Ontario announces new safety measures in high-risk workplaces

Publicly-funded PCR testing available for workers in energy sector

Ontario announces new safety measures in high-risk workplaces

Beginning the end of 2021, Ontario has made publicly-funded PCR testing available for workers in high COVID-19 risk settings and high-risk and vulnerable individuals.

This includes workers in critical infrastructure like energy.

“As cases continue to rise at a rapid rate and evidence on the Omicron variant evolves, our response needs to evolve alongside other jurisdictions to ensure those living and working in our highest-risk settings are protected,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Four miners working at the Eagle gold mine in Yukon tested positive for COVID-19 in October 2021.

Also, a total of 5,432 workers in Alberta oilsands were infected by the COVID-19 coronavirus in 20 workplace outbreaks during the third and fourth waves of the pandemic, according to Alberta Health.

The province has also changed its rules around the isolation period for those who test positive for COVID-19. 

Individuals with COVID-19 who are vaccinated will be required to isolate for five days following the onset of symptoms. Their household contacts are also required to isolate with them.

These individuals can end isolation after five days if their symptoms are improved for at least 24 hours and all public health and safety measures, such as masking and physical distancing, are followed. Non-household contacts are required to self-monitor for ten days.

Meanwhile, individuals who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or immunocompromised will be required to isolate for 10 days.

"Our government is taking action to protect our most vulnerable and preserve public health and health system capacity throughout the province so that patients can continue to receive the care they need,” says Christine Elliott, deputy premier and minister of health. 

“I encourage everyone to help protect our communities by staying home if you are sick, following the updated isolation guidance, and getting your first, second or booster dose as soon as possible."

Previously, some mines delayed the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination rule in their workplace because federal guidance was unclear.