Businesses face wide-ranging issues as the world responds to the COVID 19 pandemic. Here is the latest guidance from Torys.

The COVID-19 situation continues to evolve in real time. Employers must adapt to new and emerging issues, from taking steps to safeguard the health and safety of employees, to decision-making on whether to implement employee layoffs, and facilitating employee access to employment insurance and other government support.

In our latest guidance, we explore key issues for employers, including options for reducing their payroll obligations, how to manage a positive diagnosis and health and safety obligations in a work-from-home environment, pension plan administration, and U.S. emergency employee leave legislation.


  • Workforce reductions. Many employers are considering temporary layoffs, reductions in working hours and work-sharing to address the financial impact of COVID-19 on their businesses. In some circumstances, these decisions could trigger constructive dismissal risks.
  • Temperature checks prior to reporting to work. It is unclear how regulators across Canada will view an employer practice of taking employees' temperatures prior to work. Depending on the nature of the employer's business, such a practice may be acceptable in Canada.
  • Responding to a positive diagnosis, etc. Employers should be taking a cautious approach when considering how to respond to a positive diagnosis. Employer obligations will depend on whether an employee has reported a positive diagnosis, or had contact with an individual who received a positive diagnosis.
  • Work-from-home occupational health and safety obligations. With employees increasingly working from home, employers must ensure they continue to comply with their obligations under occupational health and safety legislation, including the obligation to report workplace injuries.

Get our complete guidance for employers here.

  • The Canadian workforce: legislative response to COVID-19. Federal and provincial governments are taking steps to introduce government programs aimed at protecting—and providing financial stability to—Canadian workers. Topics include job-protected employee leaves of absence and employee income support.

Get our overview on the governments' legislative response here.

  • U.S. emergency employee leave legislation. The U.S. Families First Coronavirus Response Act is a package of legislation which includes emergency paid sick leave and family and medical leave requirements. Our New York team unpacks aspects of this emergency legislation, including emergency paid sick leave, family and medical leave, and payroll tax credits.

Get our full analysis here.

  • FSRA update for pension plan administrators and agents. The FSRA's March 20 update is in response to the escalating impact of COVID-19 on business; we provide analysis on the FSRA's latest views on filings, member disclosure, transaction applications, and transfer ratios.

Read more on the FSRA update here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.