Ontario employers – it’s time to review your COVID-19 workplace screening practices to ensure they are up to date. The Ontario Chief Medical Office of Health has issued an update and further developed the workplace COVID-19 Screening tool for businesses and workers. The screening tool provides advice, recommendations and instructions which have been implemented under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020.
The individual responsible for a business or organization that is permitted to be open, must ensure that workers are screened for COVID-19 before they go to work or start their shift each day. Screening should occur before or immediately upon arrival at the workplace at the beginning of the worker’s shift or workday. This screening tool can be completed either online before going to work or on-site before starting the workday. The employer must ensure that the result of screening is used to determine whether the worker may enter the workplace. A worker may only enter the workplace if they have passed the screening.
The screening tool does not apply to health care settings (including long-term care homes), and some non-health care workplaces (e.g., retirement homes, other congregate living settings, schools and child care) where existing screening requirements and tools are already in place.
Businesses or organizations should note the following new requirements:
(1) If the answer to any of the screening questions changes during the day, a worker is to immediately advise the employer of the change and go home immediately to self-isolate without having to first screen again. The worker is also to contact their healthcare provider or Telehealth Ontario to get advice or an assessment regarding next steps.
(2) Every business or organization must maintain a record of the date and time every worker was in the workplace (arrival and departure time) and their contact information. This information must be maintained for at least one month. Public Health may request this information for contact tracing purposes.
(3) Updated workplace screening questions for individuals over the age of 18 include the following:
- 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
- Cough or barking cough (croup)
- Shortness of breath
- Decrease or loss of smell or taste
- Sore throat or difficulty swallowing
- Pink eye
- Runny or stuffy / congested nose
- Headache that’s unusual or long lasting
- Digestive issues like nausea / vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain
- Extreme tiredness that is unusual or muscle aches that are unusual or long lasting
- Falling down often
- Have you travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days? If you are an essential worker who crosses the Canada-US border regularly for work, select “No”.
- In the last 14 days, has a public health unit identified you as a close contact of someone who currently has COVID-19?
- Has a doctor, health care provider, or public health unit told you that you should currently be isolating (staying at home)?
- In the last 14 days, have you received a COVID-19 Alert exposure notification on your cell? If you already went for a test and got a negative result, select “No”.
Employers should review their COVID-19 workplace screening practices to ensure they meet the requirements of the updated tool.
The updated COVID-19 screening tool can be found here.
Mathews Dinsdale will continue to monitor the Government’s response to COVID-19, and will provide updates and analysis on any important developments.
If you have any questions about this matter, other COVID-19 related issues, or would like any other workplace law assistance, please contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer, or refer to the Firm’s COVID-19 website resources.