On March 23, 2023, the Ontario government tabled its 2023 Ontario Budget: Building a Strong Ontario. Announcing, amongst other things, that the paid Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (Paid IDEL) expired on March 31, 2023, the date set out by Ontario Regulation 228/20 made under the ESA.
Paid IDEL entitles eligible employees to a maximum of three days of Paid IDEL, although the number of days may have been reduced depending on an employee’s contractual entitlements.
Employers should ensure applications for reimbursement of Paid IDEL are made on a timely basis for any Paid IDEL days taken by employees prior to March 31, 2023.
Regular unpaid IDEL remains in effect for as long as COVID-19 is designated as an “infectious disease” by O. Reg. 228/20. Currently, there is no specified time limit on that designation.
Unpaid IDEL for employees remains available where the employee will not be performing work for one or more of the following reasons in relation to COVID-19:
- The employee is under individual medical investigation, supervision or treatment.
- The employee is subject to an order of a medical officer of health or a court under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
- The employee is in quarantine or isolation or is subject to a control measure, including self-isolation, that is undertaken because of information or directions issued by a public health official, qualified health practitioner, Telehealth Ontario, the government of Ontario or Canada, a municipal council or a board of health.
- The employer directs the employee to stay at home because of concerns that the employee might expose other individuals in the workplace to the designated infectious disease.
- The employee is providing care to a specified family member, including because of closures of schools and daycares.
- The employee is directly affected by travel restrictions preventing the employee from returning to Ontario.
- Any prescribed reason.
- All requests for unpaid IDEL should continue to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Employers continue to be able to “ask for evidence reasonable in the circumstances,” “at a time reasonable in the circumstances,” to verify the unpaid IDEL but are prohibited from requiring employees to obtain medical certificates to justify the leave.