Last updated: February 19, 2021 at 4 p.m.

Informed by the best advice from Toronto Public Health and other public health experts, the City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario have enacted legislation to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The enforcement of these public health bylaws and orders continues to be a priority for the City of Toronto.

Under the temporary physical distancing bylaws, people who are not from the same household must maintain a physical distance of two metres (six feet) apart in a park or public square. The fines for failing to practise physical distancing in a park, beach or public square range from a ticket for $1000 up to a maximum of $5000.

Start: April 2020 through Emergency Order No. 1 and Emergency Order No. 2 signed by Mayor John Tory

End: On September 30, 2020, City Council voted to extend the temporary bylaw until January 2021

Legislation: temporary amendments to Municipal Code Chapter 608, Parks, and Chapter 636, Public Squares required by the Mayor’s two emergency orders were implemented by City of Toronto By-law 322-2020 and By-law 323-2020

The Province of Ontario implemented regulations on the mandatory wearing of a mask or face covering through Ontario Regulation 364/20 (Rules for Areas in Stage 3), Ontario Regulation 263/20 (Rules for Areas in Stage 2) and Ontario Regulation 82/20 (Rules for Areas in Stage 1) made under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act. Currently, the Stage 1 (grey or lockdown stage) Regulation 82/20 is in effect in the City of Toronto.

Under the Reopening Ontario Act, the use of masks or face coverings is mandatory in all public indoor settings across Ontario, such as businesses, facilities, workplaces, and shelters with limited exemptions, including corrections and developmental services. Wearing a mask or face covering is also mandatory in a vehicle that is operated as part of a business or organization. Read the Province of Ontario regulations for full details about mandatory masks or face coverings.

In addition to provincial regulations on mandatory mask or face coverings, the City of Toronto By-law 541-2020, as amended by By-law 664-2020, requires a mask or face covering to be worn in all indoor public spaces in Toronto and in common areas in apartments and condominiums.

While the City of Toronto bylaws remain in effect, the City enforcement team will also enforce the stricter requirements of the applicable Stage 1, 2 or 3 Regulations made under the Reopening Ontario Act.

Under the Reopening Ontario Act, following a conviction, the Court may impose the following fines and penalties:

  • An individual is subject to a fine of not more than $100,000 and for a term of imprisonment of not more than one year
  • An individual who is an officer or director of a corporation is subject to a fine of not more than $500,000 and for a term of imprisonment of not more than one year
  • A corporation is subject to a fine of not more than $10,000,000.


Food & Drink Establishment Restrictions under the Reopening Ontario Act

On November 20, 2020, the Province of Ontario announced new restrictions for food and drink establishments designed to curb COVID-19 spread under the Province’s Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act. As of 12:01 a.m. on November 23, indoor and outdoor dine-in service at food and drink establishments, including bars, restaurants and food courts, is prohibited.

Take-out, drive-thru and delivery options remain available and are strongly encouraged to support local businesses.

Food & Drink Establishment Municipal Code Amendments

Note: Municipal Code amendments for service at food and drink establishments are currently superseded by provincial orders under the Reopening Ontario Act that prohibit indoor and outdoor dining.

Municipal Code amendments related to food and drink establishments require owners or operators to implement a number of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The fine for non-compliance is $1000.

On September 30, City Council voted unanimously in favour of strengthened regulations in food and drink establishments to help stop the resurgence of COVID-19. As of October 8, restaurant, bar and other food and drink owners or operators are responsible for:

  • Ensuring all customers remain seated at all times except when entering or exiting, using the washroom, or paying
  • Separating tables by at least two metres (six feet) or having plexiglass or other impermeable barriers separating them
  • Maintaining customer logs that include the names and contact information for each patron
  • Keeping customer logs for 30 days, providing logs to Toronto Public Health upon request for contact tracing purposes, and securely discarding after 30 days
  • Posting signage at all entrances to the premises to identify the necessity of keeping customer logs for contact tracing purposes
  • Establishing staff screening protocols
  • Limiting the number of customers who may be seated at the same table, to a maximum of six customers per table
  • Cleaning and disinfecting of amenities, equipment, and devices as necessary
  • Keep background music and any other background sounds, such as from televisions or other electronic sound producing devices, no louder than the volume of normal conversation

