Policy Statement

The policy is intended to minimize the potential risk of employees contracting West Nile Virus (WNV) and advise employees of potential risks associated with exposure.


This policy applies to all City of Toronto employees who are at risk of exposure to the West Nile Virus (WNV) as a result of their work activities. Work activities that place employees at risk are those that place them in the vicinity of large numbers of mosquitoes that may carry the virus.


Divisions are required to:

  • Identify and classify jobs with a potential for exposure to West Nile Virus (WNV) as a result of their work activities
  • Develop safe work procedures which address the level of risk encountered. A WNV fact to assist development and implementation of safe work procedures is available on Toronto Public Health’s website
  • Ensure that all employees are informed of risk factors associated with WNV transmission, health effects of the virus and recommended procedures to reduce or eliminate the risk
  • Provide personal protective measures to employees, including insect repellent, as appropriate for the level of risk. A fact sheet regarding precautions is available on Toronto Public Health’s website
  • Review job classifications with a potential for WNV exposure and ensure that the classification is current and correlates with the job demands.
  • Post information regarding West Nile Virus in all workplaces, regardless of the potential for work-related exposure, to enhance the ability of employees to protect themselves on or off the job.

Those with supervisory responsibilities will:

  • Implement safe work procedures to reduce or eliminate risk factors associated with West Nile Virus (WNV) transmission, including, where operationally feasible, scheduling outdoor work to avoid mosquito habitats at times of peak activity and eliminating unnatural mosquito breeding sites
  • Ensure that personal protective measures (e.g. insect repellent) are accessible and available to employees, and that employees are familiar with the directions for safe use
  • Encourage employees to take personal protective measures to reduce the risk of WNV, including wearing appropriate clothing to cover up exposed skin
  • Provide workers with the necessary information to make informed decisions on the personal, voluntary use of insect repellent and make insect repellent available to employees that choose to use it
  • In collaboration with Business Unit Health and Safety Consultants, schedule information and education sessions for employees, as needed

Workers are required to:

  • Review information and educational material provided by the City of Toronto to become familiar with the risk of WNV exposure and the protective measures recommended
  • Follow safe work procedures, and use appropriate personal protective measures, as needed for the level of risk
  • Make an informed decision regarding voluntary use of insect repellent provided by the City of Toronto

Corporate Occupational Health and Safety will:

  • Prepare and update information on the West Nile Virus, as needed
  • Assist in the selection of personal protective measures for employees

Human Resources Health & Safety/WSI Consultants will:

  • Assist with the implementation of the policy and the development of safe work procedures
  • Deliver information and training sessions, as needed

Joint Health and Safety Committees will:

  • Annually review the policy and associated guidelines as they apply at the workplaces represented by the committee
  • Make recommendations for the development of, or improvements to, existing safe work procedures, as needed

Approved by

Executive Management Team (EMT), April 17, 2003
Occupational Health & Safety Co-ordinating Committee (OHSCC), April 4, 2003

Date Approved

April 17, 2003

Reviewed by OHSCC

September 29, 2015

Related links

Toronto Public Health’s website