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 suspected 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.
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 should 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.
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.
- 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
- Ensure proper cleaning and disinfection of tools and workspaces with a focus on regularly touched items and surfaces.
- Highly touched surfaces can include door handles, handrails, counters, tables, cabinet doors, elevator buttons, light switches, faucets, touch screen surfaces, and keypads.
- Provide an adequate stock of cleaning supplies that are effective against COVID-19.
Masks and personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Provide employees with appropriate personal protective equipment (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.
Access our COVID-19 workplace safety plan checklist.
If an employee reports that they have 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 get tested right away. Close contacts of a COVID-19 case who don't have symptoms must self-isolate immediately and get tested 5-7 days after their last exposure to the positive case.
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.
- Notify the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development in writing within 4 days if an employee has tested positive for COVID-19 due to an exposure at your workplace or if a claim has been filed with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).
- Advise your workplace's joint health and safety committee, health and safety representative, and, if applicable, the worker's trade union.
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.
Return to work for employees who test positive for COVID-19
- If someone tests positive for COVID-19, they are contacted by public health and instructed to self-isolate for at least 10 days.
- Employees who test positive for COVID-19 do not require a negative test before returning to work.
Learn more about self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19.
Return to work for employees who test negative for COVID-19
- A negative test does not automatically clear an individual to return to work. This depends on whether the employee had close contact with a person who has COVID-19.
- 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. This is because the virus may still be incubating and may not have been detected by the test.
- 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.
Access more information about when it's safe for an employee to return to work.
Get details about the current measures in Peel affecting businesses and public settings.
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.
New rebate available for businessesThe 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.
- Signage toolkit – includes Core Four, visitor entrance, physical distancing and mask signage
- Recommendations for reopening building water supply systems
- Preventing COVID-19 in the workplace: Employers, employees and essential service workers
- Risk mitigation tool for workplaces/businesses operating during the COVID-19 pandemic
- COVID-19 Disinfectants, sanitizers, cleaners and soaps
You can also access our translated resources for information in multiple languages.