On May 22, 2020, Ontario Premier Doug Ford stated that he wants to begin testing all workers in certain industries for COVID-19, regardless of whether they have symptoms. In particular, Premier Ford stated that he would like there to be testing of asymptomatic truckers, taxi drivers, certain workers in the automotive sector, and food processing workers across Ontario. The Premier indicated that more details regarding ramping up testing would be available next week.
As many employers know, Ontario is currently in Stage 1 of A Framework for Reopening our Province (the “Framework”)and one criterion that must be met for Ontario can progress to further stages is sufficient testing to detect new outbreaks of COVID-19 (for more information on the Framework, please read our recent article). However, Ontario has consistently not met its testing goals during the week of May 18, 2020 and, if Ontario continues failing to meet its testing goals, it may delay the reopening of the economy.
Although Ontario does not presently have any concrete plans to begin testing all workers in the particular industries mentioned, should such a measure be implemented, it may result in privacy and human rights exposures for employers in these industries if employers are required to monitor testing.
We will continue monitoring the situation and will provide further information on how any proposed measures may affect employers.
This blog is provided as an information service and summary of workplace legal issues. This information is not intended as legal advice.