Toronto Public Health to Regularly Publish COVID-19 Workplace Outbreaks, Announces New Measures for COVID-19 Workplace Safety

On January 4, 2021, Toronto Public Health (TPH) announced that, as of January 7, 2021, it will be publishing information regarding COVID-19 workplace outbreaks in the City of Toronto on a weekly basis. The information will be organized by business sector based on the North American Industry Classification System, and will be disclosed where a public health risk exists when:

  • there is evidence of sustained transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace;
  • a significant proportion of staff have been involved in the outbreak;
  • the outbreak is of a significant duration; and
  • the workplace is large enough that privacy concerns/risks are mitigated.

It is anticipated that workplace outbreak information will be made available on TPH's COVID-19 dashboard.

TPH has also issued a letter of instruction to those businesses in the City of Toronto currently permitted to operate under the Reopening Ontario Act outlining additional requirements to limit opportunities for COVID-19 transmission in the workplace.  These include the following measures:

            1. Immediately notifying TPH of two or more people who test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days that are connected to the workplace setting by calling 416-338-7600.
            2. If two or more people test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days that are connected to a workplace: 
              • cooperating with TPH personnel to support enhanced infection prevention and control measures and recommendations;
              • notifying the Ontario Ministry of Labour and any other relevant government authorities;
              • providing TPH with accurate and up to date contact information for all workers within 24 hours to support case and contact tracing; and
              • providing a designated contact to work with TPH to immediately implement any additional required measures to reduce virus spread.
            3. Ensuring hand sanitizer and hand-washing facilities are available, and that there is rigorous and frequent environmental cleaning in all high-touch public areas.
            4. Conducting a regular review of HVAC systems to ensure they are functioning well.
            5. Minimizing instances of more than one individual travelling together in a vehicle for work, or ensuring that face coverings are worn in the vehicle and that the vehicle is driven with the windows open.
            6. Ensuring that workers maintain two-metre physical distancing throughout the workplace, and implementing physical barriers where physical distancing is not possible.
            7. Ensuring that all employees are aware of their entitlement to any related income replacement/workplace-related benefits in order to encourage forthright reporting of COVID-19 symptoms or contact among employees.

            Licensed child care programs, schools, and school boards are currently exempt from these instructions due to sector-specific legislation, directives, and guidelines governing COVID-19 measures in these settings.

            Further information regarding the new requirements may be found in the letter of instruction, accessible here.

            Additional sector-specific COVID-19 information and guidance documents published by TPH are accessible here


            Evan Daikov