Ontario implements mandatory screening at workplaces

September 29, 2020 | Lisa Goodfellow, Jenifer C. Gentle

Ontario Regulation 530/20 amends Ontario Regulation 364/20 to make it compulsory for businesses or organizations that are open to operate in compliance with the advice, recommendations and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health on screening individuals, which includes the recommendations set out in COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces (Businesses and Organizations).  Highlights of the mandatory recommendations include:

  • Screening is required for any workers (staff, students, contractors, volunteers) or essential visitors (individuals providing a service in the workplace who are not employees or patrons, such as delivery, maintenance, contract workers) entering the work environment;
  • Screening is not required for patrons entering a workplace or for emergency services or other first responders entering a workplace for emergency purposes;
  • Screening should occur before or when a worker enters the workplace at the beginning of their day or shift, or when an essential visitor arrives; and
  • At a minimum, the following questions should be used to screen individuals for COVID-19 before they are permitted entry into the workplace:
    1. Do you have any of the following new or worsening symptoms or signs? (Symptoms should not be chronic or related to other known causes or conditions)
      • Fever or chills
      • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
      • Cough
      • Sore throat, trouble swallowing
      • Runny nose/stuff nose or nasal congestion
      • Decrease or loss of smell or taste
      • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain
      • Not feeling well, extreme tiredness, sore muscles
    1. Have you travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days?
    2. Have you had close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19?

Individuals who answer no to all three questions can enter the workplace.  Individuals who answer yes to any of the three questions should not enter the workplace.  Instead they should go home to self-isolate immediately and contact their health care provider or Telehealth Ontario (1 866-797-0000) to find out if they need a COVID-19 test.  However, essential workers who travel outside of Canada for work purposes should not be excluded entry on this basis alone.

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