This is International Small Business. 

The Ontario government has now launched the "Shop Local! Shop Safe! Shop with Confidence!" campaign, encouraging Ontarians to support their local small businesses and to shop safely while doing so.

The province's campaign asks for mayors, local leaders and groups to support our small businesses by committing on social media to "Shop Local, Shop Safe, Shop with Confidence," while highlighting the best practices put in place by businesses to help keep shoppers safe while ensuring that the reopening of Ontario continues to be a success.

For example, the principles of the People Outside Safely Together (POST) Promise encourage small businesses to strictly follow health guidelines and reopen with appropriate measures in place, so consumers can shop safely and with confidence, including:

  • Washing and sanitizing hands

  • Maintaining physical distancing

  • Staying home if unwell

  • Practicing respiratory etiquette

  • Cleaning and disinfecting regularly

The province, in partnership with various health and safety organizations, has also released sector-specific guidelines in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. These documents help workplaces better understand their responsibilities and includes best practices they can use to help them comply with their legal obligation to protect the health and safety of workers.


  • Ontario is also providing significant support to small businesses, including an investment of $150 million in rural broadband which will help businesses access a greater pool of customers as well as significantly expanding the Digital Main Street platform to help small businesses create and enhance their online presence, helping them to adapt and meet the challenges of today. The province has also implemented a ban on commercial evictions to help small businesses that have been significantly impacted by restrictions due to COVID-19.

  • The Board of Directors of the POST Promise Corporation is comprised of senior level business leaders and public health experts from organizations such as: The Business Council of Canada, Retail Council of Canada, Canadian Global Cities Council, Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada, Restaurants Canada, McCarthy Tetrault LLP, The University of Toronto, Salt XC, and Medcan.

  • The Ontario Government reduced the small business Corporate Income Tax rate by 8.7 percent starting January 1, 2020. This will deliver up to $1,500 in annual savings to more than 275,000 businesses.

  • Ontario’s Small Business Success Strategy, launched prior to COVID-19, identified the need for small businesses across the province to build or enhance their online presence to remain competitive and expand their markets. COVID-19 has further reinforced the need for Ontario small businesses to embrace digital tools, including having online storefronts and expanding them. The Strategy also seeks to promote entrepreneurship in all of Ontario’s diverse communities.

  • To further support small businesses with physical storefronts impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, Ontario has implemented a Temporary Ban on Commercial Evictions

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Do not use a medical (surgical) mask, such as an N95 – rather, make those available to frontline healthcare workers. If you have any, consider donating them to your local hospital, or other healthcare service.

At a minimum, use a non-medical (cloth) mask when you attend any public or private indoor place, like a grocery store, office, pharmacy or retail store, if there is any risk that you may be unable to maintain a minimum distance of six feet from any other person, including through no fault of your own and despite your best efforts.

Many health officials in Ontario and federally are now recommending we wear a non-medical mask anytime we visit an indoor space, like a business or public facility, even if there is no risk to maintaining physical distancing.

Wearing a non-medical mask is not legally required in Ontario, but that is likely to change very soon, at least for when we attend indoor private and public places.  

Remember that non-medical masks do you protect you from contracting the virus from another; rather, they minimize the opportunity for you to transmit it to another person, particularly if you are asymptomatic.

Do not share your non-medical mask with anyone else, like family members.

Contact your local health unit to obtain advice and instructions on how to prepare your own non-medical mask – there are video tutorials available, including on YouTube and other sources, but check with your health unit for the best source.

If you live in the CKL, here is a link about using your non-medical mask by our health unit: https://www.hkpr.on.ca/2020/04/20/covid-19-and-mask-use/

Follow the best practices published by your local health unit for using a non-medical mask, including cleaning methods. 

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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 Lexology.com on June 29, 2020


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The Ontario government is establishing a task force to improve provincial oversight of the towing industry. The task force will help develop a regulatory model that will increase safety and enforcement, clarify protections for consumers, improve industry standards and consider tougher penalties for violators.

The government is taking this action in response to concerns raised about incidents of criminal activity and violence in the towing industry.

The task force will review a number of topics related to the towing industry, which could include provincial oversight of safety, consumer protection, improved industry standards, training and background checks.

As part of the review, the task force may consider opportunities for increased protections for consumers against the first-to-scene unethical business practices, insurance savings through a crackdown on insurance fraud rings or improved consumer choice for payments and repairs. The province is also reviewing ways to improve our transportation system by clearing accidents more quickly which would minimize lane reductions and reduce congestion on our highways.

Membership of the task force will include representatives from the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of the Solicitor General, the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, the Ministry of Finance and the Ontario Provincial Police. Once the task force has developed proposals for discussion and comment, it will be consulting with industry, municipalities, and public safety experts.


  • There are approximately 1,600 tow truck companies registered in the Ministry of Transportation’s Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR) program. A valid CVOR certificate is required to operate a tow truck.

  • The Consumer Protection Act contains specific tow and storage services rules to help protect consumers who need a tow or roadside assistance in Ontario. The Ontario government is currently reviewing the Act and consumers can provide input through a survey until July 17, 2020, on a number of issues, including towing.

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The B.C. Centre for Disease Control is advising people not to use hand sanitizer products manufactured by Eskbiochem SA de CV in Mexico, due to the potential presence of methanol (wood alcohol), a substance that is toxic if ingested. 

Methanol, when absorbed through the skin or ingested can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, and is potentially life threatening, according to the BCCDC.

People most at risk of ingesting hand sanitizer include children, people with dementia, and people using it as a substitute for alcohol.

The warning follows a similar advisory from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week about the possible presence of methanol in products from the same company. 

The list of recalled products by the FDA are:

  • All-Clean Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-002-01)

  • Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-007-01)

  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-008-04)

  • Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-006-01)

  • The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-010-10)

  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-005-03)

  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-009-01)

  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-003-01)

  • Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-001-01)

Consumers are advised to dispose of the product immediately in hazardous waste containers, rather than flushing or pouring the product down the drain.

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Several U.S. States are introducing renewed lock-down measures. Kingston recently had an 18-case issue at a nail salon, resulting in 700 contact traces. 

What do you do if you have a COVID-19 in your workplace? 


Isolate the worker promptly

If the worker is in the workplace, isolate the worker (hopefully at a prearranged medical room or location). If available a mask should be provided to the worker immediately for them to wear, and for any other workers providing direct care (e.g. first aid). Other workers who may have been in close contact with the ill worker should also be immediately isolated.

Get public health and healthcare advice

In most Canadian jurisdictions, local public health authorities recommend /require that they be contacted when a worker reports being ill with symptoms and indicators of COVID-19. The worker’s own physician should be contacted by the worker, or if the situation appears to be an emergency, medical assistance should be sought promptly. Public health guidance may assist the employer in determining whether it is appropriate to send other workers home, which persons to notify, or even whether to close the workplace temporarily, especially if it appears multiple workers/members of the public/visitors have been impacted.

Public health may also require or recommend contact tracing in relation to those who have had ‘close contact’ or other contact with the worker. Before any potential COVID-19 outbreak in the workplace, employers should be maintaining a log of all workers and visitors in the workplace on a given day. This will allow for immediate and accurate contact tracing.

Testing and test results

Testing for COVID-19 should be requested to confirm any suspected case of the virus. Symptoms similar to COVID-19 can sometimes be the result of a bad allergic reaction or a serious case of other flu viruses, which do not have the same potential significant consequences. Transport of the worker to obtain medical assistance or to a testing facility should be provided, if possible. It should be emphasised to the worker/testing facility, that testing results are required promptly. The earlier testing results are provided to employers, the faster they can act with certainty to help control/minimise the spread of the virus. Communications, discussed below, should refer to testing being done, timing of expected results, and communications being updated as required, if it turns out a test result for COVID-19 is negative.


Whether a case of infection is suspected, or if it has been confirmed, a general principle of good workplace and crisis management is communication. Management or human resources/ health and safety should communicate known details promptly. The purpose and scope of communication will depend on the circumstances: to alert customers or clients that a suspected case has been identified and they are being informed at the earliest possible stage; to alert affected workers or visitors/others that they may have been in the workplace or in close contact with the positive case and they may wish to be tested, for example.

Any communication need not, and should not, provide the name of the worker being tested/ who is confirmed positive, or names of others being sent home from the workplace. General principles of privacy law and specific Canadian privacy statutes prevent disclosure of specific health information. It is best to communicate privately to those individuals who may have had close contact with the affected worker, and refer generally to the areas in which the worker may have worked or have been present. Reasonable information, to prevent harm, can be disclosed. The extent of disclosure should be sufficient to inform those who may have been exposed, but also protect the privacy of the worker who has or potentially has an illness. These obligations must be carefully balanced.

Employers should be aware that it is the policy of many provincial health officers to publicly identify the location of any COVID-19 outbreak, which includes identifying the name and physical location of the workplace. Even if an employer has taken all appropriate measures to limit the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace, they should be prepared for negative media, customer and public attention due to the stigma associated with a COVID-19 outbreak. Those employers with internal or external public relations experts should plan to utilize them.

Prompt communication to workers and affected parties, provision of honest and direct information, and communication respecting immediate measures being taken, can significantly lessen the negative publicity and damage to reputation associated with a publicized case or outbreak.

Reporting to OHS/workers compensation

Generally, across Canada, no requirement exists to report a ‘positive COVID-19 test’ to OHS or workers compensation authorities, unless it is clear that the infection arose from an exposure at the workplace.

If the infection clearly or arguably arose from an exposure at the workplace, it may be reportable. For example, if there have been other positive cases, or if a significant COVID-19 outbreak has occurred at the workplace, it will be difficult for the employer to suggest the case did not arise out of the workplace. In many jurisdictions health care or illness arising from an exposure at the workplace must be reported to Workers Compensation, and once that has been done, it must also be reported to OHS authorities, joint health and safety committee, trade union.

OHS and Workers’ Compensation reporting obligations in the applicable jurisdiction should be consulted carefully for reporting obligations. Proposed amendments to Workers’ Compensation legislation to create a presumption of workplace infection in certain industries and circumstances have been made, in BC and Ontario, but are not yet law.

In addition, in some jurisdictions, such as British Columbia, an employer is required to have developed and implemented a COVID-19 Safety Plan before reopening. In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak in the workplace, regulators will likely be asking for copies of that plan and evidence its requirements were actually implemented.

Should we shut down all or part of the workplace?

Shutting down all or part of the workplace ought to be considered carefully, depending on all of the circumstances. A decision to shut down a workplace pending confirmation of a positive test, may be premature, but in our view should be the subject of advice from local public health authorities. Upon confirmation of a positive case, an assessment of the number and frequency of contacts, and other circumstances should occur promptly. Amongst questions to be asked:

  • When did the worker last attend at the workplace? (If there has been some significant passage of time since the last shift or the worker regularly works at home, the timing of contact with workers or objects in the workplace may be determinative);

  • Does the worker work in a crew? (If so, all crew members may have been exposed and may need to be sent home to self-isolate along with the ill worker);

  • Does the worker and other workers in close proximity to him or her work in specific area separate from others in the workplace? (It may be possible to identify that group and send them home along with the ill worker to self isolate);

  • Is it possible an entire worksite, such as an office, has had exposure due to working closely together and contact with the ill worker with physical work product or objects?

  • What engineering, administrative and cleaning controls are in place at the workplace that may have reduced the risk of transmission to other workers?

  • Was the worker wearing protective equipment as recommended or required? (This bears on the assessment of potential for exposure);

  • Can any area identified as having been accessed by the worker be cleaned promptly and thoroughly to permit continued operations?

OHS regulators may attend at the workplace (physically or by phone), and make the decision on shut down for you. OHS may attend after any report of a workplace-related exposure, work refusal, or due to a worker complaint.

Communication with OHS regulators respecting the employer’s assessment of all the above factors, as well as providing relevant written pandemic processes, and protective measures being taken, is important in determining whether a stop work order may be issued, and a shutdown is necessary, pending additional measures.

While it is hoped that most employers and managers will not receive a call reporting a positive case of COVID-19, the above steps can guide a successful employer response, to minimise business, reputational and health impacts, to the extent possible.


By Cheryl A. Edwards, Natasha Jategaonkar, Deanah I. Shelly and Paul D. McLean. Firm: Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark LLP, published on Lexology.com on June 29, 2020 

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The federal government will soon extend the Quarantine Act restrictions requiring out-of-Canada travellers to isolate for 14 days upon their arrival in Canada. 

This requirement would otherwise expire tomorrow.  

Up to this time, all returning Canadians were told they had to self-isolate for 14 days and that they were prohibited from stopping anywhere along the way home.

Once isolated, the traveller was required to report the development of any COVID-19 symptoms to public health officials.

A person who normally lives with an elderly person or someone with a compromised immune system, for example, would have to quarantine elsewhere.

More recently, Canadians returning home from abroad who didn't have credible plans to self-isolate were required to stay at a quarantine facility.  

In addition, travellers returning from abroad  were required to wear non-medical masks or face coverings before they could proceed to their final destinations.

If a traveller develops symptoms during a quarantine period, or is exposed to someone who does, the 14 days of isolation begins again.

If the Canada Border Services Agency suspects that a returning traveller is not going to comply with the rules, it can alert the Public Health Agency of Canada, which can then flag the RCMP's national operations centre. The RCMP has been playing a coordinating role with local police during the pandemic.

Maximum penalties for failing to comply with the Quarantine Act include a fine of up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment for six months. If someone jeopardizes another's life while wilfully or recklessly contravening the act, the penalties are even greater: $1 million or three years in prison, or both.

The Canada/U.S. border has also been closed, at least until July 21, except for essential (commercial) travel.


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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 Ontario.ca/alert.

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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 Ontario.ca/GetFunding.


  • 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: seniorscommunitygrant@ontario.ca; 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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Generally, you can designate a beneficiary for your RRSPs.

If you do, generally the RRSP will be paid to your designated beneficiary on your passing. The RRSP will not form part of your Estate and, therefore, not be subject to Ontario’s estate administration tax.

However, the problem: the federal Income Tax Act provides that, even though the RRSP will pass to your designated beneficiary (outside of your Estate), tax will be payable by your Estate on those funds as of your death (as if you had withdrawn those funds). This can create a burden on your Estate and its beneficiaries, which they may perceive as unfair. In other words, your designated beneficiary gets the RRSP funds, but not the corresponding tax burden created by the Income Tax Act on your death.

This often causes litigation, which you were likely trying to avoid in your Estate plan.

Careful estate planning is important, including considering potential tax issues that can arise on your death.

There are some ways to potentially avoid this, such as:

1.            Having an insurance policy, payable to your estate, for example, that will pay the tax burden on the RRSPs that you designate to someone on your death;

2.            Rolling over your RRSPs to your spouse or a dependent child, if you meet the specific requirements of the Income Tax Act to do so (consultation with an accountant or tax-experienced lawyer would be helpful); and/or

3.            Designate your Estate as the beneficiary of your RRSPs – although this will mean estate administration tax is likely payable on those funds, that is likely less of a financial burden to your beneficiaries than the alternative. The Estate can receive and pay the tax on the RRSP on your death using this approach. You can even specify in your estate plan that the net amount is payable to a specific person, such as the person you could have designated as your beneficiary on the RRSP.

Estate planning is important. To avoid unintended results and possibly creating conflict among your family member beneficiaries, creating your plan with a good, qualified estate planning lawyer is well worth the modest investment.

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If you are terminated by your employer and:

[1] firstly, there is no “just cause” for your termination; and

[2] secondly, you do not have a written employment agreement or, if you do, there is no clause restricting you to only the statutory notice of termination required by the Employment Standards Act, 2000 of Ontario (the “ESA”) (or, if there is a such a clause, it is not enforceable against you – refer to the checklist in our earlier blog about this),
then, in addition to your statutory entitlements on termination under the ESA, you are likely entitled to “common law” reasonable notice of termination.

An employee’s termination entitlements at “common law” generally are significantly more than those required by the ESA.


Employment in Ontario is purely contractual between the employer and the employee. Employers can terminate employees at any time – they do not need a reason.

However, if they do terminate, the obligation of giving “reasonable notice” is imposed by the law of Ontario, both by the ESA and ‘judge-made’ law, subject to any written employment entered by the employer and the employee that varies or changes the general law of Ontario applicable to employment terminations.

Unless the employer and employee agree otherwise in their written employment agreement, the law in Ontario imposes an obligation on employers to give reasonable notice before terminating an employee generally. Either an employer must give this reasonable notice before terminating or, if they do not, they will have to pay to the employee an equivalent amount for that reasonable notice that was not given. Employees must give reasonable notice before resigning, too, but that notice is generally much shorter.  

