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Announcements

Stay on-top of the latest announcements from us and our partners in the Ontario Prevention System

2022 Announcements

July 18 | WSPS and OFA continue building partnership to promote agricultural safety

We are happy to announce our continued partnership with the Ontario federation of Agriculture (OFA) through the renewal of a memorandum of understanding (MOU). This partnership is driven in the interest of cultivating a mutually beneficial and collaborative relationship to support the growth of agricultural safety awareness and facilitate working together to address key safety issues affecting Ontario’s farming and rural communities.

“The farm workplace is a busy environment which can make it very dangerous,” says OFA President, Peggy Brekveld. “Heightening awareness of these hazards for both employers and workers is the first step towards minimizing small to severe accidents. Working with WSPS to offer our members a wide range of safety resources has been a great way to reinforce this messaging and we are excited to continue building our partnership.”

This agreement includes collaboration on co-branded farm safety resources and promotional materials, OFA will continue to sit on WSPS’ Agriculture Horticulture Advisory committee, in addition to providing WSPS with timely information regarding in-demand farm safety resources. The parties will collaboratively develop and maintain a project status summary to track activities, milestones and outcomes.

Overall, OFA and WSPS agree to commit to effective product development, reciprocal information sharing, impactful communications and promotions, collaborative projects and assessing collective impact.

“We commend the industry leadership of the OFA and their unwavering commitment to improving farm safety, not only among their extensive membership, but for the sector as a whole,” says WSPS President and CEO, Lynn Brownell. “Through our partnership, we are engaging with farm operators directly, in new and innovative ways. We value the opportunity to work together to influence the positive attitudes and behaviours that will lead to a safer sector for farmers, their families and their workers.”

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 37,000 farm families across the province. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA works to represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, research, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. OFA is the leading advocate for Ontario’s farmers and is Ontario’s voice of the farmer.

June 9 | Rebate incentives for smaller businesses enrolled in Health & Safety Excellence program

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is offering financial incentives to small to medium sized businesses with 1 – 99 full-time employees, who are enrolled in its Health & Safety Excellence program.

The new pandemic bonus being offered will:

  • give each business that has their topics approved in 2022 $1,000 towards the cost of their health and safety plan (retroactive to January 1, 2022).
  • double the rebates for each Health and Safety Excellence program topic completed in 2022.
  • retroactively double the rebates for topics completed since March 2020 for businesses who enroll in new topics this year.
  • Increase the maximum rebates from 75% to 100% of the total WSIB premiums paid by the business the previous year.

This is fantastic news to those already involved in the program and a great incentive for those looking join in 2022.

About the WSIB Health & Safety Excellence program

Through approved program providers, the WSIB Health & Safety Excellence program helps businesses design a plan to improve workplace health and safety via 36 available topics. For each topic completed and validated, businesses earn rebates on their WSIB premiums and non-financial recognition for their investment in health and safety.

Workplace Safety & Prevention Services is an approved provider of the WSIB’s Health & Safety Excellence program. Since 2020, WSPS members have shared almost $3 million dollars in Health & Safety Excellence program rebates.

Learn more.

May 25 | Hiring and keeping employees top concern: survey

Good help is hard to find! At least that is what a new Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) survey found.

According to the Health & Safety Leadership Survey, attracting and keeping staff is now number one on the list of challenges facing business leaders.

For the third consecutive year, WSPS surveyed HR and workplace safety leaders across the country to gain insights into urgent and emerging issues and provide direction for mapping a sustainable path forward.

A total of 532 senior leaders and decision makers from a broad cross-section of industries and businesses were eager to share their experience and unique perspectives. Among the key survey findings, attracting and retaining staff shot from fifth to top spot with the pandemic dropping to third position behind mental health.

Kiran Kapoor, Vice President of Service Delivery at WSPS says the timing of the research presents a unique vantage point on the cusp of re-entry to the next normal.

“Now that health and safety is top of mind for most business leaders and they understand that the impact it can have on their business, on sustainability, on attraction and retention of employees and on the growth of their organization, it’s really important that we continue to make sure that the advances over the past few years continue.”

Mary de Guzman, Senior National Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability with Purolator has been involved with the leadership survey over its 3-year history. She says she has seen a significant change in awareness and understanding of health and safety and a shift in behaviors and attitudes.

“One thing every health and safety professional has remarked is the fact that, you know, back a few years ago, people didn’t know what PPE stood for and now its just common language. Everybody knows what it is. So you know, there have been so many advances make in the past couple of years because of the pandemic and heightened importance on health and safety and protecting the wellbeing of all employees.”

For the first time, employees from 500 workplaces across Ontario added their perspectives in a companion survey – the Health & Safety Employee Survey.

In some instances, employers and employees had differing opinions on the issues, but when addressing the topic of mental health there was universal agreement regarding an urgent and immediate need for emotional and mental wellbeing on the job. Kiran Kapoor says the survey research tells a compelling story.

“People are recognizing that health and safety is not just about physical safety, it’s also about ensuring a healthy workplace and psychological health and safety of workers as well. And that’s a really important aspect in terms of being able to be a sustainable and responsible workplace that will be attractive for people to join your organization.”

Nearly three quarters of employer respondents indicate they’ve lost staff to preventable issues and agree with employees that the primary reasons are mental health and coping with increased workload.

Kristy Cork, Mental Health Consultant at WSPS isn’t surprised. She says listening is key. You need to talk to people to find out what it is about the work that is causing stress and actively work to address those issues.

“Investing in people and maybe spending a bit more resource time and effort on retention, you won’t have to invest so much time and effort in recruitment. We know the job market right now is so hot for employees. They are going to look for workplaces where they feel valued, appreciated, challenged, where there is opportunity for growth and development.”

