Gobble, gobble. How much do you really know about your festive bird this year? 

Did you know? 

  • As far back as 1000 A.D., Native American Indians raised turkeys for food. Aztec Indians in Mexico were raising them as early as 200 B.C.

  • Turkeys originally existed in the eastern US. and Mexico.

  • Turkeys are actually a type of pheasant.

  • The heaviest turkey weighed in at 86 pounds. Please pass the stuffing!

  • Turkeys have excellent and a wide range of vision, about 270 degrees.

  • Mature turkeys have about 3,500 feathers. I wonder who took the time to count them?

  • The turkey industry grosses over $1billion a year.

  • The Average American consumes over 15 pounds of Turkey per year.

  • Americans will cook over 45 million turkeys on Thanksgiving Day.

  • 235 million turkeys were raised in 2014. The record is 302.7 million in 1996.

  • Over 770 million pounds of cranberries are consumed on Thanksgiving.

  • Turkey, like poultry, is lower in cholesterol than beef an many other meats. The dark meat (thigh, legs,) contains more fat and cholesterol than white meat. So, that's why dark meat tastes so good!

  • Male Turkeys are called "Toms" or "Gobblers", female turkeys are called "Hens" and baby turkeys are called "poults".

  • How's that taste? Old Toms are better tasting then young toms. Conversely, young hens taste better than old hens.

  • In 2016, there was over 100,000 phone calls to the Butterball Turkey Talk Line. The average call time was 3 munites, and 8 seconds.

  • Only Tom turkeys "gobble".

  • That long, loose skin that hangs down from a turkey's neck is called a "wattle".

  • Turkey eggs are tan in color and speckled with brown. They are about twice as large as chicken eggs.

  • Wild turkeys can fly 55 miles per hour, and run 25 miles per hour.

  • In 1947, the first Presidential pardon was ceremoniously given to a turkey.

  • The  "Turkey Trot" was named after how turkeys walk.... in short, jerky steps.

  • Sleepy after the big meal? Turkey contains an amino acid called "Tryptophan". Tryptophan sets off a chemical chain reaction that calms you down and makes you sleepy.

  • At the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621, the pilgrims did not serve pumpkin pie, Rather, they made stewed pumpkin.

  • The Native American name for turkey is "Firkee"

  • You can tell the sex of a turkey from their poop. Males form a spiral on the ground, while females leave "J" shaped poop. I'm sure you wanted to know this.

  • Mature turkeys have over 3,500 feathers.

  • Native Americans considered turkeys to be weak. As a result, they would only eat them when food was scarce, or in times of famine.

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As the number of new cases continues to rise, the province is taking more action to prevent and stop the spread of the virus and avoid future lockdowns.

These new restrictions were adopted through the amended order O. Reg 364/20 (Rules for Areas in Stage 3 under the Reopening Ontario [A Flexible Response to COVID-19] Act, 2020).

They include mandating the use of face coverings in all public indoor settings across the province, such as businesses, facilities and workplaces, with limited exemptions, including corrections and developmental services.

The best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) is by staying home and avoiding close contact with others outside of your household.

When you do go out, you must use a face covering (non-medical mask, such as a cloth mask) in public indoor spaces and whenever physical distancing is a challenge.

This includes:

  • public spaces (for example, inside stores, event spaces, entertainment facilities and common areas in hotels)

  • workplaces, even those that are not open to the public

  • vehicles that operate as part of a business or organization, including taxis and rideshares

Face coverings will not stop you from getting COVID-19, but may help protect others.

Medical masks (surgical, medical procedure face masks and respirators like N95 masks) should be reserved for use by health care workers and first responders.

When you don’t have to wear a face covering

There are some situations when you do not need to wear a face covering.

You do not need medical documentation to support any of the exceptions below.


Children do not have to wear a face covering indoors if they are younger than two years old.

Health and accommodations

You do not need to wear a face covering if you:

  • have a medical condition that inhibits your ability to wear a face covering

  • are unable to put on or remove your face covering without help from someone else

  • are receiving accommodations according to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 or the Human Rights Code

Correctional institutions

You do not need to wear a face covering if you are in a:

  • correctional institution

  • custody program for young persons in conflict with the law

  • detention program for young persons in conflict with the law


You do not need to wear a face covering when you are working in an area that allows you to maintain a distance of at least 2 metres from anyone else while you are indoors.

Residences and dwellings

You do not need to wear a face covering in:

  • university dorms, retirement homes, long-term care homes or other similar dwellings except when you are in a common area and can’t maintain 2 metres from others

  • residences for people with disabilities (any residences listed in the definition of“residential services and supports”in subsection 4 (2) of the Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008)

Performing or rehearsing

You do not need to wear a face covering while you are performing or rehearsing for a:

  • film or television production

  • concert

  • artistic event

  • theatrical performance

Temporarily taking off your face covering

You can take off your face covering temporarily:

  • to receive services that require you to take it off (for example, at the dentist, when receiving some personal care services such as facials, or when you have to verify your identity)  

  • to engage in an athletic or fitness activity

  • to eat or drink

  • as necessary for health and safety purposes


Non-medical masks or face coverings should:

  • fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops

  • maintain their shape after washing and drying

  • be made of at least two layers of tightly woven material (such as cotton or linen)

  • be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose and mouth without gaping

Face coverings will not protect you from getting COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself is to:

  • minimize errands to a single trip where possible

  • avoid close contact with others and keep at least two metres from others outside your household

  • wash your hands regularly (or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available)

  • practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette (for example, sneeze and cough into your sleeve and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth)

How to properly use face coverings

When wearing a face covering, you should:

  • wash your hands immediately before putting it on and immediately after taking it off (practise good hand hygiene while you are wearing the face covering)

  • make sure the face covering fits well around your nose and mouth

  • avoid moving the mask around or adjusting it often

  • avoid touching the covering while using it

  • not share it with others

Face coverings should be changed when they get slightly wet or dirty.

Remove or dispose of face coverings

When removing a face covering, you should:

  • throw it out into a lined garbage bin

  • wash your hands

Do not leave any discarded face coverings in shopping carts or on the ground.


If the face covering can be cleaned, you should:

  • put it directly into the washing machine or a bag that can be emptied into the washing machine

  • wash with other items using a hot cycle with laundry detergent (no special soaps are needed), and dry thoroughly

  • wash your hands after putting the face covering into the laundry

All face coverings that cannot be cleaned should be thrown out and replaced as soon as they get slightly wet, dirty or crumpled.

For more information, please read the Public Health Ontario (PHO) fact sheet.

