On June 9, 2021 Ontario Regulation 264/21 “Declaration of Emergency” was revoked. The Ontario government declared a province-wide emergency state on April 7, 2021 in response to the third wave of COVID-19 cases. By beginning of June, 2021 the situation seems to have deescalated enough for the provincial government to lift the emergency state.
Although it might appear that the revocation of the emergency state would be a significant change, in reality, it is not much more than a political gesture, highly misleading in its nature. On its face, the Ontario government has ended the emergency state and, many would assume, the incredibly pervasive restrictions with it. In fact, the essence of the emergency state has been retained with the majority of restrictions remaining through the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA).
ROA was introduced on July 21, 2020 and it provides that any orders made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) that were in effect when the ROA came into force (so on July 21, 2020), are continued under the new act, subject to extensions for up to 30 days at a time.
At the moment, the following orders under the ROA have been extended until August 18, 2021:
- Stages of Reopening;
- Rules for Areas in Stage 1;
- Rules for Areas in Stage 2;
- Rules for Areas in Stage 3;
- Treatment of Temporary COVID-19 Related Payments to Employees;
- Enforcement of Orders;
- Work Deployment Measures for Municipalities – See our earlier bulletin on the impact of “Work Deployment Measures for Municipalities” Order;
- Deployment of Employees of Service Provider Organizations;
- Work Deployment Measures for District Social Services Administration Boards;
- Management of Retirement Homes in Outbreak;
- Management of Long-Term Care Homes in Outbreak;
- Hospital Credentialing Processes;
- Certain Persons Enabled to Issue Medical Certificates of Death;
- Congregate Care Settings;
- Work Deployment Measures for Mental Health and Addictions Agencies;
- Limiting Work to a Single Retirement Home;
- Limiting Work to a Single Long-Term Care Home;
- Work Deployment Measures for Service Agencies Providing Violence Against Women Residential Services and Crisis Line Services;
- Service Agencies Providing Services and Supports to Adults with Developmental Disabilities and Service Providers Providing Intervenor Services;
- Work Deployment Measures in Retirement Homes;
- Work Deployment Measures for Boards of Health;
- Temporary Health or Residential Facilities;
- Use of Force and Firearms in Policing Services;
- Prohibition on Certain Persons Charging Unconscionable Prices for Sales of Necessary Goods;
- Streamlining Requirements for Long-Term Care Homes;
- Work Deployment Measures in Long-Term Care Homes;
- Electronic Service;
- Work Redeployment for Certain Health Services Providers.
This means that, although we are no longer in a state of emergency, the restrictions enacted in this period remain.
This latest move by the Ontario government reinforces our firm’s belief that all regulations must undergo rigid scrutiny to determine their true effect and the unions must remain vigilant about the erosion of their hard-fought rights under the guise of protection against COVID-19 pandemic.
Please do not hesitate to contact us for personalized assistance with respect to possible implications of remaining emergency orders and with how you can protect your union’s rights.