Generally, “common law” reasonable notice by employers is: (a) determined by the Court, often in wrongful termination lawsuits commenced by employees; and (b) determined based on multiple factors in each case, such as the employee’s age, position, responsibility, years of service, compensation received and ability to find alternative employment.   

Effectively, an obligation to give reasonable notice is designed to lessen the impact of a termination, particularly for the employee. The employer has the opportunity to take the necessary steps to replace the employee and the employee can seek and obtain comparable, alternate employment.

If an employer terminates without providing reasonable notice, but had an obligation to do so, the employer has breached the parties’ employment relationship and will likely have to pay damages equivalent to the amount of reasonable notice that should have been provided to the employee.

These damages are commonly called “pay in lieu of notice” and are calculated based on all, or the global, compensation and benefits the employee would otherwise have earned had he or she actually continued to be employed during the reasonable notice period. Generally, this calculation will include salary, pension contributions, bonuses, commissions, equity grants, if any (such as stock options, etc.), corporate vehicle use and other taxable and non-taxable benefits, if they formed part of the employee’s regular and recurring compensation during employment.

These damages also incorporate and include the statutory notice required by the ESA. However, an employer must actually pay to the employee any statutory severance pay required by the ESA, by lump sum, based on a specific formula set out by the ESA, unless the employee agrees otherwise. In other words, the employer cannot satisfy its statutory severance pay obligation by giving notice of termination to the employee – rather, it must actually be paid.

There is no ‘golden rule’ to accurately predict the amount of reasonable notice for each case of termination. It is difficult to predict, often. Some lawyers use the ‘month-per-year’ rule of thumb, but that is not the law. Every case is different, generally, and must be analyzed based on the specific circumstances of the case. Generally, however, it is reasonably safe to assume that the longer the years of service, older the employee and more responsibility the employee had, the longer will be the reasonable notice period in the case.

Reasonable notice rarely exceeds two (2) years, but there are a few cases in which the Court exceeded this commonly accepted maximum for reasonable notice in Ontario.

Generally, an employee’s entitlement to reasonable notice will be dependent on that employee’s specific factors, all of which must be considered together in that particular case.


If an employer decides to give reasonable notice of termination before terminating (i.e., during the relationship), it is commonly referred to as ‘working notice’. Employers often use ‘working notice’ to avoid paying an amount to the employee for reasonable notice after termination – it can significantly reduce the liability of the employer. This way, they derive more value, too, because the employee will continue to work for the employer during the reasonable notice period (as opposed to being terminated abruptly, in which case the employer will likely have to pay the equivalent amount for the reasonable notice that was not given to the employee).  

During the working notice period, the employee continues to work ordinarily and the employer continues to pay the usual compensation and benefits – effectively, a status quo arrangement. The employer may progressively discipline the employee during the working notice period and, if proper “just cause” arises, may terminate the employee without compensation. Generally, the employee will be entitled to some time away from work, reasonably, for the purpose of searching for and obtaining alternative employment, such as attending job interviews, etc.

If the ‘working notice’ period is equal to or more than what the Court would determine to be reasonable notice of termination, the employer will not have to pay the employee terminated-related compensation when the working notice period ends. If the working notice is too short, the employer may still have to pay common law reasonable notice at the end of the working notice period. Every case has to be analyzed based on the specific circumstances.


Most employers wish to avoid having to deal with “common law” reasonable notice – it is both unpredictable and very expense, especially if the employee sues the employer for wrongful termination alleging insufficient notice was given or paid to the employee.

In order to avoid the “common law” being applied to the employment relationship, there must be a written employment agreement properly entered by the parties before the relationship starts. If so, the employer can avoid the uncertain and potentially expensive outcome the common law may impose.

Therefore, from an employer’s perspective, at least, there should always be a written employment agreement entered, which clearly and simply outlines the employee’s entitlements in the event of a termination without cause, particularly if they may be less that what the “common law” may award to the employee. In addition to minimizing costs, enforceable termination provisions also offer more certainty to both parties if the relationship ends.



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The Ontario government is investing more than $13 million to support community- driven and youth-led projects to improve the well-being of children, youth, and families facing economic and social barriers.

The funding will flow through the 2020 Youth Opportunities Fund, a province-wide initiative that creates opportunities for young people and empowers and supports parents, guardians and caregivers. 

The 2020 Youth Opportunities Fund will provide financial support to 43 community organizations that will benefit youth aged 12 to 25, and their families. Projects receiving funding this year include:

  • Black Moms Connection ― focusing on economic empowerment for Black mothers across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

  • Immigrants francophones d'Afrique pour l'intégration et le développement (IFAPID) to support newcomers from Francophone African nations to navigate financial systems in Canada.

  • Earthling Art Collective ― to provide development and mentorship opportunities for youth leaving care and the justice system in Thunder Bay.

  • Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment & Training ― to help Indigenous youth in the GTA access employment and training opportunities in the skilled trades.     

The Youth Opportunities Fund provides funding through the following three granting streams:

  • Youth Innovations ― Provides youth facing multiple barriers with the resources they need to design and deliver new and inspiring solutions to issues that matter to them and their communities.

  • Family Innovations ― Invests in local, community-driven groups delivering culturally relevant projects that empower and support parents, guardians and caregivers who face barriers and challenges to child and family wellbeing.

  • System Innovations  Supports organizations that are strengthening the quality and responsiveness of systems so that they may work better for young people facing multiple barriers.


  • Youth Opportunities Fund grants are administered by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

  • Applications for the 2021 Youth Opportunities Fund grants will open in fall 2020.

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Ontario’s Court of Appeal, our highest provincial Court, recently released a very important decision affecting the enforceability of written employment agreements and employers’ efforts to limit reasonable notice to only the statutory minimums in Ontario, rather than the judge-made, common law extended entitlements.

This case is favourable to employees who already have existing, written employment agreements. 

The employee sued his employer for wrongful dismissal. He moved for “summary judgment” (i.e., a decision without a trial, as a trial would allegedly be unnecessary in the case). The employee claimed entitlement to damages because the employer did not provide him with common law reasonable notice of dismissal. The employee took the position that the termination provisions in his employment contract were void because they contracted out of the minimum standards of the ESA. The employer acknowledged the cause termination provision in the employment agreement was void because it violated the ESA.

However, based on earlier cases in Ontario, the employer argued that the without cause termination provision was valid, and because the employer was not alleging cause, it could rely on the without cause provision as a stand alone, insulated provision of the contract.

The employee acknowledged that the without cause provision alone was valid and enforceable.

The issue was if the illegality of the cause provision rendered the without cause provision unenforceable.

The Court of Appeal addressed the key issue - whether the two clauses (“just cause” and “without cause”) should be considered separately or whether the illegality of the just cause provision impacted the enforceability of the without cause provision.

The Court said an employment agreement must be interpreted as a whole and not on a piecemeal basis. The correct analytical approach is to determine whether the termination provisions in an employment agreement read as a whole violate the ESA. While courts will permit an employer to enforce a rights-restricting contract, they will not enforce termination provisions that are in whole or in part illegal. In conducting this analysis, the Court of Appeal held it is irrelevant whether the termination provisions are found in one place in the agreement or separated, or whether the provisions are by their terms otherwise linked. The Court found that the motion judge erred because he failed to read the termination provisions as a whole and instead applied a piecemeal approach without regard to their combined effect.

The Court also concluded that it was irrelevant that the employer ultimately did not rely on the just cause termination provision. Rather, the enforceability of a termination provision must be determined at the time the employment agreement was executed.

The Court also disregarded the severability clause in the employment agreement, holding that a severability provision cannot have any effect on contract provisions that have been made void by legislation. Having concluded that the just cause and without cause provisions were to be understood together, the severability clause could not apply to sever the offending portion of the termination provisions.

This is an important decision for employment law in Ontario, favourable to employees, given that many employment agreements purporting to limit notice entitlement to only the Ontario statutory minimums remain in circulation.   

The Case:

Waksdale v. Swegon North America Inc., 2020 ONCA 391

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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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In Ontario, unlike any other jurisdiction to my knowledge, we’ve made the act of saying “sorry” part of our legal system, for which there are legal ramifications, both for saying it and for not saying it.

In fact, we’ve made it legislation; namely, Ontario’s “Apology Act” (the “Act”).

This is uniquely an Ontario-only legal initiative.

Before the Act, if an apology were made, such as in a defamation case, that apology could be used against the alleged defamer in Court, including to prove the defamation itself and the harm it must have caused.

Not anymore.

Now, an “apology” is legally defined as “an expression of sympathy or regret” and not “an admission of fault or liability in connection with the matter to which the words or actions relate.”

Before the Act was passed, an “apology” statement could technically be construed as an admission of your guilt or wrongdoing.

The Act is great Ontario law, because now we can say “sorry” without fear, legally speaking.

In fact, in a defamation case, for example, making an apology often impacts the legal case, or least may reduce the damages awarded by the Court.

Making an apology impacts other types of cases, too, legally, so there is always advantage in considering making an apology and, if so, the maker need not be worried that it would legally be held against he or she – it can only help. 

The Act is fairly short and straightforward – the key parts are highlighted below. 

Apology Act, 2009

S.O. 2009, CHAPTER 3

Consolidation Period: From April 23, 2009 to the e-Laws currency date.

No Amendments.


1. In this Act,

“apology” means an expression of sympathy or regret, a statement that a person is sorry or any other words or actions indicating contrition or commiseration, whether or not the words or actions admit fault or liability or imply an admission of fault or liability in connection with the matter to which the words or actions relate. 2009, c. 3, s. 1.

Effect of apology on liability

2. (1) An apology made by or on behalf of a person in connection with any matter,

(a) does not, in law, constitute an express or implied admission of fault or liability by the person in connection with that matter;

(b) does not, despite any wording to the contrary in any contract of insurance or indemnity and despite any other Act or law, void, impair or otherwise affect any insurance or indemnity coverage for any person in connection with that matter; and

(c) shall not be taken into account in any determination of fault or liability in connection with that matter. 2009, c. 3, s. 2 (1).


(2) Clauses (1) (a) and (c) do not apply for the purposes of proceedings under the Provincial Offences Act. 2009, c. 3, s. 2 (2).

Evidence of apology not admissible

(3) Despite any other Act or law, evidence of an apology made by or on behalf of a person in connection with any matter is not admissible in any civil proceeding, administrative proceeding or arbitration as evidence of the fault or liability of any person in connection with that matter. 2009, c. 3, s. 2 (3).


(4) However, if a person makes an apology while testifying at a civil proceeding, including while testifying at an out of court examination in the context of the civil proceeding, at an administrative proceeding or at an arbitration, this section does not apply to the apology for the purposes of that proceeding or arbitration. 2009, c. 3, s. 2 (4).

Criminal or provincial offence proceeding or conviction

3. Nothing in this Act affects,

(a) the admissibility of any evidence in,

(i) a criminal proceeding, including a prosecution for perjury, or

(ii) a proceeding under the Provincial Offences Act; or

(b) the use that may be made in the proceedings referred to in subsection 2 (3) of a conviction for a criminal or provincial offence. 2009, c. 3, s. 3.

Acknowledgment, Limitations Act, 2002

4. For the purposes of section 13 of the Limitations Act, 2002, nothing in this Act,

(a) affects whether an apology constitutes an acknowledgment of liability; or

(b) prevents an apology from being admitted in evidence. 2009, c. 3, s. 4.

5. Omitted (provides for coming into force of provisions of this Act). 2009, c. 3, s. 5.

6. Omitted (enacts short title of this Act). 2009, c. 3, s. 6.

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In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government has extended the provincial Declaration of Emergency under s.7.0.7 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to July 15, 2020. 

The provincial Declaration of Emergency enables the government to make, and as needed amend, emergency orders that protect the health and safety of all Ontarians. Emergency orders in force under the Declaration of Emergency include those allowing frontline care providers to redeploy staff to areas most in need, limiting long-term care and retirement home employees to working at one home, and enabling public health units to redeploy or hire staff to support the province's enhanced case management and contact tracing strategy. These measures continue to be needed to protect seniors and other vulnerable populations from the threat of COVID-19. The extension of the Declaration of Emergency will allow the province to make or amend emergency orders as needed as it continues to ease restrictions in support of its phased reopening.  

In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the government will continue to monitor public health trends related to COVID-19 and assess on an ongoing basis whether the provincial Declaration of Emergency needs to be extended further. The government will also continue to review emergency orders currently in place to determine when and if it is safe to amend or lift them as more places in the province are allowed to reopen in a safe and measured way.

As of June 24, 33 public health unit regions have entered Stage 2 of the Framework for Reopening our Province, allowing more businesses and services to open and getting more people back to work. The Windsor-Essex County public health unit region remains in Stage 1 and the situation in the region will continue to be assessed on an ongoing basis.

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

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The federal government has announced important changes to the Canada Labour Standards Regulations, which temporarily extend the permitted temporary layoff period for federally regulated employees laid off due to the pandemic.

According to a government press release, the amendments temporarily extend these time periods by up to 6 months as follows:

  • for employees laid off prior to March 31, 2020, the permissible time period is extended by 6 months or to December 30, 2020, whichever occurs first; and

  • for employees laid off between March 31, 2020, and September 30, 2020, the time period is extended until December 30, 2020, unless a later recall date was provided in a written notice at the time of the layoff.

These changes, which came into effect on June 22, 2020, do not apply to employees who are covered by a collective agreement that contains recall rights.

These changes also do not apply to employees whose employment had already been terminated prior to the coming into force of the amendments.

More information is available here:  


The amended regulations were not yet available as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on June 23, 2020.

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Find out if you are entitled to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit here:


The CERB is now available for a total of 24 weeks. 

When do you have to repay the CERB?

You must repay the CERB if you no longer meet the eligibility requirements for the 4-week period in question.

Choose the situation that applies to you

Earned employment or self-employment income earlier than expected

Applied for and got the CERB from both EI/Service Canada and from the CRA for the same eligibility period

Applied for the CERB but later realized you’re not eligible

None of the above

This could happen if:

  • you earned employment or self-employment income earlier than expected

  • you applied for the CERB but later realize you’re not eligible

  • you receive a CERB payment from both Service Canada and the CRA for the same period

If you applied for the CERB twice in one period

If you applied for the CERB or EI with Service Canada, and then later applied for the CERB with the CRA for the same eligibility period, you applied twice. If this happens, you will have to return or repay the overpayment.

Do I have to repay my CERB if I get rehired or find a new job?

You are required to repay the CERB if you no longer meet the eligibility requirements for the 4-week period in question. For example, you applied for the 4-week period of April 12 to May 9. At the time you applied, you expected to have little or no work or income for that 4-week period. But you have just found out your employer has rehired you and will give you back-pay for that same 4-week period. In this situation, you will need to repay the CERB for that 4-week period of April 12 to May 9.

Repayment conditions

The conditions around paying back the CERB are different if you’re paying back your first eligibility period, or a subsequent period.

For your first eligibility period

If your employment or self-employment income was $1,000 or less (before deductions) for at least 14 days in a row during this 4-week period, you do not need to repay the CERB.

For subsequent eligibility periods

You will need to repay the $2,000 for an eligibility period if you earned or will earn more than $1,000 (before deductions) from employment or self-employment income during that period.

Recognize CERB repayment scams

Beware of fraudulent emails, texts or calls claiming to be from the CRA about repaying the CERB or requesting personal information.

For more on what to expect when we contact you, and what information we ask for, go to Protect yourself against fraud.

How to return or repay the CERB

If you received the CERB from the CRA, you must send your payment back to the CRA. If you received the CERB from Service Canada, you must send it back to Service Canada.

Send your payment back to the CRA

If you were paid by direct deposit or don't have the original CERB chequeIf you still have the original CERB cheque

Send your payment back to Service Canada

If you received your CERB from Service Canada (EI), you must send it back to Service Canada.

Impact on tax slips

The CERB is taxable. You will receive a T4A tax slip on the amount of CERB you receive.

If you repay the CERB, the CRA won’t issue a T4A for that payment. To ensure that we don’t issue slips improperly, you need to repay your CERB before December 31, 2020.

If you need more time to pay

If you want to repay your CERB but need more time, contact the CRA to ensure you have an agreed upon payback schedule by December 31, 2020.

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Bars, restaurants and other approved liquor sales licensees in the CKL may be permitted to temporarily extend the size of their existing licensed patio, or temporarily add a new licensed patio.

