New COVID-19 health and safety compliance obligations
Photo by Graham Ruttan on Unsplash

The recent spike in COVID-19 cases has resulted in the Ontario government amending regulation  O. Reg 364/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 3, under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (“the Regulation”). The new amendment took effect on Saturday, September 26, 2020, and imposes on employers new health and safety compliance obligations related to COVID-19, specifically employee screening, or as the Regulation puts it:

“The person responsible for a business or organization that is open shall operate the business or organization in compliance with the advice, recommendations and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health on screening individuals.”

Required Screening Questions

The current recommendations of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health were published by the Ministry of Health on September 25, 2020, in a document titled “COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces (Business and Organization)” (COVID-19 Screening Tool). O. Reg 364/20 mandates compliance with the COVID-19 Screening Tool (marked as Version 1). Its recommendations consist of a short questionnaire covering symptoms, travel and suspected contact. Employers must use it to conduct screening of all workers (anyone conducting business-related activity) and any essential visitor (anyone providing a service to the workplace), each time, before, or when that person enters the workplace.

Compliance Steps

Employers can access the screening tool here and take the following steps to ensure compliance:

  1. Use the COVID-19 Screening Tool to assess all the individuals outlined above, each time before they enter the workplace.
  2.   Not allow anyone who fails the screening to enter, or remain in the workplace, and require anyone who fails to self-isolate and contact their health care provider or Telehealth Ontario.
  3.   Allow individuals who pass the screening (answered no to all questions) to enter the workplace, but advise employees to immediately report any new symptoms to the employer.
  4.   Continue to comply with their existing obligations under health and safety laws.

If you need help implementing the new employer obligations imposed by O. Reg 364/20, get in touch for a consultation.