New as of March 29
Ontario Prohibits Gatherings of More Than Five People with Strict Exceptions
Stronger action required to stop the spread of COVID-19
Based on the best advice of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is issuing a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to prohibit organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people, effective immediately.
This order would not apply to private households with five people or more. It would also not apply to operating child care centres supporting frontline health care workers and first responders provided the number of persons at each centre does not exceed 50 people. Funerals would be permitted to proceed with up to 10 people at one time.
Organized public events include parades, events including weddings, social gatherings and communal services within places of worship. This order replaces a previous emergency order which prohibits organized public events of over 50 people.
Ontario declared a provincial state of emergency on March 17, 2020 and has issued orders to close non-essential workplaces, recreational programs, libraries, publicly funded schools, private schools, daycares, provincial parks, churches and other faith settings, as well as bars and restaurants, except those that may only offer takeout or delivery. Essential services, such as grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, public transit, manufacturing facilities, and supply chain companies remain open and operational.
Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer announced updated guidance to help employers better understand their responsibilities and what is needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the job site.
The update follows an initial guidance document circulated on March 20, 2020, and addresses sector topics including:
- providing better on-site sanitation, including a focus on high-touch areas like site trailers, door handles and hoists
- communicating roles, responsibilities, and health & safety policies, by, for example, posting site sanitization schedules and work schedules
- enabling greater distances between workers by staggering shifts, restricting site numbers and limiting elevator usage
- protecting public health by tracking and monitoring workers
Under Ontario law, employers must take every reasonable precaution to keep workers safe. Workers have the right to refuse unsafe work. If health and safety concerns are not resolved internally, a worker can seek enforcement by filing a complaint with the ministry’s Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008.
Ministry inspectors are inspecting job sites today and every day. Employers and constructors should know: failure to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations could result in a stop work order.
Keeping job sites open during the current pandemic requires a heightened focus on health and safety.
Ontario Protecting Consumers from Price Gouging
Offenders face fines of up to $500,000 for charging unfair prices on necessary goods
Consumers can report an individual who is price gouging by filing a complaint at 1-800-889-9768 between
8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, or by filing a report online.
You should always protect yourself from financial fraud, especially during a period of uncertainty. Unfortunately, fraudsters will prey on consumers’ fears and misinformation over the COVID-19 pandemic. You may get phone calls, emails and texts regarding COVID-19. Be very cautious when receiving them.
Here are a few things to consider in order to protect yourself from financial fraud:
- never click on links or attachments in unsolicited or suspicious emails
- never give out your personal or financial information by email or text
- note that financial institutions will never ask you to provide personal, login or account information by text or email
- when banking online, enter your financial institution’s website address in your browser yourself
- beware of questionable offers related to cures, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is
- if you have concerns about your insurance coverage, contact your insurance company directly
- if you need information on COVID-19, refer to a trusted source such as the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 page
Remember that if you didn’t initiate contact with a person or a business, you don’t know who you are dealing with.
The Canadian Anti-fraud Centre has more information on scams and tips related to COVID-19 to help protect yourself from fraud.
These measures will help provide young people with mental health supports and Canadian seniors with practical services. They will also help ensure some of the most vulnerable Canadians have a safe place to turn and a roof over their heads. The Government of Canada will:
- Increase support for Canadians experiencing homelessness, and provide help for women and children fleeing violence. As announced on March 18, 2020, the Government of Canada will provide an additional $157.5 million to address the needs of Canadians experiencing homelessness. The government will also provide up to $50 million to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres, including facilities in Indigenous communities, to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak.
- Provide support for counselling services to children and youth. As a result of school closures and reduced access to community resources, Kids Help Phone is experiencing increased demand for its 24/7 confidential online, telephone, and text counselling services across Canada. The Government of Canada will give $7.5 million in funding to Kids Help Phone to provide young people with the mental health support they need during this difficult time.
- Provide immediate essential services to Canadian seniors impacted by COVID-19. The Government of Canada will contribute $9 million through United Way Canada for local organizations to support practical services to Canadian seniors. These services could include the delivery of groceries, medications, or other needed items, or personal outreach to assess individuals’ needs and connect them to community supports.
No more domestic travel by plane or by train for those showing symptoms of COVID-19 as of Monday, March 30 at noon.
The Government of Canada is introducing new domestic transportation measures to support provincial, territorial and local efforts to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spreading from travelling within Canada.
These new measures include:
- A requirement for all air operators to conduct a health check of travellers before they board a flight within Canada or departing from Canada, based on guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada. This would include asking health questions, looking for visible signs of illness prior to boarding, and recommending the traveller follow guidance from local health authorities.
- A requirement for air operators to refuse boarding to a passenger that presents COVID-19 symptoms. The denial will remain in effect for a period of 14 days, or until a medical certificate is presented that confirms that the traveller’s symptoms are not related to COVID-19. These measures will apply to aircraft with 10 seats or more.
- A requirement for air operators to notify travellers that they may be subject to provincial or territorial measures at their final destination.
- These measures will come into effect on March 30, 2020 at noon EDT.
- A requirement for intercity passenger rail companies to do a health check to screen passengers for COVID-19 symptoms before they board a train, based on guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada. This will include company representatives asking simple health questions, looking for visible signs of illness prior to boarding, and recommending the passenger follow guidance from local health authorities.
- A requirement for intercity passenger rail companies to refuse boarding to a passenger that presents COVID-19 symptoms. The denial will remain in effect for a period of 14 days, or until a medical certificate is presented that confirms that the traveller’s symptoms are not related to COVID-19.
- These measures do not apply to commuter trains.
- These measures will come into effect on March 30, 2020 at noon EDT.
We remain in contact on a daily basis with the key transportation industry partners, operators and employee associations, international counterparts including in the United States and Europe, as well as provincial and territorial governments to assist with efforts in response to COVID-19.
Ontario has created a new self-assessment tool
If you think you have 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use this self-assessment to help determine if you need to seek further care. Visit here.
If you require help in Ottawa South, please visit our website for Community links and contacts.
Ottawa Public Health
For the latest updates, please click here.
Government of Ontario
Every day at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. ET, the Province of Ontario’s novel coronavirus (COVID-19) web page will be updated with the most up-to-date information including the status of cases in Ontario.
Government of Canada
For the latest COVID-19 updates, please click here.
For the latest on Employment and Social Development changes for employees and employers, click here.