COVID-19 Screening Now Required For Access to Ontario Workplaces

The Change

Effective September 26, 2020, the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, will require most Ontario businesses to introduce a workplace screening tool that requires staff members and essential visitors to complete a medical questionnaire before entering the workplace each day.

Who Must Employers Screen?

The screening requirements apply to “staff members”, including employees, contractors and volunteers (“workers”), and “essential visitors” who enter a workplace. It does not include patrons of the workplace or emergency personnel entering a workplace to provide emergency services.

How to go about the Screening Process

The workplace screening tool outlines specific questions that must be asked by Ontario employers. However, the questions can be supplemented depending on the individual workplace.

An individual is said to pass the screening if they answer “no” to all of the questions. If the individual answers “yes” to any of the questions, they have not passed and are not permitted to enter the workplace.

The screening should occur before a worker enters the workplace or upon their arrival to the workplace. The Ontario Government has not released clear guidance on whether the screening should be conducted orally, written or electronically, and how to handle the documents associated with screening. Employers should cater administration of the screening to the specific features of their workplace.

What is next?

Employers who were not administering a screening questionnaire should introduce the workplace screening tool immediately. For those employers who were already administering a questionnaire, they must ensure the specific questions set out in the screening tool are included in their questionnaire.

If you have any questions about the Ontario Government’s changes surrounding workplace screening, or any other employment-related issues, please schedule an appointment to discuss, we offer a free 30-minute consultation. 

If you would like to speak with an employment lawyer, schedule an initial consultation at Emerge LLP. To speak with an employment lawyer in confidence, contact us to book an appointment.