Businesses and Workplaces

Contact(s)

Workplace Vaccination Policies

Owning or operating a business or running an organization can be challenging in these times. The Health Unit has gathered and developed resources to assist local employers and people responsible for businesses in protecting their workplaces from COVID-19.

As an employer, it’s your responsibility under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect a worker. Under the O. Reg. 364/20: Rules for Areas at Step 3 and at the Roadmap Exit Step, all persons responsible for a business that is open must have a written COVID-19 safety plan (Government of Ontario).

Everyone must self-screen before going to work each day. The COVID-19 worker and employee screening tool is available online. Bookmark the website to make it easy for you to find every day.

All businesses and organizations are required to have visible signage at all entrances that inform individuals on how to screen themselves for COVID-19. Find out more.

Customers and patrons may be asked to screen before entering a business or public place. Some businesses or organizations in specific zones, as defined in the Roadmap to Reopening Ontario, must screen patrons before they are allowed to enter. The COVID-19 customer screening tool is available online.

Employers

Infection Prevention and Control Measures for Employers

*This does not substitute legal advice. These are general infection protection and control measures. It is important to note, some of these practices may not be feasible in all workplaces and/or there may be additional workplace policies, Ministry guidelines, or legislation for specific jobs or sectors. 

  • Post signage (e.g., physical distancing, hand washing, face covering);
  • Provide access to hand washing stations and/or hand sanitizer;
  • Sanitize high-touch surfaces often (e.g., counters, door knobs, equipment, tools, vehicles);
  • Examine ventilation (e.g., improve fresh air intake and air circulation, open windows);   
  • Review space to support physical distance of at least two metres (e.g., maintain space between desks, maintain space chairs in lunch room, use of separate entrances/exits, place floor decals to direct flow and encourage physical distancing, limit number of customers allowed inside, place barriers between employee and customers);
  • Do not allow customers to bring reusable cups, bags, and containers;
  • Review and consider various options for:
    • work schedule (e.g., work from home, staggered hours, breaks, lunches);
    • payment (e.g., encourage use of credit/debit);
    • meetings (e.g., by phone, virtually, outdoors, scheduled vs. drop-in);
    • non-essential tasks (e.g., delay, stop);
    • review, update, and communicate/post policies (e.g., Face Covering policy, reporting illness, sick time, infection prevention and control, sanitization, tracking). When you review and create new policies, consider all workplace hazards, not just COVID-19 and consult with your Joint Health and Safety Committees/Health and Safety representatives;
    • Have your COVID-19 plan available;
    • Ensure that all employees and customers are wearing face coverings, as required.

Employers should review relevant guidance documents provided by:

Employers are also encouraged to review:

Use of personal protective equipment (PPE)

The use of PPE (e.g. face coverings, gloves, goggles, shields) depends on the sector and tasks performed by employees. Please review the recommendations made in relevant documents, such as the sector specific guidance documents provided by the Government of Ontario. If employees require PPE, the employer must provide it. They also need to ensure their employees are appropriately trained in its use and properly fitted (i.e. N95s). If employees have questions or concerns, they should consult with their supervisor, a Joint Health and Safety Committee member or Occupational Health and Safety representative, or their industry-specific health and safety association. Complaints for non-compliance should be directed to the Ministry of Labour.

Face Coverings

There is currently a local and provincial face covering mandate in place. For more information about what you need to do as a resident and business in the district of North Bay Parry Sound, visit the face coverings webpage.

Eye Protection

Eye protection provides a barrier to particles that might get into your eye and make you sick. It is often used in combination with other personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, gowns, masks or respirators. To determine when eye protection and other PPE is needed, review the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development guidelines and develop a COVID-19 workplace safety plan. This includes looking at the effectiveness of other controls you already have in place.

There are several different types of eye protection. Use this Eye Protection in the Workplace Guide to choose the correct eye protection for your workplace, and make sure to properly clean and disinfect your reusable eye protection.

Access a directory of PPE suppliers on the Government of Ontario website.

For more information

Government of Ontario

Government of Canada

North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit

  • Call 1-844-478-1400 for questions around infection prevention and control measures for your workplace and COVID-19 (e.g., contact tracing, testing, self-isolation, return to work). 

Workplace Vaccination Policies

A workplace vaccination policy is an important measure to promote the safety of employees and the public. We strongly recommend that every workplace develop and implement such a policy. Employers must maintain a safe work environment, which includes following recommended public health measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The promotion of vaccine uptake can help reduce COVID-19 workplace outbreaks and disruptions. COVID-19 vaccines are widely available and effective in protecting individuals against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

To support you in developing your policy, the Health Unit has developed a toolkit to help workplaces craft their own COVID-19 vaccination policies. The Health Unit has also created an education module to help your employees better understand the importance of being vaccinated. If employers have any questions regarding employment vaccination policies, please email our COVID-19 Response Team at covid-19.response@healthunit.ca.

