The Ministry of Health issued new rules effective September 26, 2020, requiring employers in all sectors to screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms at the beginning of each workday or shift.  The Ministry released a COVID-19 employee screening tool to be used to follow the new screening rules, which can be found here. The questions listed in the Ministry’s screening tool are the minimum required to comply with the new rules, but may not include everything an employer may wish to include in its screening.  Employers should modify or supplement this screening tool depending on the particular circumstances of their workplace(s). 

The new rule to screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms also applies to all “essential visitors” attending any workplace in Ontario. “Essential visitors” include any individuals attending an establishment to provide a service, such as contractors and security, maintenance, and cleaning staff.  Notably, “essential visitors” do not include customers or patrons, nor does it include emergency services personnel who are attending to an emergency at the establishment. 

Employers are now required to screen employees pursuant to the Ministry of Health’s new rules, and comply with all “advice, recommendations and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health on screening individuals.”  As this information may change without notice, employers are recommended to regularly check the Ministry of Health for updates. 

The Ministry’s new rules to screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms were in effect as of Saturday, September 26, 2020.  If not already in place, employers should immediately implement screening processes that employees can complete before attending the workplace each shift or workday.  The Ministry has not specified how employers are required to implement screening.  However, given that the primary purpose of the new rules is to prevent symptomatic employees from attending an establishment and potentially infecting others, screening generally should be complete before an employee enters the workplace.  For most employers, online screening is recommended. 

The new screening rules do not affect employees working from home, as they are not attending the workplace.

For questions about the new screening requirements and how to implement efficient screening processes, please contact Whitten & Lublin online or by phone at (416) 640-2667 today.

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