Ontario has authorized these extensions and additions within the approved period, without a separate licence or approval, provided all of the following conditions are met:

  • the physical extension of the premises is adjacent to the premises to which the existing licence to sell liquor applies;

  • the municipality in which the premises is situated does not object to an extension;

  • the licensee is able to demonstrate sufficient control over the physical extension of the premises; and

  • there is no condition on the liquor sales licence prohibiting a patio.

Accordingly, every liquor sales licensee in the CKL should review their licences for any relevant restrictions and ensure that any extension or addition is designed to be adjacent to the licensed area and within the licensees' control.

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Restaurants and bars in the CKL are required legally to take appropriate measures to ensure physical distancing of at least two metres between patrons from different households, including by:

  • using reservations;

  • limiting the number of patrons allowed in the outdoor space at one time;

  • ensuring enough space between tables (including to allow for movement); and

  • limiting access to any indoor facilities, including accessing the patio/outdoor dining area, picking up or paying for food, using washrooms or other health and safety purposes.

Ontario has also published resources, best practices and information for all restaurant and food-services workers to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 at work.

Under those requirements, servers, bartenders, cashiers, hosts, chefs, dishwashers, administrators, drive-thru operators, and maintenance staff should, among other recommendations:

  • wash their hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, including after making or receiving deliveries, touching high-touch areas, and after removing gloves;

  • sanitize surfaces and equipment often, between each transaction if possible;

  • wear gloves when interacting with high-touch areas, if possible;

  • wash clothes when they return home; and

  • immediately notify their supervisor if they are ill, complete a self-assessment and follow the instructions contained there.

In addition to facilitating clean worksites by providing access to materials and time for proper sanitization, employers can help minimize contact with customers (including by minimizing or eliminating cash and at-the-door transactions), assign staff to ensure physical distancing is maintained in congested areas, use floor markings and barriers to manage traffic flow, refuse to accept customers' re-usable bags and containers, install barriers (such as plexiglass or markings on the floor) to ensure distance between customers and cashiers, stagger shifts and lunch breaks, and hold meetings outside.

Employers will be asked to track where their employees have worked. 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.

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 to their employer;

  • how to ensure physical distancing;

  • how work will be scheduled; and

  • screening measures.

Ontario has also announced and published a workplace safety plan guide with a template to help each employer develop their own safety plan that is right for the risks and appropriate controls specific to the employer's workplace.

Here is a link to the guide: https://www.ontario.ca/page/develop-your-covid-19-workplace-safety-plan?_ga=2.59471464.411901752.1592266532-490993204.1575911632

Bars and other approved liquor sales licensees should also temporarily extend the size of their existing licensed patio, or temporarily add a new licensed patio. Ontario has authorized these extensions and additions within the approved period, without a separate licence or approval, provided all of the following conditions are met:

  • the physical extension of the premises is adjacent to the premises to which the existing licence to sell liquor applies;

  • the municipality in which the premises is situated does not object to an extension;

  • the licensee is able to demonstrate sufficient control over the physical extension of the premises; and

  • there is no condition on the liquor sales licence prohibiting a patio.

Accordingly, every liquor sales licensee in the CKL should review their licences for any relevant restrictions and ensure that any extension or addition is designed to be adjacent to the licensed area and within the licensees' control.

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The "new normal" in the CKL means transforming how we conduct business, both in our stores and online. 

Conducting business has changed....and will continue to change. 

It is vital for businesses and organizations to update their business practices, particularly in terms of human resource management.  

Employers must create and establish workplace policies in your workplace. Effective workplace policies are designed not only to ensure compliance with all applicable legislation governing your workplace, but to achieve better overall employment management practices.

A few workplace policies are legally mandatory, including with respect to workplace violence, harassment and sexual harassment; the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities legislation; and protocol related to breaches of privacy. It is not enough to ensure you are complying with the legislation; you are also legally required to have written policies effective in your workplace, and these policies must include certain statements.

In addition to ensuring compliance with legislation, the functional benefits of having properly structured and customized workplace policies include:

  • more effective and better management your employees;

  • setting and establishing the employees’ expectations, including to minimize wasted managerial time dealing with matters that are addressed by your Workplace Policies; 

  • better protecting your business from manipulation or being taken advantage of by employees;

  • better protecting your business from litigation, including because the Court now expects workplace policies to be established in the workplace and, if they are not, it often affects the outcome of a litigation dispute (negatively for the employer party);

  • ensuring that you avoid regulatory sanction for not having proper workplace policies in effect (e.g. a spot audit or investigation by the Ontario Ministry of Labour); and 

  • peace of mind that you are not only legally compliant with your employment obligations, but pro-actively organized and maximizing your effective management for the benefit of everyone in your workplace.

These workplace policies should be implemented: 

  • Workplace Violence, Harassment and Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy

  • Joint Health and Safety Committee Policy

  • Health and Safety Policy

  • Accommodation on the Basis of Disability Policy

  • AODA – Customer Service and Standards Policy

  • AODA – Employment Standards Policy

  • AODA – Integrated Accessibility and Information and Communications   Standards Policy

  • Privacy Breach Protocol and Policy

  • Overtime Policy

  • Personal information Protection Policy

  • Computer, Email and Internet Use Policy

  • Personal Communications and Social Media Policy

  • Conduct and Behaviour Policy

  • Discrimination and Diversity Policy

  • Smoking, Vaping and Cannabis Policy

  • Absenteeism Policy

  • Vacation and Vacation Pay Policy

  • Holiday Policy

  • Employment Expense Reimbursement Policy

  • Conflict of Interest Policy

  • Police Record Checks Policy

  • Workplace Investigations - Administrative Leaves and Suspensions

  • Deemed Legal Compliance Policy

  • Mental Health First Aid Officer Policy

Those that are not required by law are discretionary, elective policies, which we recommend you choose to establish in order to better manage your workplace.

Should you choose to proceed with purchasing the full suite, we would prepare them for you, addressing your specific needs and objectives. We may require further information from you, and will be in touch when we need any information or clarification.

Upon completion, we would provide to you a digital version of your Workplace Policy Manual. Once COVID-19 restrictions lift, we would also provide you with a hard-copy Workplace Policy Manual, which you would make available in your workplace, including for employees to review initially and refer to in future.

In addition to your Workplace Policy Manual, we would also provide to you a complementary Employment Management Assistance binder (your “EMA binder”), which would contain employment management resources specifically designed to enhance and complement your Workplace Policy Manual. Like your Workplace Policies Manual, the EMA binder would be provided to you in both hard-copy and digital formats for your convenience.

Purchasing a suite of workplace policies is a smart investment in the future of your organization, including because it potentially avoids costly legal services in future if a dispute arises, or worse, if an MOL investigation or litigation claim is commenced. The expense of this exercise is reasonable when you consider the benefit to you and your workplace and the potential avoidance of much higher legal expense in future. Furthermore, we would prepare your full Workplace Policies Manual and EMA binder for a fixed fee that we would quote to you in advance.

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CKL businesses and organizations - discrimination and diversity in your workplaces is paramount. 

To promote inclusiveness and target systemic discrimination, did you know that you can arrange for all of your employees, including management, to complete training to promote understanding and compliance with the (Ontario) Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, S.O. 2005, c 11 (the “AODA”) and the (Ontario) Human Rights Code (the “Code”). The training is designed to help every employee learn about his or her rights and responsibilities under both the AODA and the Code, including how they affect each employee in the workplace.

An excellent (online) training program is offered by the Ontario Human Rights Commission. The program is called “Working Together: The Code and the AODA”. The program is free. The Web site to use the training program is:


This five--part e-learning series (approximately 20 minutes) is for public, private and not-for-profit sectors and also completes the training requirements for section 7 of the Integrated Accessibility Standards of the AODA, which you must comply with, by law.  Each video is approximately four minutes in duration, as follows:

There is a quiz at the end of each video for each employee to complete, in order to obtain the certificate.

After each employee completes the training program, being a five-part e-learning series, a certificate is issued to that employee. You would obtain and retain these certificates for every employee.

Having certificates for each employee will not only minimize the risk of potential non-compliance and improve the workplace environment generally, but having the training/certificates available will likely assist you in the event of any potential claim or issue in future – that is good risk management practice.

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CKL businesses and organizations, did you know that you can arrange for your employees , including management, to complete training to promote understanding and compliance with the (Ontario) Occupational Health and Safety Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. O.1 (“OHSA”) .

The training is designed to help every employer and employee learn about his or her rights and responsibilities under the OHSA, including how they affect each employer and employee in the workplace.

An excellent (online) training program is offered by the (Ontario) Ministry of Labour. The program is called “Worker Health and Safety Awareness in 4 Steps”. The program is free.

The Web site to use the training program is:


This four-part e-learning series (approximately 16 minutes) is for public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Each video is approximately four minutes in duration, as follows:

  • Get on Board
  • Get In the Know
  • Get Involved
  • Get More Help

There is a quiz at the end of each video for each employee to complete, in order to obtain the certificate.

After each employee completes the training program, being a four-part e-learning series, a certificate is issued to that employee. You would obtain and retain these certificates for every employee.

Having certificates for each employee will not only minimize the risk of potential workplace injury, safety violation or non-compliance with the OHSA, but also improve the workplace environment generally.

Having the training/certificates available will also likely assist you in the event of any potential claim or issue in future related to workplace injury or safety contravention – that is good risk management practice.

As you know, workplace injury can create significant liability issues for an employer – every step you can take to minimize that risk and potential exposure is wise. 

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When first introduced, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (the “CEWS”) was to be available for 12 weeks ending June 6, 2020, with the possible extension by regulation to no later than September 30, 2020. The initial 12 week period was comprised of three separate qualifying periods (i.e., Period 1 – March 15, 2020 to April 11, 2020; Period 2 – April 12, 2020 to May 9, 2020; and Period 3 – May 10, 2020 to June 6, 2020).

On May 15, 2020, the Government of Canada announced Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (the CEWS) would be extended to August 29, 2020.

However, details were not provided at that time.

Fortunately, the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) has now confirmed that:

  1. the extension will be broken down into three separate four week qualifying periods (i.e., Period 4 – June 7, 2020 to July 4, 2020; Period 5 – July 5, 2020 to August 1, 2020; and Period 6 – August 2, 2020 to August 29, 2020);

  2. “the eligibility criteria will apply for the current period”, meaning, presumably, that the criteria (including the 30% revenue decline threshold) for Period 4 will be the same as for Period 3, subject to the “prior reference period” for Period 4 being June 2019 rather than May 2019;

  3. any potential changes to the eligibility criteria would commence as of Period 5 and/or Period 6.

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Despite the wonderful weather, COVID-19 still pervades our community, including through asymptomatic carriers. 

What you should do if there is a case of COVID-19 in your workplace: 


  • Anyone with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 must NOT go to work and should self-isolate at home. If contact with a positive case is confirmed, further directions will be provided by the Health Unit

  • Physical distancing rules at work mean employees should not be in close contact with each other. If, however, an employee is identified as being a close contact of a co-worker who is confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19, the person should immediately take Ontario’s online COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to see what further care is needed or call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 The employee may also be contacted by the Health Unit with further directions on what to do, including self-isolating or self-monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19.

  • Employers are strongly urged to support the COVID-19 instructions your employees have received from any health care provider. This protects the health of your workers and customers

  • Encourage everyone at work to continue following physical distancing rules (staying 2 metres or 6 feet apart from others) and regularly wash hands with soap and water

  • Continue to frequently clean and disinfect commonly touched or shared surfaces at work, including tools, equipment and workstations.


  • Follow direction from the Health Unit about any extra precautions that are needed to reduce the risk of illness. These directives can include: getting employees/staff who were in close contact with the customer/client to self-isolate or self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, increasing cleaning and disinfecting at your workplace, and other measures

  • Continue to keep employees and customers safe:

    • Follow provincial rules that specify how your business/workplace can operate (for example, only offer curbside pickup, limit number of people in store, etc.).

    • Ensure a 2-metre (6-foot) distance is kept between people.

    • Reduce overcrowding.

    • Increase your online or phone services

    • Offer curb-side delivery

    • Make hand sanitizer available for customers at entry and exit points.


Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge Health Unit


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The Ontario government announced  the release of a safety plan for the 2020-21 school year. 

According to the government press release, school boards will be asked to plan for the following three scenarios:

1. “Normal school day routine with enhanced public health protocols - Students going to school every day, in classes that reflect standard class size regulations.

2. Modified school day routine - Based on public health advice, an adapted delivery model has been designed to allow for physical distancing and cohorts of students. Under this model, school boards are asked to maintain a limit of 15 students in a typical classroom at one time and adopt timetabling that would allow for students to remain in contact only with their classmates and a single teacher for as much of the school day as possible. This model would require alternate day or alternate week delivery to a segment of the class at one time.

3. At home learning - Should the school closure be extended, or some parents choose not to send their child back to school, school boards need to be prepared to offer remote education. Remote education should be delivered online to the greatest extent possible, including the establishment of minimum expectations for students to have direct contact with their teacher at the same time on a regular basis, also known as synchronous learning. Synchronous learning can be used as part of whole class instruction, in smaller groups of students, and/or in a one-on-one context.”

The government also:

  • announced $4 million in funding for school cleaning, cleaning protocols and the hiring of additional custodial staff in September 2020; and

  • announced $736 million of additional funding in public education for the 2020-21 school year. 

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As we gradually re-open in the CKL, many of us remain working at home remotely.

In fact, for some of us, this may be the “new normal”, even as our workplaces fully re-open to traditional operations.

Working at home has its own issues, legally speaking.

Here is a tip sheet for best practices for working at home, specifically about:

  • managing time and working overtime;  

  • ensuring productivity and accountability;  

  • accommodation to the home work environment; and

  • security, confidentiality and privacy issues.  

“Hours of Work and Overtime

The Employment Standards Act, 2000 (Ontario) (the “ESA”) sets out limitations for hours of work for many positions and industries. These ESA limitations continue to apply to remote workers. Employers should be mindful that remote workers may end up working longer hours, either by choice, mistake or simply in a good faith effort to be more productive. It can be easier for remote workers to allege, maliciously or innocently, that they are owed additional compensation or overtime of which the employer was unaware and had not expected. In a remote setting, the employer will often be without the usual level of control, paper records or tracking to refute what has been alleged.

In order to avoid contravening the ESA and minimize liabilities from claims for overtime pay, we recommend that employers draft a work-from-home (“WFH”) policy, which will help establish clear expectations for your employees. Such a policy should do the following:

  • Set out expectations and limitations regarding hours of work per day or week, and also set out specific working hours during the day;

  • Require employees working flexible hours to track the hours they work each day to limit the amount of work performed and to ensure they are generally not exceeding the daily or weekly maximums;

  • Require that any overtime be preapproved in writing, with an explanation as to the nature of the work that is being performed (and even an explanation as to why such work could not be completed within “regular” hours); and

  • Require that employees submit a written report regarding the overtime that has been performed (and description of the work that was performed).

Employers could also consider setting “dark hours,” depending on the nature of their business, when no employees should be logging on or responding to emails or calls.

Employee Productivity and Accountability

Another concern with remote working is maintaining and tracking employee productivity and accountability that would normally be expected and demanded in a regular working environment. It is understandable that employee productivity may drop when working from home because of technical reasons, distractions, lack of office resources, communication difficulties and the inability to complete certain tasks remotely.

To ameliorate these concerns, we recommend that employers institute or consider the following:

  • Team meetings and check-ins held no less than bi-weekly;

  • Using time tracking software, login software or requiring employees to self-monitor and self-report (a journal) their time during the workday;

  • Using an instant messaging service such as Microsoft Teams or Google Hangouts, etc.

  • Setting out working hours per day or week, noting, however, that flexible hours may also lead to higher productivity if the employee has other commitments during the day;

  • Offering support to employees and making sure they have the right tools;

  • Finding ways to encourage and recognize your employees, even if virtually or remotely;

  • Implementing a clear process for dealing with unproductive employees, which can include setting out clear short-term and long-term goals with the employee, and establishing regular check-ins with an unproductive employee to see if they are meeting their goals.

If you are considering disciplining an employee working from home, the usual best practices should apply. These include documentation, progressive discipline (e.g. verbal warning, written warning, suspension, termination) and performance improvement plans as appropriate.

Always remember that flexibility in respect of remote work will place greater strain on supervision. Supervising managers can be assisted by delegating some of their work to others so that they can focus on supervising and confirming outputs.


Employers also have to consider the struggles and hardships that some employees may face as a result of the pandemic and the shutting down of various services, such as schools and daycares. For employees who are parents, guardians or have any dependents, including seniors, quarantine presents additional burdens and responsibilities. The employer has a duty to accommodate such employees to the point of undue hardship.