Note that the Policy Toolkit should not be considered legal advice. Employers and persons responsible for a business in operation are encouraged to seek legal advice or assistance in developing their vaccination policy. Each organization should evaluate their particular risks associated with COVID-19 when considering and adapting the template. Employers have a general duty under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to take every reasonable precaution to protect their workers (Ontario regulation 364/20) and sector-specific legislation, as applicable, should also be followed.

Rapid Antigen Tests

Some workplaces may require rapid antigen tests (RATs) as part of their vaccine policy. RATs are an additional screening method to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces. Employers can choose to have workers test on-site or at home before entering the work premises. RATs take about 15 minutes to produce results. RATs can be used on an individual up to 2-3 times per week. RATs are not to be used to screen customers/clients or the general public. For more information about RATs, please visit: ontario.ca/testingonsite.

Any individual who is trained can perform RATs. To be considered trained, an individual must watch and review appropriate training resources on the Ontario Health website and scroll to Testing; Training and Resources.

RATs are for employees who have no symptoms. Symptomatic employees should not use RATs and instead be instructed to self-isolate and arrange to be tested at an Assessment Centre. Workers should not be at work if symptomatic. Assessment Centres do not have the capacity to function as a workplace testing screening program and employees with no symptoms should not be sent there.

To check if your workplace is eligible to get free RATs through the Provincial Antigen Screening Program, please visit the Government of Ontario website.

The Chambers of Commerce in North Bay, West Nipissing, and Parry Sound are offering RATs for small businesses. Please visit the links below for more information:

https://www.nbdcc.ca/free-rapid-antigen-screening-program/

https://www.westnipissingchamber.ca/rapid-tests

https://www.psachamber.ca/rapid-testing-kits?rq=Rapid%20tests

Employees

Infection Protection and Control Measures for Employees

*These measures may not be possible in all workplaces and/or you may have other policies and laws to follow for your specific job or sector. 

  • Practice physical distancing (2 metres or 6 feet);
  • Wear a face covering or Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as required;
  • Wash hands often (soap and water for 20 seconds or with hand sanitizer);
  • Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose;
  • Avoid using contact greetings (e.g., shaking hands);
  • Avoid or minimize sharing tools, equipment, supplies;
  • Sanitize high-touch surfaces often (e.g., counters, door knobs, equipment, tools, vehicles);
  • Stay home if you have symptoms of COVID-19. If you have symptoms, immediately isolate yourself, notify your supervisor or occupational health department, and arrange to be tested.

For concerns about your workplace’s health and safety practices related to COVID-19

If you have any health and safety concerns at work, talk to your supervisor, Joint Health and Safety Committee or Occupational Health and Safety representative, or their industry-specific health and safety association. If your concern is not resolved, you can contact the Ministry of Labour’s Health and Safety Contact Centre (1-877-202-0008) to file a complaint. You have the right to refuse unsafe work.

Ontario Human Rights Commission’s (OHRC) policy on the COVID-19 pandemic

The OHRC’s policy statement on the COVID-19 pandemic reads "that negative treatment of employees who have, or are perceived to have, COVID-19, for reasons unrelated to public health and safety, is discriminatory and prohibited under the Code. Employers have a duty to accommodate employees in relation to COVID-19, unless it would amount to undue hardship based on cost, or health and safety."

The OHRC wrote to urge governments and agencies to adopt a human rights-based approach to managing the COVID-19 pandemic. To assist us, the OHRC has created these resources:

  1. Policy Statement on a human rights-based approach to managing the COVID-19 pandemic;
  2. Actions consistent with a human rights-based approach to managing the COVID-19 pandemic;
  3. COVID-19 and Ontario's Human Rights Code - Questions and Answers.

Workers who believe that they are being discriminated against can contact their union, human resources department and/or the Ontario Human Rights Legal Support Centre at 1-866-625-5179.        

Additional Resources:

Community Partners/Health Care Providers

Ontario Ministry of Health: COVID-19 Directives, Memorandums and Other Resources  

Ontario Ministry of Health: COVID-19 Guidance Document: Primary Care Providers in a Community Setting 

Ontario Ministry of Health: COVID-19 Patient Screening Guidance Document

Ontario Ministry of Health: COVID-19 Guidance: Home and Community Care Providers

Ontario Ministry of Health: COVID-19 Guidance for the Health Sector 

Ontario Ministry of Health/Ministry of Long-Term Care: COVID-19 Information for the Long-Term Care Sector

Social Services

Signage

 Vaccine Campaigns 

 View our One Step Closer campaign. Feel free to use any of the content to promote the COVID-19 vaccine. 

North Bay

345 Oak Street West
705-474-1400

Parry Sound

70 Joseph Street Unit #302
705-746-5801

Burk's Falls

17 Copeland Street (by appointment only)
1-800-563-2808