Summary dos and don’ts


  • wash your hands immediately before putting on and immediately after taking off a face covering or face mask

  • practise good hand hygiene while you are wearing the face covering

  • make sure the face covering fits well around your nose and mouth

  • avoid moving the mask around or adjusting it often

  • avoid touching the covering while using it

  • change the face covering or face mask when it gets slightly wet or dirty

Do not:

  • share face coverings or face masks with others

  • place on children under the age of two years or on anyone unable to remove without assistance or who has trouble breathing

  • use plastic or other non-breathable materials as a face covering or face mask

Guidance for health care workers

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a garment or device worn by health care workers to protect themselves from infection when they:

  • are in close contact with people who are infected

  • can’t maintain a safe physical distance

  • do not have access to a physical barrier

PPE includes:

  • surgical masks, also called procedural or medical masks, which prevent droplets and splashes from passing through the mask material  

  • respirators, such as the N95 respirator, which have a filter and seal around the nose and mouth to help prevent exposure to airborne particles

  • gowns

  • gloves

  • eye protection, such as goggles or face shields

The type of PPE you need depends on the type of health care work you do. Health care workers who provide direct care to patients with suspected or confirmed COVID‑19 need to:

  • follow droplet and contact precautions

  • use a surgical mask, isolation gown, gloves and eye protection



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With the spike in cases, more attention is being given to hosting gatherings, like holiday get togethers, Thanksgiving, etc. 

Here are tips for hosting a family or other gathering at your home, courtesy of our Health Unit: 

  • Remind guests to stay home if sick. Consider keeping a list of guests who attend for potential future COVID-19 contact tracing needs.

  • When entertaining, consider physical distancing in determining the number of people to invite to your home. Limit the number of guests to a manageable number that allows people to safely maintain a 2 metre (6 foot) distance, especially if they are outside your social circle/household. While Ontario currently puts a limit on 50 people for indoor gatherings and 100 guests for outdoor events, these numbers may be too high for a comfortable gathering at your home.

  • Be upfront with your guests about the COVID-19 prevention measures you’re taking so they know what to expect before they arrive.

  • When possible, host your gathering outdoors. In colder weather months, go indoors but try to ensure the room or space is well-ventilated (e.g. open a window).

  • Arrange tables and chairs in advance to allow for physical distancing (if already set up, guests may be reluctant to move them).

  • People from the same household or social circles can be grouped/seated together, but should be 2 metres (6 feet) apart from other families.

  • When guests arrive, minimize gestures that promote close contact between those outside households or social circles.

  • Encourage guests to wear masks when physical distancing is difficult. Consider providing masks for guests or ask them to bring their own.

  • Ensure there is enough soap and hand sanitizer for people to use during the gathering.

  • Use single-use hand towels or paper towels for drying hands so guests do not share a towel.

  • Remind guests to wash their hands before serving or eating food.

  • Limit the number of people handling or serving food (including limiting access to where food is being prepared, such as the kitchen).

  • Avoid buffet-style meals. If serving any food, consider identifying one person to serve all food so that multiple people are not handling the serving utensils

  • Limit contact with high-touch surfaces or shared items. If possible, clean and disinfect these surfaces and shared items between uses.

  • If you choose to use any shared items that are reusable (e.g. seating covers, tablecloths, linen napkins), wash, clean, and sanitize them after the event.

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The Ontario Government is investing $2.35 million in advanced animal research related to livestock health and well-being while also focusing on increasing productivity and competitiveness in the livestock sector.

The findings will provide farmers with the latest knowledge and on-farm solutions for safely managing livestock so they can continue to be world leaders in the agriculture sector.

This research is funded through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, a collaboration between the Ontario government and the University of Guelph to support growth and innovation in the province's agri-food and rural sectors.

Through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, the Province is funding livestock research projects to investigate innovative methods, practices and products that will help the sector better understand and support livestock health and welfare, including:

  • Identifying genetic markers to reduce disease and infections in sheep and cows

  • Improving access to veterinary services and support in rural and remote areas

  • Developing a surveillance program for milk tanks on dairy farms

  • Examining newborn milk in the development of neonatal dairy calves

  • Evaluating novel methods to prevent bovine respiratory disease

  • Identifying disease-causing pathogens in sheep and goats

  • Validating the use of probiotics to support the health of multiple livestock species

  • Investigating alternative control measures for E. coli diarrhea in pigs

All projects are designed to ensure Ontario's agri-food sector can quickly benefit from the new knowledge, technologies and solutions developed through provincially funded research.

Quick Facts

  • The $2.35 million earmarked for new livestock health, welfare and productivity projects is part of the province’s Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance annual investment of $8.65 million, which supports research at the University of Guelph. The Alliance funds research in areas of environmental sustainability, animal and plant health and production, as well as agri-food and bio-product development.

  • Ontario’s livestock sector (beef, hog, sheep, dairy, poultry and egg) contributes approximately $16.4 billion to the GDP and supports more than 323,000 direct jobs.

Additional Resources

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The Ontario government is encouraging everyone to download the new COVID Alert app on their smart phone from the Apple and Google Play app stores.

This app, which is available beginning today, lets users know if they may have been exposed to the virus.

It is free, easy and safe to use.

The more people who download the app, the more effective it will be in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

The COVID Alert app uses Bluetooth technology to detect when users are near each other. If a user tests positive for COVID-19, they can choose to let other users know without sharing any personal information. Ontarians who receive an exposure alert can then get tested and take action to help keep themselves, their families, and their friends from spreading COVID-19 throughout the community.

The app does not collect personal information or health data, and does not know or track the location, name, address, or contacts of any user.

COVID Alert is a key tool to strengthen Ontario's comprehensive case and contact management strategy, Protecting Ontarians through Enhanced Case and Contact Management. The app supports the efforts of public health units, allowing the province to quickly test, trace and isolate cases of COVID-19 to stop the spread of the virus and prepare for any potential outbreaks ― without sharing any personal information.

If an app user receives a message from COVID Alert that they may have been exposed to the virus, they should follow the public health advice given on the app and get tested. To notify other people if an app user has tested positive for COVID-19, they can enter their one-time key from Ontario's test results website ( into the app. A message will then be sent to other app users who have been within two metres of them for at least 15 minutes within the past 14 days, without sending any information that identifies the user, or the time and place of exposure.

To stay safe as more of the province reopens, Ontarians should continue to follow public health guidelines including physical distancing with people not in their social circle, wearing a face covering if physical distancing is a challenge, washing hands thoroughly and frequently, and if anyone thinks they have COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, get tested.

Quick Facts

  • COVID Alert is available for free use and download from the Apple and Google Play app stores.

  • All aspects of COVID Alert are completely voluntary. Ontarians can choose whether to download the app, whether to use the app after downloading it, and whether to notify others if they test positive for COVID-19.

  • COVID Alert does not collect any personal information, health information, or location data. It uses Bluetooth technology to send out encrypted codes to other nearby app users and was built using the Apple/Google framework for exposure notification to ensure that it leverages global best practices to protect privacy.

  • COVID Alert is a Digital First Smart Initiative, one of many cross-government projects that focus on better outcomes and improving the customer experience.

  • The Government of Canada is also working with the other provinces and territories to get their jurisdictions on board with the app in the coming weeks and months.

  • In addition to his responsibilities as President of the Treasury Board, Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy is now overseeing Ontario’s efforts to lead digital and data transformation for the people of Ontario, including oversight of the Ontario Digital Service.

Additional Resources

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Today, the Ontario government announced its plan to allow licensed child care centres across Ontario to open at full capacity starting September 1, 2020.

EarlyON Child and Family Centres will also be permitted to reopen with in-person programming along with before- and after-school programs for school aged children which will be permitted to operate with standard ratios and maximum group size requirements.

