Expanding Reservist leave under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA)
Bill or Act:
Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA)
Summary of Proposal:
Currently, Ontario's job-protected leave for military reservists applies to employees who are deployed inside and outside Canada. The leave is available after six months of continuous employment with an employer.
The government is proposing amendments to the ESA that, if passed, would
• broaden the reason for taking reservist leave to include participation in military skills training and
• reduce the eligibility period to three months.
After three months of continuous employment with the same employer, an employee who is a member of the Canadian Forces Reserves and is deployed to an operation outside or inside Canada or required to participate in military skills training would become eligible for reservist leave.
The proposed amendments would align reservist leave under the ESA with the federal Canada Labour Code (CLC). It would make it easier for reservists to volunteer and would ensure that a greater number of reservists would have a job to return to upon the conclusion of their assignment.
All other pre-existing provisions related to reservist leave would remain the same.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
The proposed amendment seeks to harmonize reservist leave under the ESA with the federal CLC. Reservists in Ontario in workplaces governed by the ESA would be able to access job-protected reservist leave for military skills training.
They would have access to reservist leave after three months of continuous employment, the same as reservists in federally regulated workplaces (and many other provinces).
These changes would mean that reservists in Ontario who are deployed or required to participate in military skills training would be able to access reservist leave sooner and a greater number of reservists will have a job to return to upon the conclusion of their deployment.
The proposed change would apply to provincially regulated employers who employ reservists and employees who are members of the Canadian Forces Reserves. Small employers may be more impacted than larger employers as employee absences may cause more disruption to their business operations if they need to replace absent employees.
If the proposed amendment is passed, there would be no administrative costs as employers of reservists already have to learn about the leave in circumstances where a reservist is called for service and the reservist requests the leave from their employer.
February 28, 2022
Comments Due Date:
March 30, 2022
Employment, Labour, and Corporate Policy Branch
Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development
400 University Avenue, 15th Floor
Toronto ON M7A 1T7