Start: August 2020

End: On September 30, 2020, City Council voted to extend the temporary bylaw until January 2021

Legislation: City of Toronto By-law 665-2020 amending Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 545, Licensing

Through a Class Order issued by the Medical Officer of Health, individuals who have COVID-19 who are not hospitalized, who have symptoms and are waiting for test results, or who have had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 are ordered to self-isolate at home or in an isolation facility. People who have mild or moderate illness must isolate for 10 days after symptoms started, and people who have severe illness or are severely immuno-compromised must isolate for 20 days. Close contacts must isolate for 14 days after their last contact with someone who is diagnosed with COVID-19.

Failure to comply with the order is subject to a fine of up to $5,000 for every day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues.

Anyone who is not subject to the Class Order or has not recently returned from travel, is strongly directed to avoid non-essential trips in the community and avoid close contact with others. For more information, read the Class Order fact sheet (also available in Amharic | Arabic | Bengali | Dari | Farsi | French | Gujarati | Pashto | Portuguese | Punjabi | Simplified Chinese | Somali | Spanish | Tamil | Urdu | Vietnamese).

Start: April 2020 (amended November 2020)

End: no set end date

Legislation: Class Order under the Government of Ontario’s Health Protection and Promotion Act

On January 4, 2021, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health issued a Letter of Instruction to all employers in the City of Toronto permitted to be open under the Reopening Ontario Act. Employers permitted to be open are required to take the additional measures set out in this Letter to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Effective immediately, all persons responsible for a business or organization in the City of Toronto implement the following measures:

Immediate Notification to Toronto Public Health

  1. Immediately notify Toronto Public Health via the Workplace Reporting Tool as soon as they become aware of two or more people who test positive for COVID-19 within a
    14-day interval in connection with their workplace premises.
  2. If two or more people test positive for COVID-19 within a 14-day interval in connection with your workplace premises, employers must:
    1. Provide contact information for a designated contact person at the workplace premise and ensure that person is readily available to communicate with Toronto Public Health and implement any additional measures immediately as required by Toronto Public Health.
    2. Ensure that accurate and updated contact information for all workers is available to be produced to Toronto Public Health within 24 hours of request in support of case management and contact tracing requirements for COVID-19.
    3. Cooperate with infection prevention and control personnel from Toronto Public Health including allowing entry into the workplace premise for inspection and to support enhanced infection prevention and control measures and recommendations.

Businesses must ensure the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development and/or other relevant government authorities have been notified in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and other applicable law.

Infection Prevention Measures

  1. Ensure hand sanitizer and hand-washing facilities are provided in work and rest areas. Hand sanitizer with 60-90% alcohol content is recommended.
  2. Implement rigorous and frequent environmental cleaning in all high-touch areas and those areas accessible to the public, including washrooms, check-out counters, concession stands, and other high-touch surfaces, such as doorknobs, elevator buttons.
  3. Conduct or have the property owner or landlord conduct a regular review of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to ensure they are functioning well.
  4. Minimize instances of more than one individual in a vehicle for driving associated with work. If unavoidable, ensure face coverings are worn in the vehicle (preferably medical masks) and drive with the windows open.
  5. Ensure that physical distancing of workers takes place by at least two (2) metres throughout the workplace and during eating and rest periods (e.g., lunchrooms, change rooms, washrooms). Install one-way walkways to reduce close physical interactions.
  6. Implement physical barriers, such as plexiglass, when physical distancing is not possible. Physical distancing is always preferable to the use of barriers.

Supports for Workers

  1. In order to encourage forthright reporting of COVID-19 symptoms or contact among employees, ensure that all employees are aware of income replacement and workplace-related benefits they are entitled to if they have to isolate due to symptoms of COVID-19, being tested for COVID-19 or being a close contact of someone with COVID-19.

Businesses and community organizations must also follow Government of Ontario and City of Toronto guidelines for their specific setting or sector.

On November 20, 2020, the Province of Ontario announced Toronto would move to the Grey – Lockdown category of the provincial COVID-19 response framework under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act.

