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Toronto and Peel invoke closure powers on businesses experiencing COVID outbreaks

 

Toronto and Peel invoke closure powers on businesses experiencing COVID outbreaks

John Best

Peel Region and the City of Toronto have joined forces to invoke their emergency Section 22 powers that will direct all businesses with five or more cases of COVID-19 in the previous 14 days to close for 10 days where:

  • The cases could have reasonably acquired their infection at work, or
  • No obvious source of infection has been identified outside of the workplace.
  • With rapid and wider spread of variants as observed in our data, the updated Section 22 Order provisions are necessary to quickly stop spread, protect our healthcare system and save lives.

Workplace exposures in Peel Region and the City of Toronto have continued to drive the region’s high case counts of COVID-19. The emergency closures will also allow Public Health officials to investigate workplace exposures without risk of continued spread.

Both Public Health Units urged private sector employers to voluntarily grant paid sick days to their employees. “Public Health strongly recommends that employers directed to close under this Order provide paid leave for impacted employees.” Essential businesses will be exempt from full closure. This includes healthcare, first responders, critical infrastructure, emergency childcare, education and others. The complete list is being developed and will be included in the Order when it is officially posted

In its release Toronto Public Health (TPH)  noted, “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.”

The names of all affected businesses will be published online while they are closed. This list will not be published until the first businesses affected are notified this week.

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