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Generally speaking, you cannot refuse to return to work unless your refusal is based on a legitimate ground.

For example, if you return to work and there is no personal protective equipment (PPE) or social distancing rules in place, or if you have childcare obligations due to COVID-19.

If you have been recalled to work and have concerns you must address this with your employer and give them an opportunity to rectify the concern.

If you have been re-called and refuse to return to work because of concerns unrelated to your health and safety, or in relation to a job-protected leave, your employer may treat your refusal as a resignation. Similarly, if you refuse to return to work for health and safety-related reasons and the Ministry of Labour deems the workplace safe, your employer may have the right to treat your refusal to return as a resignation.

This distinction is important because employees who are deemed to have resigned are not be entitled to any termination or severance pay and will likely not have access to Employment Insurance benefits.

If you have been re-called to work and have any concerns, or your employer has treated your refusal to return as a resignation of your employment, please contact Toronto employment lawyers, Sultan Lawyers at 416-214-5111 or via email to mlahert@sultanlawyers.com.