Toronto Public Health (TPH) has issued new requirements for businesses and organizations and issued a letter of instruction to those Toronto businesses currently permitted to operate under the Reopening Ontario Act.
Effective immediately, all persons responsible for a business or organization in the City of Toronto must implement the additional measures set out below. While these instructions are specific to the City of Toronto, similar requirements and guidance have and will be published in other jurisdictions, and many of these requirements are considered a best practice. Employers should continue to monitor specific public health guidance in their municipality and province as well as from the federal government.
NOTIFICATION TO TPH
TPH must be immediately notified if two or more persons test positive for COVID-19 in a 14-day period in connection with the workplace.
In connection with this requirement, employers must:
Designate a workplace contact for communications with public health
Ensure employee contact information is accurate and updated and can be produced within 24 hours for contact tracing
Cooperate with public health, including allowing them into the workplace for inspection, if requested
Fulfill reporting obligations to the Ontario Ministry of Labour Training and Skills Development, where applicable. As a reminder, if an employer is advised that a worker has an occupational illness due to an exposure at the workplace, or that a claim has been filed with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), the employer must notify the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development in writing within four days.
INFECTION PREVENTION MEASURES
The letter of instruction also stipulates the following measures to help prevent the spread of infection:
Ensure hand sanitizer and hand-washing facilities are provided in work and rest areas
Have frequent and thorough environmental cleaning in high-touch areas and areas accessible to the public
Conduct regular reviews of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems
Reduce the frequency of having more than one person in a vehicle for work-related purposes. If unavoidable, ensure face coverings are worn in the vehicle and drive with the windows open.
Maintain two metres of physical distancing among workers throughout the workplace and during eating and rest periods. Install one-way walkways to reduce workers coming into close physical contact.
When physical distancing is not possible, install physical barriers, such as plexiglass
COMMUNICATION OF BENEFITS
Finally, the letter of instructions requires employers to keep employees informed of workplace-related benefits, including employment insurance and the Canada Recovery Benefit, that they may be entitled to if they have to isolate due to virus symptoms, when they are being tested for COVID-19, or if they are a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19.
These new requirements do not apply to licensed childcare programs, schools and school boards.
Businesses and community organizations must also follow Government of Ontario and City of Toronto guidelines for their specific setting or sector.
For further information or any questions regarding how this may impact your business, please contact a member of our Employment & Labour group.
Please visit our COVID-19 Resource Centre to learn more about how COVID-19 may impact your business.
Blakes and Blakes Business Class communications are intended for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice or an opinion on any issue. We would be pleased to provide additional details or advice about specific situations if desired.
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