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August 19, 2021
As public health officials warn of an incoming Delta variant-driven fourth wave of COVID-19, experts are saying that its spread will likely be "very, very different" than Canada’s previous waves.
The warning came from chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam on Friday, who pointed at the upward trend in cases across Canada. The public health agency of Canada’s long-range epidemic forecasts "suggests we are the start of a Delta-driven fourth wave," Tam told reporters at a press conference.
Tam warned that if vaccine uptake doesn’t increase in the country’s younger populations, cases could eventually exceed some communities’ health-care system capacities.
Delta COVID-19 variant as contagious as chickenpox, internal CDC report says
The news also comes on the heels of a new CDC report and study, the former of which warned that the Delta COVID-19 variant could be as contagious as chickenpox and the latter pointing to a string of outbreaks even among those who have been vaccinated.
However, according to Dr. Gerald Evans, chair of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Queen’s University, Canada’s fourth wave of COVID-19 will differ greatly from its previous ones despite the CDC reports and warning from PHAC officials.
"If we have a fourth wave, it’s going to look very, very different than the previous waves," said Evans.
He said that there’s "no way" that such a wave would be as big as the previous ones simply because of Canada’s vaccinations rates, which remain among the highest in the world.
Even with Canada’s rise in cases, Evans said that they would primarily be in unvaccinated communities, pointing to the fact that over 97 per cent of all new cases were among those who did not get a shot.
Canada added at least another 218 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing its total infections to 1,431,219. Another two deaths were reported as well, with the country’s death toll now standing at 26,600. Over 1.39 million people have recovered, and more than 49.5 million vaccinations have been doled out.
Canada’s 4th COVID-19 wave will be among unvaccinated, with fewer restrictions: experts
Active cases now look to be on the rise across the country, though, Thursday saw another 903 new cases, Friday 897 more and Saturday another 531. In comparison, Canada recorded 391 recoveries on Thursday, 412 on Friday and 190 on Saturday.
This weekend’s COVID-19 data is limited, however, with only Ontario and Quebec reporting new cases as of today.
CDC reinstates face mask recommendations amid U.S. surge in Delta variant cases
CDC reinstates face mask recommendations amid U.S. surge in Delta variant cases – Jul 28, 2021
According to Evans, the CDC’s study on vaccinated people contracting COVID-19 after large events actually presents stronger evidence of the effectiveness of vaccines.
The main problem in the study he said was that the disease control agency was not reporting denominators — the amount of people that had visited or travelled around the state during the period which the study was conducted.
May 11, 2021
Get the facts about COVID19 vaccines
Vaccines work with your body’s natural defenses to develop significant protection against COVID-19. By providing instructions to your immune system on how to recognize and fight it off.
There are four vaccines authorized for use in Canada. They are safe, effective, and one of the most effective ways to protect from serious illness and death, as well as the very real, long-term health impacts of COVID-19.
Click on link below to see full list of authorized vaccines.
Can't wear a mask? Be prepared to prove it, B.C. Human Rights Tribunal rules
VANCOUVER -- A decision by the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal says anyone denied service for refusing to wear a mask must be ready to prove they have a disability if they intend to file a complaint.
The warning is contained in a screening decision published Wednesday as tribunal member Steven Adamson addresses what he describes as a large volume of complaints alleging discrimination related to mask requirements.
Screening decisions are among the first steps in a tribunal investigation and are rarely released, but Adamson says he's publishing his findings because there have been many similar complaints since last October.
In his decision, Adamson rejects that an unnamed customer's human rights were violated when a security guard asked her to leave an unnamed store for refusing to wear a mask.
The ruling says the woman claimed the mask order is “pointless” and masks make breathing difficult and cause anxiety, but she would not explain any physical disability that might prevent use of a mask.
In tossing out the complaint, Adamson says although the woman has reported an “adverse impact” regarding service in the store, she hasn't offered any facts about a physical or mental condition.
“The Code does not protect people who refuse to wear a mask as a matter of personal preference, because they believe wearing a mask is 'pointless,' or because they disagree that wearing masks helps to protect the public during the pandemic,” Adamson writes.
He says the code only protects from discrimination based on certain personal characteristics, including disability, and any claim of discrimination must begin by establishing the disability interferes with mask use.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 1, 2021.
