Williams HR Law LLP

Ontario is Considering a Regional Approach to Reopening, and Public Health Units Have Proposed New Criteria

May 29, 2020

On May 27, 2020, Ontario’s public health units released specific data-based thresholds that they feel should guide the reopening of Ontario and/or the reinstituting of restrictions where necessary.

These criteria, which have been signed by all 34 of the province’s officers of health, are generally more detailed and quantitative than those set out in Ontario’s The Framework for Reopening our Province (the “Framework”) (read our recent article for more information on the Framework).

At present, the Ontario government’s only response to the newly-proposed criteria is to state that they will be considered by the Ontario Health Command Table.

However, on May 29, 2020, Ontario Premier Doug Ford also stated that he is asking Ontario officials to begin looking at whether a regional approach for a staged reopening should be adopted in Ontario, under which the relaxation or tightening of restrictions would vary by region depending on the public health conditions in each region. That said, the Premier stated that a regional approach to a staged reopening is only one option that is being considered as Ontario anticipates moving into Stage 2 of the Framework, and the province will look to the experience of other provinces to determine if such an approach is right for Ontario.

Whether or not Ontario adopts the newly-proposed criteria and/or a regional approach for a staged reopening of the province will have substantial implications for Ontario employers. For example, the adoption of the newly-proposed criteria would impact the timeline for the province’s reopening and/or the reinstitution of restrictions by altering the thresholds that would determine such decisions. Similarly, a regional approach to reopening Ontario would mean that timelines for reopening would vary between regions, which could be particularly impactful to employers that have an integrated business model across multiple regions in the province.

We will continue tracking this situation to keep your business In the Know.

This blog is provided as an information service and summary of workplace legal issues. This information is not intended as legal advice.