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COVID-19 Updates | Weekly Workplace Recap from November 6 to November 12, 2020

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Below are the key announcements from the Federal, Ontario, Manitoba and BC governments that touch on workplace issues from November 6 to November 12, 2020.


Lockdown Support for Businesses Facing Significant Public Health Restrictions

For businesses that are subject to a lockdown and must shut their doors or significantly limit their activities under a public health order issued under the laws of Canada, a province or territory, the federal government has proposed a top-up under the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy to provide additional support while they face lockdowns.

The new Lockdown Support of 25% would be available retroactive to September 27, 2020, until June 2021, during periods when businesses are facing eligible public health restrictions. The proposed program would align with many aspects of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to provide a simple, easy-to-understand program directly to renters and property owners.

If your business has been subject to a public health order issued under the laws of Canada, a province or territory, you may be eligible for additional resources under the new Lockdown Support.

See this backgrounder for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support.


Workplace Representation & Benefits for Non-Unionized Workers and Small Businesses

Ontario is providing more than $600,000 to the Office of the Worker Adviser (OWA) and Office of the Employer Adviser (OEA) to help make it easier for workers and small businesses to navigate the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board's (WSIB) compensation system.

These two advisor offices will provide non-unionized workers and small businesses access to advice, education, and representation at the WSIB and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT) all at no cost.

For more information, check out this news article

Accessibility Compliance Report Deadline Extended to June 30, 2021

Businesses and non-profits with 20 or more employees now have until June 30, 2021, to file an accessibility compliance report with the Ontario Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility. The original deadline was December 31, 2020. The purpose of the report is to confirm all applicable accessibility requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 have been met.

Submit your accessibility compliance report through a standardized form that asks a series of “yes or no” questions to confirm that you have met your current accessibility requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). If you don’t complete your accessibility compliance report, you could face enforcement which can include financial penalties.

For more information on how to complete this report, visit the Accessibility in Ontario webpage. 

Toronto Public Health Releases Specific Enhanced Measures for the Workplace 

The City of Toronto is mandating stricter restrictions to decrease COVID-19 transmission. This Saturday, November 14, Toronto will be moved into the Red – Control level of the Province of Ontario’s COVID-19 Response Framework.

The following enhanced measures are planned to reduce COVID-19 activity in the workplace:

  • Require a compliance officer to ensure implementation of occupational health and safety and infection prevention and control measures.

  • Instruct businesses and/or facilities to review HVAC systems to ensure they are in good working order.

  • Promote working from home wherever possible.

Toronto Public Health has also released Specific Enhanced Measures for social gatherings, restaurants, bars, gyms, fitness studios and more. 

For more information, check out this news release


Free E-Learning Courses for Manitobans

SAFE Work Manitoba offers several free, online e-learning courses in partnership with the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. These courses may provide additional workplace safety and health education while your workers are working from home. 

All courses are free for Manitobans. E-learning courses include, but are not limited to: 

Explore all e-learning courses available. 

British Columbia

Provincial Health Officer order for Vancouver Coastal Health & Fraser Health Authority regions

On November 7, 2020, the provincial health officer issued an order to all employers in the Vancouver Coast Health and Fraser Health Authority regions with the exception of the Central Coast Regional District, the Bella Coola Valley, and Hope.

The order also requires that all employers in the affected regions review their COVID-19 Safety Plan to ensure that appropriate protocols are in place to protect workers from the risk of transmission, including physical distancing, the use of barriers, and the use of masks. 

Employers are also required to ensure that workers and others are prohibited from entering the workplace if they have symptoms of COVID-19. Information about these and other workplace policies to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission are provided in the COVID-19 Safety Plan and summarized here by WorkSafe BC.

The following health orders for Vancouver Coastal Health & Fraser Health were published on November 11, 2020:

COVID-19 FAQs from BC Workers & Employers

WorkSafe BC has consolidated frequently asked questions from British Columbian workers and employers onto a single page for easy access.  

See COVID-19 FAQs for answers on how to maintain a healthy and safe workplace during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Questions and answers are grouped under various topic headings. Topic headings include but are not limited to:

  • COVID-19 safety plans

  • Employer obligations

  • Joint health and safety committees and worker representatives

  • Incident investigations

  • Exposure control plans

  • Workplace entry restrictions

  • Health monitoring and temperature checks

  • Workers moving between locations

  • Personal protective equipment

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Sarah Visca
Sarah Visca is the Operations Manager at ConnectsUs HR, a company that provides tools & resources to quickly set up a Human Resources department.  
You can contact her here