Extension of lay-off periods – Temporary measures under Part III of the Canada Labour Code

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the subsequent economic crisis, many employers in the federally regulated private sector have temporarily laid off their employees. While employers may have every intention of bringing employees back to work once the economy starts to pick up again, they may not know exactly when, and it may not be within the next few months.

Prior to the amendments, section 30 of the Canada Labour Standards Regulations (Regulations) provided that a temporary layoff would not be deemed a termination of employment for the purposes of the Canada Labour Code (Code) in certain circumstances. These circumstances included where the term of a layoff was for less than three months (paragraph 30(1)(c)) and where the term of the layoff was for six months or less and the employer notifies the employee in writing of the date or period within which they would be recalled to work (paragraph 30(1)(d)). However, once this time period expired, or if the employer had not recalled the employee by the specified date, the employee’s employment would be deemed terminated.