In the present circumstances, accommodating based on family status may include allowing employees to work flexible or alternate hours or even reduced hours on an unpaid basis.

We recommend that the employer’s WFH policy establish employer expectations for working flexible hours, and set out the duration of the option to work flexible hours. If the ability for employees to work flexible hours is intended to be limited for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis, this should be made clear. As with any policy, it’s important to make clear that the company reserves the right to alter or terminate the policy at any time as circumstances warrant.

It is key that the WFH policy be consistently applied to reduce risk of claims that the employer is providing WFH arrangements on a discriminatory basis. It is also important to note that regardless of the specific WFH policy in place, an employee’s request for accommodation should be considered and responded to on a case-by-case basis.

Security and Confidentiality

In recent weeks, there have been reports of increased cyberattacks as a result of the growing pains associated with adopting remote working technologies. As a result, the threat posed by cyber attackers and resulting losses for businesses is high. In addition, remote working creates new challenges for maintaining a company’s confidential information, as conference calls may be overheard or emails may be read by unintended persons.

In order to maintain the security and confidentiality of business operations, we recommend that employers take the following actions:

  • Implement training sessions for employees who are new to remote working for cyber security and confidentiality best practices;

  • Educate employees on best practices when dealing with communications from unknown third parties;

  • Refresh employees on the company’s security and confidentiality policies;

  • Restrict the use of public or unsecure networks;

  • Use VPN or two-authentication software;

  • Ensure that the WFH policy addresses the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of the company’s information and that it is not inadvertently disclosed to individuals as a result of the home environment.

    • Consider having employees submit their proposed methods for ensuring the confidentiality of company information.”


Aird & Berlis LLP/Aird & McBurney LP – Fiona Brown, Michael F. Horvat and Daria (Dahsha) Peregoudova, published on Lexology.com on June 19, 2020

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The Ontario government is focusing more on balancing  the safety and security of farmers, their families and the provincial food supply by protecting the right for people to participate in lawful protests on public property.

Today, Bill 156, the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020received Royal Assent.

Once proclaimed into force, the Act will further protect against the health and safety risks of on-farm trespassing.

In recent years, farmers have faced increased levels of trespass and theft of livestock from their farms as well as mental heath stress due to these threats.

Bill 156 will increase protections for those farmers while simultaneously protecting the right for people to participate in lawful protests on public property.

The Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020 helps deter trespassers by:

  • Escalating fines of up to $15,000 for a first offence and $25,000 for subsequent offences, compared to a maximum of $10,000 under the Trespass to Property Act;

  • Prescribing aggravating factors that would allow the court to consider factors that might justify an increased fine;

  • Allowing the court to order restitution for damage in prescribed circumstances which could include damage to a farmer's livestock or from theft;

  • Increasing protection for farmers against civil liability from people who were hurt while trespassing or contravening the act, provided the farmer did not directly cause the harm;

  • Removing consent to enter a farm property when it was given under duress or false pretenses.

Last year, the government passed the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act, 2019, giving Ontario the strongest penalties in Canada for people who are convicted of animal abuse. The province now has the first fully provincial government-based animal welfare enforcement system in Canada.

If anybody in Ontario believes that an animal is being mistreated, they should call 1-833-9ANIMAL or 1-833-926-4625 and have a trained inspector investigate the allegation.


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Today the Ontario government announced it is investing $736 million more in public education for the 2020-21 school year, increasing the total to more than $25.5 billion.

This funding, through the Grants for Student Needs (GSN) program, represents the largest investment in public education in Ontario's history.

As a result, Ontario's average per-pupil funding amount has reached $12,525, which is an increase of $250 over the previous year.

All 72 district school boards in the province are projected to have increases to their GSN allocations for the upcoming school year, which includes record-high investments in special education, mental health and well-being, among many other key areas.

Under the GSN, the new $213 million student-centric Supports for Students Fund (SSF) will support:

  • special education,

  • mental health and well-being,

  • language instruction,

  • Indigenous education, and

  • STEM programming.

The Supports for Students Fund can also be used for additional critical staffing needs during the return to school in September, including hiring custodians and education assistants for students who need support.

In addition to the GSN, Ontario is providing funding for the Priorities and Partnerships Fund (PPF), which enables school boards and third-parties to undertake important initiatives and provide critical resources for curricular, extra-curricular, and wrap-around supports. In the upcoming school year, the PPF is projected to be over $300 million, funding approximately 150 initiatives to support students.


  • The Government is providing funding to support the mental health and well-being of students upon the return to school in Fall 2020, as a result of emerging needs related to the COVID-19 school closures.

  • Ontario is also continuing to invest $1.4 billion in school facility repair and renewal to support healthy and safe learning environments, which directly aligns with a recommendation from the Auditor General of Ontario.

  • The Ministry of Education provides operating funding to Ontario’s 72 district school boards through the annual GSN education funding model. Funding to school boards is provided on a combination of per student, per school, and per board basis.

  • Ontario launched Learn at Home and Apprendre à la maison, a new online portal that provides resources for families so students can continue their education while schools are closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

  • Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

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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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As CKL reopens gradually, the Ontario government plans to improve case and contact management to more quickly test, trace and isolate cases of COVID-19 to stop the spread of the virus and prepare for any potential future waves.

These additional measures include a comprehensive case and contact management strategy, Protecting Ontarians through Enhanced Case and Contact Management, and, in partnership with the federal government, a new made-in-Ontario national app called COVID Alert.

The government's enhanced strategy focuses on strengthening and standardizing case and contact management by:

  • Ensuring that all new cases and their close contacts are identified early, contacted quickly, investigated thoroughly and are followed up with daily for up to 14 days;

  • Supporting public health units with up to 1,700 additional staff from Statistics Canada;

  • Improving technology tools by modernizing the integrated Public Health Information System (iPHIS) through the implementation of a new custom-built COVID-19 case and contact management system; and

  • Launching a privacy-first exposure notification app to alert Ontarians when they may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Ontario is providing updated case and contact management guidance for all public health units to ensure consistency across the province. To continue to ensure cases and their contacts are reached in a timely and effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, public health units will:

  • Connect with cases, and with all individuals who have had close contact with a positive case, within 24 hours of being identified;

  • Direct all close contacts to self-isolate for up to 14 days;

  • Follow up with close contacts every day for the duration of their self-isolation; and

  • Advise testing of all appropriate close contacts.

To augment the current provincial capacity of approximately 2,000 case managers and contact tracers, Ontario is providing additional contact tracing staff. New and expanded capacity will be provided through Statistics Canada with access to up to 1,700 additional staff, available to all provinces, for contact tracing. Public Health Ontario will continue overseeing the training and coordination of these additional resources.

Over the summer and into the fall, Ontario will continue to build a supplementary pool of contact tracers from the Ontario Public Service and the broader public sector for additional surge capacity, as required. This will allow public health units to perform their other critical functions, including inspections of food premises and water in recreational facilities, and vaccinations.

To help Ontarians stay safe as the province reopens and social interactions increase, Ontario will be partnering with the federal government to launch COVID Alert, a new privacy-first exposure notification app, within the next two weeks. The made-in-Ontario app was developed by the Ontario Digital Service (ODS) and a group of volunteers from Shopify. One of the overarching principles is ensuring the privacy and security for all users, which is why the government will leverage BlackBerry volunteer expertise to audit the security and privacy of the application, in addition to the province's internal security reviews.

Users will be able to voluntarily download the app and be notified anonymously if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days. In Ontario, the app will also provide users with quick access to Ontario's public health advice and resources, and recommend any necessary actions, such as monitoring for symptoms, self-isolation or appropriate next steps on getting tested. Using a national application will help ensure that Ontarians are notified, regardless of which province they are in, helping us towards the goal of ensuring we can all move more freely and safely.

Ontario is also implementing a new user-friendly case and contact management system that will integrate with COVID-19 laboratory results from the Ontario Laboratory Information System (OLIS) data, making current processes significantly more efficient and reducing the administrative burden for public health unit staff. A single central system will enable the province to identify provincewide regional trends and hotspots, while protecting personal health information. Custom-built on the Salesforce platform, the new system will also allow for a remote workforce, enabling contact tracing to be quickly ramped up when required.

Everyone should continue to follow public health guidelines to stay safe, including physical distancing with people not in your social circle, wearing a face covering if physical distancing is a challenge, washing your hands thoroughly and frequently, and, if you think you have COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, getting tested.

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Lindsay's DriveTest re-opens on Monday.  

Ontario's driver testing services provider, DriveTest, will begin offering limited services across the province beginning Monday, June 22, 2020, with the expectation of restoring full services by September.

This gradual, staggered approach, based on customer date of birth, will ensure that strict protocols are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  

DriveTest centres will begin serving customers based on when they were born to reduce crowding, support new requirements for physical distancing, health checks and enhanced sanitation. People with birthdays between January to June will be allowed to visit a centre the first week of reopening, and people with birthdays between July to December will have access to DriveTest services the following week. Access to DriveTest services will continue to alternate weekly until full services are restored.

In the first phase, all 56 full-time DriveTest centres will reopen on Monday for G1 and M1 knowledge tests, driver's licence exchanges and commercial driver's licence applications and upgrades. Commercial road tests will also be available by appointment at 28 locations across Ontario.

To protect the safety of Ontarians, DriveTest will also require customers to wear face coverings inside centres and during road tests, sanitize their hands when they enter the building and undergo temperature checks before road tests. All DriveTest staff will wear personal protective equipment when serving customers. Driver examiners will also be equipped with face shields, sanitizer packages and seat covers when conducting road tests.

Details of the DriveTest reopening plan, which outline the driver testing services available, how to access DriveTest centres, and which customers are being served each week, will be updated every Monday on DriveTest.ca.

Notably there is no restriction imposed whereby you can only attend the DriveTest in the municipality in which you currently reside on a primary basis.   

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As expected, yesterday the Ontario government passed the Protecting Small Business Act, temporarily halting or reversing evictions of commercial tenants and protecting them from being locked out or having their assets seized during COVID-19.

The legislation applies to businesses that are eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance for evictions from May 1, 2020 until August 31, 2020.

Landlords and tenants are encouraged to participate in the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses.

The pause on evictions does not apply to those participating in CECRA for small businesses, as the program requires landlords to enter into a rent reduction agreement with their impacted small business tenants and commits them to a moratorium on evictions for three months.

Did you also know: 

  • In partnership with the federal government, Ontario is committing $241 million to CECRA for small businesses, which will provide more than $900 million in support for small businesses and their landlords.

  • CECRA for small businesses provides forgivable loans to eligible commercial landlords for the months of April, May, and June 2020. Small business landlords would be asked to forgive at least 25 per cent of the tenant's total rent, tenants would be asked to pay up to 25 per cent of rent and the provincial and federal governments would share the cost of the remaining 50 per cent.

  • Tenants and landlords can learn who is eligible and how to apply at Ontario.ca/rentassistance. The application deadline is August 31, 2020.

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Today the federal government announced that the government is extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) by eight weeks. 

This extension will make the benefit available to eligible workers for up to a total of 24 weeks.

The government has also made changes to the CERB attestation, which will encourage Canadians receiving the benefit to find employment and consult Job Bank, Canada’s national employment service that offers tools to help with job searches. 

Over the next few weeks, the government will monitor international best practices, the economy, and the progression of the virus and, if needed, make necessary changes to the program so more people can have the support they need.

They also announced they intend to continue to review other financial supports, including the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Employment Insurance (EI). 

The CERB is a taxable benefit of $2,000 over a four-week period for eligible workers who have stopped working or whose work hours have been reduced, due to COVID-19.

The CERB is available to workers who:

  • live in Canada and are at least 15 years old

  • have stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19, or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits, or have exhausted their EI regular or fishing benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020

  • had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019, or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application

  • have not earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income per benefit period while collecting the CERB

  • have not quit their job voluntarily

Notably, the CEWS was also extended, as announced on May 15. The CEWS is being extended to August 29, 2020.

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During our recovery efforts, businesses and organizations in the CKL should be developing their own, customized workplace safety plan to continue to operate, or to re-open, during Ontario’s phased-in plan.

The Ontario government has now released a new guide to assist employers to develop and implement a workplace safety plan, including over 100 sector-specific health and safety plans to adopt and follow, covering most, if not all, workplaces in Ontario. 

Below we explain how to create your own plan to protect your employees, maximize safety and minimize liability exposure for you and your businesses.

This is a step-by-guide to making and implementing your workplace safety plan, including six questions you should review and address for your own plan.  

You can download a template (Word format) to create your own plan here: 


Whether you are currently operating or planning for your workers to return to work, the new guide will help you develop a plan to work safely. It will help prepare you to put controls into place to make the workplace safer for everyone.

As part of every workplace safety plan, to minimize the risk of passing on novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) at work, employers should:

  • screen workers

  • support people with symptoms to self-isolate

  • ensure people maintain a physical distance of 2 metres or more

  • disinfect surfaces and objects

  • support hand hygiene, particularly handwashing

  • remind workers about good cough and sneeze etiquette and to avoid touching their face

  • work with the health unit if any workers have COVID-19 or are exposed to someone with COVID-19

You can use the COVID-19 safety plan template to create your own, customized plan. The safety plan is for you, your workers and other people who need to know about it.

Discuss and share your safety plan with everyone at work, including:

  • workers

  • unions

  • supervisors

  • health and safety representatives or members of joint health and safety committees (JHSCs)

  • contractors

  • suppliers

If possible, create, discuss and share your plan before workers return to the workplace. Review and update your plan regularly.

You are not required to send your plan to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development for review or comment.

As an employer it’s your responsibility under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect a worker. This new guide will help you plan how to do this.

The guide does not replace the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations and should not be used as or considered legal advice. Health and safety inspectors apply the law based on the facts in the workplace.


It’s important that you talk to workers and your JHSC members or health and safety representatives, if any, for their input on the plan. Share the plan with all workplace parties when it is done. This will help ensure your workers and others understand how you plan to manage the risks of COVID-19.

Check the Ontario’s online resources to prevent the virus in the workplace for sector-specific information and examples of controls that apply to your workplace specifically. These documents may be helpful as you develop your plan. Visit the webpage regularly to check for the latest information.

You can do that here:



Make sure you continue to follow any provincial orders under Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act as well as any local public health orders.

For example, here is a link to the Ontario government’s most recent order for re-opening or continue to operate during Phase 2:


Here is a link to Ontario’s emergency orders issued to date:


Here is a link to our Health Unit’s section 22 order requiring self-isolation:



The first step to control risks in a workplace is to identify them. For COVID-19, the risks are related to how the virus spreads.

COVID-19 can be spread at the workplace in two main ways:

  • person to person, by people who are in close contact

  • by surfaces or objects, when people touch their face with contaminated hands

The risk of getting COVID-19 is higher if you:

  • spend more time with potentially infected people

  • work in closer proximity to others

  • interact with more people

  • work in more enclosed spaces (working indoors is riskier than working outdoors)

The risk of severe health outcomes is not the same for all workers. The risk increases with age and is higher for people with certain medical conditions.

It is possible for COVID-19 to be spread by people who do not have any symptoms. Act as if everyone is infected when setting up controls.


Control measures are the steps you take to reduce the risks to your workers. With an infectious disease like COVID-19 your controls can help to break the chain of transmission of the virus.

Use the hierarchy of controls

The hierarchy of controls can help you choose the right controls for your workplace. This applies to all workplace hazards, not just COVID-19.

The levels in the hierarchy of controls, in order from most effective to least effective, are:

  1. elimination

  2. substitution

  3. engineering controls

  4. administrative controls

  5. personal protective equipment (PPE)

When making your plan, always start by considering the most effective controls first. First, try to eliminate the hazard altogether. Where eliminating the hazard is not possible, use multiple engineering and administrative controls. The higher the control appears in the diagram and the earlier it is in the list, the more effective it is.

There are currently many uncertainties about COVID-19. As new findings emerge, the risks and best practices for controls may change, so it is important to stay current.


Remove the risk of exposure entirely from the workplace. Having all workers stay home would eliminate COVID-19 risk from the workplace.


Replace a hazardous substance with something less hazardous (for example, replace one chemical with another). For an infectious disease such as COVID-19, substitution is not an option.

