Some of the province’s representatives gathered at Queen’s Park one more time today, to unanimously support measures protecting Ontario workers. Steps have also been taken to make sure your health card won’t lapse in the near future.
An emergency sitting of the legislature today passed two pieces of legislation. The first, The Employment Standards Amendment Act, provides job-protected leave for employees who are isolating or in quarantine due to COVID-19, or those who need to be away from work to care for children or other relatives. The legislation specifies that employees cannot be required to provide a sick note. These measures are retroactive to January 25th. “During this time of great uncertainty, the last thing employees should have to worry about is job security,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “People can’t be punished for following the advice of our leading medical health professionals.”
The Municipal Emergency Act allows municipalities the power to fully conduct council and committee meetings electronically. The legislation also ensures the delivery of goods to Ontario businesses and consumers wouldn’t violate municipal bylaws, as these deliveries could come at all hours. “Our government wants to do everything we can to help connect distribution centres with grocery stores and pharmacies to replenish empty shelves more quickly,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “As well, we are helping communities respond to this crisis by allowing councils to conduct meetings remotely. These changes empower municipalities to respond quickly and continue to function when in-person meetings cannot be held, and council decisions need to be made.”
The Province of Ontario also announced today it is extending the validity period of driver’s licences, licence plates, and states that expired or expiring health cards will continue to be used to access health services.