The Ontario government has issued a second Emergency Order under section 7.01(1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act; amended O. Reg. 82/20, Rules for Areas in Stage 1 (Regulations); and published a stay-at-home order effective January 14, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. (Stay-at-Home Order).

Ontario amended the Regulations as follows:

  • Each employer must ensure that any persons who perform work for the employer must work from home unless the nature of their work requires them to be on site at the workplace. This does not apply to the Ontario government and a publicly funded agency or organization that delivers or supports government operations and services.
  • Every person in the premises of a business or organization that is open must wear a mask or face covering that covers the mouth, nose and chin during any period in an indoor area of the premises, unless the person is subject to an exception.
  • Every member of the public in a place of business or facility that is open to the public must maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person, except from the person's caregiver or from members of the person's household, subject to certain exceptions.
  • Non-essential businesses that are permitted to open must open no earlier than 7:00 a.m. and close no later than 8:00 p.m. and may not deliver goods to patrons outside of those hours. The restricted hours of operation do not apply to businesses that primarily sell food and to pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores and restaurants offering takeout or delivery.
  • Non-essential construction is further limited.
  • Social gatherings are limited to five individuals.

Additionally, under the Stay-at-Home Order, all individuals residing in Ontario must remain in their place of residence at all times, unless leaving their place of residence for one or more of the following purposes:

  1. Work, school and child care, including, but not limited to
    1. the nature of the work requiring the individual to leave his or her residence and when the individual's employer has determined that the nature of the individual's work requires attendance at the workplace.
  2. Obtaining goods and services, including, but not limited to
    1. obtaining goods or services that are necessary for the health or safety of an individual;
    2. obtaining goods, obtaining services or performing activities that are necessary for the safe operation, maintenance and sanitation of households, businesses, means of transportation or other places;
    3. purchasing or picking up goods through an alternative method of sale, such as curbside pickup, from a business or place that is permitted to provide curbside pickup under the Stage 1 Order;
    4. attending an appointment at a business or place that is permitted to be open by appointment under the Stage 1 Order;
    5. obtaining services from a financial institution or cheque-cashing service.
  3. Assisting others, including, but not limited to
    1. delivering goods or providing care or other support or assistance to an individual who requires support or assistance.
  4. Health, safety and legal purposes, including, but not limited to
    1. doing anything that is necessary to respond to or avoid an imminent risk to the health or safety of an individual;
    2. exercising, including, walking or moving around outdoors;
    3. attending a place as required by law or in relation to the administration of justice.
  5. Multiple residences and moving
  6. Travel
  7. Gatherings, including, but not limited to
    1. attending a gathering for the purpose of a wedding, a funeral or a religious service, rite or ceremony that is permitted under the Stage 1 Order or making necessary arrangements for the purpose of such a gathering.
    2. if the individual lives alone, gathering with the members of a single household.
  8. Animals, including, but not limited to
    1. obtaining goods or services that are necessary for the health or safety of an animal, including obtaining veterinary services;
    2. obtaining animal food or supplies;
    3. walking or otherwise exercising an animal.

The new measures will be enforced by the Ontario Provincial Police, local police forces, bylaw officers and provincial workplace inspectors, all of whom can issue tickets to individuals who do not comply with the new Regulations and Stay-at-Home Order.

As the current situation evolves, we will continue to monitor any amendments and would be pleased to advise on their impact on your workplace.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.