Engineering controls

Make physical changes to separate workers from the hazard or support physical distancing, disinfecting and hygiene. For example, you could:

  • install plexiglass barriers to separate workers from customers

  • remove unnecessary doors that many people would have to touch

Administrative controls

Make changes to the ways people work and interact, using policies, procedures, training and signage. For example, you could:

  • establish contactless curbside pickup

  • create policies to limit the number of people in a space at one time

  • schedule to stagger work shifts and breaks

  • establish new cleaning and disinfection protocols

  • provide education and training on proper hand washing technique

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

This is equipment and clothing worn by a worker to minimize exposure to hazards and prevent illnesses and infection. PPE is used to protect the wearer and can include such things as surgical/procedure masks and eye protection.

PPE should only be used after other controls have been carefully considered and all feasible options implemented.

Face coverings

Public health recommends that people use a face covering (for example, non-medical mask, cloth mask) in public to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to other people when physical distancing may be a challenge or not possible.

Face coverings are not PPE and are not an appropriate substitute for physical distancing in the workplace.

They will not protect the people wearing them from being exposed to or getting COVID-19. Encouraging customers and other visitors to your workplace to wear face coverings can help to protect your workers. If workers choose to wear their own face coverings, this will not reduce the need for physical distancing.


There are six questions you should think through as you develop your COVID-19 workplace safety plan, as found in the COVID-19 safety plan template. The information in this document will help you to think through the issues as you develop a plan for the unique situation in your workplace.

Question 1: How will you ensure all workers know how to keep themselves safe from exposure to COVID-19?

Provide clear information and instruction to your workers. Make sure they know what they need to do to protect themselves and others. Ensure they know how to follow the work and hygiene practices in your plan, including all new safety measures.

Set up or use your current internal communication systems to provide frequent reminders and updates. Use a variety of ways to reach your workers, such as:

  • posting notices in common areas

  • emails

  • virtual team meetings

  • intercom announcements

Keep up with public health and workplace safety guidance for COVID-19. Share new information as soon as possible.

Some things to consider:

  • post information for workers and other people entering the workplace

  • share information in all languages spoken by your workers, if possible

  • provide information in ways that are easy to understand, like graphics, and use resources from the Ontario government

  • remind workers about available social and mental health supports, and encourage them to use these resources

  • share information to help your workers stay healthy while travelling between home and work

  • train and re-train on procedures

Question 2: How will you screen for COVID-19?

By keeping symptomatic workers and other people from entering, you can reduce possible transmission in your workplace. Know the symptoms to look for and plan for how you will screen workers and others who enter your workplace. Consider training for those who will be doing the screening.

Screen at the workplace

You can:

  • screen all workers on arrival at work for COVID-19 symptoms and other risk factors (for example, close contact to cases, travel)

  • actively screen by having someone ask the screening questions, where possible

  • consider actively monitoring workers for symptoms more than once during their shift

  • limit others who enter the workplace and put in place a similar screening process for those who must enter the workplace


  • post clear signage with screening questions at all entrances

  • if active screening of non-workers entering the workplace is not possible (for example, public transit, grocery stores), post signage asking people with symptoms not to enter

Encourage workers to self-monitor

  • encourage workers to monitor their own symptoms at all times

  • ensure workers know where to find the online COVID-19 self-assessment

  • ask workers to use the tool at home if they have any symptoms and to follow the instructions

  • ensure workers know who their workplace contact is and how to get in touch with them in case the self-assessment, public health or their health care provider suggests they self-isolate, or if they start to experience symptoms at work

Question 3: How will you control the risk of transmission in your workplace?

COVID-19 can be spread by people who do not have symptoms. This is why it is very important to have effective control measures in the workplace.

Examples of controls to consider are provided below. You can find many other ideas in the sector-specific resources to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace.

To operate your business more safely and to keep it operating, you may need to make changes to the workspace and to the ways your work is done.

Maximize physical distancing and separation

The most effective way to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission is to maintain physical distancing. Where possible, workers should continue to work from home and meet virtually until public health authorities advise otherwise.

To enable workers to maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres from other people in the workplace, use a variety of engineering and administrative controls such as:

  • barriers, such as plexiglass, to maintain separation as a primary means of control

  • scheduling and other administrative changes to reduce the number of people who must share the same space including during shifts, lunch and other breaks

  • providing adequate space

  • using available outdoor space whenever possible (for example, for meetings, breaks, client interactions such as curbside pick-up)

Reduce transmission from surfaces and objects

The virus that causes COVID-19 may be transferred to surfaces or objects. Workers can be infected if they touch their face with contaminated hands.

Consider the policies and procedures you can put in place to make sure you are disinfecting and keeping the workplace as free of the virus as possible. The public health recommendation is to clean high-touch surfaces at least twice a day.

To reduce transmission:

  • consider whether you need to clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and common areas more than twice a day

  • assign tools, equipment and workstations to a single user if possible, or limit the number of users

  • regularly clean and disinfect any shared equipment and tools, including between users

Support good hand and respiratory hygiene

The same everyday steps recommended by public health officials to stop the spread of COVID-19 are important in the workplace too. One of the most important things we can all do is to wash our hands often with soap and water.

Think about what you can do to make it easier for your workers to take these steps regularly at work. You can:

  • post reminders to wash hands, use proper cough and sneeze etiquette and avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth

  • provide ways to properly clean hands by providing access to soap and water and, if that is not possible, alcohol-based hand sanitizer

  • ensure that workers can clean their hands frequently and whenever needed

  • have all workers and visitors properly clean their hands before entering the workplace and after contact with objects and surfaces others may have touched

Personal protective equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) should be used in combination with other controls. Where you cannot use engineering and administrative controls to maintain physical distance, personal protective equipment (PPE) will be needed.

It’s important that any PPE workers use is appropriate for the purpose. The effectiveness of PPE depends on every person wearing it correctly and consistently. Make sure your workers are trained on the care, use and limitations of any PPE that they use.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health has provided direction to health care organizations about the minimum requirements for COVID-19 PPE.

Where PPE for COVID-19 is needed in non-health care settings:

  • it will likely consist of a surgical or procedure mask and eye protection (face shield or goggles)

  • gloves will not usually be needed as they do not provide any more protection than hand washing or using hand sanitizer

  • it will not include a respirator (N95s and equivalent alternatives). These are only required in specific circumstances, for example where aerosol generating medical procedures are performed.

Workers that wear PPE for protection against workplace hazards besides COVID-19 must continue to use that PPE as required. This includes gloves for new cleaning and disinfecting products that workers use because of COVID-19.

Supplies of some types of PPE are limited. Make sure you are using the right controls to protect your workers and only using appropriate PPE so there is enough available for other workers who need it.

Question 4: What will you do if there is a potential case of, or suspected exposure to, COVID-19 at your workplace?

There are steps that you will need to take if one of your workers has symptoms which may be related to COVID-19, or is diagnosed with COVID-19:

Step 1: Exclude symptomatic workers from the workplace

If a worker calls in sick or informs you of symptoms, or close contact with someone with symptoms, have them take the self-assessment. Ask the worker to follow any recommendations given by the tool, including being tested and self-isolating.

If a worker shows symptoms in the workplace, they should return home and self-isolate immediately. If the worker cannot leave immediately, they should be isolated until they are able to leave. Have a plan in place to deal with this and train supervisors on how to handle the situation.

If the worker is very ill, call 911 and let the operator know that the person may have COVID-19.

Ask the worker to contact their doctor or Telehealth Ontario at Toll-free: 1-866-797-0000 for further directions about testing and self-isolation.

Step 2: Contact public health

Immediately contact your local public health unit for guidance on next steps. Public health will provide instructions and do contact tracing if needed.

To support contact tracing, have a system in place so you can provide information about which people had close interactions with an affected worker. This could include information such as:

  • date and approximate length and frequency of interaction

  • full names

  • contact telephone numbers

  • addresses (for workers) or the name of the visitor’s business

Step 3: Follow public health guidance

Your local public health unit may require that:

  • other workers who were exposed are notified and sent home to self-isolate, self-monitor and report any possible COVID-19 symptoms

  • the workplace be shut down while the affected workplace or area and equipment are disinfected

  • other public health measures are implemented

Disinfect surfaces that may have been touched by the ill worker as soon as possible. Read Public Health Ontario's COVID-19 fact sheet about cleaning and disinfection for public settings.

Self-isolation and return-to-work

Public health may require self-isolation for a minimum of 14 days for workers with symptoms, and for those who have had close contact with an individual with symptoms or a confirmed diagnosis.

Symptomatic workers may need to self-isolate for longer based on the advice of public health or their health care provider.

Step 4: Report to Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development

If you are advised that one of your workers 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), you must give notice in writing within four days to:

Additionally, you must report any occupationally acquired illnesses to the WSIB within three days of receiving notification of the illness.

Question 5: How will you manage any new risks caused by changes to the way you operate your business?

Changes to work practices to prevent COVID-19 may affect the way you manage other risks in the workplace. For example, you may have controlled the risk of injury from lifting heavy items by having two people involved. This may not be possible while workers maintain physical distance.

It’s also possible that new procedures will bring new risks or challenges. For example, if you start using a new product for disinfection, you need to know what chemicals are in the product and how to use it safely. Workers may need new training.

Other plans and protocols you have in place may also need to be adapted for COVID-19. For example, how you will maintain physical distance during an emergency evacuation? What you will do if workers are told to self-isolate because of exposure to COVID-19?

Remote work may pose its own risks. This may include technological barriers, mental health concerns and ergonomic challenges.

New risks may be introduced by:

  • workers having been away from their work

  • changes to processes and procedures

  • use of temporary labour and inexperienced staff

  • restarting activities and machinery that have been shut down

  • stress and change – consider how this affects your workers’ mental health

If your plan introduces shift work or splits teams that would normally work together, describe what steps you’ll take to:

  • manage the impacts of shift work, including fatigue, transport, childcare and the potential dilution of skills available within a split team or rostered workgroup

  • ensure each team has access to the right skills and support to be able to work safely

Question 6: How will you make sure your plan is working?

Operating a business during the pandemic and recovery stages will involve different ways of working. Checking to see how your plan is working will help you find the best solutions for your unique situation and adapt to any changes.

You may want to assign a manager or management team to take charge of COVID-related issues, including training for supervisors and regular dialogue with supervisors, to make sure there is compliance with all protocols. Use existing incident reporting systems. Schedule regular times to review your plan and its effectiveness.


  • How will your health and safety representatives or JHSC be involved in evaluating how well the plan is working? In health care workplaces the joint health and safety committee or health and safety representatives must be consulted.

  • What is the best way to engage your workers and workplace parties? Ask them how they would like to participate in decision making and provide feedback. Remember it may not be possible for them to complete forms or attend meetings outside of work time.

  • How will you communicate changes to processes, ensure all workers know about the changes and are trained to implement them?

  • How often will you update and share new versions of your plan?

As the COVID-19 situation evolves what is right for your situation may change. Make sure to review and update your safety plan regularly! 

Maximize safety; minimize harm and potential liability.  

Easy-peasy, right? 

Call us if you need support.   

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The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $10 million in emergency assistance for beef and hog farmers.

The funding will help cover the increased costs of feeding market ready cattle and hogs due to COVID-19 related processing delays, while redirecting surplus pork products to help those in need.

This program is intended to help ensure the country's food supply chain will remain strong and ready to recover as the economy gradually and safely reopens.

The beef cattle set-aside program will provide beef farmers with up to $5 million in support.

Farmers can claim $2 per head of cattle per day to help pay for additional maintenance costs should they have to keep their market-ready animals on their farms for extended periods of time.

The hog sector support program will also provide hog farmers with up to $5 million to help cover additional maintenance costs. Ontario is also providing up to $1.5 million to process and package surplus pork for food banks, to provide those in need with fresh, locally produced pork products. This will assist the pork processing industry with managing capacity while helping those in need.

Both the beef cattle set-aside and hog sector support programs are being offered through AgriRecovery initiatives, under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The provincial contributions are part of Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19.


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Today the Ontario government introduced legislation to temporarily ban commercial evictions.

Many commercial landlords have refused to participate in the CECRA program, administered by both the federal and provincial governments, leaving many small businesses with no ability to carry on business.  

The legislation will protect commercial tenants from being locked out or having their assets seized due to the negative impacts of COVID-19.

It would be retroactive to May 1. 

The government is seeking unanimous consent from all parties in the legislature today to expedite the passage of the bill and have it become law by the evening.


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The Ontario government has published a new order requiring businesses and organizations in the CKL that are reopening to:

  • operate in accordance with all applicable laws, including the Occupational Health and Safety Act and related regulations;

  • operate in compliance with the advice, recommendations and instructions of public health officials, including with respect to physical distancing, cleaning or disinfecting;

  • where open to the public, ensure that members of the public maintain a physical distance of at least 2-metres from other persons (except persons who have arrived at the business/facility together); and

  • ensure that any washrooms available to the public are cleaned and disinfected as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary environment.

The Order also includes sector specific compliance requirements and conditions for reopening. 

Check it out here:



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The Ontario government has announced a proposed, regulatory change to mandate the reporting of data on race, income, language and household size for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Reportedly this will help to ensure the province has a more complete picture of the outbreak.

This change will allow for the collection of data in a consistent way across the province, while ensuring the privacy of Ontarians is protected.

Under these proposed changes, individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 infection will be asked additional questions about their race, income, languages spoken, and household size.

Individuals can choose not to answer any or all of these questions.

Individuals' privacy is protected as it is for all information currently collected on other diseases.

Collecting data province-wide, and in a standardized way, will ensure a more complete picture of the outbreak is captured, says the government.


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The Ontario government has announced $15-million in supplemental Agri-food Workplace Protection Program funding for health and safety measures on farms and in food processing facilities. According to a government press release, this funding will help farmers purchase personal protective equipment and implement workplace modifications and other measures to improve health and safety for their workers.

Specifically, the Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program provides cost-share funding for farmers to purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and implement workplace modifications and other measures. By significantly expanding the program, farmers can take additional steps to improve health and safety for their workers and ensure the continued supply of locally grown food during the COVID-19 outbreak.

This announcement more than triples the earlier investment in this program by the governments of Canada and Ontario.

Both levels of government had committed a total of up to $4.5 million for farmers and provincially licensed meat processors to enhance worker safety under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership program.

Some of the measures already approved through this program include purchases of PPE, temporary housing for ill workers, building physical barriers for worker separation, enhanced hand washing facilities and a tent rental to expand lunch room space.

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The Ontario government has relaxed restrictions on the number of attendees permitted at indoor and outdoor wedding and funeral ceremonies. .

The government is extending the number of people allowed to attend an indoor wedding or funeral ceremony to a maximum of 30 per cent capacity of the ceremony venue.   

Wedding and funeral ceremonies taking place outdoors will be limited to 50 attendees.

For both indoor and outdoor ceremonies, those attending must follow proper health and safety advice, including practising physical distancing from people who are not from the same household or their established 10-person social circle.

The changes came into effect on Friday, June 12 at 12:01 a.m.

The maximum number of people allowed to attend indoor or outdoor wedding and funeral receptions remains at 10 people.


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The federal government has announced a $77.5-million Emergency Processing Fund for food producers, processors, and manufacturers, with two stated objectives:

  1. "Emergency COVID Response” to assist companies to implement changes required by COVID-19 to ensure the health and safety of workers. This funding will assist with:

    • plant retrofits or adjustments to existing operations to accommodate changes to processes and production; and

    • increasing capacity for herd management.

  2. “Strategic Investments” to assist companies to improve, automate, and modernize facilities needed to increase Canada’s food supply capacity.

Eligible applicants include for-profit organizations, cooperatives, and indigenous groups. Information on the application process is available here: 


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Cyber-bullying by engaging in social media attacks can mean paying significant damages to the target of the vitriol. 

In a recent Canadian case, a former husband engaged in a lengthy campaign of cyber-bullying against his former spouse, primarily to intimidate her in their custody proceeding in Family Court. 

The Court said, “This campaign took the form of a long series of venomous Facebook postings”. 

The father posted very nasty comments about his former spouse and flouted the law, in the sense that he openly declared online that he was beyond the reach of the law - a very serious mistake by him.  

The Court prohibited the husband and his new partner from any further cyber-bullying, ordered them to take down the posts or disable access to them and prohibited them from communicating with the targeted mother. 

The Court also noted the husband's conduct “harmed Ms. Candelora’s well-being, both mental and physical,” given her evidence that they caused her psychological stress that affected her ability to work and exacerbated a pre-existing medical condition.

The Court concluded that the impact on the mother, while serious, was not as dire as some other cases presented to the Court during the proceeding. Rather, the mother was mature, was not “unusually vulnerable” to cyber-bullying and does not reside near the father (they actually resided in separate provinces). .

