As easily transmitted COVID-19 variants of concern spread quickly throughout Toronto and the GTA, outbreaks are increasingly linked to workplaces, where the virus can spread through close contact between workers.
To reduce this significant risk to the city’s health, Toronto Public Health (TPH) will issue a Section 22 order for workplaces. This Order is a necessary tool to break the chains of transmission within Toronto workplaces where COVID-19 is determined to be spreading.
The Order will be available on the City of Toronto website, when issued, by Friday April 23, 2021.
Given the high case counts and number of workplace outbreaks in both Toronto and Peel, TPH has been working on the development of this order with Region of Peel Public Health. A similar authority was recently delegated by the Provincial Health Officer for British Columbia, where workplaces are being closed for 10 days when employees test positive for COVID-19.
The COVID-19 situation is serious with case counts that are the highest they have been since the beginning of the pandemic. While TPH will apply every measure within its authority, the assistance of every sector of society is critical in responding effectively to wave. Employers that continue to be open must:
TPH was one of the first health units in Canada to publish workplace outbreak information and will continue to do so on Toronto COVID-19 website. Information to support workplaces to prevent and manage COVID-19 can be found on the City of Toronto’s website
“We are doing everything we can as a City government to help essential workers facing the third wave of this virus. This Section 22 order is meant to help slam the brakes on workplace outbreaks that we know are moving much faster due to the variants of concern. I urge all employers to follow the public health advice to stop outbreaks and protect their employees including against the financial consequences of illness.”
– Mayor John Tory
“Workplaces that are open provide an opportunity for COVID-19 to spread. Given that the majority of our cases are now as a result of variants of concern, which transmit faster, this order will support Toronto Public Health’s investigators to help workplaces immediately reduce the risk of spread and manage workplace outbreaks quickly.”
– Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health, Toronto Public Health
“In many ways the story of this pandemic is also a story about work. It’s the essential frontline workers who can’t work from home who have kept us safe, and who are also at highest risk of contracting COVID-19. At the City of Toronto we will continue to take every action, implement every measure, and do absolutely everything in our power to keep essential workers safe. That’s our commitment.”
– Councillor Joe Cressy (Spadina-Fort York), Chair of the Toronto Board of Health
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Media contact: Toronto Public Health Media Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org