What Unpaid Leave Looks Like Across Canada

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, provinces have introduced new unpaid job-protected statutory leaves for employees. Morneau Shepell breaks it down by location:


The federal government has amended the Canada Labour Code to create a leave related to COVID-19 of up to 16 weeks. The COVID-19 leave will be in place until October 1, 2020.

The federal government has also created a new 16-week quarantine leave under the existing medical leave of absence provided under the Code, effective October 1, 2020.


Ontario has created a new form of job-protected leave for employees affected by a designated infectious disease, such as COVID-19. The leave is also available to employees who need to be away from work to care for children due to school or daycare closures, or for other “specified individuals” which are specific.


The government of Alberta initially provided 14 days of unpaid job-protected leave for employees to cover the self-isolation period. The province extended access to this unpaid job-protected leave for a flexible duration. The leave is also available to employees caring for children affected by school and daycare closures or illness, or for quarantined family members.

British Columbia

British Columbia has provided a job-protected leave for employees unable to work for reasons relating to COVID-19. The leave may be taken for as long as the circumstance requires them to be away from work.

British Columbia also now allows employees to take up to three days of unpaid job-protected leave each year due to illness or injury after 90 days of consecutive employment with the same employer.


Manitoba has announced an unpaid public health emergency leave for employees who require time away from work for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The leave applies as long as the circumstances set out in the legislation apply.


Saskatchewan has enacted a new unpaid job-protected public health emergency leave.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland has created a new communicable disease emergency leave in response to COVID-19.

New Brunswick

New Brunswick has also created a new COVID-19 emergency leave.

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Joel Kranc

Written By

Joel is the Editor and Deputy Publisher of Your Workplace. He is an experienced and award-winning editor, writer and communications professional. Joel began his career as a journalist and reporter covering the U.S. retirement and institutional investment market. Joel is author of Retirement Planning in 8 Easy Steps: The Brief Guide to Lifelong Financial Freedom.


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