March 18, 2021
Ontario's new covid vaccination plan schedule
The first phase, which began in December and extends to the end of this month, focuses on seniors living in congregate settings like long-term care (LTC) homes, adults who receive chronic home care, health-care workers, adults over the age of 80, and adults in First Nations, Metis, and Inuit populations.
The vaccines are being distributed to these high priority groups through hospital clinics, mobile teams and, by late March, mass vaccination clinics, the new plan says.
Between April and July, Ontario public health officials are targeting adults aged 60 to 79 in five-year increments, congregate settings like shelters, people with high-risk chronic illnesses and their caregivers, people who cannot work from home, and other at-risk populations.
Ontarians over 75 years of age will be eligible for the vaccine starting at the beginning of April, and those over 70 could see their shots starting later in the month. (March)
Vaccination effort would shift to the over 65 group in late April, and the over 60 population by around min-May, the plan shows.
High-risk chronic conditions that would qualify an individual for vaccination in phase 2 include obesity, organ transplants, kidney disease, dementia, diabetes, liver diseases and cancers.
Pregnancy is also considered an at-risk condition that would put someone in the phase 2 category.
People who cannot work from home and are part of phase 2 include teachers, first responders like police and firefighters, agricultural and farm workers, child-care workers, food manufacturing workers, social workers, and waste management staff.
Adults in the general population aged 59 and younger are in phase 3, which is scheduled to start in July.
Mass vaccination clinics, pharmacies, primary care providers, site-specific clinics, mobile teams, and public health units will provide the shots in phases 2 and 3.
The timing is not carved in stone.
“The timeline for Ontario’s three-phase vaccination distribution plan is dependent on vaccine supply and availability from the federal government,” a public health document says.
The plan, released by the province Friday, was written before the confirmed approval of a fourth vaccine, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, and news that more Pfizer does are arriving than expected.
We ask you to review this email and identify where your employees fit on the listed phase in vaccination schedule.
For any help in confirming, please contact us for specifics to your workplace.
November 9, 2020
Canada follows WHO and U.S. in acknowledging aerosol transmission of coronavirus
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) now says the novel coronavirus can be transmitted through small airborne droplets.
PHAC updated its virus transmission guidance part of a larger overhaul of COVID-19 advice that also included a new recommendation that all face masks should contain three layers of material.
Previously the agency had said that COVID-19 “most commonly” spreads through touching a contaminated surface or having close contact with an infected person who passes the virus along through droplets created when they speak, cough, sneeze or otherwise project form their mouth.
These droplets were thought to fall to the ground very quickly. The new guidance notes that this can take “seconds or minutes,” and that infection can also be transmitted through aerosols – smaller droplets that “linger in the air under some circumstances.”
According to the new guidance, the droplets and aerosols can infect a person by being inhaled or by otherwise coming into contact with the mouth, nose, or eyes.
Contact with contaminated surfaces, followed by touching the face without first handwashing, remains in the guidance as another potential method of transmission.
Canada’s chief public health officer referenced the new guidance at a press conference with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other cabinet members.
“This is why we have been advising Canadians to try to avoid the three Cs – closed spaces with poor ventilation, crowded places with large numbers of people gathered and close contact situations where you can’t maintain physical distancing,” Dr. Theresa Tam said.
“This pandemic is reaching us a lot about being flexible and adapting to new challenges.”
Canada’s new wording around aerosols is very similar to that of the World Health Organization, which first recognized aerosol transmission in July.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control issued similar guidance in October, although it emphasized at the time that it still believes prolonged, close contact with an infected person is a much more significant source of COVID-19 spread.
October 15, 2020
Get your flu shot
The flu shot is the best way you can protect yourself and your loved ones.
This year, getting the flu shot is more important than ever. Avoid confusing the flu with COVID-19 as the symptoms are similar. Protect yourself from the flu and get your flu shot.
The flu is not the same as having a cold or COVID-19. The Flu Facts page on Ontario.ca has information to help you identify if you have the flu, a cold or COVID-19.
Remember that influenza (flu) spreads easily from person to person, especially during the peak season running from late fall to early spring.
