On April 17, 2020, Ontario issued a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (“EMCPA”). The government has indicated that the order is intended to protect vulnerable Ontarians in retirement homes and long-term care homes, and to provide municipalities and healthcare providers with greater flexibility to address local needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- restricts retirement home employees from working in more than one retirement home, long-term care home, or other healthcare setting, beginning April 22, 2020;
- allows Local Health Integration Networks to direct home care service provider organizations to safely reassign frontline workers to areas where they are most needed, such as community care settings, long-term care homes, retirement homes, supportive housing, and hospitals; and
- provides flexibility to municipalities and District Social Service Administration Boards to offer reassignments to certain workers to address local needs such as childcare, by-law enforcement, and public health services.
Accordingly, employers that operate retirement homes, long-term care homes, or other healthcare facilities should immediately determine whether any employees work in any other retirement home, long-term care home, or healthcare facility, and should take steps to ensure all workers cease working in more than one such facility beginning April 22, 2020. Failure to do so could result in severe penalties under the EMCPA. While doing so is now required by law, there may be legal implications as this may force employees employed in multiple locations to take leave or resign from one of their jobs, causing a potential reduction in income. Employers should carefully therefore consider their strategy to comply with this law in order to limit their own legal exposures and minimize the impact on their employees to the extent possible.
This blog is provided as an information service and summary of workplace legal issues. This information is not intended as legal advice.