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New fine introduced for businesses who ‘fail to prevent spread’ of Covid

November 19, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Written By ALYSSA PARKHILL

LOCAL JOURNALISM INITIATIVE REPORTER

Peel Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lawrence Loh has introduced new, stricter punishments for businesses who “fail to prevent the spread of COVID-19” within our community. 

Fines will be distributed to any businesses in Peel Region that are proven to have not been taking action against COVID-19 in the workplace, effective on Nov 16.

The order has been declared under the Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. 

The Act states that workplaces are to send any employee home if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19, has signs of the virus, are awaiting test results, has any reasonable grounds to believe they may have symptoms, or have been in close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.  

If two or more positive cases are found within the workplace, Peel Public Health is to be notified, as well as the Ontario Ministry of Labour and a list of individuals must be organized of those who came into close contact with the positive person. A log is to be maintained of all those on the premises, along with all contact information must be provided for the site manager. 

Local businesses who do not comply with these instructions can be fined up to $5,000 per day. 

Though not a part of the Order, Dr. Loh is encouraging businesses to pay their employees paid sick leave if they are sent home to isolate.

“It’s time for employers who choose not to pay employees when they are sick to put people over profit. The cost of COVID-19 spreading across our community is far greater than the price of a few sick days,” said Dr. Loh. 

Local hospitals in Peel have been struggling with the large influx of patients coming in due to the growing number of positive cases in the area. Hospitals have also been hit hard by the flu season. 

William Osler Health System states they are dealing with high capacity pressures and has partnered with local hospitals in the region to take some of their patients to ensure proper health care.

“In recent days, Osler has faced new challenges as a result of COVID-19,” said Dr. Naveed Mohammed, President and CEO of William Osler Health System on Nov 9. “As the number of COVID-19 cases in the community continues to rise, we have seen a corresponding increase in the number of patients seeking care in our hospitals. This sharp increase has resulted in Osler experiencing significant capacity pressures.”

The provincial government has updated their Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework by lessening the thresholds for each level to limit spread while schools remain open as well as “maintaining health system capacity, protecting the province’s most vulnerable, and avoiding broader lockdowns.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, and our government’s response must evolve with it. These updates to the COVID-19 Framework will ensure that the necessary targeted measures are in place in hotspots to help stop the spread of the virus and keep our schools and businesses open. Protecting the health and well-being of Ontarians remains our top priority,” said Minister of Health, Christine Elliot. 

Ontario has a total of 95,496 confirmed cases reported with an increase of 1,487 as of Nov 16. 

For more information, please visit Ontario.ca, or peelregion.ca for more updates.



         

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