The orders, which came into effect at 12:01 a.m. on November 23 and will be in place for at least 28 days, include:

  • no indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household
  • outdoor organized public events and social gatherings are limited to 10 people
  • closing all outdoor dining and patios. Take-out, drive-thru and delivery options remain available and are strongly encouraged to support local businesses
  • closing malls, except for essential businesses and pick-up of pre-purchased merchandise at designated pick-up areas
  • closing all non-essential retail, except for curbside pick up
  • limiting capacity of big box retailers with a grocery section and essential businesses to 50 per cent capacity
  • closing all indoor gyms and recreational programs, with some City-operated community centres open for day camps, child care, mental health and addiction supports (not more than 10 people) and social services, such as food banks
  • closing all hair salons, barber shops, nail salons and tattoo parlours.

Fines for individual organizers of events that violate gathering rules are a minimum of $10,000 and a maximum of $100,000 including one year in jail. Fines for those attending can range from $750 to $100,000 including up to one year in jail. Additional fines for violating provincial orders can range from $750 to $100,000, including up to one year in jail, and up to $10,000,000 for a corporation. Learn more from the the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act.

Effective March 25, 2020, a Government of Canada order under the federal Quarantine Act requires all travellers entering Canada to self-quarantine for 14 days. More information is available on the Government of Canada’s Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Travel restrictions, exemptions and advice web page.

In some cases, people who must quarantine under the federal order may also be subject to the Class Order issued by Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health (for example, people who are diagnosed with COVID-19 and have also recently returned from travel).

Compliance with the Province of Ontario orders and regulations under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act and City of Toronto bylaws, including restrictions on gathering size, mandatory masks or face coverings and physical distancing, is crucial to stopping the spread of COVID-19. The City’s COVID-19 enforcement team is responsible for ensuring compliance with public health regulations. The team is a joint effort by Municipal Licensing & Standards, Parks, Forestry & Recreation, Toronto Public Health and Toronto Police Service.

Enforcement officers are on patrol across the city at all times and respond to complaints made through 311. Enforcing laws, regardless of the context, is a complicated and complex process. Enforcement requires investigation, the gathering of facts, and the application of often-complicated legal processes.

COVID-19 Enforcement Data

This data provides information based on enforcement activities for the bylaws and orders related to COVID-19. This document will be updated weekly, every Tuesday by 3 p.m.

Please note, data will be reconciled at the end of each month which may result in adjustments to the previously reported weekly figures.

Achieving compliance with public health-related orders and regulations has been a priority for the City of Toronto as it continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Enforcing bylaws is a necessarily complex process that requires investigation, gathering facts and applying legal processes. On a case-by-case basis, the enforcement team works to achieve compliance through education and/or enforcement action. The City recognizes that the public have been asked to significantly adjust their behaviours as requirements and orders have changed throughout the COVID-19 response.

If you feel that you were wrongly ticketed, you have the option of requesting an early resolution meeting with a prosecutor and challenging it in court. You can do this by:

  • Requesting an early resolution meeting: Persons who received a ticket can request an early resolution meeting online using the online Court Case Look Up or by selecting the early resolution meeting option on their ticket and mailing it to the court address indicated on the back of the ticket. The City will send notices of early resolution meetings by mail or email to the address on file with the court. If the meeting with a prosecutor does not result in a resolution, the matter will be set down for trial at a later date.
  • Requesting a trial: Anyone wanting to dispute a ticket and request a trial can now submit a Notice of Intention to Appear form by email or by mail. This change applies to tickets issued on or after March 1, 2020.

All of the required Provincial Offences Act court forms are available on the City’s website. Completed forms can be emailed to or mailed to the address indicated on the back of the ticket.

Once the trial date is scheduled, you will receive a notice by mail of the time and place for your trial. The Court will conduct a trial to decide whether you committed the offence that gave rise to the ticket being issued.

Class Order to Strengthen COVID-19 Protections – Revoked

The Class Order issued by the Medical Officer of Health on November 13, 2020, under section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act, was revoked on November 23, 2020, as the provisions in that order are covered by the Stage 1 (Grey-Lockdown) provincial regulations currently in effect.