As discussed in an earlier post, Ontario is ending (for the most part) the Stay-at-Home orders and moving each of its Public Health Regions back into its Colour-Coded COVID Response Framework.
Since Tuesday, each region has been returned to one of the six colour zones, ranging from green to red, with the top two restriction levels being grey-lockdown and the new “shutdown” zone. Under each of these colour zones, the province imposes escalating COVID-related restrictions applicable to various sectors, industries and businesses.
You can find out which specific restriction applies to your area by using our COVID Tool. You can access this tool through our menu, above.
Amongst new obligations being imposed by the province under the Reopening Ontario Act is the obligation to screen individuals for COVID-19 prior to entering the premises. This is applicable in all colour zones. There are two levels of screening obligations. One is more passive and the other is more active.
Active obligation to screen workers
The regulations now provide that the person responsible for a business or organization (we read this as including condos) which are open must actively screen every person who works at the business or organization before they enter the premise.
This naturally applies to staff, agents and contractors working on site for the corporation (including your Super, concierge, manager, site administrator, cleaners, security guards and any contractors…). It also include, in our view, any contractors/service providers attending to work in units (think of cleaners, contractors, PSW/nurses or other service providers working for owners in their units).
All of these should actively be screened for COVID 19, every day, prior to entering the premise.
Invitation to others to screen
Condos must also post signs at all entrances, in a conspicuous location visible to the public, that inform individuals on how to screen themselves for COVID-19 prior to entering the premise. We understand this obligation to provide for a more passive invitation to owners, occupants, and visitors (and anyone else) to screen themselves prior to entering.
Again, this screening obligation is applicable in all colour zones.
These screening obligations are subject to any other advice, recommendations or instructions to be issued, from time to time, by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health or another public health official.
Practical way of doing this
There are many ways of implementing this new screening obligation, including by having questionnaires or forms to be completed. In its most basic way, your corporation’s staff/contractors could even email you their answers to a specified list of questions, every day before their shift.
Others are going with an online reporting system. That is what we have done at my own condo. We posted a sign similar to this one by each entrance. Contractors and visitors can point their smartphone camera at a QR Code. It will bring them to our online screening tool. With the click of a few buttons, they can submit their answers to our manager. Give it a try, we’ve set it up for you to see how that could work.
You can find many other online tools to help you develop your own screening process:
- Ontario has developed a good online screening process, which allows you to print, save or email the results
- The City of Ottawa has also developed their own.
What to do with the screening information?
The applicable regulations do not give much guidance on what to do with the information you collect. Based on what the regulations provide for in other sections dealing with tracing obligations, we suggest that you:
- Record and keep that information for at least one month
- Only disclose the record to a medical officer of health or an inspector under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, upon request.
Also, keep in mind that the Public Health Office of many municipalities (including Toronto and Ottawa) have issued letters of instructions requiring employers to immediately notify public health when they become aware of 2 or more COVID-19 cases within a 14-day interval.
Screening people attending the premise is a very efficient and easy way of reducing the risk of contagion and infection. This helps stop the virus at the door, before it comes in.
Next month webinar
Next month webinar is on March 3 at 5pm. Make sure to reserve your spot.