On January 12, 2021, the Government of Ontario declared a second state of emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, the government issued a province-wide Stay-at-Home Order and amended O. Reg. 82/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 1 (“Stage 1 Rules”) to introduce
Last week, the Ontario government passed its latest budget bill, Bill 229: Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act (Budget Measures), 2020 (“Bill 229”). Bill 229 implements initiatives contained in Ontario’s 2020 budget through amendments to existing statutes.
Amendments to key employment statutes include:
Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019:
Earlier this summer, several Ontario municipalities established bylaws requiring businesses to ensure masks or face coverings are worn by the public in enclosed public spaces (see our earlier article here). On October 3, 2020, the Ontario government amended the Rules for Areas in Stage 3, O Reg 364/20 (the “amended regulation”), establishing similar requirements for most Ontario businesses, summarized below.
Who Must Wear Masks or Face Coverings?
Generally speaking, businesses and organizations must ensure that anyone located in an indoor area within their premises, or within a vehicle that is operating as part of the business or organization, wears a mask that covers their mouth, nose, and chin.
The Ontario Government now requires most Ontario businesses and organizations to implement a workplace screening tool that requires staff members and essential visitors to complete a medical questionnaire before entering the workplace each day. This new requirement is established under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 and became effective on September 26, 2020.…
Continue Reading New COVID-19 Workplace Screening Requirements for Ontario Businesses
After almost six months of school closures across Ontario due to the COVID-19 pandemic, school is now back in session for most students. The provincial government’s education model includes a voluntary back-to-school regime that provides parents and students with the option to engage in online learning from home or to have children physically attend at school. With recent cases of COVID-19 on the rise this fall, outlined below is a summary of what employers should be aware of regarding their obligations to accommodate employees with children that are not attending in-person school or childcare.…
Continue Reading Back to School: An Employer’s Obligations to its Parental Employees
Starting July 7, 2020, the City of Toronto will require businesses to ensure masks or face coverings are worn by the public in their enclosed public spaces.
- The City of Toronto’s bylaw will come into force on July 7, 2020. It is currently set to expire on or about October 1, 2020, but may be extended.
- The new bylaw will generally apply to all indoor spaces within the City of Toronto that are openly accessible to the public. The bylaw will not require individuals to wear masks or face coverings in workplaces that are not openly accessible to the public will not be required.
- A list of public spaces exempted from the bylaw can be found here: https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-what-you-should-do/covid-19-orders-directives-by-laws/mandatory-mask-or-face-covering-bylaw/
- Under the bylaw, there are exceptions for individuals who are unable to wear a mask or face covering for medical reasons, and for children under two years old. There are further exceptions for individuals who are, for example, eating a meal or engaging in athletic or fitness activity.
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.…
Continue Reading Ontario Releases Safety Guidelines for Reopening to Protect Public from COVID-19
The spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus — the virus responsible for COVID-19 — is now anticipated to reach pandemic levels. Officials from the Public Health Agency of Canada reiterate that the risk of a mass outbreak in Canada remains low, but have encouraged and enforced precautionary measures.
Employers should continue to be vigilant in ensuring a safe and healthy workplace. In addition to our previous client alert, employers should be mindful of the following checklist:
1. Appoint one or more coordinators who will be responsible for tracking and communicating the latest developments of COVID-19. The coordinator(s) should have the authority to make or advise on emergency decisions such as office closures and meeting cancellations.
- According to the size of the employer’s organization, a cross-functional team may be necessary with designated individuals to handle issues such as employee health and safety, medical/personal leaves and accommodations, communications, and compliance.
With the spread of the novel 2019 coronavirus, employers may face significant disruptions in the workplace.
As of January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. Officials from the Public Health Agency of Canada have stated that the risk of a major outbreak in Canada remains low, but has encouraged extra precautionary measures. Two cases in Ontario, and one in British Columbia have been confirmed.
Employers should be aware of the legal framework within which they can prepare, manage, and address developments caused by the spread of this virus.…
Continue Reading The Coronavirus: How Ontario Employers Can Prepare
On December 10, 2019, Bill 132: Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2019, received Royal Assent. Bill 132 amends many existing statutes to modernize outdated and ineffective regulatory requirements, aiming to increase regulatory efficiency. Amendments to the Ontario Pension Benefits Act (“PBA”) will give rise to the following key changes:
- Electronic Communications: Members