How are self-isolation requirements enforced?
To further protect our district from COVID-19, the Medical Officer of Health for the Timiskaming Health Unit has issued a Class Order under Section 22 of the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act, made pursuant to Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7
Effective December 30, 2020, the order allows the Timiskaming Health Unit to enforce self-isolation requirements for certain people.
This webpage is intended to help interpret the legal order. You can read the full order here: COVID-19 Class Order: Self-isolation. Where this webpage differs from the order, the order applies.
What is a class order?
A class order is a legal order that makes it possible for the Timiskaming Health Unit to enforce self-isolation requirements for certain people. The class order can help protect people in our district from potential exposure to COVID-19. Self-isolation and contact tracing to reach people who need to self-isolate are important to protect the community from COVID-19 transmission.
Who is required to self-isolate under this class order?
The order applies to all people living in or present in the Timiskaming Health Unit district who:
- Are a confirmed case or probable* case of COVID-19;
- Have new or worsening symptoms of COVID-19, even if mild, have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting the results of their test;
- Have symptoms of COVID-19, even if mild, or have had such symptoms within the past 10 days and have not have a COVID-19 test since developing symptoms;
- Are a close contact of a confirmed or probable* case of COVID-19, even if they do not have any symptoms of COVID-19, unless otherwise instructed by the Timiskaming Health Unit (for example, because they are fully-vaccinated); or
- Are a parent or guardian of a person under sixteen years of age identified in (a), (b), (c), or (d) who is living in or present in the Timiskaming Health Unit district.
People in categories (a), (b), (c) and (d) must self-isolate and follow other directions in the class order. The purpose of category (e) is to require parents and guardians to ensure that people under 16 years of age follow the class order. Parents and guardians must self-isolate only if they also fall within category (a), (b), (c), or (d).
Details on the symptoms of COVID-19 and the definition of “close contact” are included in the class order.
*A probable case of COVID-19 is a person who has not had a laboratory test, who has symptoms compatible with COVID-19 AND who:
- Traveled to or from a high-risk area (including inside of Canada) in the 14 days prior to symptom onset;
- OR is a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19.
- OR lived or worked in a facility with a known outbreak of COVID-19 (for example, long-term care home or prison).
- OR A person with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 AND who has an inconclusive laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19.
- OR A person with a preliminary positive result from a Health Canada approved rapid test.
What does “self-isolate” mean under the class order?
If you are required to “self-isolate,” it means that you must stay home and not have visitors, except as essential (for example, a health care worker who visits the home to deliver care). The other things that you must do while self-isolating are explained in the class order, in Public Health Ontario’s self-isolation fact sheet, and on our self-isolation webpage.
While you are self-isolating, public health must be able to contact you. This helps the Timiskaming Health Unit ensure that you are doing what is required and to check whether you need any assistance.
People in self-isolation should arrange to have essential items like groceries and prescriptions delivered to them. If you need assistance, please contact us at 1-866-747-4305 extension 2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
How long is self-isolation?
If you test positive for COVID-19, you will generally need to self-isolate for 10 days. If you are a high-risk close contact of someone who has COVID-19, you will generally need to self-isolate for 10 days. Public health will inform you of the exact length of your isolation.
What should I do if my symptoms get worse while I am self-isolating?
Seek immediate medical attention if your illness is getting worse (for example, if you have difficulty breathing) by calling 911. Tell the 911 operator about your COVID-19 diagnosis or symptoms and answer all screening questions accurately, including symptoms and travel history. That way, you will receive appropriate care and the first responders will be able to take steps to protect themselves.
If I test positive for COVID-19, why do I have to provide contact names and other information to public health? How is my privacy protected?
If you test positive for COVID-19, public health will ask who you may have come into contact with while contagious. You must, if asked, provide public health with the names and contact information for these people. You must also provide other information that may be requested, such as details about your mask use. Providing this information is crucial. This information makes it possible to prevent disease transmission to others by accurately assessing risk. Our shared ability to keep schools, businesses and other important community activities open in the Timiskaming Health Unit district and across Ontario depends on public health’s ability to do this important work.
