Canada: Peel and Toronto Issue Orders Regarding COVID-19 Expedited Closures
On April 20, 2021, Peel Public Health (Peel) and the City of Toronto Public Health (Toronto) announced they would be issuing Orders directing business closures in certain circumstances. These Orders, which have now been issued and are in effect, are considered necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19 variants, protect the healthcare system, and save lives. They will remain in effect whenever Peel and Toronto are in the Shutdown or Grey-Lockdown zones of the province’s COVID-19 Response Framework. Peel (which includes the cities of Mississauga and Brampton and the town of Caledon) and Toronto are currently subject to Ontario’s province-wide stay-at-home order.
The following provides more details about the recent closures.
As noted above, on April 20, Peel’s Medical Officer of Health in Peel issued an announcement regarding the need for additional closures. Later that day, the Associate Medical Officer of Health of Peel Public Health issued a Section 22 Order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA), effective April 23, 2021. Together, the announcement and the Order include directives on:
Business Closures, or Shift or Work Area Mass Dismissals
A full workplace premises closure, or a shift or work area mass dismissal, must be implemented for a 10-calendar-day period (or as specified by Peel Public Health), when a workplace premises has five or more laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases within a 14-calendar-day period, and where:
- The cases could reasonably have acquired their infection in the workplace premises, or
- No obvious source of infection has been identified outside the workplace premises, or
- Upon notification by Peel Public Health.
In its pre-Order announcement, Peel indicated that Day 1 of the closure is the day after the business is notified that it must close.
Other significant interventions
Peel may in its judgement require, by notice in writing, other significant interventions:
- Based on the criteria for a full workplace premises closure or a shift or work area mass dismissal, or
- Based on an alternative set of criteria, where it deems such interventions necessary to address circumstances at the premises of a specific workplace.
Verbal notice as an initial step
Peel may give notice verbally as an initial step to implement a closure or shift or work area mass dismissal or other significant intervention of a workplace premises and follow up with a notice in writing when possible.
Exemptions from the Full Closure Requirement
The following workplace premises are exempt from the full closure requirement:
- Healthcare facilities, including vaccination clinics;
- First responder emergency services such as fire, paramedics, police and their communication services;
- Critical infrastructure such as water/wastewater treatment facilities, utilities, telecommunications and IT, transportation, energy;
- Government services;
- Services required to maintain the health of animals; and
- Other workplace premises exempted from closure by Peel Public Health.
Temporary Access to a Closed Workplace
Unless otherwise prohibited by any applicable law, temporary access to a closed workplace is permitted to:
- Perform work at the place of business in order to comply with any applicable law;
- Allow for inspections, maintenance and repairs to be carried out at the place of business;
- Allow for security services to be provided at the place of business; and
- Attend at the place of business temporarily (a) to deal with other critical matters relating to the closure or reopening of the place of business, if the critical matters cannot be attended to remotely; or (b) to access materials, goods or supplies that may be necessary for the business to be operated remotely.