As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its pervasive impact on the world, employers are facing unique challenges on all fronts: health and safety, human rights and accommodation, privacy and data security, workplace safety and insurance, pensions and benefits. Hicks Morley has the expertise to guide employers through any pandemic-related labour and employment issues that may arise.
We are continuously monitoring developments and sending communications to our clients with the latest information and impacts on the workplace.
- See our checklist for a successful return to work in a COVID-19 world.
- See our vaccination articles.
- See our COVID-19 articles.
Hicks Morley places the highest priority on client service. We have used our expertise to help our clients navigate countless pandemic-related challenges and we are prepared to help manage whatever comes next. We can:
- keep you apprised of all of the latest government measures and ensure you understand how they affect your business,
- identify your legal obligations in the workplace,
- help create vaccine mandates,
- identify your health and safety obligations, both in terms of ensuring a safe physical workspace and ensuring the health and safety of your employees,
- assist you with obligations relating to statutory leaves,
- review your work-from-home and hybrid-work policies,
- guide you through the statutory benefits that may be available to employees and assist in interpreting other benefit plans that you may have
- advise on benefits issues relating to re-enrollment requirements, waiting periods and insurance and disability coverage,
- help you manage absenteeism through the development of contingency plans
- help you assess the privacy implications of a positive diagnosis in the workplace and navigate the collection of medical information, and
- work with you on various human rights and accommodation issues—including family status—that may arise.
Proof of Vaccination
Individuals in Ontario are required to provide proof of being fully vaccinated in order to access designated public settings and must show their enhanced COVID-19 vaccine certificate with QR code as proof of vaccination, as well as a piece of identification.
Verify Ontario is the only authorized app for businesses and organizations to confirm eligibility of patrons to enter prescribed settings. Businesses and organizations are responsible for ensuring they meet the requirements regarding proof of identification and proof of vaccination against COVID-19.
On January 20, 2022, the Ontario government announced a gradual easing of public health measures.
- January 31, 2022: Social gathering limits will increase to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. Capacity limits will increase to (or remain at) 50% in certain indoor public settings. Spectator areas of facilities such as sporting events, concert venues and theatres will operate at 50 percent seated capacity or 500 people, whichever is less. Enhanced proof of vaccination and other requirements will continue to apply in applicable settings.
- February 21, 2022: Social gathering limits will increase to 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Capacity limits will be removed from certain indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is required. Spectator areas of facilities such as sporting events, concert venues and theatres will operate at 50 percent capacity. Capacity in most remaining indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is not required will be limited to the number of people that can maintain two metres of physical distance. Indoor capacity limits in higher-risk settings will increase to 25 percent. Enhanced proof of vaccination and other requirements will continue to apply in applicable settings.
- March 14, 2022: Social gathering limits will increase to 50 people indoors with no limits for outdoor gatherings. Capacity limits in all indoor public settings will be lifted. Proof of vaccination will be maintained in existing settings in addition to other regular measures. Remaining capacity limits on religious services, rites or ceremonies will be lifted.
For more information on further information on COVID-19, please see:
- Public Health Ontario
- World Health Organization
- Public Health Agency of Canada (24-hour hotline: 800.454.8302)
- Ontario Ministry of Health: COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Ontario
- Government of Canada Employment and Social Development Canada (COVID-19)
The Hicks Morley Advantage
Hicks Morley has been advising employers for almost 50 years. In addition to our ongoing experience with the COVID-19 pandemic, we advised employers on pandemic planning during the SARS crisis in 2003 and the H1N1 scare in 2009. We have the expertise and can help you prepare for any eventuality. We understand your business and we have the expertise and the depth to assist you in navigating the unique issues relating to COVID-19, vaccine mandates and the return to work.
As recognized leaders in the areas of employment and labour law, Hicks Morley is well-positioned to assist you in understanding your compliance obligations, developing return-to-work plans and managing the health and safety of your workforce.