All of these programs will be subject to health and safety protocols in order to keep kids safe.

The Ministry of Education will continue to work closely with municipal service managers, First Nations, and childcare operators to maximize capacity and access for families over the coming weeks. This includes revised health and safety operational guidance, additional funding parameters, and direction on providing notice to parents for placements. Licensees will continue to be required to maintain ratios and group sizes as set out under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 (CCEYA).

The government will continue to follow the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the COVID-19 Command Table to ensure the health and safety of the children and staff is never compromised as childcare capacity expands to 100%. The enhanced health and safety procedures that were put in place as part of the re-opening plan, will remain in place, and in some instances strengthened, to protect children, staff and families, including:

  • Requiring all child care staff to wear masks at all times, effective September 1;

  • Ensuring frequent cleaning of child care centres;

  • Screening of children and staff before entering a childcare facility;

  • Maintaining attendance records for rigorous contact tracing and coordination with local public health authorities;

  • Ensuring frequent hand washing and proper hand hygiene for children and staff; and

  • Establishing clear and rigid case management protocols in the event a staff member or child becomes ill, or tests positive for COVID-19.

Ontario will also provide additional funding, with support from the federal government through the Safe Restart Agreement, to help child care operators and EarlyON Child and Family Centres purchase cleaning supplies, PPE and support staffing needs related to new procedures.

Quick Facts

  • Licensed child care centres will be permitted to operate at full capacity beginning September 1, 2020. More information about reopening protocols and guidelines will be shared in the coming days.

  • Families whose children attended a licensed child care centre immediately before the emergency was declared must be given at least 14 days notice to accept a placement available on or after September 1, 2020.

  • From March 22 – June 26, 2020, the government provided Emergency Child Care to health and front line workers free of charge. On April 10th, 2020, the government committed to protecting parents from financial hardship during COVID-19 by preventing operators from charging fees while child care centres were closed. On May 9th, 2020 the government announced supports to licensed child care providers to ensure they remain sustainable and ready to open when parents return to work. On June 9, 2020, the government announced its plan to reopen child care centres across the province. On June 12, 2020, child care centres were permitted to reopen once strict health and safety measures had been met.

  • Funding is being provided to support enhanced cleaning costs and health and safety requirements set out to support the reopening of child care centres, as well as the continued stabilization of the sector.

  • The government of Ontario will supply face coverings to licensed child care settings and EarlyON locations.

  • There are over 5,500 child care centres and 124 licensed home child care agencies across Ontario.

  • Parents and guardians have until August 31, 2020 to apply for Support for Families. Under this program, parents or guardians of children between 0-12 years old, or up to 21 years old for children and youth with special needs, are eligible for a one-time payment, per child, to purchase educational materials to support learning at home.

  • To date, over 1.6 million families have benefited from the Support for Families program.

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The Ontario government is investing $1.7 million over the next two years in community-based programs to combat hate-motivated crimes.

The funding will flow through the Safer and Vital Communities (SVC) Grant  to not-for-profit organizations and First Nation Band Councils.

Applicants are required to partner with their local police service and are encouraged to partner with at least one other organization from a different sector to ensure a broad range of community engagement.

The Safer and Vital Communities Grant is open to community-based, not-for-profit organizations as well as Indigenous community-based, not-for-profit organizations and First Nation Band Councils to implement local projects that tackle hate-motivated crime and address the increase of police-reported hate crime in Ontario.

The theme of this year's grant program is Preventing Hate-Motivated Crime through Community Collaboration.

To be eligible, applicants must address hate-motivated crime in their community through programs and strategies.

Applications could include recreational programs that positively affect the development of children and youth, raising awareness of hate-motivated crimes, as well as the improvement of security infrastructure.

Successful applicants and projects will be announced in the winter of 2021.

Applications for the Safer and Vital Communities Grant are open from July 22 to September 16.

Quick Facts

  • According to Statistics Canada, in 2017, police-reported criminal incidents in Canada that were motivated by hate jumped by 47 per cent over the previous year. The largest provincial increase occurred in Ontario at 67 per cent.

  • The $1.7-million investment will be made over two years from 2020 to 2022.

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The Ontario government recently announced a made-in-Ontario Intellectual Property Action Plan to help ensure the tremendous social and economic benefits of taxpayer-funded research and innovation stays right here in the province.

In addition, the government unveiled the second round of research projects approved and supported through the $20 million Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund.

Through these efforts, researchers will be working to find ways to prevent, detect and treat COVID-19.

The government is hoping to strengthen Ontario's intellectual property (IP) position through the Intellectual Property Action Plan.

The plan is intended to drive the province's long-term economic competitiveness by prioritizing IP generation, protection, and commercialization.

The government is also creating the Special Implementation Team on Intellectual Property (SITIP), which will be comprised of the IP experts who previously served on Ontario's Expert Panel on Intellectual Property.

The team will provide advice on the implementation of the Intellectual Property Action Plan, including the commercialization of research and IP in the province's post-secondary institutions and innovation centres to ensure that Ontario is open for jobs and open for business.

Together, Ontario's SITIP and Intellectual Property Action Plan will respond to the report prepared by the Expert Panel on Intellectual Property and will:

  • Work with postsecondary institutions and research institutes to strengthen mandates related to commercialization entities within their organizations;

  • Strengthen Ontario's IP literacy by developing standardized, web-based basic and advanced IP education curriculums;

  • Create a centralized provincial resource entity that will increase access to sophisticated IP expertise; and

  • Develop a governance framework for organizations supporting entrepreneurial and innovation activities, which incorporates IP considerations.

The post-secondary, research and innovation sector will also take a leading role in Ontario's economic recovery and future prosperity. As part of its strategy to strengthen the research and innovation economy, the Ontario government is funding an additional 20 proposals that were submitted in response to the government's $20 million Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund. In May, 15 projects were announced as part of the first round and they are focusing on areas such as vaccine development, diagnostics, drug trials and development, and social sciences.

The government is also committing funding to help commercialize the Rapid Research Fund projects here in Ontario, ensuring that taxpayer-funded research benefits Ontarians first.


  • The postsecondary education sector is a key source of research, innovation and commercialization, making it one of the leading contributors to Ontario’s productivity and economic growth. Forty-three per cent of all research in Canada is undertaken in Ontario with an economic impact of $85.2 billion since 2011.

  • The government created an Expert Panel on Intellectual Property in May 2019 to provide advice on the commercialization of research and IP in Ontario’s postsecondary institutions and recommend strategies for improved generation and commercialization of research and IP. The panel submitted its report in February 2020.

  • The $20 million Rapid Research Fund was created as an immediate response to engaging the research community on ways to fight COVID-19. Where relevant, a portion of these funds will be used to cover costs associated with licensing and commercialization, including patenting of the valuable IP generated by successful projects to ensure any economic outcomes from these proposals benefit Ontario’s economy, workers and researchers.

  • As part of its summer consultations, the government will seek feedback from colleges, universities, research institutes and other key partners to explore how best to support researchers and ensure that discoveries made in Ontario benefit Ontarians and the Ontario economy.

  • According to a recent Canadian Intellectual Property Office report, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) aware of or holding registered IP rights are more likely to have expanded, or intend to expand, to domestic and international markets. The report also finds that just two per cent of Canadian SMEs hold at least one patent.

