News Release
April 22, 2021

The COVID-19 situation in Toronto remains dire and further action is needed in workplaces where the risk of transmission is high. The Section 22 Order issued by the Medical Officer of Health is effective Friday, April 23 at 12:01 a.m.

Investigators from Toronto Public Health will have additional capacity to act in response to workplace COVID-19 outbreaks, as part of the effort to reduce the spread of the virus in Toronto. This capacity is designed to be flexible, so that implementation of the order is undertaken to achieve public health objectives while supporting the need for people to work and operate their businesses to the extent possible given the levels of COVID-19 and infectiousness of COVID-19 variants.

Issued under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, the Section 22 order will require owners and operators of a workplace to notify Toronto Public Health as soon as they become aware of five or more individuals associated with their workplace who test positive for COVID-19 within a 14-day period. Upon investigation, these workplaces may be required to fully or partially close, or dismiss shifts or teams. The order may also apply to workplaces with less than five COVID-19 cases, if it is determined that significant action is required to prevent further spread of COVID-19. Workplaces exempt from the order listed below.

Toronto Public Health will notify the owner or operator of the workplace regarding the extent to which closure is required and which employees need to be sent home to isolate for 10 days. Any workplace subject to the order and full closure will post signage provided by Toronto Public Health at all entrances to the premises.

Since January 4, Toronto Public Health has reported the names of workplaces in outbreak that employ 20 or more people. The information published online is updated weekly on Thursdays and includes the workplace name, number of COVID-19 cases related to the setting, and date the outbreak was declared (and when it was declared over, where applicable).

The order will be in effect until Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health deems it is no longer necessary to control the spread of COVID-19 in Toronto.

The Section 22 order does not apply to the following workplaces:

  • A licensed child care program in compliance with guidance issued by the Ministry of Education
  • Health care providers and health care entities as defined in Section 77.7 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act who are subject to the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s Directives
  • Schools and school boards licensed under the Education Act
  • Schools and private schools within the meaning of the Education Act, operated in accordance with a return to school direction issued by the Ministry of Education and approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

The following workplaces may be exempt from full closure requirements:

  • First responder emergency services such as fire, paramedics, police and their communication services
  • Shelters
  • Critical infrastructure such as water/wastewater treatment facilities, utilities, telecommunications and IT, transportation and energy
  • Public-facing or other critical government services
  • Services required to maintain the health of animals
  • Other workplaces as determined by Toronto Public Health for reasons of health, safety or otherwise where in the public interest.

Components of the Order will still apply to the workplaces listed above, and Toronto Public Health may still dismiss shifts, work area or team, where transmission has occurred. Toronto Public Health may also implement other preventative measures when deemed necessary.

Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Toronto Public Health Media Relations