Government of Ontario Response
The Government of Ontario has announced it will introduce legislation that will include protected leave and remove the requirement for employees to obtain sick notes prior to taking time off for self-isolation or quarantine.
Based on advice from Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, and the experts at the COVID-19 Command Table, the Minister of Education has issued a Ministerial Order to close all publicly funded schools in Ontario for two weeks following March break, in response to the emergence in Ontario of COVID-19. This means that Ontario schools have been ordered to remain closed from March 14 through to April 5, 2020.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health issued a memo last week detailing Enhanced Public Health measures for COVID-19. Similar to recent guidance for long-term care and retirement homes, all licensed child-care centres are asked to actively screen children, parents, staff and visitors for any symptoms and travel history that may be related to COVID-19 based on the ministry’s case definition. The government has also recommended the immediate suspension of all large events and public gatherings of over 250 people. In addition, the Chief Medical Officer of Health issued a memo to Long-Term Care Homes, Retirement Homes, Supportive Housing, Hospices and other congregate care settings on allowing only essential visitors.
The Government of Ontario is also working with its postsecondary institutions to ensure each campus has a COVID-19 response plan for academic continuity for students and faculty that does not put their health or personal well-being at risk, while ensuring students can continue to receive the world-class education our institutions provide.
Legislators at Queen’s Park will resume for an emergency session today. Last week, they unanimously passed a motion that would allow them to avoid returning to the legislature if the COVID-19 outbreak worsens.
The March 25 provincial budget will be reduced to a fiscal update with the full budget to be released at a later date.