Throughout the course of this COVID-19 pandemic, we have undergone several cycles of announcements, implementations, and revocations of COVID-19-related regulations. On April 14, 2022, Ontario filed yet another regulation – O. Reg. 346/22: Revoking Various Regulations (this “Regulation”) under Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020. In the nutshell, this Regulation revokes every single remaining COVID-19-related regulation in the province.
What Are Some Examples of Rules and Restrictions Being Lifted?
A major regulation being revoked is Regulation 364/20: Rules For Areas at Step 3 and at the Roadmap Exit Step, which requires that businesses must operate in accordance with any advice and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, including with respect to physical distancing, cleaning or disinfecting; establishing, implementing and ensuring compliance with a COVID-19 vaccination policy; and setting out the precautions and procedures that businesses must include in their COVID-19 vaccination policies. In addition, masks and face coverings are no longer required on public transit services, in hospitals, in long-term care homes, laboratories and specimen collection centers, homeless shelters, and congregate care supportive housing residences, among others.
When Does This Regulation Come into Effect?
This Regulation comes into force on April 27, 2022.
What Does This Mean For Employers?
Only time will tell whether this Regulation will be the final one of its kind or whether there will be any additional regulations filed in response to the current sixth wave of the pandemic. It is important to note that though COVID-19-related regulations will no longer be in force in Ontario, it is not completely clear what the provincial government’s position is on regulatory guidance, such as the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development’s Guide to developing your COVID-19 workplace safety plan.
In any event, employers must still abide by the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which details the minimum workplace health and safety standards necessary to protect workers, so it is best to take a cautious approach. Feel free to check out some of our recommendations with respect to workplace policies, privacy, and accommodation requests in light of the end of provincial COVID-19-related safety measures.
If you need one-on-one advice from a lawyer to assist you with navigating COVID-19-related workplace issues or have any questions about this new regulation, please get in touch for a consultation.
For those employers looking for general templates and guides for employment contracts, termination letters and releases, we have a great DIY toolkit – The Workplace Law Bundle!