A full analysis of the survey findings will be shared publicly in the Emergent Leadership Challenges in Post-pandemic Health & Safety: 3rd annual results webinar, Thursday June 2, 2022 at 10 am. Participants will receive an email link to download the white paper.

Register Now

May 05 | Safety Solutions for Greenhouse Growers

Do you run a business in the greenhouse industry?

If so, the hazards of your workplace may be evident, but are your prevention strategies effective?

A custom suite of greenhouse health and safety resources have been developed with guidance from your peers and are now available.

These solutions are the result of a multi-year Greenhouse Risk Assessment Project undertaken by the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Skills, Training and Development (MLTSD) in coordination with Workplace Safety & Prevention Services. Informed by greenhouse industry stakeholders, solutions have been developed to address the identified top ten hazards and their associated root causes.

The goal: Reduce injuries and illness and create cultures of health and safety across the industry.

Find out more

April 27 | Day of Mourning

Ontario’s Prevention Council Chair released the following statement today:

April 28 is the National Day of Mourning all across Canada. Workers, families, employers, and others come together to commemorate those who have lost their lives or suffered an injury or illness due to their work. In 1991, the Parliament of Canada passed the Workers Mourning Day Act making April 28 an official Day of Mourning. Ontarians are working relentlessly in making our workplaces safe. The day marks an opportunity to renew our collective commitments to protecting the health, safety, and well-being of all workers.

Read more

April 13 | PASSED: Working for Workers Act, 2022

On April 11, 2022, Bill 88: Working for Workers Act, 2022 (Working for Workers Act 2) received Royal Assent.

The Working for Workers Act, 2022

  • Increases the maximum fines for operators and directors of businesses that fail to provide a safe work environment that leads to a worker being severely injured or dying on the job.
  • Requires employers to provide a naloxone kit in workplaces where overdoses are a potential hazard.
  • Mandates larger employers establish and share policies with their employees that outline how they monitor them using electronic devices like computers, cell phones and GPTS systems.
  • Establishes foundational rights and protections for digital platform workers who provide ride-share, delivery, or courier services.
  • Enables out-of-province workers to register in their regulated profession or trade within 30 days.
  • Expands military reservist leave and employment protections.
  • Clarifies the treatment of many IT and business consultants under the Employment Standards Act.

Find out more

April 12 | Provincial compliance initiatives announced

The Ministry of Labour Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) has announced their 2022-23 compliance initiative schedule.

These annual initiatives aim to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses by

  • educating employers on hazards.
  • enforcing employment standards.
  • increasing compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its applicable regulations.

During these initiatives, occupational health and safety inspectors visit Ontario businesses. Initiatives are announced in advance, however associated inspections are not.

Find out more, including how WSPS can help you prepare.

March 25 | CANCELLED: 2022 Partners in Prevention Conference & Trade Show

Looking forward to future opportunities ahead

After two years of being sidelined by the pandemic, we were excited to offer an in-person Partners in Prevention Conference & Trade Show once again.

However, after a great deal of deliberation with stakeholders and guests, we have decided to cancel the May 3-4, 2022 scheduled event.

This was a difficult decision, but something we feel is in the best interest of WSPS and our valued guests. Many businesses are still in the midst of reopening and gradually easing into the resumption of in-person activities, both personally and professionally.

We are grateful to the sponsors, speakers, exhibitors and delegates who had already committed to the event. Arrangements with these individuals and groups are underway, with a goal to connect them with information and opportunities in absence of this event.

NOTE: The CEO Leadership Network event on May 3, 2022 will proceed, but will be delivered as a virtual event.

WSPS remains committed to providing Ontario businesses and workers with the information they need to create healthy and safe workplaces. We will be monitoring community sentiment towards in-person gatherings and actively examining ways to engage customers and share content through other creative channels.

We look forward to the many opportunities ahead. Thank you for your support.

If you have any questions about this decision, please feel free to contact us.

March 24 | Impacts of revised ROA on workplace safety

On March 21, 2022 changes were made to the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA), but some COVID-19 related OHSA obligations remain.

Ontario.ca has been updated to include ROA requirements for employers regarding:

  • Masking
  • Screening
  • Safety plans

Also updated is guidance for employers regarding minimum standards for:

  • Assessing the workplace
  • Addressing potential COVID-19 illness or exposure at work.

Learn more

March 09 | Ontario’s long-term approach for pandemic response

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) announced the province’s long-term approach for pandemic response.

The province will move away from emergency measures and shift its focus to ongoing operations. A process is now underway to gradually revoke all CMOH Directives and Instructions by the end of April 2022. Tracking of key indicators will continue.

This announcement is a result of steady or improving key public health indicators and confidence in our provinces ability to manage the impact of the virus going forward (e.g. high vaccination rates, natural immunity and the arrival of antiviral medications).

Some key dates and changes include:

March 10, 2022

March 14, 2022

  • Provincial mandatory vaccination policies end.

March 21, 2022

  • Most mask mandates end.
  • Regulatory requirements for businesses to conduct passive screening and have a safety plan are removed.

March 28, 2022

  • Reopening Ontario Act (ROA) expires.

April 27, 2022

  • All remaining mask mandates end.
  • Any remaining emergency orders under ROA expire.
  • Directives 1, 2.1, 3.4 and 5 revoked.

IMPORTANT:

  • As CMOH Directives and Letters of Instruction are revoked, individual organizations will continue to have the authority to keep requirements in place, as they see fit.
  • PPE and rapid antigen tests will continue to be provided to support health and safety in certain settings.

