Since COVID-19 related travel measures took effect, foreign
workers arriving to Canada have been obligated to quarantine for 14
days before they could safely integrate with the general
population. What was less clear about this arrangement is how this
period of time is treated in terms of employment status.
Effectively, an employee is officially commencing their
employment on the day they arrive and begin their quarantine. This
means that the employer is expected to have the employee officially
on payroll at that time. The employer must provide salary and all
applicable benefits for the employee. Due to practical constraints,
such as the worker not being able to leave quarantine to open a
bank account and apply for their social insurance number, the
official pay slip may be produced once these items are completed.
The important point is that the quarantine period is to be treated
as the start of official employment.
This does not mean, however, that the employee is expected to
work during the quarantine period. Of course, in circumstances that
allow for remote work from the place of quarantine, there is no
restriction on their right to start working. In many cases, remote
working is not possible, and the employer cannot demand any
participation from the employee. The employer is strictly required
not to do anything that prevents the employee from meeting the
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.