November 20, 2020

Updated COVID-19 Public Health Measures

As anticipated, the Province announced the movement of certain public health unit regions to new levels in the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework.  These necessary measures are being taken to limit community transmission of COVID-19.

Based on the latest data, the following public health unit regions will move from their current level in the framework to the following levels effective Monday, November 23, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.  Note: Many regions will also remain at their current level. 10 regions remain at the Green - Prevent level.
  • Lockdown
    • City of Toronto
    • Region of Peel 
  • Red-Control
    • Durham Region Health Department; and
    • Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services
    • York Region, City of Hamilton and Halton Region remain 
  • Orange-Restrict
    • Huron Perth Public Health;
    • Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit;
    • Southwestern Public Health; and
    • Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
    • Brant County, Niagara Region, City of Ottawa, and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph remain 
  • Yellow-Protect
    • Chatham-Kent Public Health;
    • Eastern Ontario Health Unit;
    • Grey Bruce Health Unit;
    • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health;
    • Peterborough Public Health; and
    • Thunder Bay District Health Unit
    • Haldimand-Norfolk, Middlesex-London and Sudbury & District remain.
Trends in public health data will be reviewed weekly to determine if public health units should stay where they are or be moved into a higher level.  Public health units will stay in their level for a minimum of 28 days, or two COVID-19 incubation periods, at which time, the government will assess the impact of public health measures to determine if the public health unit should stay where they are or be moved to a different level.  The Ministry of Health will continue to communicate regularly with local medical officers of health on local context and conditions to help inform the classification of their public health unit region.
 
For long-term care homes, visitor restrictions apply to those homes in the public health units that are in the Orange-Restrict level or higher.  To further protect the health and safety of those in long-term care homes, staff, essential caregivers and support workers who provide direct care to residents in those regions will be tested more frequently for COVID-19, moving from bi-weekly tests to weekly as of November 23, 2020.

The Province is making additional enforcement mechanisms available to local medical officers of health who have applied additional measures based on their local conditions and needs.  The government is amending Ontario Regulation 950 under the Provincial Offences Act, allowing for a ticket to be issued for any contravention of a COVID-19 specific communicable disease class order issued by a medical officer of health. The government will also ask the Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice to establish a set fine to be attached to any ticket issued for violating a section 22 order relating to COVID-19 made by a local medical officer of health.

The Ontario government is now also providing $600 million in relief to support eligible businesses required to close or significantly restrict services due to enhanced public health measures, doubling its initial commitment of $300 million made in the 2020 Budget, Ontario's Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover.

Businesses can apply online for temporary property tax and energy cost rebate grants from the Province, via a one-window portal. The rebates will cover the length of time that a business is required to temporarily close or significantly restrict services as a result of being located in an area categorized as Red-Control or Lockdown, or previously categorized as modified Stage 2 public health restrictions. A detailed list of eligible businesses, as well as instructions for applying, can be found at Ontario.ca/covidsupport.

New LTC Projects
 
The Ontario government has announced 29 new long-term care projects, which will lead to an additional 3,000 new and upgraded long-term care spaces across the province.  It is hoped that these projects will help reduce waitlists while improving quality of care and quality of life for seniors.  Of the 29 projects, 23 involve the construction of brand-new buildings and 19 involve campuses of care where multiple services are provided on the same site. 
 
In addition to the 29 projects announced today, Ontario is investing an additional $761 million to build and renovate 74 projects under the modernized funding model, creating close to 11,000 safe, modern spaces.
 
Emergency Orders Extended

The Province has extended all orders currently in force under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA) until December 21, 2020.

The ROA came into force on July 24, 2020 to make sure that critical measures remained in place after the provincially declared emergency came to an end.  Under the ROA, orders can be extended for up to 30 days at a time and the government must report on all order extensions to the Select Committee on Emergency Management Oversight.

The list of orders under the ROA that have been extended can be found online on the Government of Ontario's website.

Correction:  AODA Compliance Reporting Deadline

On the AMO Policy Update dated November 17th, information was provided to inform members that the compliance reporting deadline for public sector organizations had been extended from December 31, 2020 to June 30, 2021.  We need to correct this statement to clarify that this extension applies to business and non-profit organizations.

Public sector organizations, including municipalities, are due to report in 2021 and the deadline for these reports is December 31, 2021. There is no report required in 2020.  See the Ontario website for more information on completing your accessibility compliance report and on municipal compliance requirements.

Reminder:  Upcoming Deadline for Accessible Website Compliance with the AODA

Beginning January 1, 2021, all public websites and web content posted after January 1, 2012 must meet WCAG 2.0 Level AA other than criteria 1.2.4 (live captions) and 1.2.5 (pre-recorded audio descriptions).  For more information on the requirements and contact information for the Ministry of Seniors and Accessibility, please see the Ontario website.

To support compliance, AMO has partnered with e-SolutionsGroup and GHD Digital as a preferred vendor to assist municipal governments to meet or exceed AODA and WCAG 2.0 requirements.
 
Please register to join a free one hour webinar at noon on November 26th to learn more about products and services for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities (AODA) legislation deadline of January 21, 2021.  In addition, information will be provided about mandatory screening requirements to help you to screen, track, and detect COVID-19.
AMO’s COVID-19 Resources page is being updated continually so you can find critical information in one place.  Please send any of your municipally related pandemic questions to covid19@amo.on.ca.