  • The Ontario government has an existing memorandum of understanding with Medical Innovation Xchange (MIX) to provide non-medical manufacturing companies with free support as they retool to provide essential supplies and equipment to health care facilities during COVID-19.

Background Information

Additional Resources

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It’s every snowbird’s nightmare.

Elderly Mr. X from Ontario bought travel insurance through Manulife before departing for Florida for a winter stay.

He answers questions via telephone with Manulife.

He answered “no” to questions about prior conditions and treatment, seemingly without giving it enough careful consideration.

Manulife emailed him a copy of the completed application for verification.

Mr. X verified it.

In Florida, he became ill. He incurred about $130,000 UDS in medical expenses.

Manulife denied the coverage, on the basis that he misrepresented his prior history in his application. 

Mr. X died.

His estate tried to sue Manulife for the coverage.

His estate lost.

The Court reviewed the Ontario Insurance Act and other applicable law.

The Court concluded that Manulife’s application process was lawful and upheld it – no insurance coverage.

The lesson here for anyone applying for new insurance, particularly travel insurance to go to the U.S. if when that opportunity arises again, including if you already have insurance and before you travel?

  • Listen to the questions carefully

  • Disclose every prior existing condition or treatment (to the extent you can recall it)

  • Double check the written application for verification after you receive it

  • Review your current insurance application to ensure it is accurate and complete

  • Double check you have COVID-19 testing and treatment coverage, if needed

While the Court is unlikely to require every application for insurance disclosure every medical issue in that person’s life historically, it will require that anything of material signifciant be disclosed, which could reasonably impact an insurance company’s decision to offer insurance to the applicant.

Therefore, treat the application process seriously, even if it seems overly informal online, or that the insurance company doesn’t seem overly concerned. They will deny coverage, if that opportunity is available to them.

The case:

Estate of Donald Farb v. Manulife, 2020 ONSC 3037

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The federal government has announced a federal investment of more than $19 billion to help provinces and territories safely restart their economies and to make us hopefully more resilient to possible future waves of the virus.

This investment, through the Safe Restart Agreement, will help address the key priorities, agreed upon by Canada’s First Ministers, for the safe restart of Canada’s economy over the next six to eight months. It will support measures to increase testing and contact tracing of the virus to protect Canadians from a future outbreak, and support the capacity of our health care systems, including services for people facing mental health challenges. It will also assist with the procurement of personal protective equipment to help our essential workers, and in protecting the most vulnerable, like our seniors.

The agreement will also help get funding quickly to municipalities so they can deliver essential services that Canadians rely on every day, like public transit. In addition, it includes actions to help Canadian workers during this challenging time, such as ensuring the availability of safe child care to help parents returning to work, and providing income support for people who do not have paid sick leave so all Canadians can stay healthy.

During this time of uncertainty, the Government of Canada is putting Canadians first by working together with our provincial and territorial partners to lay the groundwork to keep our communities strong and healthy, and ensure our economy is resilient.


Quick Facts

  • New federal funding will address seven priority areas:

    • enhanced capacity for testing, contact tracing, and data management and information sharing to mitigate future outbreaks.

    • investments in health care to respond to the pandemic, including support for Canadians experiencing challenges with substance use, mental health, or homelessness.

    • support for vulnerable Canadians – including those in long-term care, home care, and palliative care – who are at risk of more severe cases of COVID-19.

    • funding to secure a reliable source of personal protective equipment, and to recover some of the costs from previous investments made by provincial and territorial governments.

    • support to ensure that safe and sufficient child care spaces are available to support parents’ gradual return to work.

    • joint funding with the provinces and territories to support municipalities on the front lines of restarting the economy, including by putting in place precautions for public spaces and essential services to reduce the spread of the virus, as well as a dedicated stream of funding for public transit.

    • a temporary income support program that will provide workers who do not have paid sick leave with access to 10 days of paid sick leave related to COVID-19.

  • To access the funding, each province and territory will need to outline how they will invest these funds.

  • New federal investments for the safe restart of our economy are in addition to previous funding provided to provinces and territories and Canadians, as we deal with the impacts of COVID-19. This includes:

Related Products

Associated Links

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Ontario has issued a new emergency order and amending another under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, which will allow municipalities to quickly pass temporary bylaws for the creation and extension of patios and allow covered outdoor dining areas to serve customers.

Under the Planning Act, the process to pass temporary use bylaws to create or extend a patio could take several weeks or more.

As restaurants are currently only permitted to host dine-in guests on outdoor patios under Stage 2.  

Municipalities would still be responsible for compliance activities and ensuring proper health and safety practices, like proper physical distancing.

The government also amended an emergency order to clarify that outdoor dining areas can open if they have a roof, canopy, tent, awning or other covering.

At least two full sides of the outdoor dining area must be open to the outdoors and must not be substantially blocked in any way. If the outdoor dining area has a retractable roof, the roof must be fully open and at least one full side must be open to the outdoors and must not be substantially blocked in any way.

On June 24, Ontario announced the extension of the Declaration of Emergency to July 15, allowing the province to continue to make or amend emergency orders under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. The government continues to review all these emergency orders to determine when and if it is safe to amend or lift them as restrictions are eased and more places in the province reopen in a safe and measured way.

A full list of emergency orders can be found on the e-Laws website under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and at

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It's Canada Day 2020!

Welcome to the new normal of “social circles” in Ontario. 

Now we're told we should establish a family or social circle of no more than 10 people who can interact with one another without physical distancing. 

You can only be in 1 social circle.

Choose wisely.

You can hug non-household members, but only those in your social circle.

Everyone living in the same household is in a social circle.

People in the same social circle:

Why social circles are important

Close contact with people beyond your household is important to:

  • connect and be close with family and friends outside of your immediate household to reduce social isolation

  • support the mental health and wellbeing of Ontarians during the COVID-19 outbreak

  • allow some families to get additional support with child care, elder care and other personal needs

  • allow for more rapid contact tracing in the event of a case of COVID-19 in a social circle

We can trace and isolate COVID-19 quickly and effectively when you limit the number of people you come into close contact with.

Create a safe social circle

Follow these steps to create a safe circle.

Step 1: Start with your current circle: anyone you live with or who regularly comes into your household

Be sure to include anyone that would come into regular close contact with you and the people you live with.

This may be:

  • family members, including children

  • your roommates

  • another parent to your child(ren) that lives outside the home

  • a babysitter or caregiver


If you add people outside of your household to your social circle, be sure to include anyone in their households as well. You may not see them often, but they would still be considered part of your current circle.

Remember that everyone in a household must be part of the same social circle.

Step 2: If under 10 people, you can add members to your social circle, including another household, family members or friends

As you add additional members, ask yourself:

  • Do they live with or come into regular close contact with anyone else? You may never see them, but they would still be considered part of your social circle.

  • What makes most sense for you or your household? That could include another household with similarly-aged children or family members that you want to spend more time with.


If you live alone, you may want to start with family members or other close friends. People may, or may not, chose to participate in a social circle depending on their unique circumstance, and risk of developing complications from COVID-19, for example people:

  • over 70

  • with compromised immune systems

  • with underlying medical conditions

Remember that your social circle can include fewer than 10 people. It’s always best to start slow and safely add more members later.

