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

2022 Announcements

WSPS to focus on regional, industry-targeted, and virtual events | November 17

WSPS will be showcasing a fresh approach to the health and safety events it offers, featuring a mix of regional in-person experiences, sector-specific programming, and virtual offerings. Events will focus on helping businesses build stability, manage risk, and strengthen health and safety strategies.

The new event lineup will include learning opportunities for health and safety and human resources professionals, senior leaders, and Joint Health and Safety Committee members (among others) and will provide more flexibility and choice for Ontario businesses. Information on upcoming events will be posted on the WSPS.ca Events page.

In consideration of its new plans, WSPS will not be hosting a national Partners in Prevention Health and Safety Conference and Trade Show in 2023 onwards. The evolved approach to health and safety events will offer interested event sponsors, exhibitors, and attendees many exciting future opportunities to connect.

Masks strongly encouraged for indoor settings | November 16

On November 13, 2022, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health strongly recommended the use of masks in all indoor settings.

This is in response to the ongoing circulation of COVID-19 and an earlier than normal rise in seasonal respiratory illness – influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV); all of which are causing pressures on our healthcare system.

Guidance for Ontario Workplaces

Many workplace settings and activities place workers at a higher risk of transmission. Knowing respiratory illnesses are spreading in our communities and the peak of cold/flu season is ahead of us, it is important employers have a plan to keep workers and customers safe.

Employers must meet or exceed any minimum standards and public heath requirements, but they get to choose what measures and policies to use to keep workers healthy and their operations fully staffed.

Although not mandatory, the use of masks can be an effective measure for preventing the spread of respiratory illness. Updated workplace masking guidance is available to assist with your planning, as is a FREE 20 minute recorded webinar – Using Masks in the Workplace: How to select, care and Use to Protect Workers.

Masking when used in combination with other controls will reduce the chance of illness. Other controls to consider:

  • Attention to workplace ventilation and filtration/purification.
  • Encouraging vaccination.
  • Supporting workers to stay home when they are sick, as is consistent with public health advice.

Need help developing your workplace plan? The Workplace Safety Plan Builder can help.

WSPS welcomes new Board Chair | October 11

On September 20 at WSPS’ Annual General Meeting, a new Board Chair was elected. In addition, two new members were welcomed to the team.

Ajay Bhardwaj – Board Chair
Ajay started his career working on Ergonomics consulting engagements in a variety of industries including utilities, textiles, automotive, airlines, and food services in Southern Ontario. Since leaving consulting Ajay has enjoyed a 20 plus year career with Adient (formerly Johnson Controls Automotive Group). He started with Johnson Controls as an Ergonomics Engineer and has held various positions of escalating responsibility related to Environmental, Ergonomics, Health, Safety and Sustainability, working on projects on almost every continent.

Today Ajay serves as Adient's Director of Environmental Health & Safety, Americas. He leads a multi-disciplinary team with 12 direct reports based in Brazil, Mexico & the USA, who support an organization of over 90 EHS professionals responsible for the well-being of more than 37,000 Adient team members across the Americas. Ajay is a graduate of the University of Waterloo.

Bonnie Rose
Bonnie is a seasoned executive with a passion for safety, as well as deep knowledge and experience in technical standards. This passion is evident in her executive positions as the President and CEO of the Technical Standards and Safety Authority, and as former President of the Canadian Standards Association Group - CSA Standards.

Bonnie holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Electrical Engineering from Queen's University, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Toronto, and a Chartered Director from The Directors College. She was recognized as one of Canada's Top Women in Safety in 2021 by Canadian Occupational Safety magazine.

Geeta Sharma
Geeta's professional journey spans almost two decades of leading Environmental Health and Safety Management Systems; Enterprise Risk Management and Insurance, Emergency Response and Crisis Management; Resiliency and Business Continuity Planning; WSIB/Disability Management; Occupational Health and Wellness; Environmental and Hazardous Products Management and Industrial Hygiene portfolios. She has partnered with very large, complex, multi-site and unionized workplaces in diverse sectors including healthcare, higher education, municipal government, mail processing, transportation/distribution, and food manufacturing/industrial settings. At these organizations, she has led large teams, across diverse geographic regions and work locations to implement deeply integrated safety and risk intelligent cultures for up to 20,000 employees, aligned with organizational strategic goals.

She is currently the Director of Wellbeing and Occupational Health and Safety at the Region of Waterloo. She holds an MBA (Management of Innovation and Technology), an MPH (Safety and Risk Management Systems) and BASc. (Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety) degrees, and a 2-year diploma in Biochemistry. She also holds the Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP) and the Canadian Risk Management (CRM) designations.

Geeta is also an active member of the broader safety and risk management community, having served on the Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals; the Education Advisory Council of PSHSA; and is a member on Risk and Insurance Management Society; Ontario Municipal Health and Safety Association, and Threads of Life.

About WSPS' Board of Directors
Our Board of Directors represent a variety of industries and geographies across Ontario. Consisting of 12 independent directors and our CEO, they provide oversight, insight, and foresight to WSPS operations, helping steer us towards achieving our strategic goals and vision: Protecting the potential of Ontario’s businesses and employees by keeping every worker, healthy & safe, every day.

