As Ontario prepares to reopen the economy, the province is providing employers with safety guidelines to protect workers, customers, and the general public from COVID-19. The guidelines provide practical recommendations so that employers reopen in a safe and responsible way.

Sector-Specific Guidelines

On April 30, 2020, the Ontario government released its guidelines, providing sector-specific direction to those working in the manufacturing, food manufacturing and processing, restaurant and food service, and agricultural sectors. These measures adapt and build upon guidelines developed by Ontario’s health and safety associations in response to COVID-19 for various sectors such as retail, health care, construction, transportation, police services, firefighters, and transit employees.

Ontario’s guidelines are specific to certain sectors, and recommend actions employers can take now to prepare themselves for operating during the COVID-19 outbreak when businesses start to reopen. The guidelines include, for example, practical methods for ensuring physical distancing, sanitation and other protective measures that can be taken to decrease the risk of transmitting COVID-19 in the workplace.

Under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, employers have a legal duty to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker. This duty requires employers to perform their due diligence by taking reasonable steps to protect the health and safety of their workers. This duty is particularly important in the context of COVID-19, where workers and the public can contract COVID-19 if employers fail to take proper precautions to protect them.

Accordingly, employers should carefully review and implement the general guidelines, as well as the guidelines that relate to their particular workplace.  Employers who fail to comply may be subject to charges and prosecution for failing to meet their legal duty under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Links to the Guidelines:

Sector URL
General Guidelines

Backgrounder: Health and Safety Association Guidance Documents for Workplaces During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Guidance on Health and Safety for Curbside Pick Up and Delivery Services during COVID-19

Guidance on Health and Safety for Executives and Management during COVID-19

Guidance on Health and Safety for Sales and Customer Service Representatives during COVID-19

Guidance on handling and receiving packages (all persons at work or at home) during COVID-19

Agriculture Health and Safety Guidance for Agricultural Workers during COVID-19
Auto Sales & Service

Guidance on Health and Safety for Service Managers, Service Technicians and other Vehicle Sales and Service Employees during Covid-19

Guidance on Health and Safety for Vehicle Sales and Service Sector during COVID-19

Construction

Guidance on worker procedures (handling paperwork) during COVID-19

Guidance on workers’ responsibilities with COVID-19 (symptoms or exposure) on construction sites

Guidance on construction facility hygiene during COVID-1

Best practices – Responding to a suspected COVID-19 exposure

Best practices and workplace responsibilities for the constructor in the construction industry responding to a potential COVID-19 exposure

Guidance on Tool Sharing (Hand Tools) Constructor/Employer Procedure during COVID-19

Guidance on PPE (cleaning respirators) during COVID-19

Film/TV

Guidance on Health and Safety for Television Hosts, Technical Crews and other TV and Film Employees during COVID-19

Guidance on Health and Safety for Television, Film and Live Performance Sector during COVID-19

Fire Services Health and Safety Guidance During COVID-19 For Firefighters
Food Retail

Guidance on Health and Safety For Stock, Produce, Meat or Grocery Associates during COVID-19

Guidance on Health and Safety for Food Retail Sector during COVID-19

Forestry Workplace Safety North Guidance on forestry during COVID-19
Funeral Guidance on Health and Safety for Funeral Workers during COVID-19
Health Care

Guidance During COVID-19 For Foodservice Workers In Healthcare

Guidance During COVID-19 For Long Term Care

Guidance During COVID-19 For Community Laboratory And Specimen Collection Centres

Hospitality

Guidance Hotel Reception, Room Service and Front Line Staff during COVID-19

Guidance on Health and Safety for Housekeeping and Laundry Employees during COVID-19

Maintenance Guidance on Health and Safety For Maintenance and Facilities Maintenance Employees during COVID-19
Manufacturing

Guidance on Health and Safety for Equipment Operators and General Labourers during COVID-19

Guidance on Health and Safety for Quality Control Engineers and Technicians during COVID-19

Guidance on Health and Safety for Supervisors, Production & Operations Management during COVID-19

Guidance on Health and Safety for Warehouse Workers, Forklift Operators & Material Handlers during COVID-19

Mining Workplace Safety North Guidance on mining during COVID-19 
Office

Guidance During COVID-19 For Employers of Office Settings

Guidance on Health and Safety for Office Administration and Secretarial Staff during COVID-19

Guidance on Health and Safety for Office Sector during COVID-19 

Police Services Guidance During COVID-19 For Police Service Workers
Retail

Guidance on Health and Safety for Cashiers during COVID-19

Guidance on Health and Safety for Retail Sector during COVID-19

Guidance on Health and Safety for Retail General Labour Employees during COVID-19

Tourism/Hospitality Guidance on Health and Safety for Tourism and Hospitality Sector during COVID-19
Transit

Guidance During COVID-19 For Transit Employers

COVID-19: Precautions When Working As A Transit Worker

Transport, Shipping & Receiving

Guidance on shipping and receiving during COVID-19

Guidance on mental health awareness for transport drivers during COVID-19

Guidance on precautions for transport drivers during COVID-19

Guidance on fuelling of vehicles during COVID-19

Guidance on cleaning and sanitizing inside your vehicle during COVID-19

Transportation services health and safety during COVID-19

Guidance on rest stop hygiene during COVID-19

Guidance on hours of service and fatigue management (for employers) during COVID-19

Guidance on Health and Safety for Drivers and Truck Drivers during COVID-19

Guidance on Health and Safety for Shipping and Receiving Personnel during COVID-19

Utilities

Guidance on performing powerline technician (PLT) tasks during COVID-19

Waste collection worker health and safety during COVID-19

We are closely monitoring the situation and will provide updates as they become available.

Please contact your Baker McKenzie employment lawyer for more information.

You can also access our Coronavirus Resource Center for information on the impact of this situation on your business and what you can do to manage these risks. It covers areas of immediate concerns such as employer obligations, contract issues, supply chain disruption, financing and force majeure, as well as more forward looking issues such as practical impact on transactions and IPO activity.