Step 3: Get agreement from everyone that they will join the social circle

That means they agree to join only one circle, and physically distance with anyone outside the circle.

Essential workers can be part of a social circle, so long as the other members are aware of the risks and agree to them.

Step 4: Keep your social circle safe

To keep the people in your social circle safe:

  • continue to follow public health advice, including frequent hand washing and sneezing and coughing into a sleeve

  • continue to physically distance with anyone outside your circle by keeping two metres or six feet apart from them

If someone in your circle feels sick

They should immediately inform other members of the circle, self-isolate at home and not come into close contact with anyone, including other members of the circle.

They should also get tested.

Find an assessment centre to get tested for COVID-19.

Everyone else in the circle should closely monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19. If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19 you should also be tested.

Step 5: Be true to your social circle

No one should be part of more than one circle.


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During our Phase 2 recovery in the CKL, business owners and managers face new and unprecedented challenges.  

Here are some tips to business operators for re-emerging to be more successful than ever: 

1. Shift focus from inputs to outcomes.

Before the pandemic, we focused on inputs: the conditions we thought would generate the desired results. Now, with most work conditions turned upside-down, leaders need to focus on outcomes.

Be clear about the outcomes, precise about the timeline, and specific about who is accountable for what – but be flexible about how things get done within that basic framework.

2. Trust your team.

We used to think people wouldn’t get their work done if they didn’t come into the office, weren’t supervised, and couldn’t meet face-to-face. We now know those assumptions aren’t necessary or helpful – people can work independently. They get work done because they choose to.

Remote leadership means respecting, and relying on, the autonomy and judgment of your team. Trust them – if you let your people decide to succeed, they will.

3. Stay motivated.

This period has been characterized by change and upheaval, it may have also seemed monotonous. To prevent fatigue inspire your team to shake things up.

Encourage experimentation with new ways of thinking and working. Adjust your daily routine. Try new set-ups that suit your lifestyle. Take a call on the treadmill or knit during a meeting. Take your laptop on the balcony or in the backyard. Even a small change can keep you and your team motivated.

4. Let your guard down.

The pandemic has brought the workplace into our homes and personal lives. While it may seem like your “worlds” are colliding, take this as an opportunity to learn about your colleagues and to embrace the diversity of your team. This can mean asking colleagues about their daily routine, their family, their home office, their hobbies and interests, or simply what they are watching on Netflix.

At the same time, the pandemic has affected everyone differently, and some people may be finding the adjustment harder than others. Keep that in mind when communicating with your team. Be open to personal connection, but mindful about privacy.

5. Be curious.

Working remotely can present unique challenges to your team members based on their personalities and communication styles. Some will assert themselves naturally while others may find it more difficult to do so. Introverts may find it easier to adjust while extroverts may struggle. Take care to engage your team directly in their preferred styles.

When leading a video meeting, welcome each person by name. Do this even with larger groups so that people will turn their cameras on. They will feel included and appreciated, which will enhance their contributions.

Cut the agenda in half and ask more questions. Leave room for “virtual white space”. Even if pauses can be uncomfortable, they enable ideas to emerge and create space for different views.

6. Raise the bar.

People change more easily than expected. The pandemic has shown us that we are adaptable and can be productive despite challenging circumstances. Drive momentum by leaning into change. Develop an innovation task force or identify change initiatives that may be accelerated. Organizational capacity for change has increased. Now is the time to raise the bar on what’s possible for you and your team.


McCarthy Tetrault LLP, Daniel Siracusa, published on on June 29, 2020


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The Ontario government has extended all emergency orders currently in force that were made under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until July 10, 2020, while removing restrictions that were limiting access to certain sport training facilities.

The extension of the emergency orders will allow key measures needed in the fight against COVID-19 to continue, including allowing frontline health care providers and public health units to redeploy staff where they are needed most, while providing the government with the tools it needs to successfully steer the province through the next stage of reopening and beyond.

In addition, the government has removed certain restrictions for Stage 2 indoor sports and recreational fitness activities facilities.

This will enable the facilities to be used by more businesses and organizations to train amateur or professional athletes, or to run certain non-contact amateur or professional athletic competitions.

In all cases, facility owners would only be able to permit activities to occur in a way that meets public health requirements.

These changes will also enable many sports and recreational organizations around the province to again offer  sport training programming, helping more people return to sport in Ontario.

On June 24, Ontario announced the extension of the Declaration of Emergency to July 15, allowing the province to continue to make or amend emergency orders under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. The government continues to review all these emergency orders to determine when and if it is safe to amend or lift them as restrictions are eased and more places in the province reopen in a safe and measured way.

A full list of emergency orders can be found on the e-Laws website under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and at

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The Ontario government is providing up to $4 million for the Seniors Community Grant Program, a significant increase over last year.

This funding will help non-profit organizations, local services boards, or Indigenous groups develop programs for seniors that focus on combatting social isolation, promoting seniors' safety and well-being, improving financial security and making communities age-friendly.

This year's grants will range from $1,000 to $100,000 and will fund projects that will:

  • Help older individuals and couples receive the support they need in their community;

  • Ensure seniors are less at risk for neglect, abuse and fraud, and that their rights and dignity are protected​;

  • Ensure more older adults are connected and engaged, reducing social isolation;​​ and,

  • Provide more opportunities for older adults in employment and volunteering, achieving greater financial security and engagement within the community.

In the past, the Seniors Community Grant Program has supported community-based activities like seniors' fitness classes, lawn bowling, brain fitness activities, multicultural dance, along with a public education and awareness campaign that challenges the myths and stereotypes that portray older adults as frail, out-of-touch, technologically illiterate, and no longer employable.

The application period for the Seniors Community Grant Program is now open and will close on August 7, 2020. Unincorporated and incorporated not-for-profit organizations, local services boards, or Indigenous groups must submit applications to Transfer Payment Ontario (formerly Grants Ontario) online at


  • Since the Seniors Community Grant Program was established in 2014, nearly 1,900 grants have been provided, which have positively impacted the lives of more than half a million seniors.

  • By 2023, there will be three million Ontarians over the age of 65. Older adults are the province’s fastest growing demographic.

  • Questions about the program can be answered by contacting the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility: email:; toll free: 1-833-SCG-INFO (1-833-724-4636); TTY (for the hearing impaired): 1-800-387-5559; fax: 416-326-7078.

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The federal government has announced the launch of the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG), which will support post-secondary students and recent graduates as they volunteer to serve in their communities’ COVID-19 response and gain valuable experience at the same time.

The CSSG will provide these volunteers with a one-time payment of between $1,000 and $5,000 based on the number of hours they serve.

To find not-for-profit organizations looking for help during the pandemic, post-secondary students and recent graduates can use the new I Want to Help platform, which also launched today.

The Government of Canada is also helping young Canadians find paid work placements and get the skills they need to start their careers. These activities include:

  • Supporting an additional 20,000 job placements for post-secondary students in high demand sectors. A new investment of $186 million in the Student Work Placement Program will help more post-secondary students across Canada get paid work experience related to their field of study. This funding is in addition to the $80 million that was announced on April 22, 2020.

