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Information for Employers
To prevent the potential spread of COVID-19, it is important for all workplaces to take proactive steps to protect our community. We all have a role to play in keeping employees, clients, and volunteers safe and healthy.
The province of Ontario entered Step 3 of the Roadmap to Reopen on Friday, July 16 at 12:01 am. Step 3 focuses on expanding access to indoor settings, with restrictions, including where there are larger numbers of people and where face coverings can’t always be worn. All businesses are required to read the Roadmap to Reopen and its accompanying regulation in order to determine what actions they must take to remain open.
It is recommended but not required that staff who are able to work from home still to do so.
Proof of vaccination information for businesses
Beginning September 22, businesses in some sectors will need to confirm that patrons show proof of vaccination. Patrons will need to be fully vaccinated (14 days since their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine) and provide their proof of vaccination along with ID that shows their date of birth.
Where is proof of vaccination required?
Proof of vaccination will be used in higher-risk indoor public settings where face coverings cannot always be worn. These settings are:
- Indoor areas of concert venues, theatres, and cinemas
- Indoor areas of restaurants, bars, and other food and drink establishments without dance facilities (excludes outdoor patios, delivery and takeout)
- Indoor and outdoor areas of food or drink establishments with dance facilities, including nightclubs and restoclubs and other similar establishments (excludes delivery and takeout)
- Indoor areas of horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues
- Indoor areas where film and TV productions take place with studio audiences
- Indoor areas of casinos, bingo halls, and other gaming establishments
- Indoor areas of facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities, including waterparks and personal fitness training (limited exceptions apply)
- Indoor areas where spectators watch sporting events
- Indoor areas of meeting and event spaces (includes banquet halls, conference and convention centres, with limited exceptions)
- Indoor areas of bathhouses, sex clubs and strip clubs
These requirements will not apply to settings where people receive medical care, food from grocery stores, medical supplies, and similar items.
Is proof of vaccination required in settings other than those listed above?
Organizations that are not in the sectors listed above are not covered under the provincial policy. They have the option to set their own vaccination policy. Their vaccination policy (including exemptions) may differ from the province’s. Colleges and universities are examples of organizations that often have their own requirements in place.
I am a customer. What do I need to know?
Customers should click here for more information and to print their vaccine receipts.
My business is required to check proof of vaccination. Where can we find additional information and resources to support us in enforcing proof of vaccination?
These resources have been created to support businesses:
Businesses should also consult information from the Government of Ontario:
Vaccine policy recommendations for businesses
Employers are responsible for maintaining safe working environments for their workers. To help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, the Timiskaming Health Unit is recommending that employers should implement a vaccination policy to help protect workers and the public.
The following resource has been created to support businesses in creating vaccine policies:
PPE requirements for workers
The Reopening Ontario Act requires workers to wear approved masks and eye protection in certain situations.
Masks or face coverings must cover the mouth, nose, and chin. Organizations are required to have a policy in place that mandates staff and members of the public to wear a mask indoors. Businesses and organizations are expected to implement and enforce their mask policy in good faith.
Workers are required to wear masks in the following situations:
- Masks are required indoors at all businesses and organizations.
- Masks are required in vehicles that are operating as part of the business or organization.
- Masks are required outdoors when workers are within 2 meters of other people.
- Masks are not required if workers are in an area that is not accessible to the public and they are able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from all other people. However, if staff are working with others in a confined or poorly-ventilated space, they should consider wearing a mask.
Not all masks are considered adequate PPE for workers. A NIOSH- or ASTM-certified mask is considered PPE. Health Canada has also approved some foreign masks, including select KN95 masks, for use as PPE. Cloth masks are not considered PPE, since they do not offer enough protection.
Click here for more information about masks, including requirements for customers and details about proper mask use.
Eye protection must be worn when workers are within 2 meters of an unmasked or improperly-masked* person without an impermeable barrier, whether indoors or outdoors. Face shields, goggles, and CSA-approved safety glasses are considered eye protection. Prescription eyewear is not considered eye protection.
Goggles are considered the best eye protection, but face shields also protect your mask from contamination and can help make up for a poorly-fitting mask. Both face shields and goggles are considered better than safety glasses. However, all three are considered acceptable eye protection.
Wearing a mask doesn’t block COVID-19 completely. That’s why eye protection is a good precaution. Eye protection prevents infectious droplets from coming into contact with the mucous membranes in your eyes.
* A person is considered improperly masked when their mouth, nose, or chin is not covered by a mask or face covering.
Workers who cannot wear PPE
These workers must be protected using other methods such as enhanced distancing greater than 2 meters, barriers in well-ventilated areas, or working from home.
A list of PPE vendors can be found on the province’s PPE Supplier Directory.
The risk of COVID-19 transmission is higher in enclosed and crowded spaces. You should ensure that air-handling (HVAC) systems are maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions and consider standards, such as those from the CSA and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Additional steps you can take are:
- use portable air cleaners
- keep windows and doors open as much as possible, including in colder weather
- adjust HVAC systems to increase the amount of fresh air and reduce recirculation
- continue ventilation and air exchange after regular business hours
- use available outdoor space whenever possible (for example, for meetings, breaks, client interactions such as curbside pick-up)
- consider going beyond minimum standards if possible.
If fans are needed for temperature control, make sure you are using them as safely as possible.
Employer Toolkit & Communications resources
Letters to businesses
Click here for previous letters from the Health Unit to businesses about guidance regarding COVID-19.
If you would like to receive these letters and are not currently on our business list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added.
Required signage, policies, and safety plan
The resources linked below were developed by the Timiskaming Health Unit and the Government of Ontario to help businesses meet requirements. The set fines for failing to comply with any section of the re-opening Ontario act start at $750. Lack of a safety plan and screening poster have been common ticketed infractions during safety blitzes in other areas of the province.
The following signage, policies, and plans are required for all employers:
Information about masks
Posters: Staff spaces
Social media resources
Sector-specific guidance and resources
Guidance for all sectors
Resources for all sectors
Personal service settings
Religious services, rites, and ceremonies
Meeting and event spaces
Fitness facilities, group fitness, and personal training
Taxi services, volunteer drivers, and passengers
Hunting camps and lodges
Short-term rentals and cabins
Medial exemption template