(Toronto – June 1, 2020) – Today, Rocco Rossi, President & CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce released the following statement in reaction to the Ontario government extending infectious disease emergency leave for workers during COVID-19:
“We welcome the Government of Ontario’s leadership in making a critical change required to protect employers and employees during the pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic forced many employers to reduce or close operations due to a lack of business, while others shut down due to emergency government orders. Although the mandatory closure of workplaces has had a significant impact on Ontario business, this was a short-term measure to protect all Ontarians.
“To prevent a short-term measure from having permanent consequences for businesses and jobs, it has become urgent that the Ontario government make this temporary amendment to support employers and employees during this unprecedented period of disruption.
“Currently, the ESA requires an employer to comply with notice and severance obligations when a layoff exceeds 13 weeks. Under some circumstances that period can be extended, but many employers — particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises — are unable to meet those conditions.
“These businesses will have to pay expensive severance obligations to their employees, a cost which could result in their permanent closure and more people losing their jobs. In addition to the lost livelihoods of business owners and workers, the closures and job losses would have a further devastating impact on Ontario’s economy already reeling from COVID19.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and we thank the government for stepping up to support them.”
About the Ontario Chamber of Commerce
For more than a century, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has been the independent, non-partisan, indispensable partner of Ontario business. The OCC’s mission is to support economic growth in Ontario by defending business priorities at Queen’s Park on behalf of its network’s diverse 60,000 members.