COVID-19: Single Employer Restrictions Update

Exceptions to Limiting Work to a Single Long-Term Care Home or Retirement Home

On April 23, 2021, the government announced and implemented amendments to the Emergency Orders restricting workers in Long-term Care Homes and Retirement Homes to working for a single employer.

The original order prohibited an employee of a long-term care home from performing work: (1) in another long-term care home “operated or maintained” by the long-term care provider, (2)for other health service providers, or (3) in a retirement home. The order also required employers to ensure employee compliance with this order.

On April 23, 2021, the order was amended to create a new exemption for employees who are “full immunized” against COVID-19,  unless otherwise directed by a medical officer. This means receiving 2-doses of AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and then waiting 14 days.

A similar exemption was also instituted for retirement homes.

These changes signal what may be in store for DS, Intervenor and Shelter residences that are subject to similar restrictions under O. Reg. 177/20.

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 as these are the first tangible benefit workers may experience from vaccination (aside of course from being protected and protecting others, which should go without saying).  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 prior to these exemptions being established.  This may require a reshuffling of schedules that have been built around full-time dedicated support staff who are not juggling multiple jobs.

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.

PooranLaw will continue to monitor legal developments related to provincial Emergency Orders.  In the meantime, if you require legal assistance in drafting these policies, we encourage you to reach out to your regular PooranLaw lawyer, or any member of our team.

Note: This article provides general information only and does not constitute, and should not be relied upon as, legal advice or opinion. PooranLaw Professional Corporation holds the copyright to this article and the article and its contents may not be copied or reproduced in any form, in whole or in part, without the express permission of PooranLaw Professional Corporation.