Employers may notify Toronto Public Health when they become aware of two or more cases within the workplace who test positive or have symptoms of COVID-19 within a 7-day period. Preview the reporting tool
Employees may contact the Ministry of Labour if they have concerns regarding the management of COVID-19 Cases at their workplace. For information regarding COVID-19 in the workplace, contact Toronto Public Health or 311.
To help protect workers and the public, Toronto Public Health recommends that employers implement a COVID-19 vaccination policy. See information on establishing a vaccination policy for your workplace and hosting an on-site vaccination clinic
Download printable posters and information cards for your setting and learn about supports available for businesses.
COVID-19 & Respiratory Virus Guidance for Businesses & Organizations
Businesses & organizations have a role to play to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses, such as COVID-19 and the flu. Layers of protection, such as vaccination and masking, help to keep the community safe. They are even more important if there is a rise in cases of respiratory viruses, which is usually higher in the fall and winter months.
The following general guidance is meant to help businesses and organizations reduce the spread of respiratory viruses among staff and patrons.
Encourage COVID-19 Vaccination
- Implement a workplace vaccination policy.
- Encourage all eligible staff, workers, contractors, volunteers and patrons to stay up-to-date with their vaccinations, including recommended COVID-19 booster dose(s) (e.g. post vaccine information in your organization).
- Vaccinations are safe and can protect against serious illness .
Maintain Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems
- Well-maintained HVAC systems help to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses by reducing virus particles in the air.
- See Ventilation to learn more.
- Well-fitted, high-quality masks are an important layer of protection to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, such as COVID-19 and the flu.
- It is recommended to consider wearing masks in crowded indoor public settings with poor ventilation, especially if you or people around you are at higher risk (such as seniors, those with a weak immune system, or young children).
- Businesses and organizations can continue to encourage masking (e.g. by having their own masking policies or posting signs).
- Some people may choose to continue to wear a mask in certain settings or under certain circumstances. Provide a respectful space for those who continue to wear masks.
- See Face Masks & Respirators to learn more.
Promote Hand Hygiene & Respiratory Etiquette
- Post Wash your Hands and Cover your Cough, signs in high traffic areas.
- Provide liquid soap, paper towel, hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration), tissues, and waste receptacles throughout the facility.
- Glove use is not a substitute for proper hand hygiene.
- If gloves are used, it is important to change as necessary (e.g. when changing tasks, when they become dirty).
- Hands should be washed and/or sanitized between changes.
- When gloves are removed, new gloves should be used each time.
Improve Cleaning & Disinfecting Practices
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces as is necessary to maintain a sanitary condition.
- Consider posting signs in visible locations for staff and patrons to screen themselves before entering the premises.
- Ask staff and patrons to stay home if they are sick and to follow self-isolation and other public health guidance.
Support Staff to Stay Home when Sick
- Consider a flexible sick policy so staff do not come to work when they are ill.
- Remind workers of any sick pay entitlements available to them if they must stay home.
- Encourage staff to access testing and treatments for COVID-19, if eligible.
Encourage Physical Distancing Where Possible
- Consider ways to reduce crowding and congestion, especially in indoor areas with poor ventilation.
- Consider plexiglass or other impermeable barriers, for high frequency, short duration interactions.
- Consider requiring appointments/reservations during peak times to minimize lines, prevent crowding and control flow.
Modify Service Delivery & Programming
- Consider alternative methods of service (e.g. virtual, telephone, delivery or pickup) for individuals at higher risk of getting seriously sick from respiratory viruses or who are not able to be vaccinated.
Support Staff on Safe COVID-19 and Respiratory Virus Practices
- Educate and train staff on:
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) that may be required including proper use of masks.
- Hand hygiene, proper use of gloves and respiratory etiquette.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information for Employers
Managing COVID-19 in the Workplace
The aim and purpose of this guidance is to assist employers with information related to the Ontario Government’s reopening framework. Employers must ensure that the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development and/or other relevant government authorities (e.g. WSIB) have been notified in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and other applicable law. More information is available on the Province of Ontario’s website.
Employers may report cases of COVID-19 in the workplace to Toronto Public Health using the COVID-19 Workplace Reporting Tool, if two or more cases within your workplace have tested positive or had symptoms of COVID-19 within a 10 day period.
Workplace vs. employer
- The workplace refers to the physical place of work – not the employer. A workplace can be any land, premises, location or thing at, upon, in or near which a worker works.
- The employer refers to a person, company, or organization that employs people or has under its service a person engaged in work.
- For example, City Hall is a workplace, while the City of Toronto is an employer.
- If an employer becomes aware of two or more people who test positive for COVID-19 within a 10-day period, and those people have a connection to the same physical place of work, the employer may notify TPH.
- Large employers that have many workplaces may notify TPH when there are two or more cases in the same workplace setting (e.g. the same office).
Joe’s Auto Shop
Winnie’s Green Grocer
|Employee Susanna tested positive for COVID-19 on January 2.
Co-op student Preya tested positive for COVID-19 on January 9.
✓ Two people tested positive within a 10-day period
✓ Both Susanna and Preya work at the Leaside auto shop location
Joe may notify TPH.
|Ahmed works at 200 Warden Ave., and tested positive for COVID-19 on February 15.
Ilana works at 96 Jane St., and tested positive for COVID-19 on February 28.
✓ Two people tested positive within a 10- day period
✘ Ahmed and Ilana work at different grocery locations
Winnie does not need to notify TPH.
Employer and Employee Responsibilities
- People may enter a workplace for a variety of reasons. They may be an employee, contracted worker, customer, visitor, etc.
- The employer may report to TPH if they are aware of two or more people – workers, customers and/or visitors – at their workplace who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19 within a 10-day period.
- Employees should report to their employer any situation in the workplace that is likely to be harmful to the health or safety of others in the workplace. This includes one’s potential exposure to COVID-19 that caused or may cause illness to another person.
- For example, if Gary tested positive for COVID-19 and was at the workplace while he was infectious, Gary should tell his employer because other people at the workplace may be exposed.
- Promote COVID-19 screening and consider posting signs at all entrances of a business or organization for patrons and employees.
- Staff should stay home and self-isolate if they are sick. Follow the current provincial guidance for:
- Staff who are COVID-19 positive
- Staff who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19
- When it is safe for an employee to return to work
- Support the employee with COVID-19:
- Ensure you have policies that support employees who need to be absent from work due to illness or confirmed COVID-19 infection
- Ensure that all employees are aware of the income replacement and workplace-related benefits to which they are entitled
- Toronto Public Health does not recommend that employers require clearance testing or doctor’s notes for return to work.
Infection prevention and control
- Toronto Public Health may conduct an investigation of workplace outbreaks in some circumstances.
- Employers must cooperate with infection prevention and control personnel from TPH, which may include:
- allowing entry into the workplace premises for inspection; and
- implementing additional measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to other people.
Download this information as a PDF.
Information about COVID-19 Cases/Contacts at Your Setting Form
Infographics & Posters