Helping businesses and workplaces reopen safely during COVID-19.
The Ontario government has announced the second stage of reopening additional workplaces. Effective June 24, restrictions will be loosened to reopen the economy in a gradual, staged approach while continuing to emphasize public health advice, workplace health and safety, and citizen responsibilities.
Under Occupational Health and Safety Act, employers must protect the health and safety of workers. This includes protecting workers from hazards posed by infectious diseases such as COVID-19.
Businesses should review sector-specific guidance and find out what can open before reopening to understand how to protect workers, customers and the general public from COVID-19. Restrictions are still in place for certain sectors. Refer to the province’s step-by-step template on how to develop a COVID-19 safety plan specific to your workplace.
The extended closure can affect water quality in buildings and facilities. If you’re a building owner or manager, get guidance for safely reopening a facility’s drinking water and wastewater systems.
Businesses should put measures in place to reduce the risk of workplace exposure of COVID-19. Measures include increasing physical distancing, adjusting work spaces, changing how we work, using PPE, and following hygiene and cleaning practices.
Posters and resources
Access COVID-19 related posters and other resources for use in workplaces and in the community.
Restructure physical settings and arrangements to ensure 2 metres (6 feet) space can be maintained between employees or visitors. You can:
- Increase physical space between people.
- Reduce the number of staff within a space at a given time.
- Reduce unnecessary contact between employees and customers.
- Arrange virtual meetings, online delivers or curbside pickup.
Businesses can install physical distancing markers. This may include lines separated by 2 metres or directional arrows to ensure a 1-way flow of people.
Creating physical barriers between people will protect employees and visitors. You can:
- Arrange workstations to maintain 2 metres of distancing by marking off unavailable workstations to create extra space.
- Remove extra furniture and supplies from walkways to allow ease of movement while maintaining physical distancing.
- Consider installing Plexiglas or other physical barriers if there will be close contact between staff and customers.
- Post signs and remind staff and customers about physical distancing requirements. Access our physical distancing signs that can be used in workplaces, at elevators and in staff common areas.
Using technology can help connect employees and customers safely. Other ways to help keep everyone safe include:
- Encouraging staff to work from home, if possible.
- Offering flexible schedules to stagger the working hours and days employees work.
All staff have a role to play in reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace. Employees should stay home if sick and report illness to their employer.
Learn more about how to protect yourself and others.
In Peel, it's mandatory to wear a mask inside public spaces to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. For more information, visit our page on masks and face coverings.
Staff and visitors should wear a non-medical mask or face coverings when physical distancing is difficult to maintain and where masks are mandatory. Display these instructions on how to put on and wear a mask.
Enforcing the bylaws
It's important that those who can wear a mask or face covering do so when inside public spaces. While enforcement measures are available through fines and penalties, we are relying on our residents and local businesses to help do their part in preventing the spread of COVID-19 by ensuring that masks are worn where physical distancing is difficult and where masks are mandatory.
Visit your local municipality website for information on the application and enforcement of each of the municipal bylaw. For specific questions, Mississauga and Brampton residents can call 311 and Caledon residents can call 905-548-2272 (ext. 7750).
Wearing gloves is recommended for specific situations like caring for sick individuals or food preparation. However, wearing gloves is not recommended for general activities in the workplace. If not worn properly, it may increase the chance of transmission. Gloves are not a replacement for good handwashing practices.
Provide lined garbage bins throughout the workplace for employees and customers to properly discard masks and gloves. Access our poster for how to safely dispose of PPE.
If your employees require personal protective equipment (PPE), connect with local manufacturers through the Workplace PPE Supplier Directory.
Employers must ensure there is access to soap and water or have alcohol-based hand sanitizers throughout the workplace.
Display hand hygiene posters as a reminder to everyone.
Enhanced cleaning and disinfection
Increase the frequency of environmental cleaning and disinfection for all common areas like kitchens and change rooms, and frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, railings, tables, work surfaces, and equipment.
Ensure that cleaning supplies are available for employees to clean and disinfect their workspaces.
See Health Canada's approved list of disinfectants for high touch surfaces effective against COVID-19.
Passive or active screening can be used by employers to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.
Essential workplaces such as hospitals and health care facilities, congregate settings, and community care settings should refer to sector-specific Ontario government guidance as appropriate.
Peel Public Health recommends that passive screening be conducted in all workplaces. Passive screening can include signage, phone messaging or online messaging.
Employers can use the following for passive screening.
Screening signage can be placed in the following locations:
- points of entry into the building
- reception areas
- entrance to an office space or store located within a building
- change rooms
- common areas such as cafeterias, staff change rooms
- Do you have a new or worsening cough, difficulty breathing, or a fever or feeling feverish?
- Have you had close contact with anyone who has COVID-19?
- Are you awaiting test results for COVID-19?
- Have you travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days?
- Have you been in contact with someone who is sick and who has travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these, do not come into the building.
If you think you need to be tested you can take the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 self-assessment.
Learn how to protect yourself and others.
Active screening means an employer is screening people who enter the building for symptoms and potential exposure to COVID-19. Unless following sector-specific guidance, employers can use their discretion when deciding if they should be conducting active screening among staff and the public when entering their workplace.
Fever is only 1 of many possible symptoms for COVID-19, and temperature screening is only a requirement within certain sectors. Refer to sector-specific guidelines for more information.
For sectors where temperature screening is not required, it may be included as an additional screening tool.
Conducting active screening
Employers can use the same screening questions mentioned in the previous section to conduct active screening for anyone who enters.
The Government of Ontario has developed sector-specific guidelines and posters to help protect workers, customers and the general public from COVID-19. As new sectors of the economy begin to reopen, additional COVID-19 workplace safety resources will be added.
Peel Public Health has developed stage 2 information for operators in the following sectors:
Your rights at work are identified in the Occupational Health and Safety Act. If you have concerns about the safety of your workplace, including safety related to COVID-19, you can file a complaint with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development's Health and Safety Contact Centre. Call 1-877-202-0008, or visit: Stop the Spread webpage.
Construction site health and safety during COVID-19
Information and resources to help construction employers understand their rights and responsibilities while operating during COVID-19.
Any employee can test positive for COVID-19 despite an employer’s best efforts to control the spread.
An employer must follow these steps if an employee tests positive for COVID-19:
- Tell the employee to self-isolate immediately.
- Contact public health.
Employees who test positive must self-isolate for 14 days.
If the employee has symptoms, self-isolation must start from the day when their symptoms started showing.
If the employee does not have symptoms, self-isolation must start from the date they were tested.
Public health will provide instructions and do contact tracing if needed.
Be prepared to provide information about those who had close interactions with the COVID-19 positive employee.
This information might include:
- Dates and shifts worked
- Length and frequency of interaction
- Full names
- Contact numbers
Be sure to maintain employee privacy when collecting and storing information.
Having a COVID-19 workplace safety plan already in place will help you make the workplace safer for everyone.
As soon as possible, clean and disinfect any surfaces that the COVID-19 positive employee may have touched.
Public Health will ask questions to better understand the infection control measures in your workplace and may make additional suggestions.
Other employees who were exposed may need to be notified and directed to self-isolate for 14 days from the start of their symptoms or from the date of testing if they have no symptoms.
Public Health might declare a COVID-19 outbreak if 2 or more cases could have reasonably been acquired in your workplace. If an outbreak is declared, Public Health will work closely with you on next steps.
Notify the 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).
Address the notice to "Attention: Director”, then mail or fax the notice to the Ministry Regional Office that’s closest your workplace.
You must also advise your workplace’s joint health and safety committee, health and safety representative, and, if applicable, the worker’s trade union.