January 6, 2021by Israel Foulon LLP
On January 4, 2021, Dr. Eileen de Villa, the Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto, issued a series of new guidelines for Toronto employers permitted to open under the Reopening Ontario Act. Additionally, it was announced that the City of Toronto will start publicly identifying businesses who are experiencing a workplace outbreak.
City of Toronto Issues Additional Public Health Instructions
Effective January 4, 2021, Toronto area employers permitted to reopen are required to adhere to the following additional public health instructions:
Notify Toronto Public Health
- You must immediately notify Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600, as soon as you become aware that two or more people in connection with your workplace have tested positive for COVID-19, within a fourteen-day interval.
- If two or more people in connection with your workplace test positive within a fourteen-day interval, you must:
- Provide contact information for a designated individual at the workplace premise who is readily available to communicate with Toronto Public Health.
- Ensure that accurate and up to date contact information for all workers is available to be produced within 24 hours notice.
- Notify the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development and/or any other relevant authorities.
- Cooperate with infection prevention and control personnel from Toronto Public Health including allowing entry into the workplace premise for inspection and to support enhanced infection prevention and control measures and recommendations.
Infection Prevention Measures
- Hand sanitizer and hand-washing facilities must be available in all work and rest areas.
- Implement rigorous and frequent cleaning of all high-touch areas and those areas that are accessible to the public, including washrooms, check-out counters, concession stands, and other high touch areas including door handles, and elevator buttons.
- Conduct or have your landlord/property owner conduct regular reviews of Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems to ensure they are functioning appropriately.
- Minimize instances of more than one individual in a vehicle for driving associated with work. If unavoidable, ensure face coverings are worn in the vehicle, and drive with the windows open.
- Maintain physical distancing throughout the workplace. Ensure masks are worn wherever physical distancing is not possible. Employers should install one-way walkways where ever possible to reduce physical interactions.
- Implement physical barriers, such as plexiglass dividers, when physical distancing is not possible.
Supports for Workers
- To encourage forthright reporting of COVID-19 symptoms or contact amongst employees, employers must ensure that all employees are aware of income replacement work-related benefits that are available for those who are required to self-isolate in relation to COVID-19.
- You can access the full list of COVID-19 Benefits and Services available to employees HERE.
You can access Toronto Public Health’s full list of new instructions to employers permitted to open HERE.
Toronto Public Health to Begin Releasing Workplace Outbreak Data
As of January 7, 2021, Toronto Public Health will publish all workplace outbreaks on a weekly basis. Workplace outbreak information will be disclosed where there is:
- evidence of sustained transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace;
- a significant proportion of staff have been involved in the outbreak;
- significant duration of the outbreak and the approximate time for a positive case to generate a second and third positive case, or cases; and
- the workplace is large enough that risk of privacy concerns are mitigated.
You can access Toronto Public Health’s full press release HERE.
We recommend that you seek legal advice if you have questions about how to safely reopen your business, or meeting specific public health and safety requirements.
Israel Foulon’s Response to COVID-19
Israel Foulon is assessing the situation as it evolves, and is taking all necessary precautions within its workplace. To slow the spread of COVID-19 and for the health of our team and clients, absent extraordinary circumstances we are working remotely until further notice whenever possible. However, please be aware that our offices remain open and are fully functioning. In the circumstances, we encourage our clients to contact us by phone and email to the extent possible. Voicemail messages left at our office phone numbers are immediately forwarded via email. All messages will be promptly responded to. We remain steadfast in our commitment to our clients and would be more than happy to assist you with concerns regarding COVID-19 or any other employment or labour matters.