On August 24, 2021, the government amended Emergency Order 177/20 “Congregate Care Settings” (the “Order“) to remove secondary employment restrictions for fully vaccinated employees.
As we’ve previously reported here, the government introduced the Order in April 2020 to help reduce the risk of outbreak and exposure to COVID-19 posed by workers working for multiple employers in congregate care sectors (i.e. developmental services, intervenor services, shelters). The Order prohibited an employee of from working in residential support locations for more than one employer and required employers to ensure employee compliance.
On August 24, 2021, the order was amended to create a new exemption for employees who are “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19, which exemption will take effect on September 23, 2021.
Such changes have pros and cons for employers in sectors where staffing shortages continue unabated. First, the changes will likely incentivize workers who were otherwise reluctant to be vaccinated but are motivated to resume working for more than one employer. On the other hand, removing these restrictions may result in workers resuming their secondary employment activities and therefore being less available to the employers they have dedicated themselves to while the Order applied. This may require a reshuffling of schedules that have been built around full-time dedicated support staff who are not juggling multiple jobs and reaching out to employees currently on leave to assess their intentions (and eligibility) to return to work.
It’s important to remember that these exemptions do not change an employer’s right to implement staffing and scheduling changes and other policy measures to prevent, respond to or alleviate the outbreak of COVID-19 under other emergency orders implemented for this sector (specifically Ontario Regulation 121/20).
PooranLaw will continue to monitor legal developments related to provincial Emergency Orders. In the meantime, if you require legal assistance in updating your policies and communicating with staff in relation to single employer restrictions, we encourage you to reach out to your regular PooranLaw lawyer, or any member of our team.