March 1, 2022by Israel Foulon LLP
As announced on February 14, 2022, the Ontario government confirmed that if health indicators continued to improve, Ontario would be moving to the “Roadmap Exit Step” of the Reopening Ontario Act as of March 1, 2022. The Roadmap Exit Step removes the majority of COVID-19 restrictions including lifting capacity limits on all indoor public settings, as well as lifting mandatory proof of vaccination requirements for all settings.
March 1, 2022 Reopening
As of 12:01am March 1, 2022:
- Capacity limits have been lifted in all indoor public settings
- Proof of vaccination requirements have been lifted; however, businesses and organizations may choose to require proof of vaccination upon entry
- Masks continue to remain mandatory in all indoor public areas, subject to certain exemptions (including for reasons under the Ontario Human Rights Code)
- Passive screening of patrons is required
- A safety plan must be in place, as detailed below
It is important to note that employers are still required to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and take all reasonable precautions to protect the health and safety of their workers in their workplace.
Further, employers are required to abide by the recommendations, advice and instructions from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, including with regard to:
- physical distancing, cleaning or disinfecting;
- requiring the business to establish, implement and ensure compliance with a COVID-19 vaccination policy;
- setting out the precautions and procedures that the business must include in its COVID-19 vaccination policy; or
- screening individuals by among other things, posting signs at the entrance to the business that informs individuals on how to screen themselves for COVID-19 prior to entering the business.
Finally, employers are required to have a written safety plan in place that describes the measures and protections that have been implemented or will be implemented to reduce COVID-19 transmission. This includes details on screening procedures and masking. The safety plan must be posted in a conspicuous location where it is most likely to be seen by those entering the business.
You can review the current public health measures in place HERE.
Take Away for Employers
Employers should continue to keep abreast of any changes or new recommendations from the Chief Medical Officer of Health in order to continue to be in compliance with the Roadmap Exit Step moving forward.
Employers may soon start to mandate in person attendance in workplaces. We recommend that you seek legal advice and assistance when creating or revising COVID-19 vaccination policies or safety plans to ensure compliance with the OHSA, Roadmap to Exit requirements, and the needs of your workplace.
Employers are also reminded that the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (“IDEL”) provisions that modify the Employment Standards Act, 2000, are set to expire on July 30, 2022. Please consult our most recent article HERE for more information on how this may impact your workplace.
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, we are continuing to work remotely where 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.