Learn more

February 16 | Funding for Agri-food Businesses

An OMAFRA/Canadian Agricultural Partnership agreement with WSPS – first introduced in 2021 – has grown in scope, to provide eligible agri-food businesses a reimbursement of up to $2,000 for training and consulting services (virtual or in-person) that assist them in managing COVID-19 recovery needs.

Eligible agri-food businesses include:

  • Agricultural producer operations
  • Provincially licensed abattoirs and meat processors
  • Food processors with 1 – 49 employees (excluding temporary foreign agriculture workers)

Eligible services/solutions have expanded to include:

  • any WSPS training or consulting offering that relates to business recovery/continuity, including planning, development and labour costs.
  • any related training delivery through farm and agri-food associations.

To allow businesses to take advantage of this opportunity, the deadlines have also been extended. All contracts must be signed by February 25, 2022, with consulting work completed by March 1, 2022; training by March 15, 2022.

Find out more

February 16 | WSIB surplus results in payout to safe employers

The Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) insurance fund has reached a surplus greater than their necessary reserve, as a result up to $1.5 billion will be returned to eligible Schedule 1 businesses.

To be eligible for the rebate, businesses must

  • have an active WSIB account as of January 31, 2022;
  • have had premium obligations in either 2019 or 2020;
  • have not been convicted of a Workplace Safety and Insurance Act or an Occupational Health and Safety Act offence in a proceeding under Part III of the Provincial Offences Act, in 2021 or in 2022 up to and including the date the WSIB issues rebates; and
  • have not been convicted in more than one such proceeding between 2017 and 2022 up to and including the date the WSIB issues rebates.

The rebate will be approximately 30% of their premiums paid in 2019 or 2020, whichever is higher. It is expected that 300,000 businesses will benefit.

Rebates will be distributed starting in April 2022.

Find out more

February 15 | Provincial Reopening Fast-Tracked

Due to continuing improvement of public health and health system indicators, the province’s plan to gradually reopen is being sped up.

Originally slated for February 21, 2022, the province will now see some public health and workplace safety measures lift on February 17, including but not limited to:

  • Increasing social gathering limits to 50 people indoors; 100 people outdoors.
  • Increasing organized public event limits to 50 people indoors; no limit outdoors.
  • Removing capacity limits in the following indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is required, including but not limited to:
    • Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments without dance facilities
    • Non-spectator areas of sports and recreational fitness facilities, including gyms
    • Cinemas
    • Meeting and event spaces, including conference centres or convention centres
    • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments
    • Indoor areas of settings that choose to opt-in to proof of vaccination requirements.
  • Allowing 50% of the usual seating capacity at sports arenas, concert venues and theatres.
  • Increasing indoor capacity limits to 25% in the remaining higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required.
  • Increasing capacity limits for indoor weddings, funerals or religious services, rites, or ceremonies to the number of people who can maintain two metres physical distance.

A full list of public health and workplace safety measures, advice and restrictions applicable now and on/after February 17, can be found on Ontario.ca.

If key public health and health system indicators continue to improve, Ontario could see the lifting of all measures, including use of vaccine certificates on March 1, 2022.

Find out more

February 14 | Public In-Person Training Resumes

In alignment with Ontario’s gradual reopening plan, WSPS will resume its delivery of in-person classroom-based training, effective February 22, 2022.

As leaders in health and safety, all current regulations and public health and safety measures will be followed to ensure a safe learning environment.

  • In-person classroom training will be operating at 50% capacity.
  • Proof of vaccination and personal ID is necessary to attend.
  • All participants will be required by venue staff to complete a COVID-19 screening questionnaire
  • A 2-metre social distancing within the classroom will be respected.
  • All participants and facilitators are required to wear a mask.

All WSPS facilitators are fully vaccinated (2 doses, plus 14 days).

View in-person training

January 20 | Province outlines steps for cautious/gradual reopening

The province is beginning to see signs of stabilization in key public health and health system indicators. As a result, the government of Ontario has announced a three-step process for cautiously and gradually reopening the province.

In the absence of concerning trends in public health and health care indicators, Ontario will remain in each step for 21 days.

Enhanced proof of vaccination requirements in existing settings remain in place throughout each step of this plan.

NOTE: Public health, workplace safety and health care measures implemented January 5, 2022 remain in place until Step 1 begins.

Step 1

Effective January 31, 2022

  • Social gathering limits increased (10 people indoors; 25 people outdoors).
  • Indoor public setting capacity limits increased or maintained at 50%, including but not limited to:
    • Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments without dance facilities.
    • Retailers and shopping malls (including grocery stores and pharmacies).
    • Non-spectator areas of sports and recreational fitness facilities, including gyms.
    • Cinemas.
    • Meeting and event spaces.
    • Recreational amenities and amusement parks, including water parks.
    • Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos and similar attractions.
    • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments.
    • Religious services, rites, or ceremonies.
  • Spectator areas of facilities such as sporting events, concert venues and theatres allowed to operate at 50% seated capacity or 500 people, whichever is less.

Step 2

Effective February 21, 2022

  • Social gathering limits increased (25 people indoors; 100 outdoors).
  • Capacity limits removed for indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is required, including but not limited to:
    • Restaurants.
    • Indoor sports and recreational facilities.
    • Cinemas.
    • Other settings that choose to opt-in to proof of vaccination requirements.
  • Spectator capacity permitted at sporting events, concert venues, and theatres at 50 % capacity.
  • Capacity limits for indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is not required, set to the number of people that can maintain two metres of physical distance.
  • Indoor religious services, rites or ceremonies limited to the number that can maintain two metres of physical distance, with no limit if proof of vaccination is required.
  • Indoor capacity limits increased to 25% in the remaining higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required, including:
    • Nightclubs.
    • Wedding receptions in meeting or event spaces where there is dancing.
    • Bathhouses and sex clubs.

