On Thursday, July 16, the Ontario government published a regulation that amends the existing Stage 2 Closure Order (Order) made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA). The amendments took effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 17, 2020, and are therefore already in force.
Further to our FTR Now of July 15, 2020 in which we outlined the changes proposed by Bill 195, Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2000, it has come to our attention that by motion in the Legislature on July 13, 2020, the Ontario government extended the declared emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) to July 24, 2020.
Premier Ford recently signaled that he is hopeful another extension of the declared emergency made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) will not be needed. Presumably to this end, on July 7, 2020, the government introduced Bill 195, Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2000 (Bill 195) which, if passed, will enable it to continue Orders made under sections 7.0.2 or 7.1 of the EMCPA even after the declared emergency comes to an end.
On July 13, 2020, the Ontario government filed two Orders made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act regarding Stage 3 of the reopening of the province. The first Order, Stages of Reopening, is a new regulation that identifies which regions of the province are at Stage 1, 2 or 3 of the reopening plan.
On Monday, July 13, the Ontario government announced that 24 regions in Ontario are moving to the Stage 3 of the provincial re-opening plans effective Friday, July 17, 2020. The Orders made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act giving effect to this announcement have not yet been published and we will provide further updates on the Stage 3 reopening as may be necessary. In order that you may continue your Return to Work planning, however, here is what we know as of today.
The last week has seen numerous announcements and regulatory changes as the Ontario government continues to ease restrictions and permit more businesses to resume their operations. Effective June 19, 2020, Durham, Haldimand-Norfolk, Halton, Hamilton, Lambton, Niagara and York have been moved to Stage 2.
In a series of announcements and regulatory changes from last week, the Ontario government provided guidance on the reopening of postsecondary education in the province. The developments reviewed in this FTR Now apply to universities, colleges of applied arts and technology, private career colleges and other postsecondary institutions.
On April 25, 2019, the Ontario government announced that it would be providing temporary pandemic pay to frontline workers fighting COVID-19. At the time, we observed that there were some key unknown elements about pandemic pay that required further direction from the government.
As governments start lifting orders and directives made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (or similar legislation in other jurisdictions), it is understandable that employers and employees alike are anxious to return to their ‘pre-COVID-19 normal’. However, in order to ensure a successful return to work during the largest pandemic in modern history, it is crucial that employers turn their minds to the unique labour and employment issues created by COVID-19 and reopen with a solid return to work plan in place.
On May 13, 2020, the Ontario government issued an order (O. Reg. 210/20, Management of Long-Term Care Homes in Outbreak) (Order) made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act which is intended to provide long-term care homes with additional assistance in managing COVID-19 outbreaks.