When you’re starting to drown between employee concerns, payroll duties and helping your CEO -- HR Insider is there to help get the logistical work out of the way.
Need a policy because of a recent regulatory change? We’ve got it for you. Need some quick training on a specific HR topic? We’ve got it for you. HR Insider provides the resources you need to craft, implement and monitor policies with confidence. Our team of experts (which includes lawyers, analysts and HR professionals) keep track of complex legislation, pending changes, new interpretations and evolving case law to provide you with the policies and procedures to keep you ahead of problems. FIND OUT MORE...
Ontario Compliance Alert: Government Unveils 3-Stage Re-Opening Plan

On April 27, 2020, roughly 6 weeks after declaring a public health emergency, Ontario published a 3-stage plan for gradually loosening restrictions and re-opening the province’s economy. 

Stage 1

Stage 1 would allow for:

  • Re-opening of select businesses capable of meeting OHS requirements and public health guidelines, e.g., by offering curbside pickup or delivery;
  • Re-opening of some outdoor spaces, like parks;
  • Larger numbers of individuals to attend certain types of events, like funerals; and
  • Hospitals to provide some non-urgent and elective surgeries and other health care services.

Stage 2

The government will do a 2- to 4-week assessment of the number of new COVID-19 cases and determine whether it’s safe to move to Stage 2, which would allow for:

  • Re-opening of more businesses, possibly including service industries, offices and retail workplaces; and
  • Re-opening of more outdoor spaces; and
  • Even larger public gatherings.

Stage 3

Based on the results of another 2- to 4-week assessment of COVID-19 cases, the government will decide whether to go to Stage 3, which would:

  • Allow for re-opening of all workplaces; and
  • Further loosening of restrictions on public gatherings—but not sporting events, concerts and other very large gatherings which will remain on hold for the foreseeable future.

What It Means to You: No Infection Control Plan, No Re-Opening

In addition to Ontario, the COVID-19 curve has also flattened in New Brunswick, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island and those provinces have or soon will announce re-opening plans of their own. While all of this is a promising development, non-essential companies that are currently closed down shouldn’t be popping the champagne corks just yet. First, the re-opening will be very closely monitored and brought to an immediate halt if the number of COVID-19 cases increases. And there are no timetables for when the plan will start and how long each stage will last.

Most importantly, no business will be allowed to re-open unless and until it can demonstrate its immediate capacity to comply with OHS health and safety requirements and current COVID-19 public health restrictions. Specifically, employers will be expected to perform a COVID-19 hazard assessment to identify and evaluate infection risks and implement an infection control program to eliminate or manage those risks via measures such as:

  • Social distancing, which may include medical screening and monitoring;
  • Engineering controls such as physical barriers, work station design, isolation rooms and/or ventilation systems;
  • Sanitation and handwashing;
  • Frequent and regular washing and disinfection, especially touch points like door knobs, equipment handles and keyboards;
  • Staggering work shifts or break schedules to minimize crowding; and
  • Furnishing and requiring the use of respiratory masks, protective gloves and other PPE.