Step 3

Effective March 14, 2022

  • Capacity limits lifted in all indoor public settings.
  • Capacity limits lifted on religious services, rites, or ceremonies.
  • Social gathering limits increased to 50 people indoors. No limits for outdoor gatherings.

To manage COVID-19 over the long-term, local and regional responses by public health units may be deployed based on local context and conditions.

Find out more

January 07 | Financial supports to relieve public health measure impacts

The Ontario government is providing targeted relief for businesses and people impacted by current COVID-19 public health measures.

Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant

Small businesses subject to closures under the current modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen are eligible to receive a grant payment of $10,000.

Eligible small businesses include:

  • Restaurants and bars;
  • Facilities for indoor sports and recreational fitness activities (including fitness centres and gyms);
  • Performing arts and cinemas;
  • Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions;
  • Meeting or event spaces;
  • Tour and guide services;
  • Conference centres and convention centres;
  • Driving instruction for individuals; and
  • Before-and-after school programs.

The application portal will open in the coming weeks, with payments expected to occur in February 2022.

NOTE: Businesses who qualified for the earlier Ontario Small Business Support Grant will not need to apply to the new program.

Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program

Under the Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program, businesses that are required to close or reduce capacity due to current public health measures can receive rebate payments up to 100% of the property tax and energy costs they incur while subject to these measures.

Online applications open January 18, 2022.

Electricity Rate Relief

For 21 days, starting at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, electricity prices will be set 24 hours a day at the current off-peak rate of 8.2 cents per kilowatt-hour – less than half the cost of the current on-peak rate. This rate applies to residential, small businesses and farms who pay regulated rates set by the Ontario Energy Board and get a bill from a utility and will benefit customers on both Time-of-Use and Tiered rate plans.

Improved Cash Flow

To support businesses in the immediate term and provide flexibility for long-term planning, the Ontario government will be providing a six-month interest and penalty-free period to make payments for most provincially administered taxes; beginning January 1, 2022 and ending on July 1, 2022.

Find out more

January 03 | Ontario entering modified Step Two of Roadmap to Reopen

In response to a rapid increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, the Ontario government is temporarily placing the province into a modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen. This results in a number of public health and workplace safety measures, healthcare system decisions and education impacts.

Public health and workplace safety measures

  • Effective January 5, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. (and in place for at least 21 days):
  • Social gatherings limited to five people indoors; 10 people outdoors.
  • Organized public events limited to five people indoors.
  • Businesses/organizations required to ensure employees work remotely unless the nature of their work requires them to be on-site.
  • Indoor weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites and ceremonies limited to 50% capacity of the particular room. Outdoor services limited to the number of people that can maintain 2 metres of physical distance. Social gatherings associated with these services must adhere to the social gathering limits.
  • Retail settings, including shopping malls, permitted at 50% capacity. At shopping malls physical distancing will be required in line-ups, loitering will not be permitted and food courts will be required to close.
  • Personal care services permitted at 50% capacity and other restrictions. Saunas, steam rooms, and oxygen bars closed.
  • Indoor meeting and event spaces closed with limited exceptions, but permitting outdoor spaces to remain open with restrictions.
  • Public libraries limited to 50% capacity.
  • Indoor dining at restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments closed. Outdoor dining permitted with restrictions. Takeout, drive through and delivery is permitted.
  • Restricting the sale of alcohol after 10 p.m. and the consumption of alcohol on-premise in businesses or settings after 11 p.m. with delivery and takeout, grocery/convenience stores and other liquor stores exempted.
  • Closing indoor concert venues, theatres, cinemas, rehearsals and recorded performances permitted with restrictions.
  • Museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions, amusement parks and waterparks, tour and guide services and fairs, rural exhibitions, and festivals closed. Outdoor establishments permitted to open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy, where applicable, limited to 50% capacity.
  • Indoor horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues closed. Outdoor establishments permitted to open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy limited to 50% capacity. Boat tours permitted at 50% capacity.
  • Indoor sport and recreational fitness facilities including gyms closed, except for athletes training for the Olympics and Paralympics and select professional and elite amateur sport leagues. Outdoor facilities are permitted to operate but with the number of spectators not to exceed 50% occupancy and other requirements.

View the full list of mandatory public health and workplace safety measures.

  • Hospitals
    • On January 5, 2022, the Chief Medical Officer of Health will reinstate Directive 2 for hospitals and regulated health professionals, instructing hospitals to pause all non-emergent and non-urgent surgeries and procedures to preserve critical care and human resource capacity.

Data shows that the Omicron variant is less severe than other variants; however, it is highly transmissible, resulting in higher case numbers and more hospitalizations. Absenteeism is also expected to rise and affect operations

  • Schools
    • All publicly funded and private schools will move to remote learning starting January 5 until at least January 17, subject to public health trends and operational considerations.
    • School buildings would be permitted to open for childcare operations, including emergency childcare, to provide in-person instruction for students with special education needs who cannot be accommodated remotely and for staff who are unable to deliver quality instruction from home.

Data shows that the Omicron variant is less severe than other variants; however, it is highly transmissible, resulting in higher case numbers and more hospitalizations. Absenteeism is also expected to rise and affect operations

Find out more

2021 Announcements

December 17, 2021 | Additional health and safety measures applied

The threat of the Omicron variant has resulted in additional public health and workplace safety measures, effective December 19, 2021.

