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On September 26, 2020, the Ontario government adopted a regulation that requires that all businesses and organizations implement mandatory pre-entry COVID-19 screening for all employees and essential visitors by amending O. Reg 364/20.  The specific requirements are as follows:

  • Screen all employees and essential visitors to any workplace;
  • Screening must include symptoms, travel outside of Canada within the last 14 days, and contact with a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19;
  • If an employee answers yes to any question, then they are not permitted to enter the workplace;
  • Screening must be completed before or at the time of entry to a workplace and temperature checks are not required.

The amendment provides employers with flexibility to comply with the mandatory screening requirement. Broadly speaking, screening can be classified as passive or active. Passive screening includes establishing a policy and posting signage related to symptoms, contacts, or travel. This amendment requires active screening of employees through an individual employee questionnaire and the commensurate recordkeeping.

Immediate, vigorous enforcement of the new requirement seems unlikely. However, enforcement could come as time passes and, in particular, if a gap in screening is identified as part of an investigation of a COVID-19 case in the workplace. Given the recent increase in cases in Ontario, the chance of a COVID-positive worker being in the workplace appears to be increasing. Therefore, those responsible for workplaces would be well advised to immediately take steps to implement a pre-entry screening system and to ensure screening is taking place.

The regulation provides employers with a paper-based questionnaire.

HRAI is exploring software solutions (including screening and contact tracing) that may assist members to cost-effectively address their regulatory obligations.

For more information, contact Martin Luymes at 416-453-5899 or email mluymes@hrai.ca.