The COVID-19 pandemic presents a myriad of challenges for employers. In addition to the financial and social issues posed by the pandemic, employers are under increased pressure to ensure adequate health and safety standards in the workplace. The Ontario government has, in conjunction with four provincial Health and Safety Associations, compiled more than 60 guidance documents to assist employers to ensure their workplace is safe for their employees and customers. The guidance documents are organized by sector and cover a broad range of subtopics, including guidance on workplace hygiene and sanitation, personal protective equipment, and mental health.

Below is an overview of some key guidance documents. The full list of guidance documents can be found here.

Among the many guidance documents, the following may be especially useful to employers:

The importance of these guidance documents is amplified by the Ontario government's announcement that certain businesses and workplaces will be permitted to reopen on Monday, May 4, provided they comply with public health measures. Seasonal businesses such as garden centres and lawn care and landscaping businesses, as well as car washes, automotive dealerships, and select construction sites will all be permitted to reopen. Additionally, golf courses and marinas are permitted to begin preparations for reopening, though they cannot yet reopen. For further details, see the government's press release, available here.

Even employers who are not yet permitted to reopen should review the applicable guidelines documents now, in order to ensure that operations are entirely compliant with all applicable health and safety standards upon reopening.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.