Cross Border COVID Considerations for Canadian Businesses

Cross Border COVID Considerations for Canadian Businesses

June 19, 2022

We work with hundreds of Canadian clients who operate businesses in New York State, or who have Canadian-based businesses with locations in New York. We help our Canadian clients navigate the many nuances in New York and U.S. federal law, from business formation, to tax laws, to labor and employment regulations. In the last few years, we have also helped these businesses adjust to the unique rules in New York governing the management of employees in New York State.

Though Ontario is less than a mile from our downtown Buffalo office, employment rules related to COVID-19 vary greatly as between our two countries. These variances continue to change as our understanding the virus changes.

For example, confusion exists among employers in connection with the 14-day and five-day periods of leave. The New York State Department of Labor (“DOL”) has recently clarified that in light of the reduced quarantine period from 14 to five days, New York COVID paid sick leave is available only for the period of the quarantine order - which is now five days.

The DOL, in a Q and A on its website provides:

Q: In January 2022, the Department of Health released updated guidance allowing individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19 to end their quarantine after 5 days if they are asymptomatic and subsequently test negative, or if it is not possible to get a test and they have had no COVID-19 symptoms. How does this affect NY’s COVID-19 quarantine leave benefits?

A: NY’s COVID-19 quarantine leave benefits are only available during the order of quarantine or isolation. Once an individual is no longer subject to an order of quarantine or isolation, they are no longer eligible for NY’s COVID-19 quarantine leave benefits.
Also, Gov. Hochul recently signed legislation adding siblings to the list of individuals covered under the state’s Paid Family Leave Act. This takes effect January 1, 2023.

The bottom line: All businesses operating in New York need to remain up-to-speed on the latest regulations for dealing with COVID-19 and employees. Failure to do so could result in a complaint being filed with the state that could ultimately lead to an investigation and potentially costly penalties. We work closely with our business clients to ensure that they are in compliance with all COVID-19 rules and regulations to minimize their risk and avoid any disruption in their business operations.

Kevin Burke’s practice includes wide ranging federal and state court experience in civil litigation within employment law, environmental defense, class actions, product liability defense, corporate dissolution and shareholder disputes, and “business divorce,” breach of contract, OSHA and insurance coverage disputes.

Kevin counsels employers on recent developments in employment law, and the implementation of policies and procedures which enable employers to be in compliance with federal and state laws. He can be reached at 716-854-4300 ext. 292 or [email protected]