COVID-19 Updates:

  • Provincial News

Ontario Launches Online Training to Promote Safe Workplaces

As the province safely and gradually reopens, the Ontario government is investing $3 million to provide free online health and safety training for the first time. These virtual courses will make it easier for job seekers and workers to get essential qualifications, while practising physical distancing and preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Up to 100,000 job seekers can now take free online workplace health and safety training through Employment Ontario. There are 10 courses on offer, which include topics such as infection control, conducting health and safety incident investigations, ladder safety, slips, trips and falls prevention, and preventing workplace violence and harassment. Job seekers should contact an Employment Ontario service provider in their area to enroll.

In addition, worker and employer members of Joint Health and Safety Committees can now use video conferencing to take training in real-time with qualified instructors from training providers approved by Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer. The training includes sessions on how to establish a Health and Safety Committee, resolving health and safety issues, workplace inspections, and accident investigations.

Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer is extending the time for completion of refresher training for more than 8,000 certified committee members whose certification would have expired between February 28 and August 31, 2020. They have until November 30, 2020 to renew their training, which will be easier thanks to new online options.

Canadian Armed Forces Depart Ontario Long-Term Care Homes

The Ontario government expressed its gratitude to members of the Canadian Armed Forces who went above and beyond the call of duty to temporarily support high-priority long-term care homes during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak. The final team concludes its work today.  

Under Operation LASER, the Canadian Armed Forces deployed teams consisting of nurses, medical technicians and additional personnel. They have been working in Ontario long-term care homes since April providing staffing support and helping with infection prevention and control, and other duties such as cleaning and food preparation.

Over the course of their mission, the Canadian Armed Forces teams supported the following homes: Orchard Villa, Holland Christian Homes Grace Manor, Altamont Care Community, Eatonville Care Centre, Hawthorne Place Care Centre, Downsview Long Term Care, and Woodbridge Vista Care Community.

In May, the Ontario government responded immediately to the findings of the Canadian Armed Forces report. The Ministry of Long-Term Care has been addressing issues around infection control, standards of practice/quality of care, supplies, local practices, communication, staffing and inappropriate behaviour. To-date, the following action has been taken:

  • Each home identified at that time as high-risk has been inspected or has an inspection underway.
  • Inspections at all the Canadian Armed Forces-supported homes have been completed and have since been expanded with inspectors remaining onsite.
  • Temporary management has been appointed at Altamont Care Community, Camilla Care Community, Orchard Villa, Extendicare Guildwood, River Glen Haven, Downsview Long Term Care, Woodbridge Vista Care Community, Forest Heights and Hawthorne Place Care Centre.
  • Each home identified as high-risk has been required to submit a plan to the ministry that details how they are improving care standards.

Additional measures taken to support staff and residents in long-term care homes include emergency funding, regulatory flexibility, staffing support, expanded testing, direction and guidance on outbreak management, infection prevention, and assistance provided by public hospitals to homes in outbreak.

The government recently announced the launch of an independent, non-partisan commission into Ontario’s long-term care system beginning in July 2020. Details of the commission are now being finalized, including the terms of reference, membership, leadership of the commission and reporting timelines.

Government Proposes Made-in-Ontario Plan for Growth, Renewal and Economic Recovery

The Government of Ontario has developed a made-in-Ontario plan for growth, renewal and economic recovery. This plan includes measures that would make it easier and faster to build provincial highways, major transit infrastructure projects and quality, affordable housing, while ensuring there are meaningful opportunities for community consultation and input.

Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation, and Kinga Surma, Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA).

As part of the government’s plan, the province is proposing to accelerate key provincial highway construction and priority transit projects by establishing an exemption from the Hearing of Necessity process. Provincial Hearings of Necessity occur approximately 5-10 times per year on average for provincial highway projects. Each hearing adds months of red tape and construction delays for critical provincial infrastructure, costing up to five months for transit projects and up to 12 months for provincial highway projects.

As part of this plan, the government would also enter into new commercial agreements with partners to build transit-oriented communities. This would allow for the development of more housing around transit in an integrated manner and put more job opportunities within the reach of more people. The measures would also save taxpayers money by having the development industry make direct, significant contributions to the cost of building transit for the benefit of communities, all transit riders, and Ontario taxpayers.

These measures would allow the province to more quickly undertake important technical investigations and prepare construction sites, while ensuring meaningful consultation with landowners.