July 4, 2022

Volume XII, Number 185


Ontario Provides Timeline to Lift All COVID-19–Related Restrictions

On March 9, 2022, the Ontario government announced a plan to bring an end to all COVID-19 restrictions by April 27, 2022. Below is a summary of the upcoming employment-related changes.

Changes Effective March 14, 2022

Ontario is ending the requirement for vaccination policies for workers in long-term care homes. The province is also ending this requirement for:

  • workers covered by the Ministry of Education;

  • workers covered by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services; and

  • workers covered by the Ministry of Seniors and Accessibility.

On March 14, 2022, Ontario will also lift the directive requiring that unvaccinated workers in high-risk healthcare settings participate in rapid testing programs.

Changes Effective March 21, 2022

The COVID-19 regulatory requirements are contained in O. Reg. 364/20 of the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 will end, including the requirements to:

  • prepare safety plans describing the measures and procedures to lower the risk of transmitting COVID-19;

  • passively and actively screen workers and patrons; and

  • maintain physical distance within the indoor areas of shopping or retail businesses.

The province will lift masking requirements in most areas. Mask mandates will remain in the following settings:

  • public transit;

  • long-term care and retirement homes;

  • healthcare settings;

  • congregate care settings;

  • shelters; and

  • jails

Changes Effective March 28, 2022

The Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, will expire. The orders associated with this act will remain in force for another thirty days.

Changes Effective April 27, 2022

All remaining restrictions or policies will end or expire. These include:

  • all orders under the act;

  • mask requirements in settings such as public transit; and

  • remaining healthcare directives, including the directive requiring medical professionals to wear a “well-fitted N95 mask.”

Next Steps

As the province aims to bring an end to all restrictions by the spring, many employers may consider the impact of these changes on their workplaces. The province has indicated that businesses and employers are permitted to impose health and safety measures (such as masking and screening) even after the government mandates have ended, meaning that employers will retain a degree of control over the COVID-19–related measures that they wish to retain in their workplaces.

© 2022, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 74

About this Author

Michael Comartin, Ogletree Deakins Law Firm, Labor and Employment Attorney

Michael is a partner in Ogletree Deakins’ Toronto office. His diverse practice spans all areas of employment law, labour law, privacy, wage and hours issues, human rights, accessibility, and employee benefits and executive compensation. Michael also has experience with class actions, appellate litigation, M&A/restructuring, and general litigation. He regularly represents employers in judicial review proceedings

Michael has appeared before the Court of Appeal for Ontario, the Divisional Court, the Superior Court of Justice, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the...

Gloria Ilunga Articling Student Toronto Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, PC
Articling Student

Gloria is an articling student in the Toronto office of Ogletree Deakins.

Gloria holds a Juris Doctor from Osgoode Hall Law School and an Honours Bachelor of Science in Health and Disease, and Equity Studies from the University of Toronto.

In law school, Gloria worked for the Community and Legal Aid Services Program (CLASP). During her time at CLASP, Gloria represented low-income clients before administrative boards like the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, the Refugee Protection Division and the Immigration...