On January 4, 2021, Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health, announced new measures for all employers and persons responsible for a business or organization in the City of Toronto ("Toronto") permitted to be open under the Reopening Ontario Act. All persons responsible for a business or organization in Toronto are instructed to follow the public health measures outlined below:
1. Immediately notify Toronto Public Health ("Public Health") at 416-338-7600 as soon as you become aware of two or more people who test positive for COVID-19 within a 14-day interval in connection with your workplace premises; and
2. If two or more people test positive for COVID-19 within a 14-day interval in connection with your workplace premises, you must:
- Provide contact information for a designated contact person at the workplace premise and ensure that person is readily available to communicate with Public Health and implement any additional measures immediately as required by Public Health;
- Ensure that accurate and updated contact information for all workers is available to be produced to Public Health within 24 hours of request in support of case management and contact tracing requirements for COVID-19;
- Notify the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development and/or other relevant government authorities; and
- Cooperate with infection prevention and control personnel from 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
In addition, Public Health instructed that:
- Hand sanitizer and hand washing facilities be provided in work and rest areas.
- Implement rigorous and frequent environmental cleaning in all high-touch areas and those areas accessible to the public.
- Conduct or have the property owner or landlord conduct a regular review of the HVAC system.
- 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.
- Ensure that physical distancing of workers takes place by at least two metres throughout the workplace and during eating and rest periods
- Install one-way walkways to reduce close physical interactions.
- Implement physical barriers such as plexiglas when physical distancing is not possible.
Support for Workers
Further, in order to encourage forthright reporting of COVID-19 symptoms or contact among employees, Public Health has instructed that employers ensure that all employees are aware of income replacement and workplace-related benefits they are entitled to if they have to isolate due to symptoms of COVID-19, being tested for COVID-19 or being in close contact with someone with COVID-19.
Originally Published by Fogler Rubinoff, January 2021
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