Firm News

May 8, 2020   

We're getting close! Reopening for business amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

Martin Smith
Martin Smith

Amid provincial, federal, and municipal conversations about relaxing COVID-19 restrictions and reopening segments of the economy, businesses have recently been told to start planning and implementing back-to-work procedures and protocols.

In fact, Ontario Premier Doug Ford has announced the reopening of some limited sectors of businesses in the province. When asked why he did not give those sectors advance warning to prepare, he advised that all businesses should begin to prepare for the return to work so that they are ready when the day comes to reopen. Premier Ford specifically stated that we are "getting close".

With some light peeking out at the end of the tunnel, it is time for employers to start asking questions and putting plans in motion so that they are ready when called upon to reopen their doors to the public.

If you are an employer and are wondering where to start, some important questions for businesses to consider are:

  1. Has your business considered what will be the “best practices” for returning to work?
  2. How will your business enforce physical distancing practices?
  3. Will your business require employees to wear masks?
  4. If your business requires employees to wear masks, do any provincial or federal regulations come into play?
  5. With a global shortage in supply of certain respirators, are any types prohibited?
  6. Will your business take employees’ temperatures before they enter the workplace? If so, what will the process be to do so?
  7. Do any privacy or other legal issues arise when handling the medical information of employees?
  8. Will your business recall all employees at the same time or will it recall them in groups?
  9. What is your business’ duty to accommodate employees who are seeking accommodation due to a chronic illness or lack of childcare?
  10. What will be required of clients or customers who enter your place of business?
  11. Will your employees be equipped with personal protective equipment (“PPE”)?
  12. Are employees required to wear certain types of PPE in certain situations?
  13. Will your business require employees to take a screening questionnaire prior to entering the workplace?
  14. Will certain practices and protocols be required of your business sector?
  15. What happens if an employee tests positive for COVID-19 or displays symptoms?

Many more complex questions may arise as your business prepares for reopening. If you have any concerns related to reopening your business, including any of the questions set out above, please feel free to reach out at your convenience to discuss how we can help.

We hope that this finds you all well and keeping safe!

The chair of the employment law practice group, Martin Smith, can be reached at 613-566-5970 or to answer any of your questions or put you in touch with a member of the firm's employment law practice group in either of our offices in Ottawa, Toronto, London, Kitchener, or Barrie, who would be pleased to assist you in addressing these issues and providing you with solutions, in light of the foregoing, to protect your business and assist your employees.


416.860.0001 | | Follow us on Twitter or Linkedin

McCague Borlack LLP is a member of the Canadian Litigation Counsel, a nationwide affiliation ofindependent law firms. Through CLC's association with The Harmonie Group, our clients have access to legal excellence throughout North America, the U.K. and Europe. |