The Court hammered the father with general damages of  $50,000, $20,000 in aggravated damages and, for good measure, added on another $15,000 in punitive damages.

“Punitive damages are warranted in order to occasion respect for the justice system,” the Court ruled. 

“One repeated aspect of the respondents’ postings was their assertion that they were beyond the reach of the courts and their disregard for court orders. This is a denunciatory, non-compensatory purpose and calls for a distinct punitive award.”

While this case was decided in Nova Scotia, it is likely a similar result could have been reached in Ontario, based on Ontario's current law regarding defamation and intrusion upon seclusion (i.e., breach of privacy).  

The Case: 

Candelora v. Feser, 2019 NSSC 370 (CanLII)

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The Ontario has announced a new $5.7-million in funding to help small businesses reach more customers, create and enhance their online presence, and generate jobs through an online platform called the "Digital Main Street". 

It is intended to help up to 22,900 Ontario businesses create and enhance their online presence and generate jobs for more than 1,400 students.

Through the $57-million contribution to the Digital Main Street platform, businesses will be able to take advantage of three new programs to support their digital transformation:

  • shopHERE powered by Google, intended to leverage Ontario's strengths by hiring highly skilled and trained students to build and support the launch of online stores for businesses that previously did not have the capacity to do so themselves. The core goal will be to help small businesses compete and grow, in a world that is increasingly online, and help them recover as quickly as possible following COVID-19.
  • Digital Main Street Grant will help main street small businesses be digitally more effective. Through a $2,500 grant administered by the Ontario BIA Association, small businesses will be able to adopt new technologies and embrace digital marketing. Municipalities, Chambers of Commerce, and Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) can apply for a Digital Service Squad grant, which will allow them to establish teams to provide personalized, one-on-one support.
  • Future-Proofing Main Street will provide specialized and in-depth digital transformation services and support that helps existing main-street firms adapt to changes in their sector and thrive in the new economy. By leveraging teams of digital marketing professionals and talented students, these firms will be able to create new online business models, develop and implement digital and e-commerce marketing strategies, and maximize digital tools, platforms and content.

In addition, the Recovery Activation Program, operated through the Toronto Region Board of Trade, will help businesses grow and digitize their operations with custom consulting sessions, online resource sharing, learning webcasts and business planning. As a result of the investment announced today, the program will be offered province-wide and at no cost to businesses.  

About 60 percent of Ontario's small enterprises have a website, and only seven percent have an online payment solution. Digitally, Canadian businesses are estimated to be two years behind their U.S. counterparts.

Along with the Digital Main Street platform, the province is investing an additional $150 million in rural broadband which will help open the digital road for many Ontario small businesses.

In addition, the province has proposed a ban on commercial evictions to help businesses that have been impacted by restrictions due to COVID-19.

Here is a link: 


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As of today, welcome to the new normal of “social circles” in Ontario. 

You can now 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.

Here is a link to a step-by-step guide to building your own social circle:


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The Ontario government has provided more guidance and updated information about the gradual resumption of visits by family and friends of residents in long-term care homes, retirement homes and other residential care settings, beginning June 18, 2020. 


• Long-term care homes will allow outdoor visits of one person per resident each week at a minimum. Retirement homes will resume indoor and outdoor visits in designated areas or resident suites when physical distancing can be maintained. Other residential care settings will be able to allow outdoor visits of two people at time.

• Visits will be subject to strict health and safety protocols, including requiring visitors to pass active screening every time they visit, confirming with staff that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within the previous two weeks, and complying with the infection prevention and control protocols. This includes bringing and wearing a face covering during visits."

The following conditions must be met before visitors can enter:

  • homes must not have a COVID-19 outbreak;
  • homes must have an established process for communicating visitor protocol and the associated safety procedures; and
  • homes must maintain the highest infection prevention and control standards.

Additional guidance released by the government is available here (long term care homes):


and also here (retirement homes):


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Many CKL restaurants are re-opening for Phase 2 as of tomorrow, in an outdoor capacity for now.

To assist with the transition, here is a tip sheet of recommendations for ensuring a safe re-opening, while promoting the health and safety of everyone:

- patio must be open to the air; no tents, structures or canopies. Umbrellas are allowed for sun shade.

- the required distance between adjacent edges of tables is two metres.

- temporary table dividers may be installed to make physical distancing easier for restaurants with communal seating or larger tables.

- groups must be seated two metres from another group.

- ensure that a distance of two metres is maintained between customers or groups that are together. Co-mingling should be avoided.

- limit the time servers spend within two metres of customers.

- allow space for the safe circulation of customers and staff.

- consider a reservation system to avoid lines of waiting customers.

- ensure that lines of waiting customers do not come close to patio customers.

- demarcate floors with markers for any areas where a line-up may occur.

- mark the direction of travel to designate entrances and exits, pick up areas and washrooms.

- post signage promoting physical distancing upon entry.

For a complete list of the health and safety guidelines recommended by the Ontario government:

Restaurants (food premises):


Restaurant servers, cooks and dishwashers:


Bon appetit!


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The social gathering limit in the CKL has recently been increased from no more than five people, to no more than ten people. 

What does that mean, exactly? 

Only the same people all of the time? Can it be different people at any given time? Does this apply to my our house, or just outside? 

Few specifics were given by the Ontario government when it made this announcement recently.  

When you are with the 10 people do you need to be physically distancing?

Yes. when gathering with people who are from outside your household, you should still stay the recommended two metres apart. 

Is this applicable to indoors or outdoors?

Both. As long as a physical distance of two metres can be maintained with people who are not in your household, it does not matter where the gathering takes place. 

Does it always need to be the same people, or can the 10 people change all the time?

No, it doesn't need to be the same people. You can gather with a different group of 10 people, but you still need to physically distance.

How is this different than double bubbling?

The term 'double-bubble' or 'cohorting' refers to when two households make a pact to gather only with each other, and agree to stay distanced from everyone else.

This allows them to no longer have to physically distance from each other, theoretically, at least. 

However, double bubbling is not currently allowed in Ontario. 

Note, though, this new 10-person social gathering limit isn't restricted to two households and physical distancing measures are still required.   

It is important to remember that all other pandemic precautions must continue to be strictly followed, including proper hand-washing, following our local Health Unit's order about when to self-isolate, self-assessing on Ontario's updated COVID-19 Self Assessment Tool and wearing a proper, non-medical mask when physical distancing may be compromised.    




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The Ontario government has imposed a temporary ban on commercial evictions to help small business owners who are struggling to pay their rent amid the COVID-19 fallout.

Premier Doug Ford announced the moratorium on Monday, which applies to small businesses who qualify for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program (CECRA), where their revenues have dropped at least 70 per cent due to the pandemic.

The ban will take effect for evictions as of June 3 and last until Aug. 31.

The province's emergency commercial rent program launched in April to help small businesses pay their landlords, but it relied on the landlords themselves to apply, leaving the tenants hanging in the balance if they didn't.

Ontario now joins British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia as provinces that have implemented some form of a commercial eviction ban.


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The Ontario government today announced a plan for the gradual and safe resumption of in-person instruction at post-secondary institutions across the province for the summer term.

Starting in July 2020, limited in-person education and training may restart for students who were not able to graduate due to COVID-19 closures.

This first phase will allow institutions to reopen to provide in-person instruction to students in essential, frontline, and high labour market demand areas, such as nursing, personal support workers, engineering, and other critical professions.

Thousands of students across the province could benefit from this summer's reopening.

In September, all students will have the opportunity to attend postsecondary education through virtual learning, in-class instruction, or hybrid formats.

The limited summer reopening will help individual institutions prepare for the fall term by ensuring proper health and safety protocols are in place.

The province is developing a framework to be released to the sector in the coming days, which will provide guidance on the summer reopening and on health and safety measures.

Publicly assisted colleges and universities, Indigenous Institutes, private career colleges and other postsecondary education institutions may participate in this voluntary reopening. Institutions that choose to participate will be responsible for establishing their own plans for this limited reopening in accordance with public health advice and any ministry guidance.

The government will also begin working on a digital and academic modernization framework this summer.

Through this exercise, it will look at unlocking the potential of virtual learning, adapting postsecondary education and training to meet the needs of a rapidly changing job market and economy, increasing the accountability of postsecondary education, developing the necessary physical and digital infrastructure, and fully realizing the value of research, innovation, and intellectual property licensing in the domestic and global marketplace.

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Can someone please finally fix my tooth ache? Yes. 

Our dentists are required by their regulatory body and the Ontario government regulations to open in a staged approach.  

Dentists are now permitted to resume providing non-essential and elective care along with essential services, emergency and urgent care. 

If you visit your dentist, the Ontario Dental Association has indicated that you may have to take, or be subject to, certain measures, which may include patient screening, mask use and waiting outside the dental office to be called in for your appointment.

I think I have a dental emergency: what do I do?

Call your dentist. They will ask you for information about your situation, including whether you have any symptoms of COVID-19, and give you advice about next steps.  If you need to visit the office, they will let you know if they can help or will direct you to another dentist.

Do not go to a hospital emergency room for a dental problem at this time. 

Visiting my dentist: Is it safe?

Dentists must consider the best interests of their patients and communities at all times. The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, our dentists' regulatory body, has developed a guidance document for dentists: COVID-19: Managing Infection Risks During In-Person Dental Care.

Dentists have to follow this guidance document along with information from the Chief Medical Officer of Health when re-opening their office and providing care. 

Here are the key areas of the guidance document provided to your dentist to help ensure your safety and manage infection risks during in-person dental care.

Infection Prevention and Control

  • Infection prevention and control in dentistry is vital for safe patient care.

  • All dentists providing dental treatment are required to ensure the College’s Standard on Infection Prevention and Control are met in their dental practice.

  • If you are concerned about your dental condition, your dentist will ask you questions over the telephone and determine if you need to be seen. If you need to be seen in the office, there are strict Infection Prevention and Control Standards that they must follow. 


  • Your dentist must ensure that the office and operatories are clean and disinfected between each patient appointment.

  • Your dentist must ensure magazines, toys, and any other non-essential items are removed from office, reception area, and operatories.

  • Dentists must tell their staff to clean their hands frequently, especially before and after contact with patients, after contact with high-touch surfaces or equipment, and after removing PPE.

Dentists’ Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Your dentist or oral health care worker should wear personal protective equipment such as gloves, protective eyewear, masks and protective clothing (if an aerosol-generating procedure is performed. PPE should always be used during your treatment.

  • Your dentist must ensure that they can meet the PPE and operatory requirements before they schedule an in-person appointment for assessment or treatment.

  • If your dentist can’t meet the PPE and operatory requirements, and you require emergency treatment, your dentist must refer you to another dentist.

Patient Screening and PPE

  • Before you go into the office, your dentist or their staff will ask you screening questions about to see if you have any COVID-19 symptoms.

  • Dentists must require all patients and visitors to wear a mask at all times while in the office except when they are being treated.

  • Patients who arrive without a mask given one by staff before entering the office. If they can’t provide a mask, they will schedule a new appointment.

Hand Hygiene

  • Patients will be required to perform hand hygiene (washing) using a 70-90% alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water, as soon as they enter the dental office.

  • Your dentist may ask you to disinfect with 70-90% alcohol-based hand rub before leaving the dental office.

  • Your dentist or oral health care worker must wash their hands with soap and running water.

Patient experiencing symptoms of COVID-19

  • Contact your doctor if you might have COVID-19.

  • Call Telehealth Ontario. The Telehealth number is 1-866-797-0000. Stay in self-isolation until you receive instructions otherwise from one of the above sources. 

  • Click here for the Ministry self-assessment link.

  • Patients should tell office dental staff if they experience any symptoms of COVID-19 within 14 days after their dental appointment.

I don’t want to go to my dentist’s office. Can my dentist just prescribe medications for me over the phone?

Your dentist will decide if over-the-counter medications (e.g. Advil, Tylenol) are recommended, if prescription medications are necessary, or if you need to be seen at the office. 

If you need a prescription, your dentist may send a prescription to the pharmacy directly, if appropriate.

During this pandemic, all dentists must continue to practice within the College's Guidelines on prescriptions for narcotics and/or opioids.

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Today the Ontario government announced its plan to reopen child care centres across the province to support the next stage of the province's reopening framework.

The plan will require child care operators to follow strict health protocols to ensure the safety of child care staff and children.

As Ontario continues to implement its Framework for Reopening the Province, child care centres and home care providers across Ontario will be able to reopen with strict safety and operational requirements in place, similar to the safety guidelines required for emergency child care centres.

Centres will be required to adopt specific rules, including:

  • Cohorting ― putting children and staff in groups of 10 or less day over day;

  • COVID-19 response plan ― all child care settings will be required to have a plan in place if a child, parent or staff member/provider is exposed to COVID-19;

  • Screening ― all staff and children must be screened prior to entry to the child care setting.  Anyone feeling unwell must stay home;

  • Daily attendance records ― child care settings must keep daily records of all attendees in order to support contact tracing;

  • Cleaning ― child care settings must be thoroughly cleaned before opening and frequently thereafter;

  • No visitors ― only essential visitors are permitted entry into the child care setting;

  • Implementing drop-off and pick-up protocols in a way that facilitates physical distancing.

Effectively immediately, staff can re-enter child care facilities and begin preparation for reopening.

When these operators have met all the strict and stringent guidelines for reopening, they will be permitted to reopen.

The Ministry of Education has been working with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development to develop these health and safety protocols.

They will enable the safe reopening of child care centres across the province and enhance safety through effective contact tracing.

This plan imposes strict requirements on operators, including mandatory training and reporting and support from the local medical officer of health before reopening.

Based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and with strict health and safety protocols in place, the government is now enabling summer day camp programs across the province to reopen this summer. 

Strict health and safety guidelines were developed by the Ministry of Health in partnership with public health, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and municipalities, and distributed to local public health teams earlier this month.

At this time, overnight camps are not permitted to operate in the summer of 2020.

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The CKL is re-opening in Phase 2. 

However, Ontario has clearly indicated that openings may only take place if the proper health and safety measures are implemented.

To assist, the government has published specific health and safety re-opening guidelines for approximately 100 sectors, including restaurants and retail. 

All CKL businesses to find their specific health and safety guidelines and incorporate them strictly into the Phase 2 re-opening (and continue to abide by them for businesses that were permitted to open during Phase 1).  

The Ontario government has also indicated that it will provide an update on the re-openings of childcare services and summer camps in the near future. 

These health and safety resources will help CLK employers and workers better understand how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Sector guidelines contain recommendations and tips for employers on how to keep workers safe on the job.

Posters for both employers and workers also offer advice on preventative actions, including physical distancing and workplace sanitation.

Employers are encouraged to download the posters to print and post in the workplace.

As new sectors of the economy begin to reopen, additional COVID-19 workplace safety resources will be added.

Ontario also has general information on COVID-19 and workplace health and safety.

Here is the link to the information both employers and employees in the CKL should know and be familiar with for all re-opening in the CKL: 





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Phase 2 re-opening in the CKL includes outdoor-only sports and recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing. 

We have both City-run and many private sporting associations and clubs throughout the CKL, including soccer, lacrosse, tennis and others. 

So, let the games begin, but only subject to the recommended health and safety guidelines and in accordance with COVID-19 common sense. 

Below is a great article that should be consider by any outdoor sporting association or private club, as well as any activity or sporting event presented by the municipality - a must read as we let the games resume in the CKL. 


Game On: Reopening sports and recreation during COVID-19

Getting back to sports amidst an ongoing global pandemic is not an easy task. As the economy moves through the re-opening phase, there a number of best practices that sports and recreation organizations, clubs, leagues and facilities should consider to limit their exposure to lawsuits, whether they are for-profit or not for-profit. Below are top risk management considerations for sports organizations.

1. Know the current state of the law and follow it: There is guidance from all levels of government for individuals and businesses alike. Be aware there may be different (and sometimes conflicting) orders from the federal, provincial, regional and municipal levels of government. It is important to know current public health orders and occupancy limits. Make sure you consult any governing or oversight bodies for your particular sport or industry for guidance on how to run your activity safely. Following all guidance, regulations and public health recommendations with due diligence may be your best defence to a potential lawsuit.

2. Implement workplace policies and training: All organizations and employers should consider establishing clear policies or “best practices” to limit the spread of COVID-19, protect the safety of the public and their members, as well as to minimize occupiers’ liability as applicable. Training (and if necessary, pre-screening) for employees, coaches, administrators, volunteers, athletes, customers, guests, etc. must occur before reopening can take place. Below are some examples of actions to protect employees and customers:

  • Appropriately trained and equipped employees, volunteers and/or contracting parties;
  • Proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) as necessary;
  • Strategic use of flyers and posters to advise employees, staff and others entering the workplace of any risks of within company premises; and
  • Proper handwashing and physical distancing techniques.

