Who Is Considered An Essential Worker in Toronto: Everything You Need To Know

Since the pandemic, there has been a lot of discussion about who is considered an essential worker and who will fall under the category of a non-essential. The Ontario Province Government, on 6th April 2021 has announced another stay-at-home order for all non-essential workers of the Ontario province including Toronto. The restriction will be imposed from 8th April in Toronto. It has become really important for the employees to determine whether they fall under the category of essential or non-essential in Toronto.

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After the announcement by the government, the employees of Toronto have voiced their concerns and asked the government about who will be considered an essential worker and on what grounds it will be decided in Toronto whether they are essential or non-essential. Along with that, employees in the city were also considered about the protection and compensation they will be provided in either of the categories and what will be the leave situation due to the pandemic.

As a leader in employment law, De Bousquet employment lawyer realized that it is their responsibility to address these concerns and paint a clearer picture for the satisfaction of the employees in Toronto. The experts at De Bousquet PC answered the following  questions  that were asked by the workers:

How the Toronto Government Has Been Defining The Term Essential Worker Legally?

The Toronto Government has not given a legal definition of what does an essential worker would mean but they have issued some necessary guidelines about the business types that are permitted to remain operational. Although Toronto, has recently announced their new and revised vaccination timeline, according to which vaccinating essential workers who are unable to work from home are made to vaccinate compulsorily, these include,  childcare and licensed foster care workers, food manufacturing workers, elementary and secondary school staff, critical response workers, and agriculture and farmworkers.

The list also further includes vaccinations for workers from other essential organizations, which includes, social workers, courts and justice system workers critical retail workers,  manufacturing laborers, restaurant workers, and any workers who are employed by these essential organizations.

The rest of the workplaces, where the employees can perform their work from home, should allow their employees to work while staying at their home.

Are employees who can conveniently work from home have any legal rights to protest if their employers are calling them to work from the office?

If the employer is forcing an employee to work from the office even though they can work from home, then the employee can file a complaint to the Ministry of Labour. According to the Toronto government, the employer of any non-essential worker who is forcing them to return to the office is violating public health guidelines and hence he will be held responsible legally.

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How employers can determine whether or not their business is essential?

Toronto government is yet to determine how the employees can understand the essentiality of their business and hence there is a lot of grey area currently for the businesses in deciding whether or not their business is considered essential. Due to the rise in Covid cases, and employees working from offices can contribute to making the situation worse, therefore the government is taking some strict measures to ensure the safety of its citizens while keeping social contact to a minimum. 

How many leaves are assigned to the employees in Toronto?

Each employee in Toronto is given a minimum of three unpaid leaves. The employer is not required to pay the employees for these leaves.

The Bottom Line

While the government is trying to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus by announcing stricter measures, employees are getting a huge disadvantage by being laid off, forced to work from the office, or not given the mandated minimum leaves. For all these reasons, the employees can file a claim to the Ministry of Labour to claim their legal rights under the employment act and De Bousquet PC attorneys are there of these individuals to protect their legal rights. With their expertise in the industry, the employment law firm has helped thousands of individuals get favorable outcomes out of these situations and got the maximum compensation.