Ontario: Additional Steps to Improve Health Care Flexibility During COVID-19

On May 1, 2020, the Ontario government issued a new temporary order to provide greater flexibility in health care during COVID-19.

On May 1, 2020, under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, the Ontario government issued a series of new temporary emergency orders to support the needs of the province’s hospitals and health care workers to allow for improved management of critical health care human resources.

The goal of these new emergency orders are to provide temporary flexibility in the following ways and areas:

Hospital Privileges (emergency order available here):

  • Where reasonably necessary to respond to, prevent and alleviate the outbreak of COVID-19, give hospitals the authority and flexibility to more quickly appoint, re-appoint and grant privileges to medical and other professional staff, in order to address potential surge volumes due to COVID-19, by:
    • Appointing a physician, dentist, midwife or extended class nurse to any department of the medical, dental, midwifery or extended class nursing staff of the hospital, as the case may be, and determine the nature and scope of privileges assigned to them;
    • Reappointing, continuing or extending the appointment of, or extend the time for the application for reappointment of, any member of the medical, dental, midwifery or extended class nursing staff of the hospital; and
    • Determining the nature and scope of privileges assigned to a member of the medical, dental, midwifery or extended class nursing staff of the hospital.
  • This emergency order is intended to allow for the reduction of administrative processes and better enable hospitals to focus operational resources on providing frontline services, regardless of any other requirement imposed by statute, regulation, order, policy, bylaw, arrangement, agreement, or terms of appointment.

Access to Provincial Electronic Health Record (emergency order available here):

  • Authorize coroners, registered nurses appointed as coroner investigators, and public health units to access the provincial electronic health record to help reduce demands on clinicians’ time related to death investigations, reduce exposure to COVID-19 related death investigations, and improve the ability to monitor the spread of the virus.

Registered Nurses to Complete Medical Certificates of Death (emergency order available here):

  • Allow registered nurses appointed as coroner investigators to complete medical certificates of death instead of a physician or nurse practitioner, giving these medical professionals more time to focus on patient care.

If you have any questions about this topic, other COVID-19 related questions, or would like assistance with developing and/or reviewing pandemic plans, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer, or refer to the Firm’s other COVID-19 website resources.

Print article

More insights


Hamilton Public Health Services Issues Section 22 Order

Hamilton Public Health Services has issued a Section 22 Order which allows for the closure of workplaces with 5 or more COVID-19 cases, and implements notification requirements where 2 or more COVID-19 cases are identified in connection with a workplace premises. The Order is in effect as of May 4, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.

Read more


Our complimentary webinars address the practical and legal issues for Canadian employers.

View our Webinars