3. Document your efforts: Documentation of cleaning and hygiene protocols will be critical to ensure compliance with public health orders and will help to mitigate potential future claims. If your organization, club or business is going to use or revise waivers or indemnity agreements in the face of COVID-19 make sure to document who signed, how and when.

4. Enforcement of COVID-19 policies and best practices: Consider how you are going to enforce COVID-19 policies or best practices within your organization or business. Prepare and implement an enforcement protocol, providing of PPE, testing, etc. Are you going to require all employees, athletes and guests to wear PPE? If so, how will you provide it and pay for it? Will you conduct pre-screening of employees and/or customers? Are you going to hire security officers? Will you hand out trespass notices to individuals who are not complying with your policies and protocols? Have employees been made aware of the risks they face before they return to work? Are employees aware of their options and the protocols in place if they become ill or exposed to someone who is ill?

5. Funding and programming: Be aware of all forms of funding and subsidies available to your club or organization. These can be critical financial considerations for reopening in the 2020 season. Also consider whether your 2020 season needs to look a little different to comply with public health orders (i.e. is it safe to play your sport? Can training facilities be altered to make physical distancing possible? Should you consider alternate forms of programming or activities during this season? How will a shortened season affect your athletes? Will you offer online/digital programming?)

6. Be aware of privacy issues: Your business or organization should consider (and implement) guidance issued by government agencies, regulators and self-regulatory bodies to help manage COVID-19-related cybersecurity risks. Be aware of privacy concerns for employees, athletes and guests, particularly regarding COVID-19 testing and screening measures (e.g. health questionnaires, temperature testing, etc.).

7. Waiver/notices: Consider whether your organization, club or business is going to use or revise waivers or indemnity agreements in the face of COVID-19. Consider the use of additional warning signage as well as cleaning and hygiene protocols and information. Since transmission and contraction of COVID-19 is a novel area for liability, there is uncertainty as to how a court will treat a waiver in relation to liability for transmission of COVID-19. Keep in mind that waivers will apply differently to employees, contractors, customers and volunteers.

8. Rentals/indemnities: Review all rental agreements and permits for your club, organization or business and consider who will bear responsibility for defending any COVID-19 related claims. If you are renting space to other individuals or organizations, consider whether your future rental agreements require revisions to account for COVID-19 related transmission risks.

9. Insurance: Be aware of what kinds of claims and activities your liability insurance will and will not cover. Speak to your broker.

10. Hire a professional and use available resources: Don’t try to do everything yourself—consider hiring an occupational medicine or occupational health and safety specialist to assist you with the reopening process. Ensure your COVID-19 employment policies are drafted appropriately and in accordance with the applicable provincial legislation and public health guidance. Make sure to reach out to other online and local resources to ensure that you are reopening in compliance with the current state of affairs and to promote the safest possible environment for your athletes, volunteers, employees, guests and customers.

Most of all, be flexible and be aware that there will always be some level of risk. We are living in a dynamic environment with infection rates and testing abilities changing daily. Your club, organization or business needs to be ready to adapt to a rapidly changing world in the hopes that we can all get safely back to sports and play.


Borden Ladner Gervais LLP - Justine Blanchet, Erin Durant, Douglas Smith, Jake Cabott and Noah Bustein, published on Lexology.com on June 9, 2020  


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On Saturday, June 6, the Ontario government, after consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health,  extended all emergency orders currently in force under sub-section 7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until June 19, 2020.

"It is critical that we keep these emergency orders in place so we can continue to reopen the province gradually and safely," said Premier Doug Ford. "We are not out of the woods yet, and this deadly virus still poses a serious risk. We encourage businesses to begin preparing to reopen, so when the time comes, they will be able to protect employees, consumers and the general public."

In particular, due to COVID-19's unprecedented impact on the justice system, the province is extending the suspension of limitation periods and time periods in proceedings until September 11, 2020 under sub-section 7.1 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

This is intended to ensure people will not experience legal consequences if the original time requirements of their case are not met while this order is in effect.

The province is reportedly working closely with the Courts to ensure operations can resume as soon as it is safely possible.

In this regard, Ontario's Attorney General’s notice to the legal community on June 5, 2020 reads: 

“First, one of the amendments is intended to enhance certainty as to the duration of the order by ‘decoupling’ the order from the state of emergency. Considering the uncertainty as to the nature and duration of the emergency, it is no longer appropriate for the duration of the order to be so closely tied to the duration of the emergency declaration. Going forward, the duration of the order will be based on all relevant factors and not just the state of emergency.

Second, in light of the concerns raised during my consultations, the suspension of limitation and procedural time periods will now continue up to and including September 11, 2020 (the maximum renewal period allowed for under the EMCPA)." 

Here is a link to the amended Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. E.9:


Anyone who suspects they may have COVID-19, or may have been exposed to the virus, is encouraged to visit an assessment centre to be tested.

To help stop the spread, people should practice physical distancing by staying at least two metres apart from anyone outside their immediate household, wash hands thoroughly and frequently, and, if physical distancing is a challenge, wear a face covering.

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Recently the Ontario government updated its COVID-19 SELF-ASSESSMENT TOOL.

The Tool delivers multiple questions designed to recommend what, if any, actions the self-assessing person should take or consider, including whether to attend work.

A link to the Tool is here:


Determining “At-risk group” and “close physical contact”:

The Tool identifies which individuals belong to an “at-risk group,” and defines “close physical contact.”

At-risk group:

Individuals who meet one of the criteria listed below are in an “at-risk group” for purposes of the Tool:

  • age 70 or older;
  • getting treatment that compromises their immune system (e.g., chemotherapy, medication for transplants, corticosteroids, TNF inhibitors);
  • having a condition that compromises their immune system (e.g., lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, other autoimmune disorder);
  • having a chronic health condition (e.g., diabetes, emphysema, asthma, heart condition); and
  • regularly going to a hospital or health care setting for a treatment (e.g., dialysis, surgery, cancer treatment).

Close physical contact:

The Tool defines “close physical contact” as:

  • being less than 2 metres away in the same room, workspace, or area for over 15 minutes; and
  • living in the same home

Four severe symptoms:

The Tool lists four potential severe symptoms of COVID-19:

  • severe difficulty breathing;
  • severe chest pain;
  • feeling confused or unsure of where you are; or
  • losing consciousness.

Seventeen additional symptoms:

The Tool also lists seventeen additional potential symptoms of COVID-19:

  • fever (feeling hot to the touch, a temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius / 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher);
  • chills;
  • cough that is new or worsening;
  • barking cough, making a whistling noise when breathing (croup);
  • shortness of breath;
  • sore throat;
  • difficulty swallowing;
  • runny nose (not related to other known causes or conditions);
  • stuffy or congested nose (not related to seasonal allergies or other known causes or conditions);
  • lost sense of taste or smell;
  • pink eye (conjunctivitis);
  • headache that is unusual or long-lasting;
  • digestive issues (nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain);
  • muscle aches;
  • extreme tiredness that is unusual;
  • falling down often; and/or
  • for young children and infants: sluggishness or lack of appetite.

The Tool also addresses individuals who were in “close physical contact” with a person (High-Risk Individual) who:

  • tested positive for COVID-19;
  • is currently sick with a new cough, fever, having difficulty breathing; or
  • returned from outside of Canada in the last two weeks.

Finally, the Tool asks individuals if they have travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days.


The Tool provides recommendations for the actions that those in each categories should consider and take.

For example:

Q. What actions does the Tool recommend for individuals who have one or more of the four Severe Symptoms?

A. Call 911 or go directly to their nearest emergency department, and take the self-assessment again (presumably when the symptom(s) subside, given their severity).

Q. What actions does the Tool recommend for individuals who have one or more of the 17 Symptoms?

A. Among other things: (1) Go to a COVID-19 assessment centre to get tested; (2) Stay at home (self-isolate); (3) Only leave home for critical reasons (such as going to an assessment centre); (4) Monitor their health for a full 14 days after their symptoms started; (5) Tell people with whom they were in close contact two days before their symptoms started to monitor their health and self-isolate; (6) Work from home, if possible; otherwise call their manager and occupational health and safety representative to let them know if they are experiencing symptoms or have been instructed to self-isolate, and discuss next steps to ensure they and their company are taking the right safety precautions; and (7) Visit their local emergency department if they begin to experience worsening symptoms.

Q. What actions does the Tool recommend for individuals who in the last 14 days were in “close physical contact” with a High Risk Individual?

A. Among other things: (1) Go to a COIVID-19 assessment centre to get tested; (2) Stay at home (self-isolate) for 14 days; (3) Only leave home for critical reasons such as going to an assessment centre; (3) Work from home, if possible; otherwise call their manager and occupational health and safety representative to let them know if they are experiencing symptoms or have been instructed to self-isolate, and discuss next steps to ensure that they and their company are taking the right safety precautions; and (4) Get re-tested at an assessment centre if they start feeling sick, come into close physical contact with someone who has symptoms, or feel like they need a test.

Q. What actions does the Tool recommend for individuals in the “at risk group”?

A. Among other things: (1) Stay at home (self-isolate); (2) Only leave their home for critical reasons (such as going to an assessment centre or for a medical emergency); (3) Work from home, if possible; otherwise, call their manager and occupational health and safety representative to let them know if they are experiencing symptoms or have been instructed to self-isolate, and discuss next steps to ensure they and their company are taking the right safety precautions; and (4) Visit an assessment centre if they begin to feel sick, come into close physical contact with someone who has symptoms, or feel like they need a test.

Q. What actions does the Tool recommend for individuals who travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days?

A. Among other things: (1) Stay at home (self-isolate) for 14 days; (2) Work from home, if possible; otherwise, call their manager and occupational health and safety representative to let them know if they are experiencing symptoms or have been instructed to self-isolate, and discuss next steps to ensure they and their company are taking the right safety precautions; and (3) Monitor their health and visit an assessment centre if they have symptoms or were told to do so by their local public health unit or their health care provider (doctor, primary care physician).

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A significant list of businesses, including restaurants, hair salons and malls, will be allowed to reopen as of Friday in some parts of Ontario, except the Toronto-area and a few other regions, as the province enters Stage 2 of its restart phase through a regional approach.

The majority of Ontario's public health unit regions will move forward to Stage 2 on June 12, the province announced today.

Our Health Unit will move to Stage 2. 

The province said at the beginning of each week, the government will provide an update on the ongoing assessment of these regions, and whether they are ready to move into Stage 2 at the end of the week.

The province is also increasing social gathering rules, now allowing up to 10 people as of Friday. The increased social gathering rules apply to the entire province, regardless of whether the region is moving to Stage 2, but physical distancing rules still apply.

The province said the decision to move forward to Stage 2 was made in consultation Chief Medical Officer of Health and local health officials.

Ontario is also allowing places of worship to reopen, with attendance limited to 30 per cent capacity, with physical distancing rules in place.

These are the businesses that can reopen in regions entering Stage 2:

  •  Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent properties
  •  Select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons
  •  Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only
  •  Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries
  •  Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools
  •  Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks
  •  Camping at private campgrounds
  •  Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing
  •  Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations
  •  Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing
  •  Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people.

These are the public health units moving to Stage 2:

  •  Algoma Public HealthBrant
  •  County Health Unit
  •  Chatham-Kent Public Health
  •  Eastern Ontario Health Unit
  •  Grey Bruce Health Unit
  •  Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit
  •  Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
  •  Huron Perth Public Health
  •  Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health
  •  Leeds Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
  •  Middlesex-London Health Unit
  •  North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit
  •  Northwestern Health Unit
  •  Ottawa Public Health
  •  Peterborough Public Health
  •  Porcupine Health Unit
  •  Public Health Sudbury & Districts
  •  Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services
  •  Renfrew County and District Health Unit
  •  Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit
  •  Southwestern Public Health
  •  Thunder Bay District Health Unit
  •  Timiskaming Health Unit
  •  Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health

These are the public health units not moving to Stage 2:

  •  Durham Region Health Department
  •  Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
  •  Halton Region Public Health
  •  Hamilton Public Health Services
  •  Lambton Public Health
  •  Niagara Region Public Health
  •  Peel Public Health
  •  Toronto Public Health
  •  Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
  •  York Region Public Health
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Recently the Ontario government updated its COVID-19 SELF-ASSESSMENT TOOL.

The Tool delivers multiple questions designed to recommend what, if any, actions the self-assessing person should take or consider, including whether to attend work.

A link to the Tool is here:


The Tool offers another way in which employers and employees can assess whether attending work is advisable, thereby clarifying uncertainty and confusion in the workplace.

The Tool also offers both employers and employees guidance on how to handle and impose policies and procedures regarding:

  • the potential symptoms of COVID-19, of which they should be aware;
  • determining which employees should be asked to leave the workplace and be directed to an assessment centre to get tested; and
  • determining which employees should self-isolate and work from home, if the nature of their work makes that possible.

Employers are permitted to request employees to use the Tool and follow the recommendations, as part of the overall health and safety plan in the workplace, particularly if there are reasonable grounds for suspecting an employee may be displaying any of the enlarged list of symptoms (described below), have the virus, or he or she may have been exposed primarily to the virus. 

Determining “At-risk group” and “close physical contact”:

The Tool identifies which individuals belong to an “at-risk group,” and defines “close physical contact.”

At-risk group:

Individuals who meet one of the criteria listed below are in an “at-risk group” for purposes of the Tool:

  • age 70 or older;
  • getting treatment that compromises their immune system (e.g., chemotherapy, medication for transplants, corticosteroids, TNF inhibitors);
  • having a condition that compromises their immune system (e.g., lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, other autoimmune disorder);
  • having a chronic health condition (e.g., diabetes, emphysema, asthma, heart condition); and
  • regularly going to a hospital or health care setting for a treatment (e.g., dialysis, surgery, cancer treatment).

Close physical contact:

The Tool defines “close physical contact” as:

  • being less than 2 metres away in the same room, workspace, or area for over 15 minutes; and
  • living in the same home

Four severe symptoms:

The Tool lists four potential severe symptoms of COVID-19:

  • severe difficulty breathing;
  • severe chest pain;
  • feeling confused or unsure of where you are; or
  • losing consciousness.

Seventeen additional symptoms:

The Tool also lists seventeen additional potential symptoms of COVID-19:

  • fever (feeling hot to the touch, a temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius / 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher);
  • chills;
  • cough that is new or worsening;
  • barking cough, making a whistling noise when breathing (croup);
  • shortness of breath;
  • sore throat;
  • difficulty swallowing;
  • runny nose (not related to other known causes or conditions);
  • stuffy or congested nose (not related to seasonal allergies or other known causes or conditions);
  • lost sense of taste or smell;
  • pink eye (conjunctivitis);
  • headache that is unusual or long-lasting;
  • digestive issues (nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain);
  • muscle aches;
  • extreme tiredness that is unusual;
  • falling down often; and/or
  • for young children and infants: sluggishness or lack of appetite.

The Tool also addresses individuals who were in “close physical contact” with a person (High-Risk Individual) who:

  • tested positive for COVID-19;
  • is currently sick with a new cough, fever, having difficulty breathing; or
  • returned from outside of Canada in the last two weeks.

Finally, the Tool asks individuals if they have travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days.


The Tool provides recommendations for the actions that those in each categories should consider and take.

For example:

Q. What actions does the Tool recommend for individuals who have one or more of the four Severe Symptoms?

A. Call 911 or go directly to their nearest emergency department, and take the self-assessment again (presumably when the symptom(s) subside, given their severity).

Q. What actions does the Tool recommend for individuals who have one or more of the 17 Symptoms?

A. Among other things: (1) Go to a COVID-19 assessment centre to get tested; (2) Stay at home (self-isolate); (3) Only leave home for critical reasons (such as going to an assessment centre); (4) Monitor their health for a full 14 days after their symptoms started; (5) Tell people with whom they were in close contact two days before their symptoms started to monitor their health and self-isolate; (6) Work from home, if possible; otherwise call their manager and occupational health and safety representative to let them know if they are experiencing symptoms or have been instructed to self-isolate, and discuss next steps to ensure they and their company are taking the right safety precautions; and (7) Visit their local emergency department if they begin to experience worsening symptoms.

Q. What actions does the Tool recommend for individuals who in the last 14 days were in “close physical contact” with a High Risk Individual?

