September 2, 2021by Israel Foulon LLP
Extension of Paid Infectious Disease Emergency Leave
The Ontario government has recently announced that the paid Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (“IDEL”) originally set to end September 25, 2021, is being extended until December 31, 2021. We wrote about the Worker Income Protection Benefit, which provides employees with up to three paid days of IDEL on May 3, 2021, when it was first introduced. You can review our full break down HERE. You can access the government’s information on the program and the application form HERE.
Introduction of Proof of Vaccinations in Select Settings
On September 1, 2021, the Ontario government announced, that in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, it will be introducing a mandatory vaccination program which will require that patrons provide proof of their vaccination status in order to access specific non-essential businesses.
As of September 22, 2021, all patrons must be fully vaccinated (i.e. received both doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine, and must complete the 14-day waiting period) and provide proof of their vaccination status, along with photo ID to enter the following settings:
- Restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios, as well as delivery and takeout);
- Nightclubs (including all outdoor areas);
- Meeting and event spaces (including banquet falls and conference/convention centres);
- Facilities used for sports and fitness activities and personal fitness training (including gyms, fitness and recreational facilities, but excluding youth recreational sports);
- Sporting events;
- Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments;
- Concerts, music festivals, theatres and cinemas;
- Strip clubs, bathhouses, and sex clubs; and
- Racing venues (including horse racing).
Proof of vaccination status is not required for those attending:
- Outdoor settings where the risk of transmission is lower (i.e. restaurant patios);
- Settings where people receive medical care and medical supplies;
- Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks;
- Retail shopping;
- Religious services; and
- Personal care services (i.e. barbershops or hair/nail salons)
Currently, individuals who cannot receive the vaccine due to medical exemptions will be permitted to enter, on the condition that they provide a doctor’s note. Children under 12 years old are also exempt.
As of October 22, 2021, the Government plans to implement an enhanced digital vaccine certificate that may be kept on your phone for easy verification. The province will also launch a verification app for businesses to verify patrons’ digital vaccine receipt while respecting individuals’ right to privacy. Once implemented, individuals will no longer be required to provide their ID, or show a doctor’s note as it will be integrated within the certificate.
You can review the full Ontario Newsroom press release HERE.
You can also review the frequently asked questions page HERE.
Take Away for Employers
Most notably, the government’s press release states that the vaccination certificate and requirement to provide proof of vaccination would only apply to patrons of the establishments, and does not say anything about employees. However, employers will be still required to comply with the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s recommendations to implement a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy, as detailed in our e-bulletin released on August 31, 2021. It appears the government intends to leave the mandatory vaccination decision at the discretion of employers at this time.
Please contact us for any further questions or if you require assistance in implementing a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.
Israel Foulon Wong’s Response to COVID-19 Israel Foulon Wong LLP 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.