  • Creating 10,000 new job placements for young people between the ages of 15 and 30 through the Canada Summer Jobs program. New funding of over $60 million will help expand the current work placement target from 70,000 to 80,000, creating 10,000 more placements for young people aged 15 to 30. The program provides wage subsidies to employers so they can give quality work experience to young Canadians and help them develop the skills they need to transition into the labour market.

  • Creating 5,000 new internships through Mitacs for college and university students across Canada with small and medium-sized businesses. Funding of $40 million will also help develop partnerships with new industries, and offer internships to students in more areas of study.

  • Increasing funding to the Digital Skills for Youth (DS4Y) program by $40 million to help post-secondary graduates gain professional work experience. DS4Y provides wage subsidy opportunities to help connect young people with small and medium-sized businesses and not-for-profits.

  • Creating over 3,500 new job placements and internships through the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy. New funding of $34 million, in addition to the over $153 million announced on April 22, will support programs serving high-demand sectors such as health, community services, and information technology, and help other sectors to recover.

  • Providing $6.7 million for the Computers for Schools Plus (CFS+) program. The partnership-based program refurbishes donated surplus computers and electronic devices, and provides them to schools, libraries, not-for-profit organizations, Indigenous communities, and low-income Canadians. It also offers paid, practical work internships for young people, through which they can develop advanced digital skills as well as experience in project management, teamwork, and communications.

  • Creating 5,000 to 10,000 more work-integrated learning opportunities through the Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER). The BHER will launch a national challenge for students to develop creative solutions in response to current and future sector needs as defined by Canadian industry. The national student challenge will help connect Canada’s small and medium-sized businesses with the next generation of talent in Canada.

The Canada Student Service Grant and I Want to Help platform are part of the nearly $9 billion in support for post-secondary students and recent graduates announced by the Government of Canada on April 22, 2020. The funding for Mitacs, DS4Y, CFS+, and the Business + Higher Education Roundtable also fall under this funding.

As part of its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the Government of Canada is providing support for students who want to make a difference in their communities, while gaining the skills and supports needed for future success whether that be in their studies or in the job market. This support also includes the Canada Emergency Student Benefit, and temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs and Canada Student Grants and Loans programs.

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Publishing online very personal or intimate information or images of another may be a very costly mistake.

The Ontario Court is increasingly awarding significant damages against those who do so. For example, in a case called Jane Doe 464533 (the Plaintiff’s name cannot be disclosed), the Court ordered damages and costs totaling $141,000, plus an order for the offending Defendant to destroy any video or images he retains of the Plaintiff and prohibiting him from sharing any intimate images of her. He was also ordered not to communicate with the Plaintiff or any of her family.

The Plaintiff was a young woman in her late teens. Due to pressure from her ex-boyfriend, she agreed to share with him a sexually explicit video of herself. He promised he would not share it with anyone else. However, he subsequently posted the intimate video of her on a pornography Web site without her knowledge or consent. The police refused to criminally pursue the matter.

The Plaintiff eventually sued him for breach of her privacy and, specifically, for his public disclosure of embarrassing private information about her, after attempting to settle the matter with lawyers involved. The Defendant boyfriend did not ultimately defend the lawsuit, so the Court decided the case and awarded damages to the Plaintiff without a challenge to the Plaintiff’s claim. However, the Court reviewed the law and provided a well-reasoned, thorough decision, even though the Defendant did not defend the claim. The case is subject to a publication ban of the name of the Plaintiff.

The Plaintiff relied on fairly recent, emerging cases in Ontario recognizing an expanding ability for a person to sue another directly for breach of privacy, or for “intrusion upon seclusion”.

The Court awarded the Plaintiff $100,000 in damages (noting that she had limited her claim to this maximum amount in the lawsuit). These damages are much higher than the $20,000 “cap” that had previously been established by Ontario’s Court of Appeal in the earlier cases for intrusion upon seclusion.

Therefore, this case expands on privacy protection in Ontario and allows a person to civilly claim and be awarded significant damages when that person’s personal/private information is published online, provided this test is met.

To succeed, it must be proved that “the matter publicized or the act of the publication” is “highly offensive to a reasonable person” and is not “of legitimate concern to the public”.

Undoubtedly the law of privacy in Ontario continues to grow and expand. More cases will be needed to clarify and further develop this law, but this case clearly indicates the Court’s willingness to do so, including for “public disclosure of embarrassing private facts”.

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Workplaces in the CKL must promote and achieve diversity, equity and inclusion.

This change must be initiated from the top down.

Measurable objectives must be set.

Education and training in the workplace about bias and inequity is critical. 

Accountability to achieve those objectives is paramount. 

Mere denunciation of racism is woefully insufficient; rather, a workplace must adhere to a specific call of action.

To do so, everyone in the workplace must:

  • speak up when you experience or witness intolerance, mistreatment or bias in action – saying nothing condones discrimination: if you see something, say something;

  • generate an inclusive environment for everyone – seek different perspectives and respect points of view and communication styles that are different from your own;

  • realize and process your feelings; and

  • as an organization, collectively agree to do better.

Minimizing, if not eliminating, systemic discrimination and bigotry in a workplace is a challenging, but realizable, ideal. 

It will require education, training and raising awareness proactively, including about unconscious bias and at a minimum requires the creation and implementation of a policy on diversity and inclusivity.

Every workplace diversity and inclusion policy, even if not legally required, should include:

  1. a statement of commitment to creating and maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace;

  2. a statement that the policy applies to all aspects of employment as well as to interactions with customers/clients;

  3. a process that provides the opportunity for dialogue within the workplace with respect to barriers to diversity and inclusion;

  4. a commitment to education and training of management and staff to ensure that an understanding of the individualized needs in the workplace are understood by all;

  5. a statement of commitment to human rights, equity and privacy laws;

  6. a complaints process; and

  7. a statement that collection of personal information will be kept confidential.

Need help with your new diversity and inclusion policy in your workplace? Give us a call. 

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To help stop the spread of COVID-19, everyone should comply with requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and with associated regulations and public health directives issued by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Protecting yourself and your co-workers:

Coronaviruses are spread through close contact with others. Here are some helpful tips to help prevent the spread of germs at home or in the workplace:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Sanitize often, between each transaction if possible.
  • Wash or sanitize hands after making or receiving deliveries.
  • Sneeze and cough into your sleeve.
  • If you use a tissue, discard immediately and wash your hands afterward.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Avoid high-touch areas, where possible, or ensure you clean your hands afterwards.
  • Where possible, wear gloves when interacting with high-touch areas. Do not touch your face with gloved hands. Take care when removing gloves. Ensure you wash your hands after removing them.
  • Wash your clothes as soon as you get home.
  • If you are ill: notify your supervisor immediately, complete the self-assessment and follow the instructions.

