Peel Public Health Releases Section 22 Order to Close Workplaces with 5 or More COVID-19 Cases

Further to our In a Flash published April 20, 2021, Peel Public Health has published its Section 22 Order (the “Order”) under the Health Protection and Promotion Act for workplaces with cases of COVID-19.

The new Order requires full or partial closure of workplaces when a workplace has five or more confirmed COVID-19 cases within a 14 calendar-day period where the workers could reasonably have acquired their infection in the workplace premises, or where no obvious source of infection has been identified outside the workplace premises.

Specifically, Peel Public Health can order either a full workplace premises closure or shift or work area mass dismissal for a 10 calendar day period.

The Order would be in place when the Region of Peel is placed in the Grey Lockdown zone under the Province of Ontario’s Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, when the Province of Ontario has enacted a Shutdown under applicable legislation, or under any other similar or successor legislation.  Therefore, this Order appears to continue in force after the anticipated expiry of the Shutdown order on May 20, 2021, assuming the Region of Peel reverts back to the Grey zone.

The Order permits temporary access to a closed workplace, unless otherwise prohibited by any applicable law, for the following purposes:

  • performing work at the place of business in order to comply with any applicable law;
  • allowing for inspections, maintenance and repairs to be carried out at the place of business;
  • allowing for security services to be provided at the place of business; and
  • attending at the place of business temporarily
    • to deal with other critical matters relating to the closure or reopening of the place of business, if the critical matters cannot be attended to remotely; or
    • to access materials, goods or supplies that may be necessary for the business to be operated remotely.

The Order does not apply to the following workplace premises:

  • Schools/childcare
  • Pharmacies
  • Healthcare facilities, including vaccination clinics
  • Shelters
  • First responder emergency services such as Fire, Paramedics, Police and their communication services
  • Critical infrastructure such as water/wastewater treatment facilities, utilities, telecommunications and IT, transportation, energy
  • Government services
  • Services required to maintain the health of animals
  • Other workplace premises exempted from closure by Peel Public Health

The Order comes into effect on Friday, April 23, 2021 at 12:01 a.m and will remain in effect during periods where the Region of Peel is in the Grey-Lockdown or Shutdown Zone under the COVID-19 Response Framework and applicable regulations, or under similar provisions in any successor legislation.

Individuals who fail to comply with the order may face a fine of up to $5,000, and corporations who fail to comply with the order may face a fine of up to $25,000, for every day or part of each day the offence occurs or continues.

Toronto Public Health recently published a similar order. Our summary of the Toronto Public Health order can be found here.

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.

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