The Alberta government recently introduced legislation entitled Bill 24: COVID-19 Pandemic Response Statutes Amendment Act 2020 (“Bill 24”)1Bill 24: COVID-19 Pandemic Response Statutes Amendment Act 2020, online: https://docs.assembly.ab.ca/LADDAR_files/docs/bills/bill/legislature_30/session_2/20200225_bill-024.pdf, that would have the effect of extending several COVID-19 related health and labour laws in the Province if passed, notwithstanding the expiration of Alberta’s declared state of emergency this month.
The changes proposed by Bill 24 include amendments to fifteen Alberta statutes, most notably the Employment Standards Code (“Code”)2Employment Standards Code, RSA 2000, c E-9. and the Employment Standards (COVID-19 Leave) Regulation (“COVID-19 Leave Regulation”3Employment Standards (COVID-19 Leave) Regulation, AR 29/2020., which we previously wrote about in this blog article ).
Significant amendments proposed by Bill 24 include changes to provincial labour and employment legislation, public health legislation, health information legislation, and child care legislation:
- Extending the period in the Code for temporary lay-offs in Alberta to 180 consecutive days, effective June 18, 2020 (we previously discussed temporary lay-offs in this blog article.) Note that this period was already extended from 60 days to 120 days, discussed in this blog article.
- The temporary lay-off provisions under Bill 24 would apply to employees who are laid off for reasons related to COVID-19 who are: (1) on a layoff when Bill 24 comes into force; or (2) who are laid off on or after Bill 24 comes into force.
- Validating the COVID-19 Leave Regulation, which created an unpaid, 14-day job-protected leave for employees required to self-quarantine or self-isolate due to COVID-19, or to care for either an ill or self-isolating family member or for children as a result of COVID-19 school or daycare closures (we previously wrote about this form of COVID-19 leave on the blog here and here ).
- Extending the unpaid, job-protected leave created under the COVID-19 Leave Regulation until August 14, 2021 (for employees required to self-isolate or self-quarantine, or to care for family members or children due to COVID-19).
- Extending the terms of Ministerial Order 2020-264Ministerial Order No. 2020-26. under the Labour Relations Code5Labour Relations Code, RSA 2000, c L-1. for 18 months after the date of the lapse or termination of M.O. 2020-26. M.O.2020-26 imposed public health restrictions including only allowing staff members and contractors at health care facilities to work at one site for the duration of the order.
CARSCALLEN LLP’S EMPLOYMENT LAW EXPERTISE
We understand that the rapid emergence of COVID-19 means that many employers and employees are dealing with a myriad of legal issues. Please contact us if you have any legal questions in connection with Bill 24, COVID-19, or any other legal employment matters. Our lawyers routinely work remotely and will continue to do so during this time. We remain available to provide legal advice and guidance to clients for all issues that may arise during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Please visit our COVID-19 resources page for further updates.
- 1Bill 24: COVID-19 Pandemic Response Statutes Amendment Act 2020, online: https://docs.assembly.ab.ca/LADDAR_files/docs/bills/bill/legislature_30/session_2/20200225_bill-024.pdf
- 2Employment Standards Code, RSA 2000, c E-9.
- 3Employment Standards (COVID-19 Leave) Regulation, AR 29/2020.
- 4Ministerial Order No. 2020-26.
- 5Labour Relations Code, RSA 2000, c L-1.