Physical distancing (two meters):

As advised by the Chief Medical Officer and public health officials physical distancing is required to control the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Here are some tips employers can use to help ensure physical distancing in the workplace:

  • Minimize contact with customers.
  • Maintain a safe distance while handing goods and taking payment, minimize or eliminate handling of cash and eliminate at-the-door payment methods.
  • Assign staff to ensure customers are maintaining safe physical distances in congested areas like entrances/exits and check-outs.
  • Add floor markings and barriers to manage traffic flow and physical distancing.
  • Do not accept re-usable bags or containers that are to be handled by your staff.
  • Install barriers between staff and customers; this can include plexiglass or markings on the floor to ensure at least 2 meters between customer and cashier.
  • Stagger start times, shifts, breaks, and lunch times.
  • Restrict the number of people on-site and where they are assigned to work.
  • Control site movement (by limiting the potential for workers to gather).
  • Limit the number of people working in one space at the same time.
  • Minimize the number of people using each piece of equipment in instances where sharing equipment cannot be avoided.
  • Hold meetings in an outside or large space.
  • Limit unnecessary on-site interaction between workers, and with outside service providers.

Workplace sanitation:

Coronaviruses are spread person to person through close contact. While employers always have an obligation to maintain clean worksites, that obligation is under sharper focus due to COVID-19.

Here are some tips for employers to use:

  • Provide ways to properly clean hands, by providing access to soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Provide employees with hand sanitizer for their use only.
  • Have all employees and visitors wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water before entering the workplace and after contact with surfaces others have touched.
  • Include handwashing before breaks and at shift changes.
  • Provide a safe place for customers to dispose of used sanitizing wipes and personal protective equipment.
  • Clean washroom facilities.
  • Sanitize commonly-touched surfaces or areas such as entrances, counters, washrooms and kitchens.
  • Sanitize shared equipment (where sharing of equipment cannot be avoided).
  • Post hygiene instructions in English or French and the majority workplace language so everyone can understand how to do their part.
  • Introduce more fresh air by increasing the ventilation system’s air intake or opening doors and windows. Avoid central recirculation where possible.

Adjust onsite and production schedules:

Lowering staff levels on job sites may be required to maintain appropriate physical distancing.  Employers should look at how they can adjust their production schedules to support physical distancing, where possible.

Here are some tips for employers to follow:

  • Limit the number of workers to critical number by staggering work schedules.
  • Consider job rotation.
  • Postpone projects and tasks that don’t need to be done now.
  • Reschedule any unnecessary visits to the workplace by supply chain partners, vendors or others who don’t need to be there now.
  • Ensure sanitation of sites and workspaces.
  • Carry out site planning to facilitate appropriate physical distancing between workers.
  • Establish rules for any work that requires workers within two metres of each other. This could include full personal protective equipment.
  • Offer work-site mobility and transportation, including hoist operations.

Track your workforce:

Due to the delayed period of COVID-19 (coronavirus) spread, it is important to track where workers have been. If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, the local public health unit will ask employers to provide information on where the employee worked as well as the contact information of any other employee who may have been exposed. Employers will provide that information and Public Health Units will respond.

Reporting illness:

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other illnesses, including the cold and flu. At this time, it is recommended that any worker who has symptoms related to cold, flu or COVID-19 be sent home. Public Health Ontario has provided helpful guidance on self-monitoring and self-isolation.

In addition, employers should advise these workers to complete the online self-assessment or call either:

  • Telehealth: 1-866-797-0000
  • their primary care provider (for example, family physician)

CKL Health Unit Order:

On April 14, 2020, the local Medical Officer of Health issued the following Class Order under Section 22 (5.01.1)  under the Health Protection and Promotion Act. This order is designed to protect the health of local residents by reducing the spread of COVID-19 in the City of Kawartha Lakes. 

The order applies to ALL persons in the City of Kawartha Lakes who:

  • are identified as a person diagnosed with COVID-19
  • have the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting the results of their test
  • otherwise have reasonable grounds to believe they have symptoms of COVID-19,  or
  • are a close contact of a person identified in the above points.

As of April 14, 2020 at noon, you must:

  • Isolate yourself without delay as instructed by the HKPR District Health Unit. This includes: remaining in your home or isolation facility. Do not go outside, unless on to a private balcony or enclosed yard where you can avoid close contact with others. You must not have any visitors into your home except as permitted by the Health Unit.
  • Remain in isolation until the expiry of a 14-day period that begins on the day on which you first show symptoms, are tested, or are diagnosed with COVID-19 (whichever is earliest, or on the last day of close contact). Follow these guidelines unless instructed otherwise by the Health Unit. 
  • During the self-isolation period, reduce exposure to others to prevent the spread of infection or potential infection from COVID-19. Follow infection control instructions on the HKPR District Health Unit website ( or those given to you by the Health Unit or any other staff of a healthcare facility to which you may seek or receive treatment.
  • Keep away from vulnerable persons. Follow any further instructions provided by the Health Unit pertaining to COVID- 19. In particular, you should seek clinical assessment over the phone – either by calling your primary care provider’s office or Telehealth Ontario 1-866-797-0000. If you need additional assessment, your primary care provider or Telehealth Ontario will direct you to in-person care options.
  • Seek prompt medical attention if your illness worsens by calling 911 and telling responders of your COVID-19 related diagnosis or symptoms.

Workers with COVID-19:

If you believe one of your workers may have COVID-19 or has tested positive for the disease, you should conduct a risk assessment.

Based on the results, ministry inspectors may require the employer to:

  • inform co-workers who were exposed and send those workers home for two weeks
  • ask those workers to self-isolate and self-monitor and report any COVID-like illness to their employer
  • shut down the job site while the affected workplace and equipment are disinfected
  • implement other measures based on the advice of public health officials

Getting information on infection prevention and control:

Employers can contact local public health units for questions on workplace infection prevention and control related to COVID-19 infections.

Share information:

It is important that all parties in a workplace communicate their roles and responsibilities. Employers must ensure health and safety policies are updated and posted for all workers to see. Using industry resources, including the Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS), will improve on-site understanding.

Post your policies:

All employers must post and communicate COVID-19 policies to workers.

These policies should cover how the workplace will operate, including, but not limited to:

  • the sanitization of the workplace
  • how workers report illnesses
  • how to ensure physical distancing
  • how work will be scheduled
  • screening measures

Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development reporting requirements:

If an employer is advised that a worker has tested positive for COVID-19 due to exposure at the workplace, or that a claim has been filed with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), the employer is required to notify:

  • the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development in writing within four days
  • the workplace joint health and safety committee or a health and safety representative
  • a trade union (if applicable)
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What happens when a person in Ontario becomes disabled or incapacitated, to the extent that the person cannot make decisions about his or her own health care or treatment? 

In short, someone else is authorized or appointed to make those decisions for the incapacitated person, subject to certain rules and duties imposed by law. 

However, we have a hierarchy of decision-making power in Ontario.

Here is an excellent article by Sydney Osmar of Hull & Hull explaining this hierarchy and how personal health care decisions are regulated for incapable people:  

"Section 20 of the Health Care Consent Act (“HCCA”) provides for a legislative hierarchy of substitute decision makers for persons who have been found incapable with respect to treatment. The hierarchy is as follows:

  1. The incapable person’s guardian of the person;
  2. The incapable person’s attorney for personal care;
  3. The incapable person’s representative appointed by the Consent and Capacity Board;
  4. The incapable person’s spouse or partner;
  5. A child or parent of the incapable person, or an agency that replaces the parent’s authority;
  6. A parent of the person who only has a right of access;
  7. A brother or sister of the incapable person; and
  8. Any other relative of the incapable person.

