Covid-19 Terminations in Alberta
Alberta is about to experience an unprecedented situation in the Employment Law area. Around September 16 2020 and shortly thereafter, many temporary layoffs will convert into permanent terminations. Employees need to understand what their rights are in this situation, and Employers need to understand how they can deal with this.
Under the Employment Standards Code, and as confirmed by the Alberta Court of Appeal in 126Vrana v. Procor 2004 ABCA see the following site: (https://www.alberta.ca/temporary-layoffs.aspx), the right to make an appeal to employment standards and to sue for severance is suspended during a temporary layoff. The Government has repeatedly extended the temporary lay off period (the Government in Ontario has actually
made Covid layoffs indefinite). We have not specifically researched that issue, but there might be legal problems with such an approach, and if not it may still cause more problems to employees than it might resolve for employees.
As it stands the employer and employee must have an agreement to extend the temporary layoff period beyond the 180 day mark. If not the employee will be considered terminated and may sue the employer for severance (if entitled to it), or make a complaint with Employment Standards. If you are an employee wanting advice in determining next steps, please contact us for a free initial consultation. If you are an employer wanting advice in how to navigate this, please contact us.