COVID-19 Updates | Weekly Workplace Recap from May 21 to May 27, 2021

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Below are the key announcements from the Ontario, Alberta and BC governments that touch on workplace issues from May 21 to May 27, 2021.


Invests $3 Million in Screen-Based Industries during COVID-19

The Ontario government is providing $3 million to the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) as part of the province’s efforts to support the film, television and new media industries, as they continue to deal with the daily impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding will be used to support film, television and digital media training programs and COVID-19 adaptation plans, such as program innovation and the development of new initiatives, including virtual production training and accelerators for immersive media start-ups, to ensure Ontario's screen-based industries are strong and vibrant and remain a source of pride for the province.

For more information, check out this news release


Updates COVID-19 Workplace Guidance Documents

Explore recently updated workplace guidance documents created to help Alberta businesses reopen and resume operations:

Alberta’s guidance documents are being streamlined so they remain easy to understand and up-to-date with current public health measures. Guidance has been removed for businesses not currently permitted to open.

If you can’t find the guidance you’re looking for, please consult the general operational guidance for public health requirements applicable to all settings.

Extends Application Deadline for Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant Program

Application intake for the Spring 2021 payment from Alberta’s Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant (SMERG) program has been extended to June 30 to allow for businesses affected by the May 2021 health orders to apply for this additional COVID relief funding.

The SMERG offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses, cooperatives and non-profit organizations with fewer than 500 employees that have faced restrictions or closures due to COVID-related public health orders, and have experienced revenue losses of at least 30%. The total program budget remains at $350 million.

Apply Now for SMERG.

British Columbia

Enacts Temporary COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave

 Bill 13 received Royal Assent on May 20, 2021, amending BC's Employment Standards Act to add two new leaves:

  • a temporary COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave; and
  • a permanent Paid Personal Illness or Injury Leave.

Temporary COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave

Effective May 20, 2021 until December 31, 2021, employees in BC whose employment is governed by the ESA are entitled to up to 3 days of COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave in the following circumstances:

  • The employee is diagnosed with COVID-19 and is acting in accordance with:

    • instructions or an order of a medical health officer; or
    • advice of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner or registered nurse.
  • The employee is in quarantine or self-isolation in accordance with:
    • an order of the Provincial Health Officer;
    • an order under the Quarantine Act  (Canada); or
    • guidelines of the BC Centre for Disease Control, or the Public Health Agency of Canada.
  • Their employer, due to its concern about the employee's exposure to others, has directed the employee not to work.

Here's what else you should know:

  • Employees are entitled to this leave no matter how long they have been employed.
  • Employees are entitled to this leave, even if their employer doesn't qualify for reimbursement. Find out more information about the government administered reimbursement program for employers.

Permanent Paid Personal Illness or Injury Leave

Beginning January 1, 2022, after 90 consecutive days of employment, employees in BC who can't work due to any illness or injury will be permanently entitled to Paid Personal Illness or Injury Leave. 

Bottom Line for  Employers

Employers are not required to begin providing Paid Personal Illness or Injury Leave to employees until January 1, 2022. Watch this space! ConnectsUs HR will provide resources for this policy when necessary. 

Currently, BC Employers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with  COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave and provide it to eligible employees commencing on May 20, 2021 until December 31, 2021. 

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

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