All elected directors of WSPS hold office until the next third annual general meeting of Members.

Learn more about our Board of Directors.

Fall Harvest Strategy | September 22

Every year over 20,000 Temporary Foreign Workers come to Ontario to work on our farms and in our greenhouses. These workers play a vital role in the industry and in the communities of Ontario. Due to their temporary and new worker status, language barriers and unfamiliarity with Ontario’s occupational health and safety system, Temporary Foreign Workers are considered vulnerable.

The Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD) has initiated a Fall Harvest Strategy focused on educating and inspecting farm operations that employ temporary foreign agriculture workers. The initiative has begun and runs September 14 to November 30, 2022.

What inspectors are looking for

  • Do workers understand their rights under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)?
  • Is there a copy of the OHSA posted?
  • Does the workplace have a health and safety policy and program?
  • Is health and safety information available/accessible in the language spoken by the majority of workers onsite?

How to prepare

The following can help you prepare for the initiative:

If you are looking for additional support, WSPS can help. Connect with a WSPS health and safety specialist who can provide guidance, answer questions and review your program.

EXTENSION: Double your rebates | September 13

Good news for small to medium sized businesses (1 – 99 full-time employees). The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has chosen to extend financial incentives for those enrolled in its Health & Safety Excellence program (HSEp).

The incentives will be extended until the end of December 2023.

  • WSIB is providing each eligible business $1,000 upon topic approval.
  • WSIB is doubling the rebate for each Health and Safety Excellence program topic implemented/completed in 2022.
  • WSIB is increasing 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 to join.

About the WSIB Health & Safety Excellence program
Through approved program providers, HSEp 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.

Find out more

Get answers to emerging health and safety issues at upcoming events | September 1

Disruption, innovation and ongoing uncertainty have changed the way we work. If there is an upside to the chaos of the past couple of years, it’s that workplace health and safety has been brought to the forefront of the conversation. Business leaders understand, with greater clarity, the importance of what it means to keep workers safe. And they have questions.

To provide answers to urgent and emerging health and safety issues, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) will return to their regional Partners in Prevention (PIP) conference format this fall (three separate locations). WSPS is also expanding opportunities with a series of Breakfast Briefings on what business owners need to know about WSIB Claims, Mental Stress and Workplace Entitlement as well as Days of Learning, customized to meet the unique needs of hosting communities. Recognizing the need for flexibility, the sessions will offer a blend of virtual and live event opportunities.

“The world of work is forever changed and balancing new demands is a significant challenge. The past two and a half years have demanded a high level of competence, dexterity and creative problem solving and now, we can capitalize on what we’ve learned,” says Lynn Brownell, President and CEO of WSPS. “We’ve carefully curated content for this year’s Partners in Prevention regional conferences and other learning opportunities to address the most pressing issues and provide the tools to proactively meet the challenges ahead.”

From worker stress and burnout to remote work environments to impairment on the job, industry leaders are balancing acute health and safety challenges while trying to maintain focus on core fundamentals. Under the theme of “Finding Balance” the Partners in Prevention format will include legal updates, developments affecting employee responsibilities and obligations including new penalties, risk management tools, and workplace impairment and mental health strategies with a wide range of options.

“Successful leaders are looking for high impact initiatives to drive transformative trends that safeguard human potential. A healthy workforce means a healthy business,” Brownell adds. “The upcoming sessions will help business owners and health and safety leaders respond and adapt to changing dynamics to meet the needs and demands of their workers while delivering value and fueling growth.”

Partners in Prevention regional conferences

Three locations this fall:

  • PIP Superior – September 27, 2022 (Quattro Hotel and Conference Centre, Sault. Ste Marie)
  • PIP Southwestern – October 19, 2022 (Bingemans Conference Centre, Kitchener)
  • PIP Forum North – November 1 – 2, 2022 (Victoria Inn Hotel & Convention Centre, Thunder Bay)

Get details on PIP regional conferences – including agendas and registration.

Breakfast Briefings

These Mental Stress and Workplace Entitlement: WSIB Claims and What You Need to Know

Breakfast Briefings occur on various dates and locations. Learn more.

Days of Learning

Offered virtually and/or in person, Days of Learning will take place October 12, October 25, and November 17, 2022. Find out more.

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

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.

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

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.

Hiring and keeping employees top concern: survey | May 25

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

Safety Solutions for Greenhouse Growers | May 05

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

Day of Mourning | April 27

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

PASSED: Working for Workers Act, 2022 | April 13

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

Provincial compliance initiatives announced | April 12

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.

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

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.

Impacts of revised ROA on workplace safety | March 24

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

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

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

Funding for Agri-food Businesses | February 16

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

WSIB surplus results in payout to safe employers | February 16

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

Provincial Reopening Fast-Tracked | February 15

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

Public In-Person Training Resumes | February 14

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

Province outlines steps for cautious/gradual reopening | January 20

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

Financial supports to relieve public health measure impacts | January 07

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

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

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