Province Introduces Regulatory Amendment Regarding Mandatory COVID-19 Screening for Ontario Employees

On September 25, 2020, the Ontario Government amended Ontario Regulation 364/20 “Rules for Areas in Stage 3” under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020. The amendment included a requirement that persons responsible for a business or organization that is open, 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.

As of September 26, 2020, employers are required to screen workers and essential visitors entering their workplace for COVID-19 symptoms and exposures. Organizations and businesses are not required to screen patrons (e.g. customers entering a grocery store). 

The Ministry of Health issued a COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces which details screening requirements, including mandatory screening questions.

Employer takeaways:

  • Screening must take before or when a worker enters the workplace. 
  • The questions set out in the COVID-19 Screening Tool are the minimum questions required, employers are permitted to add questions or adapt the questionnaire to the specific needs of the workplace.
  • Employers must also screen “essential visitors” entering the workplace. This includes individuals providing a service such as delivery, maintenance, and/or contract work. It does not include individuals who are not employees, such as patrons or customers, or emergency services/first responders entering the workplace for emergency purposes.
  • Anyone who does not pass screening should be advised not to enter the workplace and to go home, self-isolate, and contact their health care provider or Telehealth Ontario to determine if they need a COVID-19 test. 
  • Employers should continue to meet all obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

We will continue to monitor developments related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the workplace and will post further updates as information becomes available.

For advice specific to your situation, consider contacting your regular lawyer at Rae Christen Jeffries LLP.