March 27, 2020

Government Adds Temporary COVID-19 Leave to the Canada Labour Code and Waives Requirement for Medical Certificate for Certain Leaves

On March 25, 2020, the Federal government made important temporary changes to the Canada Labour Code (the “Code”) that impact federally regulated employers.


COVID-19 Leave


A new COVID-19 related leave provision has been enacted which grants up to 16 weeks of unpaid leave to employees who:


  • have been quarantined or asked to self-isolate as a result of COVID-19;


  • are required to provide care to a family member as a result of COVID-19; or


  • are otherwise unable to work for reasons related to COVID-19.


To access the leave employees must inform their employer in writing as soon as possible of the reason for the leave and the length of the leave they intend to take. They must also inform their employer in writing as soon as possible if there is a change to the length of the leave.


The leave is available beginning March 25, 2020, and is not retroactive. On October 1, 2020 the provision will be repealed and the leave will no longer be available to employees.


Superior provisions in a collective agreement or an employment contract will continue to apply.

Removal of Requirement for Medical Certificates

From March 25, 2020 to September 30, 2020 the requirement that employees provide their employer with a medical certificate to access certain leaves under the Code is suspended. The impacted leaves include:


  • medical leave;
  • compassionate care leave; and
  • leave related to critical illness.


To ensure compliance with the Code, federally regulated employers should suspend the practice of requiring employees to produce medical evidence to support requests for these forms of leaves of absence.


More information can be found at the following link:




COVID-19 Information for Employers

Learn more

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