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The Government of Canada temporarily extends time periods given to employers to recall employees laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 has created challenges on many fronts for Canadian workers and employers. The Government of Canada wants to ensure that as many Canadians as possible have a job to return to and that businesses can grow and stay strong as the economy restarts.

Today, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, 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 will 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 lay-off 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, 2020, the time period is extended by six months or to December 30, 2020, whichever occurs first.
  • For employees laid off between March 31, 2020, and September 30, 2020, the time period is extended until December 30, 2020, unless a later recall date was provided in a written notice at the time of the layoff.

These changes, which came into effect on June 22, 2020, do not 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.

As we move forward, the Government of Canada will continue to take the necessary steps to support workers, businesses and our economy.

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