Amendment to the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000

December 8, 2014

Effective October 29, 2014, the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) was amended through the passage of Bill 21 - the Employment Standards Amendment Act (Leaves to Help Families). This Bill received Royal Assent on April 29, 2014.

This amendment will affect any member of a pension plan who is considered to be employed in Ontario under the Ontario Pension Benefits Act and Regulation. Members who are not considered employed in Ontario are not affected.

Eligible employees will now be entitled to three new unpaid, job-protected statutory leaves of absence:

   (i) Family Caregiver Leave,

   (ii) Critically Ill Child Care Leave and

   (iii) Crime-Related Child Death and Disappearance Leave.  

How does this affect plan sponsors?
Similar to other job-protected leaves of absence (i.e. maternity, parental or emergency leave, and a leave of absence due to an injury sustained while at work), eligible employees will continue to participate in their employer's pension plan. During such periods, if the plan is non-contributory (meaning that members are not required to contribute to the plan), employers must continue to make contributions to the pension plan.  If the plan is contributory, the employer must continue to make contributions unless the eligible employee gives her/his employer a written notice that she/he does not intend to pay the employee's contributions.

Since the provisions relating to these leaves of absence will apply even if the plan text has not yet been amended, these provisions will be incorporated the next time your plan is amended for any other reason.

Please contact your Sun Life Group Retirement Services representative.