Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Workplaces
Last updated: 2:20 PM, March 26 2020
The province has launched a toll-free line 1-888-444-3659 to provide support to Ontario businesses who have questions about the province’s recent emergency order to close at-risk workplaces following recommendations by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. A complete list of essential services is available on the Government of Ontario’s website.
In addition to the links below, please refer to the general COVID-19 information webpage.
Getting the Workplace Ready for COVID-19
Guidance for Personal Service Settings
Guidance for Food Premises
Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings
Preventing COVID-19 in the workplace: employers, employees and essential service workers
We ask you to support the guidance your employees have received from any health authority.
If you receive questions from your employees, please encourage them to visit our COVID-19 webpage.
If you think you have symptoms related to COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use this self-assessment to help determine if you need to seek further care.
Employers should be aware that returning international travellers are being asked by public health authorities to Self-isolate for 14 days from return of travel.
The Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies), 2020 provides job-protected leave for employees who are in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, or those who need to be away from work to care for children because of school or day care closures or to care for other relatives. These measures are retroactive to January 25, 2020, the date the first presumptive COVID-19 case was confirmed in Ontario. The legislation will also make it clear employees cannot be required to show sick notes.
It is recommended that all employers in Ontario facilitate virtual work arrangements to enable employees to work from home where possible to enable workers to limit their activities, care for children and to self-isolate. However, there are a number of workplaces where this is not possible. It is asked that those employers use their judgement to sustain operations in a manner that maintains social distancing.
Monitor the situation by visiting Peterborough Public Health: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage
Workplaces can help by having an infection control plan which may include details such as:
- Providing clean hand washing facilities.
- Encouraging good hygiene, including hand washing and providing hand sanitation stations
- Offering alcohol-based hand sanitizers when regular facilities are not available (or to people on the road).
- Cleaning objects that are touched frequently, such as doorknobs, handles, railings, kettles, etc. more often with regular disinfectants or soap and water
- Ensuring regular cleaning of high traffic areas and high touch surfaces where the virus may reside (door handles, elevator buttons, shared telephones, etc.)
- Providing boxes of tissues and encourage their use.
- Reminding staff to not share cups, glasses, dishes and cutlery. Be sure dishes are washed in soap and water after use.
- Removing magazines and papers from waiting areas or common rooms.
- Making sure ventilation systems are working properly.
- Using social distancing techniques, such as using telephone, video conferencing, or the internet to conduct as much business as possible (including within the same building), allow employees to work from home, have staggered shifts or to work flexible hours to avoid peak public transportation times or crowding the workplace.
- Encouraging employees to stay home when they are sick, or when they think they MIGHT be.
It is recommended that employees self-isolate for 14 days if:
- They have travelled anywhere outside of Canada (including the United States of America).
- They live with, provided care for, or spent extensive time with someone who has:
- Tested positive for COVID-19, OR is suspected to have COVID-19, OR who has respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, or shortness of breath) that started within 14 days of travel outside of Canada.
If an employee thinks they have symptoms related to COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has it, they can use this self-assessment tool to help determine if they need to seek further care.
Employers should be aware that returning travelers are being asked by public health authorities to Self-isolate for 14 days from return of travel.
On March 18, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the economy during this challenging period. These measures, delivered as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses.
For up-to-date information regarding Employment Insurance visit Employment and Social Development Canada.
Contact the new dedicated toll-free phone number if you are in quarantine and seeking to waive the one-week EI sickness benefits waiting period so you can be paid for the first week of your claim:
- Telephone: 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free)
- Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-800-529-3742
If you have other questions about your workplace, please visit:
- Ministry of Labor, Training and Skills Development
- Ministry of Health
- Your Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (if applicable)
- Your legal representative (if applicable)
- Your labour union representative (if applicable)