Additional health and safety measures in response to the Omicron variant.

In response to the rapidly-spreading and highly transmissible Omicron variant, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is implementing additional public health and workplace safety measures.

Effective Sunday, December 19, 2021:

  • A 50% capacity limit is being applied to the following indoor public settings:
    • Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments and strip clubs.
    • Personal care services.
    • Retailers (including grocery stores and pharmacies) and shopping malls
    • Non-spectator areas of facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities (e.g. gyms) and personal physical fitness trainers
    • Indoor recreational amenities, including clubhouses at outdoor recreational amenities.
    • Tour and guide services.
    • Photography studios and services.
    • Marinas and boating clubs.
  • Additional protective measures, including:
    • A maximum limit of 10 people per table at restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments, meeting and event spaces, and strip clubs. Patrons are required to remain seated.
    • Bars and restaurants, meeting and event spaces, and strip clubs are required to close by 11 p.m.; take out and delivery is permitted.
    • The sale of alcohol is restricted after 10 p.m. and consumption of alcohol in businesses or settings after 11 p.m.
    • Dancing is not allowed except for workers or performers.
    • Food and/or drink services is prohibited at sporting events, concert venues, theatres and cinemas, casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments, as well as horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues.
  • Businesses/facilities will need to post a sign stating the capacity limits permitted.
  • Informal gatherings limits of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
  • The Chief Medical Officer of Health is also updating the personal protective equipment requirements outlined in Directive 5 to provide interim guidance to require N95s for health care workers providing direct care to or interacting with a suspected, probable or confirmed case of COVID-19.

These measures are in addition to the recent expansion of vaccination efforts, including minimizing the interval between second and third (booster) doses and opening eligibility up to all individuals 18 years or older, effective Monday, December 20, 2021.

Find out more.

December 16, 2021 | Capacity limits at large venues shift to 50%

Measures being taken to reduce close contact in high-risk indoor settings with large crowds

Effective December 18, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. all indoor venues with a usual capacity of 1,000 or more will be subject to a 50% reduced capacity limit, in response to the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Examples of impacted venues include:

  • Facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities
  • Entertainment facilities, such as concert venues, theatres and cinemas
  • Racing venues
  • Meeting and event spaces
  • Studio audiences in commercial film and television production
  • Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, botanical gardens and similar attractions
  • Landmarks, historic sites
  • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments
  • Fairs, rural exhibitions and festivals

Find out more.

December 10, 2021 | Enhanced Vaccine Certificate required

Release Date: Dec 10, 2021

The Ontario government announced it’s taking actions to limit the spread of the Omnicron variant, including strengthening its proof of vaccination requirements.

Plans to lift proof of vaccination requirements in January 2022, have been put on hold and the following measures put in its place.

    • Starting December 15, 2021, Ontario will begin providing an enhanced COVID-19 vaccine certificate with QR code for individuals who have an eligible medical exemption or are participating in an active, Health Canada Approved COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial. Medical exemptions issued outside of Ontario will not be eligible for an enhanced vaccine certificate.
    • Effective January 10, 2022, settings where proof of vaccination is required will be advised to no longer accept physician notes as acceptable documentation.
    • Effective December 20, 2021, proof of vaccination will be required for youth aged 12 to 17 years of age participating in organized sports at recreational facilities.
    • Effective January 4, 2022, persons trying to attend a setting where proof of vaccination is required, must use of the enhanced vaccine certificate with QR code (digital proof or printed copy).
    • Effective January 4, 2022, settings where proof of vaccination is required, must use of the Verify Ontario app to check vaccination status of those wishing to enter.

Provincial Offences officers will continue visiting restaurants, recreational facilities, and other businesses or organizations where patrons are required to provide proof of vaccination prior to entry to ensure businesses understand their obligations on how to implement proof of vaccination processes and to ensure they are following all other public safety requirements outlined in the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act.

Provincial officers have been taking an education-first approach to enforcement; however, the expectation is that all businesses follow COVID-19 health and safety requirements.

Find out more

December 08, 2021 | The Ontario government extends two COVID-19 related worker benefits

Release Date: Dec 8, 2021

Worker Income Protection Benefit

The COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit, which provides up to three paid sick days to an employee for COVID-19 related reasons, has been extended to July 31, 2022.

This benefit covers leave taken for the following reasons:

  • Going for a COVID-19 test
  • Staying home awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test
  • Being sick with COVID-19
  • Getting individual medical treatment for mental health reasons related to COVID-19
  • Going to get vaccinated
  • Experiencing a side effect from a COVID-19covid 19 vaccination
  • Having been advised to self-isolate due to COVID-19
  • Providing care or support to certain relatives for COVID-19 related reasons

To date, over 235,000 workers have benefited from this program: staying safe and protecting others without losing pay. The average number of days being claimed per employee is two.

This entitlement is in addition to employees’ rights to unpaid infectious disease emergency leave.

Employment Standards Act (ESA)

A regulatory amendment to the ESA that puts non-unionized employees on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave any time their hours of work are temporarily reduced by their employer due to COVID-19, has been extended to July 30, 2022.

This amendment prevents temporary layoffs of non-unionized employees from becoming unwanted terminations, which can trigger costly payouts and force businesses to close.

Find out more

November 10, 2021 | Province pauses reopening plan

The Ontario government has pressed pause on their Plan to Safely Reopen Ontario and Manage COVID-19 for the Long-Term, delaying the lifting of capacity limits and physical distancing requirements in the remaining higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required. These settings include:

  • food or drink establishments with dance facilities such as night clubs and wedding receptions in meeting/event spaces where there is dancing;
  • strip clubs; and
  • sex clubs and bathhouses.

