November 30, 2020
By Bob Peters
Cornwall Ontario — Cornwall will be one of the destinations in a series of COVID-19 education and enforcement campaigns for businesses across the province. The campaign aims to help businesses stay safe and stay open by ensuring that they are taking the necessary steps to protect employees, consumers and the public from COVID-19.
Multi-ministry teams, working in coordination with the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), plan to visit local businesses from December 3rd to 5th to conduct assessments and promote COVID-19 health and safety requirements.
During the visits, officers will provide business owners with assessments and guidance on how to operate safely during the pandemic and comply with public health requirements in the Reopening Ontario Act. Under the province’s new COVID-19 Response Framework, certain businesses and establishments are required to develop a COVID-19 safety plan for their workplace. Officers will be asking employers to produce their safety plans and will provide feedback and direction on them.
The provincial campaign will complement the EOHU’s local efforts that have been ongoing since the start of the pandemic.
“EOHU public health staff, in collaboration with local enforcement partners, having been working diligently with businesses in our region to help ensure they can operate safely and protect their workers and customers,” states Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health. “We know that many businesses have made enormous efforts, but some still need assistance. We’re pleased that the provincial campaign coming in early December will provide added support.”
COVID-19 Safety Plan
Certain businesses and establishments in the Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, Red-Control, and Lockdown levels are required to develop a COVID-19 safety plan and make it available in writing for review. Cornwall is currently in the Yellow-Protect level. Employers can use current public health and workplace health and safety information or guidance to help develop their plan.
Businesses requiring a workplace safety plan include:
- Restaurants, bars, and food or drink establishments;
- Sports and recreational facilities;
- Meeting and event spaces;
- Personal care services;
- Casinos, bingo halls, and other gaming establishments;
- Cinemas; and
- Performing arts facilities.
A template for the COVID-19 Safety Plan, Employee Checklist and other resources, including posters and a maximum occupancy calculator can be found on the Business Reopening Toolkit page:
The aim of the campaign is to ensure that workplaces have the resources and information they need to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and to help businesses take any corrective steps needed to operate safely. While the focus is on education, officers can exercise their enforcement discretion if they find significant non-compliance.
The campaigns are being carried out in strategic locations, drawing on a team of more than 200 provincial offences officers from across ministries. Almost 1,000 workplaces have been visited, and the response from business owners and operators has been overwhelmingly positive. No tickets have been issued and all contraventions were resolved with compliance assistance.
“The vast majority of Ontario businesses are following the rules and protecting their workers and customers ― and we thank them for doing their part,” said Premier Doug Ford. “We’re deploying an army of inspectors to help support our businesses through education and feedback on their safety plans.”
- The most common areas of non-compliance during all campaigns to date have been improper mask use, lack of screening, and improper sanitization.
- A campaign is currently underway in Waterloo Region and additional campaigns are being planned for seven new communities including Eastern Ontario, York Region, Ottawa and Toronto.
- Ontario’s workplace safety plan has already been downloaded more than 42,000 times by businesses across the province.
- Ontario has launched a recruitment campaign to hire 98 more occupational health and safety inspectors, so that the province will have more active inspectors than at any time in its history.
- Since March 11, 2020, more than 20,000 field visits have been conducted by ministry workplace health and safety inspectors.
- There are more than 200 sector-specific guidance resources at Ontario.ca/covidsafety to help business owners and operators create their workplace safety plan.
- If a person or business is not found compliant with orders under the Reopening Ontario Act, they could be ticketed with a fine of $750 under the Reopening Ontario Act. Where prosecuted without issuing a ticket and on conviction, individuals could be fined up to $100,000, and directors and officers of a corporation could be fined up to $500,000. Any individual convicted of an offence under the Reopening Ontario Act could also receive a term of imprisonment of up to one year. The maximum fine for a corporation convicted of an offence under the Reopening Ontario Act is $10,000,000.
- COVID-19 response framework: Keeping Ontario safe and open
- Develop your workplace COVID-19 workplace safety plan
- Ontario amends the Reopening Ontario Act
- Resources to help prevent COVID-19 in the workplace
- Using masks in the workplace
- See how your organization can help fight COVID-19
- Learn about occupational health and safety inspections and investigations
Business Reopening Toolkit
Cornwall Economic Development has put together a toolkit to help businesses reopen. The toolkit includes guidelines and a maximum occupancy calculator along with signs and posters that can be downloaded and printed:
We summarize the latest news about the impacts of COVID-19 on Cornwall businesses on a daily basis. Click on the following link to view: