This afternoon, Premier Ford and the Ontario government announced the plan for a gradual, cautious and incremental approach to reopening Ontario over the next six months. This planned re-opening will take place in several steps, beginning with the removal of capacity limits in most places where proof of vaccination is required on Monday (October 25). If everything goes according to plan, Ontario will see all remaining public health and workplace safety measures, including requiring proof of vaccination and indoor masking, lifted by the end of March 2022.
Developed in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, officials will continue to monitor key public health and health system indicators like weekly test positivity, ICU occupancy and hospitalization rate to confirm whether the plan milestones can come into effect on the date planned.
Lifting of the requirements will occur at the following planned dates unless, trends suggest the situation across the province is deteriorating:
October 25, 2021, at 12:01 a.m.
- Lift capacity limits for most places where proof of vaccination is required:
- Permit certain settings to lift capacity limits and physical distancing requirements if they “opt-in” to requiring proof of vaccination. Otherwise, current capacity limits remain in place. These businesses or organizations can choose the frequency of their choice including daily (except for religious services which can be event specific).
These settings include but are not limited to:
November 15, 2021, at 12:01 a.m.
- Lift capacity limits in the remaining higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required:
January 17, 2022, at 12:01 a.m.
- Start gradually lifting CMOH directives and capacity limits where proof of vaccination is not required, like retail settings.
- Lift vaccine certificate requirement for most lower risk settings:
February 7, 2022
- Lift vaccine certificate requirement for some higher risk settings:
March 28, 2022
- Lift vaccine certificate requirements for remaining higher risk settings:
- All remaining public health and workplace safety measures in businesses and organizations lifted, including masking
- Revoke public health Emergency Orders under the Reopening Ontario Act
- Recommendations on where masking could be maintained (such as transit)
For specific details, please see the regulations.
Going forward, the Province intends to use local or regional approaches to any surges or waves of COVID-19 cases, based on local context and conditions. Public health units may use the existing authorities including Section 22 under the Health Protection and Promotion Act and instructions under the Reopening Ontario Act to introduce public health measures like capacity limits and/or physical distancing. Province-wide measures will only be considered if hospital capacity becomes a concern or if a new vaccine-resistant variant is identified.
The government’s powers authorized under the Reopening Ontario Act are currently set to expire December 1, 2021, so the government has indicated they will seek Legislative approval to extend these powers. This legislation is expected to be introduced in the coming days.
Happy to Help
The Sussex Ontario Government Relations Team will be monitoring the progress of Ontario’s re-opening plan. If you have any questions about this plan or what it means for your organization, please contact your Sussex consultant.
Chris Benedetti, Managing Partner
Robyn Gray, Principal & Environment Practice Lead
Brian Zeiler-Kligman, Vice President
Christina Marciano, Senior Associate
Naomi Shuman, Associate
Amanda DeYoung, Associate
Paul Pellegrini, Executive Chairman