Remaining COVID-19 Orders to be Revoked
Date: April 21, 2022
The Ontario government has filed a regulation which will revoke all remaining COVID-19 regulations (Orders) made under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, effective April 27, 2022. This action is further to the government’s previous announcement of its intention to lift all remaining COVID-19 measures, directives and Orders by this date.
A complete list of the remaining Orders which will be revoked effective April 27, 2022 can be found in O. Reg. 346/22.
In this FTR Now, we remind readers of some of the key implications of these developments.
Revocation of the Rules for Areas at Step 3 and at the Roadmap Exit Step
O. Reg. 346/22 will revoke O. Reg. 364/20, Rules for Areas at Step 3 and at the Roadmap Exit Step, effective April 27, 2022.
Currently, all public health units are in the Roadmap Exit Step, which includes a limited range of obligations on persons responsible for a business or organization, including obligations to:
- operate the business or organization in accordance with all applicable laws, including the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)
- operate the business or organization in compliance with any advice, recommendations and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (OCMOH), including any advice, recommendations and instructions on physical distancing, cleaning or disinfecting, and COVID-19 vaccination policies
- require persons to continue to wear masks in prescribed places, such as public transit and healthcare settings, subject to exceptions.
Cases of the COVID-19 virus, however, remain high in Ontario. Accordingly, we remind employers that notwithstanding the lifting of the COVID-19 Orders, employers are still required to comply with all obligations under the OHSA, including the obligation to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of employees. A contextual approach will need to be adopted by employers, depending on the business or organization, to determine what is reasonable in each particular circumstance.
Revocation of Deployment Orders and Temporary COVID-19-Related Payments
O. Reg. 346/22 will also revoke the following Orders effective April 27, 2022:
- O. Reg. 74/20: Work Redeployment for Certain Health Services Providers
- O. Reg. 77/20: Work Deployment Measures in Long-Term Care Homes
- O. Reg. 116/20: Work Deployment Measures for Boards of Health
- O. Reg. 118/20: Work Deployment Measures in Retirement Homes
- O. Reg. 145/20: Work Deployment Measures for Service Agencies Providing Violence Against Women Residential Services and Crisis Line Services
- O. Reg. 154/20: Work Deployment Measures for District Social Services Administration Boards
- O. Reg. 157/20: Work Deployment Measures for Municipalities
- O. Reg. 195/20: Treatment of Temporary COVID-19 Related Payments to Employees
As we discussed in our FTR Now of March 11, 2022, employers who have been relying on these Orders in making their staffing and staff deployment decisions, or who have been providing temporary COVID-19-related payments to their employees, should be planning for the revocation of the Orders and the return to the pre-pandemic staffing rules of any applicable collective agreements, as well as the original restrictions found in the Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019 (Bill 124).
Finally, we remind readers that the government’s earlier announcement also indicated that all remaining directives issued by the OCMOH in response to COVID-19 would be revoked on April 27, 2022. This includes Directives 1, 2.1, 3, 4 and 5. These directives apply to various parts of the broader health sector, including hospitals, long-term care homes, and ambulance services and paramedics. They address matters including personal protective equipment, point-of-care risk assessments, patient transfers, etc.
While O. Reg. 346/22 does not specifically address these directives, we currently have no reason to expect that they will be continued beyond April 27, 2022. Thus, as with the other developments discussed in this FTR Now, employers who have been subject to these directives will need to continue planning for their revocation and the impact that will have on current health and safety plans and other practices.
Please contact your regular Hicks Morley lawyer should you require further information about the effect the revocation of these Orders or directives may have on your operations.
Editor’s Note: On April 22, 2022, the Ontario government announced that the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (OCMOH) will be maintaining existing masking requirements in select higher-risk indoor settings, as well as all remaining directives issued by the OCMOH in response to COVID-19, until June 11, 2022. Please refer to our FTR Now of April 25, 2022 as it relates to this April 22, 2022 announcement.
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