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How to keep your employees safe and what to do if there’s a case in the workplace.

Peel Public Health issued a class order under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act to owners of workplaces to exclude probable and confirmed cases of COVID-19 from the workplace, direct them to self-isolate and implement measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within the workplace.

Find out how the class order affects your business.

Provincial measures during state of emergency

The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development is focusing workplace inspections in areas of high transmission, including break rooms, and providing new educational materials to employers to promote safe behaviour before, during and after work.

The Ontario government is also providing COVID-19 tests and rapid testing in Ontario's most critical workplaces.

Learn more from the Government of Ontario.

Calculating capacity limits

The Retail Council of Canada has developed a tool to help you calculate your store capacity during the COVID-19 restrictions. Access the store capacity calculator.

Supporting employers

Peel Public Health supports employers facing cases or outbreaks of COVID-19 in the workplace. Learn what to do, who to call, and when to do what.

Other information

Employers are required to understand and follow all requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the COVID-19 response framework. Refer to the guide to the Occupational Health and Safety Act to understand all of your health and safety rights and responsibilities.

Employers are required to create and implement a COVID-19 workplace safety plan that describes the measures and procedures put into place to make the workplace safer for everyone. Discuss and share your plan with everyone in the workplace. Post it in a place where employees and patrons will see it and have it available upon request (for example, to inspectors or law enforcement officers).

Make sure your workplace safety plan includes the measures described below:

Health screening for employees and visitors

  • Screen employees and visitors to the workplace for symptoms before entering the workplace or at the start of a shift. Most people tend to ignore mild symptoms; however, most healthy young people only get mild symptoms, and they contribute to the spread of COVID-19 by not staying home and getting tested.
  • Online COVID-19 screening tools are available for workers and employees as well as customers and visitors.
  • Exclude from the workplace anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, anyone with signs or symptoms COVID-19, and anyone who is a close contact of a person diagnosed with COVID-19 or with symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If an employee develops symptoms while at work, they should go home right away and self-isolate and arrange to get tested.
  • Keep a log of all employees and visitors who enter the workplace, including for any in-person meetings or events. This will support contact tracing and must be provided to Peel Public Health upon request.
  • Display screening entry signs informing employees and visitors that they must not enter if they have symptoms.

Promote physical distancing

  • Adjust the workspace to create physical barriers or restructure physical settings between people to protect employees and visitors and ensure that 2 metres (6 feet) of space can be maintained.
  • Post physical distancing signs and install markers or directional arrows to ensure a 1-way flow of people.
  • Reduce crowding by ensuring non-essential visitors are not permitted on the premises and limit the number of people allowed within each room or space (e.g. employee lunchrooms, change rooms and washrooms).
  • When possible, employees should continue to work from home.
  • Inform employees from different households to avoid carpooling to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. If carpooling is the only source of transportation, follow Commute Ontario's carpooling guidance.

Encourage hand hygiene

  • Educate employees to maintain good hand hygiene.
  • Provide an adequate stock of hand hygiene supplies (e.g. liquid hand soaps, paper towel and hand sanitizers).

Enhance cleaning and disinfection

Masks and personal protective equipment (PPE)

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) that provides protection of the eyes, nose and mouth, is required if a worker must come within 2 metres of another person who is not wearing a face covering, and is not separated by a plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.
  • Provide employees with appropriate PPE including medical grade masks, if the work environment cannot always be adjusted to allow the required 2 meters distance.
  • Ensure masks are used correctly and consistently inside the workplace by all employees and visitors.
  • If you need PPE and other supplies to keep your employees and customers safe, access the workplace PPE supplier directory.
  • Learn about using masks in the workplace to help ensure you select the right type of masks for your employees.

Peel Public Health issued a class order under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act to owners of workplaces to exclude probable and confirmed cases of COVID-19 from the workplace, direct them to self-isolate and implement measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within the workplace.

If an employee reports that they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive for COVID-19:

  • Immediately send them home if they are at work and support them to stay off work while they are self-isolating.
  • Review and follow your workplace safety plan and sector specific guidance.
  • Implement workplace safety measures to prevent further spread of COVID-19. These safety measures describe health screening for employees and visitors, physical distancing, hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfection and masks and personal protective equipment.

If only 1 employee is positive for COVID-19 in the workplace:

  • You're not required to report the positive case to Peel Public Health.
  • Public Health is notified of all positive COVID-19 cases and will contact the employee to gather information and provide next steps.
  • Public Health will provide instructions on notifying close contacts, including contacts in the workplace.
  • Close contacts of a COVID-19 case who have symptoms should self-isolate and get tested right away. Close contacts of a COVID-19 case who don't have symptoms must self-isolate immediately and get tested on or after day 7 of their last exposure to the positive case. Close contacts may need to get tested again, depending on when they were first tested. Refer to the full instructions for close contacts.

