May 6, 2020
Joel Gomes

Re-opening Ontario - Workplace Safety Guidelines to Protect From COVID-19

May 6, 2020
Joel Gomes

As it prepares for a gradual reopening of the provincial economy, the Ontario government is providing employers with safety guidelines they need to employ in their workplaces to protect workers, customers, and the general public from COVID-19.The government safety guidelines were announced on April 30th, 2020 and provide specific direction to employers and employees working in manufacturing, food manufacturing and processing, restaurant and food service, and the agricultural sector. These measures build on more than 60 previous guidelines developed by Ontario's health and safety associations in response to COVID-19 for various sectors such as office spaces, retail, health care, construction, transportation, police services, firefighters, and transit employees.

These new sector-specific guidelines contain recommendations and tips for employers on how to keep workers safe on the job. Posters for both employers and workers promote a variety of useful safety tips, and offer advice on physical distancing, workplace sanitation and other preventative actions. Employers are encouraged to download the posters to print and post in their respective workplace.

Industry and individual company logistics depending, the guidelines also feature additional recommended actions employers can begin to plan for as they prepare to adapt to the new reality during COVID-19, including:

  • Tips on ensuring appropriate physical distancing, like eliminating pay-at-the-door options, holding team meetings outdoors, staggering shift times and using ground markings and barriers to manage traffic flow.
  • Changes to the workplace, like installing plexiglass barriers, increasing the air intake on building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to increase air flow, and using boot sanitizing trays.
  • Promoting proper workplace sanitation, providing personal protective equipment (PPE), substituting dry dusting with vacuuming, ensuring customer-facing staff are provided with hand sanitizer, providing a place to dispose of sanitizing wipes and enforcing handwashing before and after breaks.

Currently guidance is available for the following sectors either directly from the province of Ontario or from health & safety associations that the province is working with to develop the same. There are quite a few business activities and sectors covered including but not limited to : Construction sector, Food processing sector, Restaurant and food services sector, Agriculture sector, Manufacturing & Warehousing sector, Construction, Transportation, Healthcare Sector, Office Settings, Retail Sector, Food Retail Services, Funeral Services, Tourism and hospitality, Maintenance Services, Auto Sector and Agriculture. Please scroll down once you get to the page link provided above and find the relevant information for your sector/industry.

Additionally, there is also general guidance available for the following:

Curbside pickup and delivery services

Executives and management

Sales and customer service representatives

Lawn care workers


Commercial industrial services

Community garden

Worker transportation to work sites

Additional employer resources include the following:

Guidance for employers on maintaining an effective JHSC during emergency situations COVID 19

Occupational Health & Safety During COVID-19

Basic information poster about Worker and Employer illness reporting duties.

A suite of posters that provide COVID-19 guidance for essential service sectors.

While the posters are based on information from the sector guidance notes provided by the province, they can be used across several sectors. It is recommended that these posters are printed and posted in highly visible areas around the workplace.

As new sectors of the economy begin to reopen, additional COVID-19 workplace safety resources will be added by the province as necessary. If you’re a Beneplan client and have questions or need support on these and other people issues, please reach out to Beneplan’s HR Consultant at 1 800 387 1570 x 268 or via email at


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