The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) has confirmed that eastern Ontario will be one of the destinations in a series of provincial COVID-19 education and enforcement campaigns for businesses across the province. The campaign aims to help businesses stay safe and stay open by ensuring that they are taking the necessary steps to protect employees, consumers and the public from COVID-19.
Multi-ministry teams, working in coordination with the EOHU, plan to visit local businesses from December 3rd to 5th to conduct assessments and promote COVID-19 health and safety requirements.
During the visits, officers will provide business owners with assessments and guidance on how to operate safely during the pandemic and comply with public health requirements in the Reopening Ontario Act. Under the province’s new COVID-19 Response Framework, certain businesses and establishments are required to develop a COVID-19 safety plan for their workplace. Officers will be asking employers to produce their safety plans and will provide feedback and direction on them.
The aim of the campaign is to ensure that workplaces have the resources and information they need to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and to help businesses take any corrective steps needed to operate safely. While the focus is on education, officers can exercise their enforcement discretion if they find significant non-compliance.
The provincial campaign will complement the EOHU’s local efforts that have been ongoing since the start of the pandemic. “EOHU public health staff, in collaboration with local enforcement partners, having been working diligently with businesses in our region to help ensure they can operate safely and protect their workers and customers,” states Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health. “We know that many businesses have made enormous efforts, but some still need assistance. We’re pleased that the provincial campaign coming in early December will provide added support.”
The provincial initiative has also recently visited the Peel and London-Middlesex regions. It found the most common areas of non-compliance have been improper mask use, lack of screening, and improper sanitization. More information on the campaigns can be found on the Government of Ontario’s website: Ontario Launches Workplace Education and Enforcement Campaigns.
New enforceability for Section 22 Orders
Due to a recent amendment to Ontario Regulation 950 under the Provincial Offences Act, Section 22 Orders issued by Medical Officers of Health in the province are now enforceable without having to go to court. Tickets can be issued by law enforcement officers, including police officers, by-law officers and public health inspectors, for any contravention of a COVID-19 specific communicable disease class Section 22 Order.
For more information on COVID-19, including local Section 22 Orders, please visit the Eastern Ontario Health Unit’s website at www.EOHU.ca/coronavirus.