COVID-19 Measures and Restrictions in Ontario
January 2021 Charity & NFP Law Update
Published on January 28, 2021

By Terrance S. Carter and Luis R. Chacin

Second Declaration of Emergency in Ontario, Enforcement and Stay-at-Home Orders

As discussed in the January 12, 2021 COVID-19 Resource for Charities and NFPs, the provincial government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, declared an emergency on January 12, 2021, in the whole of the Province of Ontario under section 7.0.1(1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (“EMCPA”). Section 7.0.7 of the EMCPA provides that an emergency declared under section 7.0.1 is terminated at the end of the 14th day following its declaration unless the Lieutenant Governor in Council either declares it to be terminated or extends the emergency for one further period of no more than 14 days. As such, on January 25, 2021, the Ontario government filed Regulation 24/21 under the EMCPA, extending the emergency past the end of January 26, 2021 for a period of 14 days.

On January 13, 2021, the Ontario government filed Regulation 11/21, Stay-at- Home Order (“Stay-at-Home Order”) under the EMCPA. The Stay-at-Home Order took effect as of 12:01 a.m. on January 14, 2021 and, on January 25, 2021, pursuant to section 7.0.8 of the EMCPA, was extended to February 9, 2021. As discussed in the January 14, 2021 COVID-19 Resource for Charities and NFPs, the Stay-at-Home Order apples to individuals, generally, and Schedule 1 of the Stay-at-Home Order provides that every individual must remain in their place of residence at all times unless leaving their place of residence is necessary for purposes such as working or volunteering where the nature of the work or volunteering requires the individual to leave their place of residence (including when the individual’s employer has determined that the nature of the individual’s work requires attendance at the workplace), obtaining certain food and services, attending a gathering for the purpose of a wedding, a funeral or a religious service, rite or ceremony that is permitted pursuant to regulations under the ROA or making necessary arrangements for the purpose of such a gathering.

Extension of Orders and Amendments to Rules for Stages of Reopening

On January 15, 2021, the Ontario government extended a number of orders issued under the ROA until February 19, 2021 and amended Ontario Regulation 82/20, Rules for Areas in Stage 1 (“Stage 1 Order”). The Stage 1 Order, which currently applies to the whole of Ontario, has been amended so far four times since January 7, 2021, whereas Ontario Regulation 263/20, Rules for Areas in Stage 2 and Ontario Regulation 364/20, Rules for Areas in Stage 3 were previously amended on January 9, 2021.

As discussed in the January 14, 2021 COVID-19 Resource for Charities and NFPs, the Stage 1 Order, as amended by way of Ontario Regulation 10/21, filed on January 13, 2021, introduces a number of general requirements that apply to individuals and members of the public in the premises of a business or organization that is permitted to open, including the obligation to wear a mask or face covering and keep physical distancing.

The Stage 1 Order currently provides that “each person responsible for a business or organization that is open shall ensure that any person who performs work for the business or organization conducts their work remotely, unless the nature of their work requires them to be on-site at the workplace.” The Stage 1 Order also restricts in-person teaching or instruction for public and private schools, with special rules for those located in City of Hamilton Health Unit, City of Toronto Health Unit, Peel Regional Health Unit, Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, and York Regional Health Unit.

Read the January 2021 Charity & NFP Law Update