Ontario to Maintain Masking and Certain Other COVID-19 Measures Until June 11, 2022
Date: April 25, 2022
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. This marks a change from the government’s previous announcement of its intention to lift all remaining COVID-19 measures and directives effective April 27, 2022, and requires an update to our FTR Now of April 21, 2022.
In this FTR Now, we provide details of the government’s most recent announcement as it relates to maintaining both existing masking requirements and the OCMOH directives.
Masking Requirements in Select Indoor Settings
Masking requirements will remain in place until 12:00 a.m. on June 11, 2022 in “specific public settings where individuals who are, or may be, at increased risk of severe outcomes, are in close contact for extended periods of time.” The complete list of these settings is set out in a Section 22 Class Order (Order) issued by the OCMOH under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, and includes the following:
- public transit,
- hospitals (both those within the meaning of the Public Hospitals Act and the Private Hospitals Act),
- long-term care homes within the meaning of the Fixing Long-Term Care Act, 2021,
- retirement homes within the meaning of the Retirement Homes Act, 2010,
- clinics that provide health care services,
- businesses or organizations that operate a shelter for persons experiencing homelessness, in respect of the premises used for the operation of the shelter, and
- congregate care supportive housing residences where the residents share facilities for living, dining, sleeping or bathing and that receive funding from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Ministry of Health, Ontario Health, a service manager designated under the Housing Services Act, 2011, the Ontario Aboriginal Housing Support Services Corporation, or the Miziwe Biik Development Corporation.
Under the Order, any person entering the indoor area of such a setting, or in a vehicle operated as part of the business or organization, must ensure they are wearing a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin (subject, as is currently the case, to limited exceptions).
The announcement states that the OCMOH will also be maintaining the remaining OCMOH directives until June 11, 2022, after which the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care will issue guidance regarding personal protective equipment for infection prevention and control in health care settings.
As we discussed in our FTR Now of April 21, 2022, the OCMOH directives include 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 and patient transfers, amongst others.
While we indicated in our earlier FTR Now that the OCMOH directives would be revoked on April 27, 2022 (based on the then-available information), the newly announced extension means that employers who have been subject to these directives will continue to be until June 11, 2022.
The government’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic remains fluid and subject to change in response to new developments. At the time of the publication of this FTR Now, the government has not given any indication that the remaining orders issued under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 will be extended beyond April 27, 2022. However, we will continue to monitor future announcements to keep employers apprised of any further changes.
Please contact your regular Hicks Morley lawyer should you require further information about the effect this most recent government announcement may have on your operations.
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