As we all continue to deal with the COVID 19 outbreak here are some recent updates, Situation reports and observations.
Please note: Information regarding COVID 19 changes frequently, sometimes within the same day, including the details of various government assistance programs, regulations and best practices. As such it is extremely important carefully review each update and obtain information from credible government, health service or public health units.
If you have additional questions, please either contact your RMG consultant, or our firm directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with the re line: COVID-19. We’ll respond promptly. For emergency assistance please call 226 972 1539
Government of Ontario extends Emergency Orders
On 06 May 2020 the Government of Ontario announced emergency orders made under the Emergency Management & Civil Protection Act, including the closure of non-essential workplaces. These orders have now been extended to 19 May 2020.
In addition to the restrictions lifted last week within Ontario, the following amendments have also been released:
- Garden centers and nurseries, effective 08 May 2020, at 12:01 AM- permitted to open for in store purchases, operating under same guidelines as grocery stores and pharmacies,
- Hardware and Supply stores- as of Saturday, May 9th at 12:01 AM permitted to open for in store payment and purchases,
- Retail stores with street entrances- As of Monday, May 12th may offer curbside pick-up and delivery in accordance with Ministry of Health’s Guidance Document for Essential Workplaces and the OHS Act
The Government has also expanded essential construction to allow below grade multi-residential construction projects to begin work and existing above-grade projects to continue. These are in addition to the items approved earlier this week. The Government of Ontario’s plan to reopen and how it will monitor progress can be found here:
All levels of government (municipal, provincial, regional and federal) have released general and sector specific financial relief programs. The list is extensive, and we have found the best and most comprehensive list provided by Business development Bank of Canada (BDC) and attached it as a PDF to this report. Additionally, FDC has released a wage subsidy calculator which can be found on their website at fbc.ca.
WSIB relief and tax deferrals on EHT, Tobacco and gas tax for more information, please visit the government of Ontario website, CRA website, the COVID 19 information section on our website or the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board Website.
All businesses must follow Public Health guidelines and should continually review, audit and adjust as required physical barriers, access to hand washing facilities, social distancing requirements, and operational safety requirements.
It is our opinion that these guidelines will be in effect one way or another for the next 4-6 months, all levels of governments have stated in no uncertain terms that if cases begin to spike again then they will be prepared to return to the more severe measures contained in past orders. We strongly urge firms to have written, communicated and enforceable plans in place to help ensure proper methods are followed and of course reduce the spread of COVID 19.
We are continually asked about business travel both nationally and internationally, within Canada airlines are operating but at reduced frequency and all travelers must wear suitable face coverings when onboard an aircraft or train. Additionally, some provinces have enacted isolation requirements for travelers arriving from within Canada. Check with the provincial health authority for the province you may have to travel to prior to making any travel arrangements. Carriers have been instructed to deny boarding to any person displaying COVID 19 symptoms. We strongly encourage travel be restricted to essential travel only. International restrictions are set by the destination country and change on a regular basis. A link to these restrictions is found below. Regardless any person returning from international destinations must self-isolate for 14 days upon their return to Canada.
No one can predict the future, what we can do is take lessons from previous outbreaks, factor in current resource levels, observe what is happening in the world where the outbreak is trending downward or upward and then make some educated projections. We are dealing with a new virus and as we gather more information, try new treatments and a host of other factors guides how we respond. What we do know is that COVID 19 will be an issue into 2021 with a second wave projected to occur in mid-September along with the projected arrival of the seasonal influenzas outbreak, and as one person put yesterday until a vaccine is developed and tested, we will have to adapt and co-exist with this virus. This is a perfect opportunity to have frank, detailed discussions with your senior management group to determine what process’s worked, what did not, what resources will be required over the next 30, 60, 90 day periods, what improvements to your internal programs can be made and when, we encourage all our clients to have realistic discussions on how their workplace will function when people return to work, to have proper screening and assessment tools in place, proper procedures, sanitization programs, security systems and worker education programs and most of all proper PPE in sufficient amounts. RMG can assist you with this planning if required.
Bottom line: There are many issues at play in this serious and evolving situation. If you have any questions about how COVID-19 may impact your workplace, contact your RMG Consultant or a member of the RMG Medical Services Unit team at email@example.com