The Government of Canada temporarily extends time periods given to employers to recall employees laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic

News release

June 23, 2020              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada

COVID-19 has created challenges on many fronts for Canadian workers and employers. The Government of Canada wants to ensure that as many Canadians as possible have a job to return to and that businesses can grow and stay strong as the economy restarts.

Today, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour, announced changes to extend time periods for temporary layoffs to allow employers more time to recall laid-off employees. The temporary changes will help protect the jobs of federally regulated private-sector employees and support employers facing economic hardship as a result of the pandemic.

Prior to these changes, employers could temporarily lay-off their employees for up to three months if no notice with a recall date was provided, or for a period of up to six months if they provided a notice with an expected recall date, before the lay-off became a termination. The amendments, which are set out in the Canada Labour Standards Regulations, temporarily extend these time periods by up to six months:

  • For employees laid off prior to March 31, 2020, the time period is extended by six months or to December 30, 2020, whichever occurs first.
  • For employees laid off between March 31, 2020, and September 30, 2020, the time period is extended until December 30, 2020, unless a later recall date was provided in a written notice at the time of the layoff.

These changes, which came into effect on June 22, 2020, do not apply to employees who are covered by a collective agreement that contains recall rights.

These changes also do not apply to employees whose employment had already been terminated prior to the coming into force of the amendments. The previous rules will apply to layoffs occurring after September 30, 2020.

As we move forward, the Government of Canada will continue to take the necessary steps to support workers, businesses and our economy.


“We know that many employers who have had to temporarily lay off employees intend to bring them back to work. However, there is still a great deal of uncertainty regarding exactly when that will be possible. That’s why we are taking action to protect the jobs of those employees and to support those employers by giving them more time to recall their employees.”
– The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada has taken a number of necessary steps to protect and support Canadian workers and businesses during this crisis, including temporarily creating a new leave related to COVID-19 under Part III (Standard Hours, Wages, Vacations and Holidays) of the Canada Labour Code (the Code). This became effective on March 25, 2020, so that employees in the federally regulated private sector are able to take up to 16 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave if they need to take time off work for reasons related to COVID-19. 

  • Part III (Standard Hours, Wages, Vacations and Holidays) of the Canada Labour Code establishes minimum working conditions regarding hours of work, minimum wages, annual vacations, leaves, termination of employment and severance pay. It applies to employers and employees in federally regulated private-sector industries, federal Crown corporations and certain governance activities on First Nations reserves.

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For media enquiries, please contact:
Dustin Fitzpatrick
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Filomena Tassi, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Labour

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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