A. Among other things: (1) Go to a COIVID-19 assessment centre to get tested; (2) Stay at home (self-isolate) for 14 days; (3) Only leave home for critical reasons such as going to an assessment centre; (3) Work from home, if possible; otherwise call their manager and occupational health and safety representative to let them know if they are experiencing symptoms or have been instructed to self-isolate, and discuss next steps to ensure that they and their company are taking the right safety precautions; and (4) Get re-tested at an assessment centre if they start feeling sick, come into close physical contact with someone who has symptoms, or feel like they need a test.

Q. What actions does the Tool recommend for individuals in the “at risk group”?

A. Among other things: (1) Stay at home (self-isolate); (2) Only leave their home for critical reasons (such as going to an assessment centre or for a medical emergency); (3) Work from home, if possible; otherwise, call their manager and occupational health and safety representative to let them know if they are experiencing symptoms or have been instructed to self-isolate, and discuss next steps to ensure they and their company are taking the right safety precautions; and (4) Visit an assessment centre if they begin to feel sick, come into close physical contact with someone who has symptoms, or feel like they need a test.

Q. What actions does the Tool recommend for individuals who travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days?

A. Among other things: (1) Stay at home (self-isolate) for 14 days; (2) Work from home, if possible; otherwise, call their manager and occupational health and safety representative to let them know if they are experiencing symptoms or have been instructed to self-isolate, and discuss next steps to ensure they and their company are taking the right safety precautions; and (3) Monitor their health and visit an assessment centre if they have symptoms or were told to do so by their local public health unit or their health care provider (doctor, primary care physician).

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Yesterday the Ontario government announced the new Premier's Council on Equality of Opportunity, a new advisory group that will provide advice on how young people can overcome social and economic barriers and achieve success.

The council will also advise government on long-term actions that can be taken to support youth during the COVID-19 outbreak.

"At a time when the world is facing some of its most difficult challenges, we have to do everything we can to help our next generation of leaders overcome the social and economic barriers before them," said Premier Ford. "Our young people are the future of this province and I truly believe this council will be a strong advocate that will set them down the path to even greater success."

The council will have up to 20 members, including a chair and a vice-chair.

Membership will be inter-generational and cross-sector, and will include youth between the ages of 18 to 29 and adults with expertise from community organizations, not-for-profit businesses, education, and government services.

The council will focus on the challenges facing young people today, such as completing an education, skills training, and employment. As an immediate priority, the council will identify strategies to support vulnerable and marginalized youth to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Jamil Jivani, Ontario's Advocate for Community Opportunities, will serve as chair of the council for the first year. He will work to engage directly with young people and communities across the province to identify strategies to remove barriers for youth at risk to help ensure they are not left behind.

The Ontario government is further supporting Black communities to address the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 by allocating $1.5 million in funding to organizations that support Black families and youth. This funding will be used to provide urgent COVID-19 supports and address the immediate needs of children, youth and families.

Those interested in joining the council are invited to apply to the Public Appointments Secretariat by Thursday, June 18, 2020.

Eligible candidates should have expertise in areas such as community service, business, education, and government services such as youth justice and child welfare.

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Care in long-term care facilities throughout Ontario remains a serious issue and concern. 

While the Ontario government is making announcements about inquiries, it is important to remember that Ontario law already has in place a duty for everyone to immediately report to the government any suspected abuse, mistreatment or other misconduct in any long-term care facility. 

Specifically, Ontario's Long Term Care Act, 2007, at sub-section 24(1), imposes a positive duty on everyone to report any suspected abuse, misconduct or misappropriation in a long-term care facility. 

This section reads:  

"Reporting certain matters to Director

24 (1) A person who has reasonable grounds to suspect that any of the following has occurred or may occur shall immediately report the suspicion and the information upon which it is based to the Director:

1.  Improper or incompetent treatment or care of a resident that resulted in harm or a risk of harm to the resident.

2.  Abuse of a resident by anyone or neglect of a resident by the licensee or staff that resulted in harm or a risk of harm to the resident.

3.  Unlawful conduct that resulted in harm or a risk of harm to a resident.

4.  Misuse or misappropriation of a resident’s money.

5.  Misuse or misappropriation of funding provided to a licensee under this Act, the Local Health System Integration Act, 2006 or the Connecting Care Act, 2019. 2007, c. 8, ss. 24 (1), 195 (2); 2019, c. 5, Sched. 3, s. 12 (3).

Although everyone, by statute, has a positive duty to report any of these suspected wrongdoings, it is only a offence to fail to do so for certain people; namely, the facility itself, any person who works at or is responsible for operating the facility or anyone who provide services at the facility.  

Notably, the facility itself, under the same legislation, has a legal duty to ensure that any alleged, suspected or witnessed incident of abuse of a resident by anyone, neglect of a resident by the facility or staff is investigated properly and that “appropriate action” is taken in response. 

The investigative results generated by the facility and its responsive action must also be reported to the Ontario government.

Every facility must, by law, also have in a place a process and procedures for receiving, investigating and responding to complaints, including by residents.  



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Today the federal Government announced more support to help Canadians with disabilities deal with extra expenses during the pandemic.

This support includes a special one-time, tax-free payment to individuals who are certificate holders of the Disability Tax Credit as of June 1, 2020, as follows:

  • $600 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate.  

  • $300 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension.

  • $100 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the OAS pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).

Combined with the special payments of $300 for Canadians who are eligible for the OAS pension and the additional $200 for those eligible for the GIS, all seniors with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate will receive a total of $600 in special payments.

People who are eligible for this special payment will receive it automatically.

The Government of Canada recognizes that people with disabilities are also at higher risk of job loss during economic downturns.

To help Canadians with disabilities get and maintain good jobs so they can continue to support themselves and their families, the government will:

  • create a National Workplace Accessibility Stream through the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities. A new investment of $15 million in 2020-21 will provide community organizations with resources to improve workplace accessibility and access to jobs in response to COVID-19, including by helping employers set up accessible and effective work-from-home arrangements. This support will also cover expanding accessible online training opportunities and helping connect Canadians with disabilities working from home with employers.
  • invest $1.18 million in five new projects across the country through the Accessible Technology Program. With this funding, organizations will develop dynamic and affordable technology, such as accessible payment terminals for retailers and tools to make communication easier for Canadians with disabilities in the digital economy.


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Today the federal Government announced that seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will receive their special one-time, tax-free payment during the week of July 6.

Through this measure and others, the government is providing nearly $900 more for single seniors and more than $1,500 for senior couples, on top of their existing benefits, to help these vulnerable Canadians with extra costs during the pandemic.  

Seniors eligible for the OAS pension will receive a payment of $300, and those also eligible for the GIS will receive an additional $200, for a total of $500.

Allowance recipients will also receive $500.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Government of Canada has introduced a number of measures to support seniors, including those most vulnerable.

This includes a one-time special payment through the Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit in April, which provided an average of $375 to single seniors and $510 to senior couples, helping over 4 million low- and modest-income seniors. We are also investing an additional $20 million in community organizations that offer services to seniors, and have reduced minimum withdrawal requirements for all types of registered retirement income funds (RRIFs) by 25 per cent for the year 2020. In addition, we have taken steps to make sure seniors would continue to receive their GIS benefits if they were unable to submit their 2019 income information on time.

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On May 29, 2020, the Ontario government enacted Regulation 228/20 – Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (“Regulation”) under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”).

It offers Ontario employers impacted by COVID-19 with temporary relief from the ESA’s rules on temporary layoffs, termination, severance and constructive dismissal, by deeming an employee to be on unpaid, job-protected Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (“IDEL”) in specific, but not all, circumstances. 

These changes apply solely to non-unionized employees, including assignment employees who are employed by temporary help agencies.

Deemed to be on IDEL 

As opposed to being placed on a temporary layoff, an employee who does not perform their duties because their hours of work have been temporarily reduced or eliminated due to COVID-19 during the “COVID-19 Period” is deemed to be on IDEL.

The “COVID-19 Period” is defined under the Regulation as the period beginning on March 1, 2020 and ending six weeks after the state of emergency in Ontario comes to an end.

IDEL is an unpaid, job protected leave which came into effect under the ESA on March 19, 2020. It has certain conditions to qualify, one of which is a need to provide childcare to children due to Ontario's school closures. .

Under the ESA, an employee on a statutory leave of absence is entitled to continue to participate in benefit plans for the duration of the leave.

However, this new Regulation provides an exception - as of May 29, 2020, if an employee ceased participation in the employer’s benefit plan, or the employer ceased contributions to a benefit plan, the employer is exempt from the general requirement that it continue benefits during an ESA leave.

Employees will not be considered on IDEL if, at anytime on or after March 1, 2020, the employer:

  • terminates/severs the employee’s employ;
  • closes its entire business at an establishment; or
  • has given or gives notice of termination to an employee and the employee resigns in response as specifically provided under the ESA.

Similarly, employees will not be considered on IDEL if, before May 29, 2020, the employee had been:

  • deemed terminated or severed under the ESA because of their layoff; or
  • constructively dismissed and had resigned within a reasonable period.

Where an employee has been given written notice of termination, if the employer and the employee agree, the notice of termination can be withdrawn and the employee can be deemed to be on IDEL.

Reduced Hours/Wages

For an employee whose hours of work have been temporarily reduced or eliminated, or whose wages have been temporarily reduced, for reasons related to COVID-19 during the COVID-19 Period, the usual ESA termination and severance provisions related to layoffs will not apply.

That is, these employees will not be considered to be laid off for the purposes of the ESA during the COVID-19 Period.

The usual ESA rules remain in place if:

  • the employee is or was laid off as a result of a complete closure of the employer’s business at an establishment; or
  • before May 29, 2020, the employee had already been deemed terminated or severed under the ESA because of their layoff.

The Regulation also deems certain circumstances not to constitute a constructive dismissal under the ESA if they occur during the COVID-19 Period, and are for reasons related to COVID-19:

  • a temporary reduction or elimination of an employee’s hours of work.
  • a temporary reduction in an employee’s wages.

However, employees may still claim that such a reduction/elimination constitutes a termination if the employee resigned within a reasonable period before May 29, 2020.

Existing ESA Complaints

Subject to a few exceptions, complaints filed with the Ministry of Labour claiming that a temporary reduction or elimination of an employee’s hours of work, or a temporary reduction in an employee’s wages, constitutes a termination or severance of employment are deemed not to have been filed if the reduction or elimination occurred during the COVID-10 Period for reasons related to COVID-19.

Exemption - where an employee’s employ was deemed terminated before May 29, 2020 because they were laid off for a period longer than a temporary layoff under the ESA.

If so, the employee would still be able to file an ESA complaint if they were not paid their termination and severance (if applicable) entitlements.

In addition, where an employee was constructively dismissed and had resigned within a reasonable period before May 29, 2020, that claim would be allowed to proceed.

The Regulation also addresses how to determine if an employee’s hours of work or wages have been reduced.

For example, where an employee has a regular work week, the employee’s hours of work will be considered reduced if the employee works fewer hours in the work week than they worked in the last regular work week before March 1, 2020.

Where the employee does not have a regular work week, the average number of hours worked in the 12-week period before March 1, 2020 is to be used for comparison purposes.

Important Notes

While this Regulation appears to creatively provide temporary protection to Ontario employers, remember  the pre-existing ESA rules, including the deemed termination provisions for exceeding the temporary layoff period, will apply once the COVID-19 Period expires, unless the Ontario government further intervenes.

Furthermore, for any layoffs that preceded March 1, 2020 and were COVID-19-related, the COVID-19 Period effectively stops the clock on the layoff. 

This is a temporary measure - anticipate the usual rules for lay off will apply again at the end of the defined Covid-19 Period, including the 13-week, rolling threshold for temporary layoffs under the ESA.   

Lastly, note that this Regulation does not impact an employee's right to claim constructive dismissal at common law, which remains preserved and an option. The Ontario government has yet to decree otherwise.   

The Regulation is here: 




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The federal Government has expanded the required use of face coverings on planes, trains, ships and transit to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

Effective Thursday, June 4 at midday, airline flight crew and airport workers will be required to wear non-medical masks, in addition to the existing requirement for passengers. 

Railway operators will have to notify passengers to wear a face covering when physical distancing of two metres from others can't be maintained, or as requested by the rail companies. 

All railway workers will be required to be given face coverings and ensure they are worn according to risk or when mandated by local authorities. 

Marine workers will be advised to possess a face covering that will be worn depending on the workplace risk, when physical distancing can't be maintained or where local authorities require it. 

Practices for the use of personal protective equipment, including masks, will be established for trucking, motor coaches and transit in collaboration with provinces, territories and industry. 


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The Ontario government has published a list of employees eligible for its temporary pandemic pay program. 

To provide additional support for frontline workers fighting COVID-19, the government is providing temporary pandemic pay of $4/hour worked on top of their regular wages. In addition, the government will be providing monthly lump sum payments of $250 for four months to eligible frontline workers who work over 100 hours per month. The pandemic pay will be effective for 16 weeks, from April 24, 2020 until August 13, 2020.

Temporary pandemic pay is designed to support eligible full-time, part-time and casual employees. It does not apply to management.

To receive pandemic pay, you must work in both an eligible:

  • role (i.e. be an eligible worker)
  • workplace

Eligible workplaces and workers are those listed below, by sector.

Health care

To be eligible for pandemic pay you must be an eligible worker (full-time, part-time or casual) who works in an eligible workplace providing in-person publicly-funded services.

Eligible workplaces

  • All hospitals in the province providing publicly-funded services, including small rural hospitals, post-acute hospitals, children’s hospitals and psychiatric hospitals
  • Home and community care settings, including community-based mental health and addictions

Eligible workers

  • Personal support workers including home support workers, home help workers, community support workers, residential support workers, homemakers
  • Registered nurses
  • Registered practical nurses
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Attendant care workers
  • Auxiliary staff, including:
    • porters
    • cooks, food service, food preparation
    • custodians, cleaning/maintenance and environmental services staff, sterilization and reprocessing staff
    • housekeeping
    • laundry
    • security, screeners
    • stores/supply workers, receivers, department attendants
    • hospital ward and unit clerks
    • client facing reception/administrative workers, schedulers, administrative staff working in home and community care or community-based mental health and addictions
    • community drivers
    • community recreational staff/activity coordinators
  • Developmental services workers
  • Mental health and addictions workers: counsellors/therapists, case workers and case managers, intake/admissions, peer workers, residential support staff, Indigenous/cultural service workers
  • Respiratory therapists in hospitals and in the home and community care sector
  • Paramedics
  • Public health and infection prevention and control nurses

Long-term care

Eligible workplaces

  • Long-term care homes (including private, municipal and not-for-profit homes)

Eligible workers

  • All non-management publicly funded employees and workers in eligible workplaces (full-time, part-time and casual)

Retirement homes

Eligible workplaces

  • Licensed retirement homes

Eligible workers

  • All non-management employees working on site in licensed retirement homes (full-time, part-time and casual), excluding hours worked to provide extra care services purchased privately

Social services

Eligible workplaces

  • Homes supporting people with developmental disabilities
  • Intervenor residential sites
  • Indigenous healing and wellness facilities and shelters
  • Shelters for survivors of gender-based violence and human trafficking
  • Youth justice residential facilities
  • Licenced children’s residential sites
  • Directly operated residential facility – Child and Parent Resource Institute
  • Emergency shelters
  • Supportive housing facilities
  • Respite and drop-in centres
  • Temporary shelter facilities, such as re-purposed community centres or arenas
  • Hotels and motels used for self-isolation and/or shelter overflow

Eligible workers

  • Direct support workers (such as developmental service workers, staff in licenced children’s residential sites, intake and outreach workers)
  • Clinical staff
  • Housekeeping staff
  • Security staff
  • Administration personnel
  • Maintenance staff
  • Food service workers
  • Nursing staff


Eligible workplaces

  • Adult correctional facilities and youth justice facilities in Ontario

Eligible workers

  • Correctional officers
  • Youth services officers
  • Nurses
  • Healthcare staff
  • Social workers
  • Food service
  • Maintenance staff
  • Programming personnel
  • Administration personnel
  • Institutional liaison officers
  • Native Institutional Liaison Officers
  • TRILCOR personnel
  • Chaplains
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The federal government has now announced a call for proposals under the Enabling Accessibility Fund ("EAF") – small projects component.

The EAF provides funding for projects that make Canadian communities and workplaces more accessible for persons with disabilities.

The application process has been streamlined, and flat rates have been introduced to reduce the burden on applicants and expedite the process.

Applications are due by July 13, 2020.

The government's announcement is here: 


Applications for this new program can be found here: 



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