Learn more about who is a close contact.

If 2 or more employees are positive for COVID-19 within a period of 14 days:

  • Notify Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700. Peel Public Health will support you to investigate and determine if there is an outbreak.
  • A workplace outbreak may be declared if 2 or more cases could have reasonably become infected in the workplace within 14 days.

Preparing for the call with Peel Public Health

Before you call Peel Public Health, gather the following information:

  • Contact information for the COVID-19 positive employees and their close contacts in the workplace.
  • Information about the workplace: sector, number of buildings and sites in Peel and Ontario, physical layout of the workplace and work areas (for example, processing, packaging, shipping and receiving, and numbered areas).
  • Information about the employees: total number of employees by work areas, type of employees (permanent, full and part time, agency, unionized, and management), schedules (shifts and rotations), external employees and visitors who enter the workplace (for example, contactors, agency employees, security, cleaners, and deliveries).
  • If applicable, information on employee housing and transportation to and from the workplace that is provided by the employer.

Reporting COVID-19 exposures and cases

If an employee tested positive for COVID-19 due to an exposure in the workplace, you are required to notify:

Advise your workplace’s joint health and safety committee, health and safety representative, and, if applicable, the worker’s trade union.

In Peel, rapid testing for COVID-19 is currently being used in specific settings, such as workplaces and long term care homes. Peel Public Health works closely with workplaces that have a declared outbreak and will provide instructions to employers on rapid testing, if applicable.

Workplaces that do not have a declared outbreak, but are interested in conducting rapid testing should contact Ontario Health at covid19testing@ontariohealth.ca.

Individuals cannot request a rapid test from their health care provider, an assessment centre, or pharmacy.

Rapid testing process in workplaces

There are different types of rapid tests that can be used for individuals, whether or not they have symptoms. Rapid antigen-based tests (for example Panbio test) allow for preliminary test results to be provided more quickly than a standard COVID-19 test (such as laboratory-PCR test).

Positive antigen-based rapid test results may be considered preliminary and may need to be confirmed through a follow-up standard COVID-19 test (like a laboratory-PCR test) that’s taken at the same time or within 24 hours of the rapid test. The follow-up test is used to confirm whether the employee has COVID-19.

Some workplaces do a follow-up standard PCR-based COVID-19 test along with the initial rapid antigen-based test, while other workplaces will ask their employees to book an appointment at an assessment centre within 24 hours to get their follow-up test. All employees should follow the instructions provided by their workplace at the time of testing.

The following information can help employers understand the next steps if rapid testing is conducted in their workplace.

What to do after getting a rapid antigen-based test

If an employee tests positive during the rapid antigen-based test, unless directed otherwise by public health, they must:

  • Get a follow-up standard PCR-based COVID-19 test to confirm if they have COVID-19.
  • Self-isolate while awaiting the follow-up test result.
  • Tell their household members to also self-isolate while waiting for the follow-up test result.

Workplaces must report preliminary positive results to Peel Public Health. Call us at 905-799-7700, Caledon 905-584-2216, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

If an employee tests negative during the rapid antigen-based test:

  • If they have symptoms of COVID-19, they must continue to self-isolate and get a follow-up standard PCR-based test at an assessment centre to confirm if they have COVID-19.
  • If they were exposed to a person with COVID-19, they must follow the instructions for self-isolation.
  • If they have no symptoms and were not exposed to a person with COVID-19, they can resume work.
  • If required, a negative rapid antigen-based test result may be confirmed at a lab through a follow-up standard PCR-based test that’s taken at the same time or within 24 hours of the initial test.

What to do after getting a follow-up standard PCR-based COVID-19 test

Employees who test positive during their follow-up standard PCR-based COVID-19 test (after first getting a rapid antigen-based test):

  • Are confirmed to have COVID-19 and will be contacted by Peel Public Health.
  • Must self-isolate for at least 10 days and tell the people they live with to self-isolate for 14 days from their last exposure to them.

Employees who test negative during their follow-up standard PCR-based COVID-19 test (after first getting a rapid antigen-based test):

  • Are confirmed to be negative for COVID-19 (if the follow-up test was taken at the same time or within 24 hours of the rapid test).
  • Next steps will depend on whether they have symptoms or were exposed to a person with COVID-19. They must follow the instructions for self-isolation.

