Ontario manufacturers to receive more testing, inspections as stay-at-home order begins
The province will provide up to 300,000 COVID-19 tests per week to support manufacturing, warehousing, supply chain, and food processing.
As Ontario goes into a second state of emergency, the province’s manufacturing sector will receive up to 300,000 COVID-19 tests per week to support manufacturing, warehousing, supply chain and food processing, as well as additional tests for schools and long-term care homes.
The extra tests will also support antigen screening for up to 150,000 workers per week over the next four to five months.
The province is expecting to receive 12 million Panbio tests from the federal government over the next several months.
In a Jan. 12 statement, the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters association welcomed the news that manufacturing will be able to continue with expanded testing. “This announcement will allow Ontario’s 40,000 manufacturers and their 750,000 employees continue to safely work and produce goods for domestic and international markets,” the association said. “The manufacturing sector has worked aggressively to introduce protocols and provide a safe work environment for their workers throughout this pandemic, while producing goods essential for the response and recovery. The announcement today by Premier Ford that the sector could continue to operate through the pandemic while maintaining these standards is welcomed by manufacturers across the province, and we applaud this decision.”
The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development is also launching a “Stay Safe All Day” campaign by focusing workplace inspections in areas of high transmission, including break rooms, and providing new educational materials to employers to promote safe behaviour before, during and after work. “Evidence gathered from COVID-19-related workplace inspections to date shows the vast majority of employers and workers are following COVID-19 safety requirements when working. However, when in a break room, a vehicle or not on the clock, there is a tendency to forget about the importance of wearing masks, maintaining physical distance and hand hygiene,” the government said in a statement.
The new order for Ontario takes effect on Jan. 14 at 12:01 a.m. and requires residents to stay at home except for essential activities such as accessing health care or shopping for groceries, and further delaying in-person classes for students in some hot spots. The new measures also include restricting the hours of operation for non-essential retail stores such as hardware stores to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., and a five-person cap on outdoor social gatherings. Wearing a mask is also now recommended outdoors when physical distancing is difficult.