toronto workplace outbreak rules

Toronto announces new workplace safety rules and proactive enforcement blitz

Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa announced Wednesday that she is officially recommending that Toronto transition into the grey zone of the province's framework next week, and she also introduced a number of new restrictions for workplaces in active oubtreak to help ensure the safety of all workers.

Speaking during the city's COVID-19 briefing Wednesday, de Villa said it's important to act in ways that don't squander all the work we've done to get to this point as the city moves towards reopening.

"In that respect, I am issuing a new Section 22 order for workplaces in active outbreak, with requirements aimed at shoring up the gains made in the past many weeks and offering protections for people on the job," she said.

The new class order is effective immediately and sets out additional public health requirements that apply to all workplaces in Toronto that have an active outbreak of COVID-19. 

It requires all those who own or operate a workplace to ensure the use of masks by every worker in the workplace at all times for the duration of the outbreak (unless someone is eating or drinking), follow Toronto Public Health instructions pertaining to COVID-19 testing for workers and provide contact information for a designated person at the workplace to manage communications and implement any additional measures as required by TPH.

The class order also requires workplace owners and operators to maintain a record of every worker that attends the workplace during the outbreak and comply with instructions from infection prevention and control personnel from TPH, including allowing entry into the workplace for inspection and to support enhanced infection prevention and control measures.

When it comes to workplace common areas such as washrooms, lunch rooms or change rooms, operators must ensure that two meters of distance between workers can be maintained, limit capacity to 25 per cent of maximum occupancy and post signage indicating the maximum number of people permitted in each common area.

Workplaces are also required to post TPH signage about physical distancing, hand washing and masks.

"Like the measures we all undertook in the last weeks and months, these measures for workplaces will have a beneficial effect on our efforts to gain control over COVID-19," de Villa said Wednesday. 

"While these requirements apply only to workplaces in active outbreak, I'm asking all businesses in Toronto to show their support and implement these measures because they're not in outbreak — to take steps to prevent winding up in outbreak."

The province has also agreed to do a proactive enforcement blitz on workplaces based on the history of health risk the city has observed in these settings throughout the pandemic, she added.

According to the city, failure to comply with the class order could result a fine of $5,000 for an individual or $25,000 for a corporation for every day or part of each day for which non-compliance occurs, or a ticket in the amount of $750.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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