Return to work for employees who test positive for COVID-19

  • Employees who test positive for COVID-19 are contacted by public health and instructed to self-isolate for 10 days for mild to moderate illness provided symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours with no fever (temperature less than 37.8 C).
  • Employees who test positive for COVID-19 do not require a negative test before returning to work.
  • A person who continues to test positive is not infectious. They can return to work if they have completed the recommended self-isolation period and their symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours and they have no fever (temperature less than 37.8 C).

Learn more about self-isolating.

Return to work for employees who test negative for COVID-19

  • A negative test does not automatically clear employees to return to work. This is because the virus may still be incubating and may not have been detected by the test.
  • Employees who had close contact with a person with COVID-19 must self-isolate for at least 14 days from their last date of exposure, even if they tested negative. Employees who had close contact with a person with COVID-19 may also need to get tested again, depending on when they were first tested. Refer to the full instructions for close contacts.
  • Employees who test negative with no close contact to a person with COVID-19 should self-isolate until their symptoms are resolved for 24 hours. If they had no symptoms, they do not have to self-isolate and can return to work.

Return to work for employees with symptoms who do not get tested for COVID-19

Employees who have symptoms of COVID-19 and do not get tested, must self-isolate for 10 days after symptom onset. They can return to work provided symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours and they have no fever (temperature less than 37.8 C).

Access more information about when it's safe for an employee to return to work.

Peel Region is currently part of a Provincewide Shutdown. The Ontario government has introduced enhanced public health and safety measures. Understand how the current measures impact businesses in Peel.

For specific details about your business in the Provincewide Shutdown, review the following information.

Restaurants, bars and food or drink establishments

  • Indoor and outdoordining is not allowed (except in hospitals and airports).
  • Take-out, drive through, and delivery are permitted.
  • Alcohol can be sold between only 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. through take-out, drive through or delivery.
  • When lining up and/or entering a facility to pick up a take-out order, customers must wear a mask and stay 2 metres/6 feet away from other people not in their household.
  • A written safety plan is required outlining measures and controls put into place to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • Employees must wear masks whenever they cannot maintain physical distancing of 2 metres or 6 feet from other people.

Mobile food

  • Take-out, drive through, and delivery are permitted (but outdoor dining is not allowed).
  • Alcohol can be sold between only 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. (through take-out, drive through or delivery).
  • While picking up take-out orders, customers must wear a mask and stay 2 metres/6 feet away from other people not in their household.
  • A written safety plan is required outlining measures and controls put into place to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • Employees must wear a mask whenever they cannot maintain physical distancing of 2 metres/6 feet from other people.

Pools, spas and recreational water

  • All indoor public pools are closed including recreational water facilities in hotels, motels, campgrounds, golf courses, marinas and resorts.
  • Pools in condo buildings can remain open for residents from the same household.

Tattoos, piercing, tanning and salons

  • Personal service settings such as hairdressers, tattoo shops and tanning facilities are closed.
  • Regulated health professionals such as massage therapists can continue to operate.

Farmers' markets

  • Indoor farmers’ markets can operate only if they sell mainly food to the public and do not exceed 50% capacity.
  • Outdoor farmers’ markets (including holiday markets) can operate only if they sell mainly food to the public. Hours of operation can only be from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m
  • Sales can occur by browsing outdoor vendors’ booths, curbside pickup or delivery.
  • Before your market opens, contact Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700 for more details.
  • A written safety plan is required outlining measures and controls put into place to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The Government of Ontario has developed sector-specific guidelines and posters to help protect workers, customers and the general public from COVID-19. For additional workplace-specific tip sheets and guidance, the Government of Canada has developed COVID-19 health and safety resources.

Workers, businesses and communities impacted by COVID-19 can receive financial support from the government. Learn about financial support and additional social support available.

Local business support

Businesses can also access local business support from their municipality:

New rebate available for businesses

The Ontario government is offering rebates to help with fixed costs, such as property taxes and energy bills for your business. Find out if your business is eligible.

Complaints about businesses that do not follow mandatory COVID-19 measures can be reported.

Beware of people who may be posing as inspectors in your premises. Any public health inspectors entering a business would:

  • Introduce themselves as inspectors from Peel Public Health or Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
  • Have a photo identification from Region of Peel or the Ministry.
  • Have a business card and leave contact information for the operator to follow up.

If you’re unsure whether an individual is a public health inspector, call Peel Public Health to confirm at 905-799-7700, or Caledon 905-584-2216.

If you’re concerned about suspicious behaviour, report this to local police.