January 11, 2021
Over the past months we have all seen just how quickly the rules and regulations in response to COVID-19 have and can change in the interest of protecting public health and safety. On January 4, 2021, with immediate effect, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health instituted additional operational guidelines for employers.
The new operational requirements are set out in a letter addressed to all employers and persons responsible for a business or organization in the City of Toronto permitted to be open under the Reopening Ontario Act (the “Letter”), with exemptions for certain sectors such as child and health care providers and schools and school boards, all of which are subject to other specific regulations and directives. A full copy of the Letter can be accessed here.
Toronto employers are now required to immediately notify Toronto Public Health (“TPH”) where two or more people, connected to the workplace premises, test positive for COVID-19 within a 14 day interval.
Where this occurs, employers must:
- Provide contact information for a designated contact person at the workplace premises and ensure that person is readily available to communicate with TPH and implement any additional measures immediately as may be required.
- Ensure that it has accurate contact information for all workers available to be produced to TPH within 24 hours of request in support of case management and contact tracing requirements.
- Notify the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development and/or other relevant government authorities.
- Cooperate with infection prevention and control personnel from TPH, including allowing entry into the workplace premises for inspection and to support enhanced infection prevention and control measures and recommendations.
Also provided for in the Letter are a number of infection prevention measures, including: providing hand sanitizer and hand-washing facilities; rigorous and frequent cleaning; conducting or having your property manager conduct a regular review of the premises HVAC systems; minimizing the instances of more than one person in a vehicle; and take measures to ensure physical distancing in the workplace.
Pursuant to the Letter, employers must also ensure that employees are aware of the various supports for workers including leaves and income replacement benefits related to COVID-19, and designed to encourage reporting COVID-19 symptoms or contact among employees.
Employers are reminded to keep abreast of the ever changing COVID-19 directives and recommendations and routinely audit workplace polices to ensure compliance. For further assistance or information please contact us here at Koskie Minsky LLP.