This decision is out of an abundance of caution. Ontario’s hospital and intensive care capacity remains stable and the province continues to report one of the lowest rates of active cases in the country; however, certain public health trends, including the effective reproduction number and percent positivity have increased slightly over the past week.

The government and Chief Medical Officer of Health will monitor public health and health care indicators for the next 28 days to determine when it is safe to lift capacity limits in these settings.

Find out more

October 22, 2021 | Ontario’s plan to fully reopen

The Ontario government has released A Plan to Safely Reopen Ontario and Manage COVID-19 for the Long-Term. This outlines the province’s gradual approach to lift all public health and workplace safety measures by March 2022.

This plan will be guided by the ongoing assessment of key public health and health care indicators. To manage COVID-19 over the long-term, local and regionally tailored responses by public health units will be deployed. Only in exceptional circumstances will provincial measures be implemented.

The first milestone in this plan occurs on October 25, 2021. On this date, Ontario will lift capacity limits in the majority of settings where proof of vaccination is required. The government is also allowing some select settings to lift their capacity limits, so long as they begin to require proof of vaccination.

Find out more

October 15, 2021 | The Ontario Government launches Vaccine Verification App

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination (two doses, plus 14 days) is required when visiting select settings in Ontario. On October 15, the Ontario Government launched the following tools to assist vaccination verification:

Verify Ontario app

  • Available for download from Apple or Google Play stores.
  • Designed to help businesses efficiently confirm a person’s vaccination status. The app scans/reads official government issued QR codes, such as Ontario’s enhanced QR code vaccine certificate and those SMART Health Codes from other provinces, including Quebec, British Columbia and Yukon Territory.
  • This free app can be used with or without an internet connection.

Enhanced QR code vaccine certificate

    • Rolling out in phases (based on month of birth), all Ontarians can download their enhanced vaccine certificate with personalized QR code from the province’s COVID-19 vaccination portal or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre (1-833-943-3900).
    • An electronic version can be stored on a phone or printed; businesses will need to accept both. Current vaccine receipts with the QR code remain valid.
    • Displaying minimal personal information, the enhanced vaccine certificate provides a safe and efficient way to provide one’s vaccination status when required.

Updated regulations and guidance for businesses to support the implementation of the enhanced vaccine certificate with a QR code and the Verify Ontario app are also available.

An FAQ document has also been made available.

Find out more

October 13, 2021 | Capacity limits end in select settings

As of October 9, 2021, capacity limits in the following settings where proof of vaccination is required, have returned to 100%. The requirement for individuals to maintain two metres of physical distancing in these settings has also been removed, with limited exceptions.

  • Concert venues, theatres and cinemas
  • Spectator areas of facilities for sports and recreational fitness (does not apply to gyms, personal training)
  • Meeting and event spaces (indoor meeting and event spaces must still limit capacity to the number that can maintain physical distancing)
  • Horseracing racks, car racing tracks, and other similar venues
  • Commercial film and television productions with studio audiences.

Other public health and workplace safety measures continue to remain in effect for these settings, which can include: wearing face coverings, screening and the collecting of patron information to support contact tracing.

Find out more

October 06, 2021 | Vaccine mandated for federal workforce and federally regulated sectors

Vaccine mandated for federal workforce and federally regulated transportation sector

Under a new policy, federal public servants in the Core Public Administration (CPA), must be vaccinated against COVID-19; an effort to protect the health and safety of them, their families, and the communities where they live, work and serve.

This requirement applies whether they are teleworking, working remotely, or on-site, and extends to contracted personnel who require access to federal government worksites. Those who refuse to disclose their status or who are not fully vaccinated by October 29, 2021 will be placed on administrative leave without pay as early as November 15, 2021.

The Government of Canada has also asked Crown corporations and separate agencies to implement vaccine policies mirroring these announcements. The Acting Chief of the Defence Staff will also issue a directive requiring vaccination for the Canadian Armed Forces.

In addition – effective October 30, 2021 – the Government of Canada will require employers in the federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation sectors to establish vaccination policies for their employees. The vaccination requirement will also extend to certain travellers, including all commercial air travellers, passengers on interprovincial trains, and passengers on large marine vessels with overnight accommodations, such as cruise ships.

The government will be engaging with stakeholders to plan the implementation of these measures.

Learn more:

October 06, 2021 | 2022 WSIB premium reductions

Today it was announced that the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) will be reducing employer premium rates in 2022 by $168 million. The average employer will see a 5% reduction; the biggest reductions reserved for safe employers with strong safety record.

Notices will be sent to all Ontario businesses following todays WSIB Annual General Meeting, outlining their 2022 premiums. The reductions mentioned will be reflected in that statement.

A number of other cost saving initiatives aimed at benefiting employers were also discussed.

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September 25, 2021 | Ontario cautiously easing capacity limits in select settings

Effective September 25, 2021, at 12:01 a.m., capacity limits will be increased in many of the indoor settings where proof of vaccination is required.

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September 22, 2021 | Now in effect: Ontario's Proof of Vaccination policy

Effective 12:01 a.m. on September 22, 2021, Ontario requires patrons to provide proof of vaccination to access certain high-risk public settings.

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September 22, 2021 | Workplace Safety Plan Builder now available

A new online, interactive tool – the Workplace Safety Plan Builder – can help you develop your plan and/or review your existing controls to ensure adequate controls are in place.

By law Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, all businesses permitted to be open must have a written Safety Plan in place. The plan must be made available to anyone who asks to see it and posted in a place where it will be easily seen.

