In most cases, workplaces with five or more recent coronavirus cases will be forced to close for ten days. Dr. Lawrence Loh, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, stated, “The goal of this is really to get ahead of the variants, as we did with schools.”
Toronto’s order, like Peel’s, will go into effect on Friday, with the same 10-day minimum shutdown and threshold of likely workplace transmitted cases required for closure. During the pandemic, the Ford government has repeatedly declined to legislate paid sick leave, instead referring to the Canadian Sickness Recovery Benefit, which is largely funded by the federal government. “It’s as simple as that, if the province wants to get this under control and tries to do so without efficient paid sick leave, it won’t work,” says the director of Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.
Peel Public Health Ontario has ordered the closure of schools, hospitals, childcare centers, and other examples of “critical infrastructure.” The order also allows health officials to identify all businesses that have been ordered to close after they have been notified. On Tuesday morning, Peel Public Health’s website listed 30 known active COVID-19 outbreaks.
The list of exemptions will be highly limited, and will almost certainly exclude manufacturing, distribution, and warehousing, all of which have a considerable presence in the region. Even when the Ontario government refused to act, the province has taken unilateral action to reduce the recent surge in coronavirus cases in the Peel region. Peel Labour Minister Monte McNaughton stated that his government will continue to put pressure on the federal government to improve its sick leave policy.