Ontario moved into Step 3 as of January 31, 2022. What does this mean for employers?
Before the move to Step 3, employers were required to have work conducted remotely unless the nature of the work required the people to be on site to perform it. That restriction has been lifted and employers can now consider having people return to on site work.
That said, employers are still required to operate their organizations in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations. This means that employers will be required to exercise due diligence and assess the risks in their particular workplace to determine whether, when and how to require employees to return to in person work.
Employers continue to be required to comply with advice, recommendations and instructions issued by public health officials.
Proof of vaccination continues to be required to be obtained to enter indoor areas of businesses such as restaurants, bars and gyms, and capacity limits are increasing.
More information about capacity limits can be found here.
O.Reg 364/20 outlines the Rules for areas in Step 3 in more depth and detail, and outlines rules and requirements applicable to specific categories of businesses. Employers may also find it useful to consult Ontario’s COVID-19 and Workplace Health and Safety, or Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for Employers on Preventing COVID-19 in the Workplace.
If you have questions about your rights and obligations as an employer in managing your operation during covid please get in touch with one of our lawyers.
This move to Step 3 is to be celebrated, but it is perhaps a bit early to crack out the champagne. Stay tuned for further developments. If all goes well, we will be providing updates on further loosening of restrictions in the coming weeks.