All employers are encouraged to review and update their safety plan regularly.

Get more information on the new Workplace Safety Plan Builder and developing your workplace safety Plan by visiting the Ontario Government's Guide to developing your COVID-19 workplace safety plan.

September 15, 2021 | Guidance on upcoming provincial Proof of Vaccination policy

Effective 12:01 a.m. on September 22, 2021, Ontario will require patrons to provide proof of vaccination to access certain high-risk public settings.

In preparation, the Ontario government has released (see News Release) the following supports for impacted businesses and organizations:

Find out more

September 01, 2021 | Ontario’s enhanced COVID-19 Vaccine Certificate

Effective September 22, 2021 the province will require people to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their vaccination status to access certain indoor public high-risk settings where face masks cannot always be worn.

Find out more

July 16, 2021 | Ontario moves to Step 3 of the Roadmap to Reopen

Ontario is moving to Step 3 of the Roadmap to Reopen, effective July 16, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.

Employers should understand the restrictions that apply to their workplace. The full list of Step 3 public health and workplace safety measures can be viewed in O. Reg.520/21 of the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020. Also check for region specific requirements, such as municipal by-laws and orders from their local public health unit.

We are updating our COVID-19 resources appropriately.

June 24, 2021 | Ontario moves to Step 2 of the Roadmap to Reopen early

Ontario is moving to Step 2 of the Roadmap to Reopen early. Effective June 30, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.

Employers should understand the restrictions that apply to their workplace under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act (ROA), as described in the Roadmap to Reopen, and regularly check for region specific requirements, such as municipal by-laws and orders from their local public health unit.

We are updating our COVID-19 resources appropriately.

June 03, 2021 | Ontario releases three-step Roadmap to Safely Reopen the Province

The Ontario government has announced a new 3 step plan to reopen the province and gradually lift public health measures. Ontario enters Step One of the plan on June 11, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.

Employers should understand the restrictions that apply to their workplace under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act (ROA), as described in the Roadmap to Reopen, and regularly check for region specific requirements, such as municipal by-laws and orders from their local public health unit.

We are updating our COVID-19 resources appropriately.

May 05, 2021 | Paid infectious disease emergency leave now in effect

On April 29, 2021, the Ontario government passed Bill 284, COVID-19 Putting Workers First Act, 2021 amending the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) to require employers to provide employees with up to three days of paid leave if they miss work for reasons related to COVID-19.

This Bill is now in effect. The entitlement is retroactive to April 19, 2021 and will end on September 25, 2021 (in alignment with the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) - Canada.ca timelines).

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May 05, 2021 | Ontario launches Mobile Vaccine Units in hot spot workplaces

TORONTO - With the arrival of increased vaccine deliveries from the federal government starting this week, the Ontario government is further expanding its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan with the launch of mobile vaccine units for small to medium-sized businesses in hot spot communities. These mobile units will begin offering vaccinations in Toronto, York and Peel at select businesses that have employees who cannot work from home and have a history or risk of outbreaks. Each public health unit will determine the small to medium-sized businesses where mobile units will be deployed.

Find out more

April 27, 2021 | Day of Mourning statement from Prevention Council

Ontario's Prevention Council Chair released the statement below today:

April 28th marks the annual National Day of Mourning in Canada. This is a day where we pay tribute and remember those who have lost their lives and their loved ones or suffered injury or illness on the job due to a work-related tragedy. In the current pandemic, which has taken many lives and changed the way we work, this day has all the more resonance.

As members of the Prevention Council, we are mandated to work as a strategic team to ensure we provide sound and actionable advice to government and Ontario's industries on the prevention of workplace injuries and occupational diseases in the Province of Ontario, and work diligently to make this our top priority.

This past year has been an unprecedented year for everyone. During these challenging times, we have seen unwavering commitment to workplace health and safety, and we thank you for your continued leadership. We encourage you to remain vigilant and continue to follow the occupational health and safety procedures in your workplaces as well as the COVID-19 guidance and resources issued by the ministry. Please also remember the value and importance of involving your Joint Health and Safety Committee and/or Health and Safety Representative in identifying and addressing health and safety concerns specific to your workplace.

As leaders in occupational health and safety, we encourage you to acknowledge this day within the workplace, but also to collectively use this time to reflect and renew our commitment to eliminating preventable workplace incidents and illnesses in Ontario's workplaces.

Blair Allin
National Health and Safety Representative, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers

Brian Arnold
Fire Chief, Cambridge Fire Department

Patrick Bourgeois
Construction Manager, Peter Kiewit Sons ULC

John Bourke
Business Manager/Financial Secretary, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

Stephen Chaplin
Vice President of Health, Safety & Environment, EllisDon

Rodney Cook
Vice President Workplace Health and Safety Services, WSIB

Michael Dauncey
Director Health and Safety Corporate, Mattamy Homes

Cora DeMarco
Manager, Technica Mining

Colin de Raaf
Director of Training, CLA

Daniel Fleming
Manager, Training and Development GTA, NORCAT

Ron Kelusky
Chief Prevention Officer, Ministry of Labour, Training, Skills and Development

Dr. Isra Levy
Vice President of Medical Affairs and Innovation, Canadian Blood Services

Bill Mader
Insulator, Local 95

Erin Oliver (Chair)
Vice President of Health, Safety and Sustainability, Modern Niagara Group Inc.