Public health understands that you may have concerns about your privacy. All information collected by public health is protected by Ontario’s privacy legislation for health information, the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004.
Are there any exceptions?
Yes, modifications to the class order can be made for the following people:
- the Timiskaming Health Unit may decide that some people are not required to self-isolate, for example, due to vaccination status
- people who, in the opinion of the Medical Officer of Health, provide an essential service, for the limited purpose of providing that essential service;
- people who receive essential medical services or treatments, whether related to COVID-19 or not; or
- people whose isolation, in the opinion of the Medical Officer of Health, would not be in the public interest.
What about students and children in school and child care who have symptoms (even mild symptoms) of COVID-19?
Students and children in school and child care should continue to complete the COVID-19 self-assessment every morning before going to school or child care and follow the recommendations.
Recommendations to self-isolate based on responses to the questions still apply.
Under what authority has this class order been issued?
On December 30, 2020, the Timiskaming Health Unit’s Medical Officer of Health issued a class order under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. This Act authorizes a class order to be issued to address the risks presented by the potential spread of COVID-19 to people who live in or who are visiting the Timiskaming Health Unit district.
Why did the Medical Officer of Health issue this class order?
The Timiskaming Health Unit district has experienced an increase in the number of people who are required to self-isolate due to COVID-19, including people who tested positive for COVID-19, probable cases* and people who are identified as high-risk close contacts. While the majority of people who are required to self-isolate do follow the rules, the Timiskaming Health Unit has also received complaints about people who are required to self-isolate and are not following the requirements.
This class order is a legal tool to help the Timiskaming Health Unit ensure that everyone who needs to self-isolate does so. The class order strengthens the Timiskaming Health Unit’s ability to reduce the illness and loss of life from COVID-19. It helps preserve and protect the capacity of our health care system to respond and provide care for people who need it.
How does the Medical Officer of Health's class order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act differ from the federal order under the Quarantine Act?
The federal government's quarantine order is aimed at all travellers entering Canada. That order also imposes a 14-day home quarantine (self-isolation) on travellers regardless whether they have symptoms of COVID-19, unless exempt. See the Government of Canada’s website for more information.
In some cases, people subject to isolation measures under the federal quarantine order may also be subject to the class order issued by the Timiskaming Health Unit’s Medical Officer of Health (for example, people who are diagnosed with COVID-19 and have also recently returned from travel).
When is the class order effective?
The class order is effective December 30, 2020 and will remain in effect until the Medical Officer of Health determines that it is no longer required.
How could the class order be enforced if someone does not self-isolate?
As is our general practice with these kinds of orders, the Timiskaming Health Unit will first attempt to gain voluntary compliance from the person who is required to self-isolate. We will engage directly with the person failing to self-isolate (or to take other important steps) to make sure that they understand what is required of them and to see if they need support. If these efforts are unsuccessful, the Medial Officer of Health will consider the need for legal action to compel compliance.
What are the consequences if caught violating the order?
The fines for violation are between $880 and $5,000 per day. The Heath Protection and Promotion Act also allows the Medical Officer of Health to go to court and seek an order to protect the health of the community, for example, by taking the person into custody to be confined in a hospital or other appropriate facility until the self-isolation period is over, or requiring compliance with other public health directions.
Can people challenge the class order?
People subject to the class order may request a hearing by the Health Services Appeal and Review Board to challenge its requirements. Refer to the class order for details.
Where do I call to report a suspected violation of the class order?
If you believe that someone who is required to self-isolate for COVID-19 is not following the class order, you can call the Timiskaming Health Unit at 705-647-4305, Ext. 7.
If you have complaints about COVID-19 that are not part of the class order such as businesses, gatherings, or people not following the Quarantine Act please call the police or bylaw.
Who should I contact for more information?
For more information, contact the Timiskaming Health Unit at 705-647-4305, Ext. 7.