Williams HR Law LLP

Ontario Announces New Workplace Screening Requirements, as well as Restrictions for Food and Drink Establishments

September 25, 2020

On September 25, 2020, Ontario announced amendments to O Reg 364/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 3 under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 that will enforce tightened public health measures in workplaces, including and especially food and drink establishments.

The amendments will apply province-wide as of 12:01am on Saturday, September 26 and will require workplaces to comply with any advice, recommendations, and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health on screening for COVID-19, such as the COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces, in addition to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The Tool currently consists of required screening questions and accompanying procedures that employees must answer before they are permitted entry into the workplace. Screening should occur before or when a worker enters the workplace at the beginning of their day or shift, or when an essential visitor arrives. Questions may be adapted based on a workplace’s needs and the specific setting. The Tool provides, for example, that it may largely be inapplicable to health care settings and other workplace settings where screening is already in place.

Additionally, in response to outbreak clusters in restaurants, bars, and night clubs—a “significant source of transmission”, as the provincial announcement notes—the amendments include various new restrictions and requirements focused on food and drink establishments, including:

  • A prohibition on sales of alcohol after 11 pm;
  • A prohibition on the consumption of alcohol on the premises after midnight until 9 am, including for employees; and
  • A requirement that establishments close by 12 am and remain closed until 5 am, with exceptions for takeout and delivery.

Employers should keep monitoring new public health advice, recommendations, and instructions as the province issues them, including industry-specific requirements, to ensure steady compliance with provincial orders, and health and safety requirements.

As always, we will monitor the progression of COVID-19 related measures affecting employers and post further updates as they become available to keep you 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.