The Ontario government recently amended Ontario Regulation 364/20, Rules for Areas in Stage 3, Including mandatory COVID-19 symptom screening in almost all Ontario offices.
In short, these amendments require Ontario employers to test all workers (employees, contractors, agency employees, etc.) and all visitors required for COVID-19 features and ensure that they are not legally excluded from entering the office due to recent international travel. Or close contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or who has been diagnosed with presbyopia.
In line with the revised rules, the Ontario Ministry of Health has drafted a document, “COVID-19 Screening Tool for Offices (Businesses and Organizations). “According to the ministry, employers” must implement [this tool]For workers entering the work environment or for required visitors. “However, the Ontario Ministry of Health has also warned that the tool” should not be used as a clinical assessment tool or intended to take the place of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. ” The screening tool contains a number of questions to test for symptoms of COVID-19, as well as verification of whether the person has traveled outside of Canada or been in close contact during the previous 14 days (elsewhere defined as being less than 6 feet COVID-19 with at least 15 minutes with a person with potential diagnosis) .
If a tested person detects any new or worsening symptoms of COVID-19 (other than chronic symptoms or symptoms related to other known causes or conditions), employers must confirm that the employee has traveled outside Canada for the past 14 days, or has a confirmed or potential COVID-19 case, not returning to work. The Ontario Ministry of Health states:[s]Before the employee enters the office and starts work, the screening should be done at the beginning of the work / employee shift. For visitors in need, screenings should be conducted when they arrive at the place of business.
This screening regulation does not apply to certain health care settings, “and some non-health offices where the screening already exists (e.g., conference living settings).” Businesses do not need patrons or emergency workers responding to an office that is open to the public (such as restaurants, grocery stores or bars).
The Government recognizes that additional questions or screening may be appropriate in certain cases or in certain offices; However, this control does not require physical examinations or medical tests such as temperature tests or pre-access negative COVID-19 testing.
Many employers have already set up COVID-19 screening in their workforce based on their duties Occupational Health and Safety Act, Employers must take reasonable precautions to protect workers from harm (among other things). In light of the revised Ontario Regulation 364/20, employers who have not yet implemented the screening protocols may wish to do so. Since inspectors from the Ontario Ministry of Labor, Training and Skills Development or inspectors of public health agencies may request that screening be implemented in the workplace, employers may want to take demonstrative measures to test their workers and required visitors.
© 2020, Oggletry, Dickinson, Nash, Smoke & Stewart, PC, All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 276