Those in the above list may only give or refuse consent on behalf of the incapable person if they are: at least 16 years of age, are not prohibited by court order, are available, and are willing to assume this responsibility. A person from the above hierarchy may only act as the substitute decision maker with regard to treatment, if there is not a person who also meets these requirements who ranks higher within the hierarchy.

Sections 20(5) and 20(6) of the HCCA sets out that if no one in the above list meets the requirements to make treatment decisions, or, if there are two equally ranking parties who both meet requirements but disagree on the treatment decision, the decision will devolve to the Public Guardian and Trustee (“PGT”).

As is clear by the placement within the above hierarchy, the act of granting a power of attorney for personal care (“POAPC”) holds great weight when it comes to determining substitute decision makers with regard to treatment decisions. However, the significance of the act of revoking a POAPC in relation to the legislative hierarchy is less clear.

For example, it is quite common for a person to grant a POAPC to their spouse or child, however, in revoking the POAPC, the spouse or child could still remain the legal substitute decision maker under the section 20 hierarchy, should there be no other higher ranking individual willing and able to make treatment decisions, and if the grantor fails to execute a new POAPC.

I have located two decisions of the Consent and Capacity Board (the “Board”), which suggests that in such circumstances, the Board will pull language from other sections of the HCCA to circumvent the hierarchy provided under section 20, where it is clear to do so would be in the incapable person’s best interests.

In A(I) Re, Mrs. I.A. had previously appointed her two children as her attorneys for care. However, this POAPC was later revoked, with Mrs. I.A. informing her lawyer she feared her two children would be unable to reach agreements on important health care decisions. Two distant relatives were instead appointed pursuant to a new POAPC. However, when Mrs. I.A. lost capacity, and a treatment decision needed to be made, the distant relatives felt they were not best suited to make such a decision.

Both children applied to act as Mrs. I.A.’s representative under s. 33 of the HCCA. In coming to its decision the Board accepted that Mrs. I.A.’s overt act of revoking the POAPC that appointed her children was a prior expressed relevant value and belief, however, this did not impact the fact that both children still qualified as decision makers under the section 20 hierarchy. The Board ultimately determined that it was not in Mrs. I.A.’s best interests to have her children act as decision makers, and concluded they could not agree, such that the decision devolved to the PGT.

In D(D) Re, this issue again arose, where the incapable person, D.D. (prior to becoming incapable) granted a POAPC to her husband, later revoking the POAPC when she believed that her husband would not act in her best interests. Because a new POAPC was never executed, the husband remained the legal decision maker under section 20. D.D.’s daughter, J.R., brought an application to the Board to act as her representative. In coming to its conclusion, the Board noted that it was clear that D.D. had not understood that by revoking the POAPC, her husband would remain the decision maker under the HCCA hierarchy, and that it was equally clear her intention had been to remove her husband as the legal decision maker. Therefore, to circumvent the hierarchy, the Board turned to a best interests analysis and ultimately appointed D.D.’s daughter as her decision maker." 

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Great article today in Kawartha Lakes This Week, featuring our advice and comments about balancing cyber security, employees' privacy and working-at-home relationship during the pandemic: 


Working online, from home? Protect yourself from cyber criminals

The COVID-19 Pandemic has forced many Kawartha Lakes businesses to rely on the online market for the first time

NEWS 03:00 AM by Sarah Sobanski

As businesses head online to continue their work through the pandemic, they need to consider cybersecurity threats and their legal obligations regarding the confidentiality of personal information and remote work. - Torstar file photo

It takes careful planning to make it as a small-business owner – and COVID-19 has thrown many into the deep end of the online market without precedence.

Jason Ward, owner of Wards Lawyer PC, says he’s fielding nearly 100 emails a day filled with questions about work-from-home policies, privacy, COVID-19 regulations, support and more.

At Netmechanics, owner Graeme Barrie is busy, too. He’s working with the Innovation Cluster on cybersecurity workshops and advising businesses on cyber threats to their information and employees.

Many businesses are not only using new technology to do business, but using well-established tech in different ways such as sharing information via email they might have otherwise shared in a one-on-one conversations.


“Cyber criminals, they love a crisis,” Barrie says, adding that businesses should be vigilant when it comes to communications.

The video-conferencing application Zoom has been a popular choice for businesses since COVID-19 sent people to work from home. The app has seen its number of users skyrocket from around 10 million in December to more than 200 million users.

With its increasing popularity have come increasing privacy concerns. Various media outlets have reported security breaches such as easily accessing Zoom-recorded meetings online and cyber criminals hijacking meetings.

You can be held responsible if the information of your clients or your employees is hijacked, Ward says.

“Businesses are now required by law to have what’s called a privacy breach protocol workplace policy,” he says, for businesses that collect information online. The protocol outlines what steps a business will take if there is a breach of personal information.

“A small business in Lindsay might not have the resources to be as cyber-secure as a larger corporation,” Ward says, noting the government recognizes this in its legislation.

“But you must by law, if you are compromised, have a policy mitigating steps you will take to minimize the damage. If you have that policy, and you take those appropriate steps to satisfy (the government), then the penalty to you is not likely to be as severe.”

Ward adds that businesses need to make sure they have good privacy policies in general when it comes to protecting consumer information in compliance with federal and provincial laws – and that extends to online.

Why would cyber criminals want that information? Barrie says it's often for ransomware attacks, where cyber criminals will hold your information hostage for payment. They can also gain access to your computer and collect your information without you noticing.

“They make more money off the ransomware because data is the heart of so many businesses, they know that it’s critical,” he says.

He notes that startups may be the target of intellectual property theft or corporate espionage. Some small to medium-sized businesses may be the target as part of a supply chain to a larger company.

One way to gain access to your computer and information are phishing scams. These scams trick you into giving access to cyber criminals through links in emails or via text message.

For businesses who suddenly find themselves having to do everything online, Barrie’s best advice is to get educated. He says you can’t protect against what you don’t know about.

While e-learning and considering how cybersecurity and privacy legislation go hand in hand, business owners might also consider brushing up on workplace legislation and how employees are able to work from home through online connections.

Ward says Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act doesn’t apply to working from home, but in a scenario such as this pandemic, it could be applied in the future. Business owners should consider developing a remote working policy.

“Managing the working from home relationship is a challenge,” he says. He notes employees are dealing with a lot at home from distractions to obligations – it can be challenging and stressful. Employers may need to make compromises.

Employers and employees need to work together to define expectations, including for productivity. Ward says there are applications to supervise remote work.

“Many businesses, the monthly revenue coming in relies on the productivity of the employees,” he says.

“Employees have to understand that if your output isn’t at a certain level, we have to look at alternatives for that particular employee.”

Understanding expectations can be imperative when businesses are struggling to sustain themselves until the end of the pandemic.

“I fully anticipate that we’re going to be seeing new legislation ameliorating what the consequences are for having to lay people off, particularly if you were declared a non-essential business.”

by Sarah Sobanski



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