Patricia Pereira Janicas
Director, Health & Safety, Kenaidan Contracting Ltd

Dustin Philp
Plant Chairperson, Tormont-Concord Unifor Local 112

Sandro Pinto
Executive Director, LiUNA Local 183

Peter Rowe
Director, Chair of the Regulatory Committee, Ontario Petroleum Institute

James St. John
Business Manager/Financial Secretary, Central Ontario Building Trades

Roger Tickner
President, Tickner and Associates Inc

April 27, 2021 | Déclaration du Conseil de prévention sur le jour de deuil

Le président du Conseil de prévention de l'Ontario a publié aujourd'hui la déclaration suivante :

Le 28 avril marque le Jour de deuil national annuel au Canada. C'est un jour où nous nous souvenons de ceux qui ont perdu la vie et de leurs proches, ou qui ont subi une blessure ou contracté une maladie au travail en raison d'une tragédie liée au travail, et nous leur rendons hommage. Dans le contexte de la pandémie actuelle, qui a coûté de nombreuses vies et changé notre façon de travailler, cette journée a d’autant plus de résonance.

En tant que membres du Conseil de prévention, nous avons pour mandat de travailler en tant qu'équipe stratégique, afin de nous assurer que nous fournissons des conseils judicieux et réalisables au gouvernement et aux industries de l'Ontario, sur la prévention des accidents du travail et des maladies professionnelles dans la province de l'Ontario, et nous travaillons avec diligence pour en faire notre principale priorité.

L’année écoulée a été une année sans précédent pour tout le monde. En ces temps difficiles, nous avons constaté un engagement inébranlable à l'égard de la santé et de la sécurité au travail, et nous vous remercions de votre leadership continu. Nous vous encourageons à rester vigilants et à continuer de suivre les procédures de santé et de sécurité au travail sur vos lieux de travail ainsi que les conseils et les ressources liés à la COVID-19 publiés par le ministère. N'oubliez pas non plus la valeur et l'importance de l'implication de votre comité mixte sur la santé et la sécurité au travail et/ou de votre délégué à la santé et à la sécurité dans l'identification et la résolution des problèmes de santé et de sécurité spécifiques à votre lieu de travail.

En tant que chefs de file en matière de santé et sécurité au travail, nous vous encourageons à souligner cette journée dans votre milieu de travail, mais aussi à profiter collectivement de ce moment pour réfléchir et renouveler notre engagement à éliminer les incidents et les maladies évitables dans les lieux de travail de l'Ontario.

Blair Allin
Représentant canadien en santé et sécurité, Fraternité internationale des chaudronniers

Brian Arnold
Chef des pompiers, service d'incendie de Cambridge

Patrick Bourgeois
Chef des travaux de construction, Peter Kiewit Sons ULC

John Bourke
Chef de la gestion des activités/secrétaire financier, Fraternité internationale des ouvriers en électricité

Stephen Chaplin
Vice-président de la santé, de la sécurité et de l'environnement, EllisDon

Rodney Cook
Vice-président des Services de santé et de sécurité au travail, WSIB

Michael Dauncey
Directeur, Santé et sécurité internes, Mattamy Homes

Cora DeMarco
Directrice, Technica Mining

Colin de Raaf
Directeur de la formation, CLAC

Daniel Fleming
Gestionnaire, Formation et développement dans la RGT, NORCAT

Ron Kelusky
Directeur général de la prévention, ministère du Travail, de la Formation et du Développement des compétences

Dr Isra Levy
Vice-président aux affaires médicales et à l'innovation, Société canadienne du sang

Bill Mader
Calorifugeur, section locale 95

Erin Oliver (présidente)
Vice-présidente de la santé, de la sécurité et de la durabilité, Modern Niagara Group Inc.

Patricia Pereira Janicas
Directrice, Santé et sécurité, Kenaidan Contracting Ltd.

Dustin Philp
Président d'usine, Toromont-Concord Unifor, section locale 112

Sandro Pinto
Directeur général, LiUNA, section locale 183

Peter Rowe
Directeur, président du Comité de réglementation, Ontario Petroleum Institute Inc.

James St. John
Chef de la gestion des activités/secrétaire financier, Central Ontario Building Trades

Roger Tickner
Président, Tickner and Associates Inc.

June 03, 2020 | Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program to prevent spread of COVID-19

Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership), the federal and provincial governments are launching the Agri-food Workplace Protection Program to help agriculture producers and meat processing facilities enhance health and safety measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19.

"The health and safety of our farmers and food processors is paramount," said Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. "This additional investment assists agriculture businesses and meat processing facilities in Ontario with implementing measures that follow the best public health guidance for our essential agri-food workers."

"Our hard-working agri-food heroes in food processing plants across Ontario play a critical role in keeping our food supply chain strong," said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "This project is an important step in keeping our essential workers healthy and safe during the COVID-19 outbreak and beyond."

Funding is available to provincially-regulated meat processors and agriculture producers (farms) for initiatives such as purchasing personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning and disinfection, redesigning workstations and support worker accommodations, work-site mobility and transportation.

Under the Partnership, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) will be providing support to agri-food businesses, in collaboration with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs, with personalized consulting and training to improve the effective management of the risk of COVID-19. The Partnership provides for $500,000 in funded access to WSPS training and consulting services.

$250,000 funding is directed to provincially regulated abattoirs and meat processing facilities and $250,000 to agricultural producer operations such as farms, greenhouses and horticultural production operations, livestock production operations, and field/cash crop production.

This program will be in effect until March 31, 2021 or until the funding is fully allocated.

To inquire about WSPS consulting and training, contact our Customer Care Department at 1-877-494-WSPS (9777) or 905-614-1400.

For more information and to access funding under the Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program, visit the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs website:

Media Contact: Meagan Wadeson, Internal Communications Lead, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services, Meagan.Wadeson@wsps.ca, 905-614-1400 Ext 2233.

This project is funded in part by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.