, 2021.


Announces 3 Days of Paid Sick Leave related to COVID-19

Bill 284 COVID-19 Putting Workers First Act, 2021 was given first, second, third reading, and Royal Assent this afternoon. This Act will require employers to provide employees with up to three days of paid leave because of certain reasons related to COVID-19, including:

  • going for a COVID-19 test

  • staying home awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test

  • being sick with COVID-19
  • going to get vaccinated
  • experiencing a side effect from a COVID-19 vaccination
  • having been advised to self-isolate due to COVID-19 by an employer, medical practitioner or other authority
  • taking care of a dependent who is:
    • sick with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19
    • self-isolating due to COVID-19

For more information, check out Ontario COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit.

This Infectious Disease Emergency Leave Pay (Paid Leave) has been added to our Ontario Employee Handbook. ConnectsUs HR customers can Download the Policy Now.


Confirms Job-Protected, Paid Leave for COVID-19 Vaccinations

Bill 71 (COVID-19 Vaccination Leave) Amendment Act, 2021 received Royal Assent April 22, 2021. The Employment Standards Code has now been amended to allow all working Albertans to access paid, job-protected leave to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

What this means for employers:

  • Your employees are eligible for up to 3 hours of paid, job-protected leave for each vaccination appointment. They cannot be laid off or terminated for taking this leave.

  • All full and part-time employees are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination leave, regardless of job status, or length of employment.

  • Your employees should give you notice as soon as possible and reasonable in the circumstances when they are taking this leave.

  • Employees do not need to provide a medical note, record of immunization or to disclose any underlying health conditions in order to access this leave. However, you may require your employees to provide a reasonable proof of leave entitlement, such as an appointment confirmation.

Invests an Additional $75 Million to the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant

The BC government is adding more than $75 million to the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant, bringing the amount available for hard-hit BC businesses to more than $125 million.

The grant provides fully funded grants to hospitality, fitness and accommodation businesses impacted by the March 31, 2021 Provincial Health Officer (PHO) orders and the April 23, 2021 Emergency Programs Act (EPA) order. The new program criteria is as follows:

Starting April 26, 2021:

  • Up to $20,000 is available for short-term accommodation businesses impacted by the April 23, 2021 EPA order
  • High intensity fitness businesses are eligible
  • Grant amounts have increased

If you applied to the program before April 26, 2021:

  • You do not need to resubmit an application
  • Applications received before these changes will be reviewed under the updated criteria (including grant amounts)

For more information, check out this news release.

Releases 5 Steps to Developing & Managing your COVID-19 Safety Plan

WorkSafeBC has released five steps to developing and managing your COVID-19 safety plan. There are five main steps, outined in short videos, to help employers ensure their COVID-19 safety plan is dedveloped and maintained with the right controls and communications for their business.

WorkSafeBC also has additional resources for employers developing a safety plan:

Enacts Paid Leave for Workers to get COVID-19 Vaccine

Amendments to the Employment Standards Act providing workers with up to three hours of paid leave to get each dose of their COVID-19 vaccine are now in effect, retroactive to April 19, 2021.

Bill 3 is now law and ensures that no employee will lose pay if they need time away from work to get vaccinated. Both full-time and part-time employees can take up to three hours of paid leave.

Find more information on BC's Employment Standards

This new COVID-19 Vaccincation Leave has been added to our BC Employee Handbook. ConnectsUs HR customers can Download the Policy Now.

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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