June 18, 2020
Ontario Releases Guide on How to Develop a Workplace Safety Plan

New Toolkit Will Help Employers Create Safer Working Environments for Employees during COVID-19

The Ontario government is providing employers with a new general workplace guide, which will help them develop a safety plan to better protect workers, customers and clients. The new downloadable toolkit offers tips on how to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as more people get back on the job during Stage 2 of the reopening of the province.

The new guide will help each employer create a safety plan that is right for their own unique workplace. It includes information on the use of face coverings, as well as applying controls in the workplace, from most important to least important. It also includes information on what personal protective equipment may be needed for workers.

The government's first general workplace guide is accompanied by a template that employers can fill in to develop their own unique COVID-19 safety plan. The materials will help employers:

  • Identify the risks for transmitting the virus through person-to-person contact and actions such as touching faces with hands that have been contaminated by contact with surfaces and objects;

  • Determine what controls are needed to help mitigate risk, such as engineering controls like the installation of plexiglass to separate workers from customers, administrative controls limiting the number of workers in a space at one time, and personal protective equipment including face and eye protection;

  • Create a workplace safety plan based on the identified risks and appropriate controls specific to the employer's workplace;

  • Implement the plan in the workplace, and review and update it as the situation evolves; and

  • Communicate the actions being taken to workers and other people entering the workplace.

The new guide is supported by 121 workplace resources available at Ontario.ca/covidsafety to help protect workers from the virus. They include safety guidelines and helpful posters with tips for 28 distinct sectors such as construction, food, agriculture, manufacturing and long-term care.

Click here to read the complete news release.

Ontario and Canada Helping Small Businesses Go Digital

$57 Million Investment in Digital Main Street Will Help Businesses Reopen, Recover and Grow Long after COVID-19

The Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government, is helping small businesses reach more customers through the Digital Main Street platform. It is a $57-million program which will help up to 22,900 Ontario businesses create and enhance their online presence and generate jobs for more than 1,400 students.

Through the $57-million contribution to the Digital Main Street platform, businesses will be able to take advantage of three new programs to support their digital transformation:

  • shopHERE powered by Google will leverage Ontario's strengths by hiring highly skilled and trained students to build and support the launch of online stores for businesses that previously did not have the capacity to do so themselves. The core goal will be to help small businesses compete and grow, in a world that is increasingly online, and help them recover as quickly as possible following COVID-19.

  • Digital Main Street Grant will help main street small businesses be digitally more effective. Through a $2,500 grant administered by the Ontario BIA Association, small businesses will be able to adopt new technologies and embrace digital marketing. Municipalities, Chambers of Commerce, and Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) can apply for a Digital Service Squad grant, which will allow them to establish teams to provide personalized, one-on-one support.

  • Future-Proofing Main Street will provide specialized and in-depth digital transformation services and support that helps existing main-street firms adapt to changes in their sector and thrive in the new economy. By leveraging teams of digital marketing professionals and talented students, these firms will be able to create new online business models, develop and implement digital and e-commerce marketing strategies, and maximize digital tools, platforms and content.

Click here to read the complete news release.

Working at Heights certificates expiry dates extended

The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development has announced an extension of Working at Heights training certificates for construction workers.

Workers whose training certificates expire during the period Feb. 28, 2020 to Aug. 31, 2020, will have their certificate’s validity extended for one year.

The mandatory training of more than 120,000 workers was due to expire over the next six months, explains a ministry website. However, many training providers have either cancelled classes or shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The extension will apply to workers who successfully completed their working-at-heights training between Feb.28 and Aug. 31, 2017. The validity period, normally three years, would have ended this year. It will now end in 2021.

The extension will ensure affected workers can continue to work when possible.

Click here to read the complete article.

Holding firm on pre-COVID infrastructure plans would benefit Ontario in long run, study says

With COVID-19 poised to greatly undercut government revenue in the coming months, a new study offers a pair of divergent scenarios for Ontario infrastructure spending and the associated economic benefits over the next decade.

The report, assembled by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA) and commissioned by the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO), highlights the considerable differences the federal and provincial governments can expect for employment and revenue, depending on which route they pursue.

Analysis of the “risk” scenario forecasts Ontario would end up with an average of 55,000 fewer jobs per year over the next 10 years. The federal and provincial governments would also lose $8 billion and $12 billion in revenue over the course of the decade.

Several other provinces have topped up infrastructure investments in response to the COVID crisis, but Ontario has not yet made any changes to its infrastructure spending plan.

Click here to read the complete article.

More People Can Get Back to Work as Additional Businesses and Services to Reopen This Week

More people will be able to get back to work as additional businesses and services in certain regions across Ontario can begin reopening this Friday. The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local medical officers of health, is enabling more regions of the province to enter Stage 2 of the government's reopening framework. These regions are able to reopen due to positive trends of key public health indicators at the local level, including lower transmission of COVID-19, sufficient hospital health system capacity, local public health capacity to assist with rapid case and contact management, and a significant increase in testing provincially.

Informed by public health advice and workplace safety guidance, and supported by the collective efforts of businesses, workers and families to limit the potential spread of the virus, the latest public health unit regions allowed to move into Stage 2 on Friday, June 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. are:

  • Durham Region Health Department;
  • Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit;
  • Halton Region Health Department;
  • Hamilton Public Health Services;
  • Lambton Health Unit;
  • Niagara Region Public Health Department; and
  • York Region Public Health Services.

These regions are in addition to the 24 public health regions that entered Stage 2 on June 12, 2020. Before opening, business owners need to review the workplace safety guidelines and public health advice.

Click here to read the complete article.
TCA Resources on COVID-19

To access TCA dedicated Covid-19 Updates, click here .