Ontario Government Lifting Collective Agreement Restrictions on Redeploying Healthcare Employees and Re-Opening Child Care Centres for Front Line Workers
On March 21, 2020, the Ontario government announced a new temporary order under the March 17, 2020 Declaration of Emergency that would give hospitals the ability to cancel and postpone services to free-up space and staff, identify staffing priorities, and develop, modify and implement redeployment plans.
Under this temporary order hospitals will be able to respond to, prevent and alleviate an outbreak of COVID-19 by carrying out measures such as:
■ Redeploying staff within different locations in (or between) facilities of the hospital;
■ Redeploying staff to work in COVID-19 assessment centres;
■ Changing the assignment of work, including assigning non-bargaining unit employees or contractors to perform bargaining unit work;
■ Changing the scheduling of work or shift assignments;
■ Deferring or cancelling vacations, absences or other leaves, regardless of whether such vacations, absences or leaves are established by statute, regulation, agreement or otherwise;
■ Employing extra part-time or temporary staff or contractors, including for the purpose of performing bargaining unit work;
■ Using volunteers to perform work, including to perform bargaining work; and
■ Providing appropriate training or education as needed to staff and volunteers to achieve the purposes of a redeployment plan.
When utilized by hospitals, these redeployment plans temporarily supersede the provisions of a collective agreement, including lay-off, seniority/service or bumping provisions.
Also announced on March 21, 2020, the Ministry of Education plans to exempt certain child care centres from the order to close all licenced child care centres pursuant to the state of emergency declared on March 17, 2020. Health care workers including doctors, nurses, paramedics, firefighters, police, and correctional officers, will be able to access safe, local emergency child care. and other frontline workers. A list of available child care centres will be made available on ontario.ca/coronavirus.