Ontario returns to State of Emergency & announces Stay-at-Home Order

At 1:30pm Tuesday, December 12 2021, Premier Doug Ford announced that effective immediately the Province of Ontario returns to a State of Emergency.

Effective Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the government is issuing a 28-day stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise, or for essential work.

All businesses must ensure that any employee who can work from home, does work from home.

If you have questions about what will be open or impacts to your business or employment, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.

Additional Public Health Restrictions

Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings are further restricted to a limit of five people with limited exceptions.

Individuals are required to wear a mask or face-covering in the indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open.

Wearing a mask or face covering is now recommended outdoors when you can’t physically distance more than two metres.

Hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m. The restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery.

Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction, exempting survey.

These measures will come into effect between Tuesday, January 12, 2021 and Thursday, January 14, 2021, including the provincial declaration of emergency under the EMCPA, orders under that Act, and amendments to regulations under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020.

 

 New Enforcement Measures

Under the declaration of a provincial emergency, the province will provide authority to all enforcement and provincial offences officers, including the Ontario Provincial Police, local police forces, bylaw officers, and provincial workplace inspectors to issue tickets to individuals who do not comply with the stay-at-home-order, or those not wearing a mask or face covering indoors as well as retail operators and companies who do not enforce.

Those who decide not to abide by orders will be subject to set fines and/or prosecution under both the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, (ROA) and EMCPA.

In addition, all enforcement personnel will have the authority to temporarily close a premise and disperse individuals who are in contravention of an order and will be able to disperse people who are gathering, regardless whether a premise has been closed or remains open such as a park or house.

 

Workplace Safety

The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development is taking additional steps to protect workers with the launch of the “Stay Safe All Day” campaign, focusing workplace inspections in areas of high transmission, including break rooms, and providing new educational materials to employers to promote safe behaviour before, during and after work.

As part of the “Stay Safe All Day” campaign, inspectors will use a data-driven approach to focus on workplaces with reported COVID-19 outbreaks, manufacturing businesses, warehouses, distribution centres, food processing operations, construction projects and publicly accessible workplaces deemed essential, such as grocery stores.

 

Employee Support in the Workplace

In the unfortunate event that an employee becomes infected with COVID-19, they may be entitled to federally funded paid sick leave of up to $500 a week for two weeks.

Workers can also access Canada’s Recovery Caregiver Benefit of up to $500 per week for up to 26 weeks if they are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care.

For More Information, click here to read the Media Release: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/59922/ontario-declares-second-provincial-emergency-to-address-covid-19-crisis-and-save-lives

 

The Ontario Small Business Support Grant     

The Ontario Small Business Support Grant will provide a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 to help eligible small business owners.

Small businesses required to close or significantly restrict services will be able to apply for this one-time grant. Each eligible small business will be able to use the support in whatever way makes the most sense for their individual business.

Eligible small businesses include those that:

Are required to close or significantly restrict services due to the Provincewide Shutdown, which began at 12:01 a.m. on December 26;

Have fewer than 100 employees at the enterprise level; and

Have experienced a minimum of 20 per cent revenue decline in April 2020 compared to April 2019.

You will be able to apply for this grant in the coming days.

 

Visit Ontario.ca/COVIDsupport for more information.