You already know that you must now screen all patients using this guideline to operate a dental practice. But, did you know it is also mandatory to screen your employees?
A recent amendment to the Rules for Areas in Stage 3 Regulation, which took effect in Ontario on September 26, 2020, introduced mandatory employee COVID-19 screening. It states:
“The person responsible for a business or organization that is open shall operate the business or organization in compliance with the advice, recommendations and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health on screening individuals.”
The Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health has published a document that will help employers screen their employees: Covid-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces (Businesses And Organizations). According to the guideline, the screening should occur
- before a worker enters the workplace at the beginning of their day/shift;
- when a worker enters the workplace at the beginning of their day/shift; or
- when an essential visitor arrives (an essential visitor may be a cleaning person/crew, maintenance or repair person, etc.).
The guideline is a “minimum” standard and “may be adapted based on need and the specific setting.” Dentists may also wish to add this screening tool with additional actions, such as taking a temperature upon entry. However, these measures are not currently required by law.
As with many of the regulations during this pandemic, it is likely to change again. Encouragingly, new rapid tests are being developed and slowly introduced. This development could introduce a rapid test process before starting work if such tests become widely available, creating an additional protective measure. So stay tuned to the DMC Blog to stay up to date. Or, subscribe to our Employment Law Updates email to get alerts about upcoming changes that may affect your practice.
If you have any other questions about your rights/responsibilities as an employer, please contact us. We are happy to help with employment contracts, office policy manuals and any other employment issues. I am dedicated to helping dentists understand and minimize the risks associated with being an employer. Send DMC an email or give our Employment Law Team a call at 416-443-9280 extension 206.