Symptoms of the flu include:
extreme weakness and fatigue
The symptoms of the flu and the common cold can be very similar but, unlike a case of the common cold, the flu can lead to serious health problems like pneumonia.
Use this chart to help determine if you have a cold or the flu.
Common, high (102°F - 104°F or 39°C - 40°C)
Starts suddenly, lasts 3 to 4 days
Not everyone with the flu gets a fever
General aches and pains
Common, often severe
Sometimes, usually mild
Often, can be severe
Feeling tired and weak
Common, may last 2 to 3 weeks or more
Fatigue (extreme tiredness)
Common, starts early
Can lead to sinus congestion or earache
Can lead to pneumonia and respiratory failure, worsen a current chronic respiratory condition, be life-threatening
Chest discomfort and/or coughing
Sometimes, mild to moderate
Common, can become severe
Be sure to:
- stay home and get plenty of rest
- drink lots of fluids
- avoid caffeine
- speak to your doctor, practitioner or pharmacist about over-the-counter medications that can help you feel better (such as basic pain or fever relievers), but do not give acetylsalicylic acid (ASA or Aspirin) to anyone under 18 years old
- treat muscle pain using a hot water bottle or heating pad - apply heat for short periods of time
- take a warm bath
- gargle with a glass of warm salt water or suck on hard candy or lozenges
- use spray or saline drops for a stuffy nose
- avoid alcohol, caffeine and tobacco
- avoid alcohol, caffeine and tobacco
Call your doctor or nurse practitioner if:
- you don't start to feel better after a few days
- your symptoms get worse
- you are in a high-risk group and develop flu symptoms
August 14, 2020
CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) Update from the Government of Canada
Going out: Personal and social activities during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Think about the risks
As provinces and territories lift or adjust public health measures, we have to think about the risks associated with different settings and activities.
Minimize your risk by avoiding the 3 Cs:
- closed spaces with poor ventilation
- crowded places with many people nearby
- close faces, such as close-range conversations
Before going out, consider the risks and make informed choices to keep yourself, your family and your communities safe. If a planned activity puts you at higher risk of getting COVID-19, consider avoiding it.
Personal practices for all public spaces
Follow public health measures and reduce your risks when participating in personal and social activities by following the personal practices below.
- Stay home if you feel sick or have any symptoms, even if mild.
- Avoid physical contact with others.
- Wear a non-medical mask or face covering when:
- indoors in public spaces
- indoors or outdoors in closed spaces, crowded places and close contact situations where you can't keep 2 metres away from others
- required by the business or local public health authority
- Cough and sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm.
- Minimize handling cash by using cashless transactions or cleaning your hands if you do use cash.
- Keep 2 metres away from anyone who doesn't live with you or isn't in your small and consistent social circle.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or carry hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
- Wash or sanitize your hands often, especially:
- before eating or drinking
- when you enter and exit a building
- after you touch common and frequently touched surfaces or objects
Read signs posted at entrances before entering the building and follow the public health measures in place.
Check the shop or business website or call ahead to see what COVID-19 specific practices and polices are in place. You may need to wear a non-medical mask or face covering to enter.
You may also want to know how the business will protect your health, such as:
- staff wearing non-medical masks or face coverings
- screening staff and clients for COVID-19 symptoms or exposure to COVID-19
- keeping staff and patrons’ home if they have COVID-19 or related symptoms, or have been in contact with someone who's sick
Public transportation includes transit such as:
- taxi or limo services
- buses, trains and subways
- shared bikes, skateboards and other micro-mobility devices
In addition to following personal practices for all public spaces, take additional measures using public transportation.
- Clean your hands:
- when you enter and leave transportation services
- after touching common surfaces, such as ticket dispensers, door handles, railings or buttons
- Avoid commuting during peak hours, if possible.
- Follow visual cues and signage to ensure physical distancing:
- while seated
- at public transportation stops and stations
- when entering and exiting transportation services
- Check if your transit company or local public health authority has a policy on wearing masks at all times.
- Avoid carpooling in personal or rideshare vehicles. If you have to use a rideshare, taxi or limo service:
- keep your window open if possible
- sit in the back seat, away from the driver
Do not use public transportation to go to a health centre if you feel sick or have any symptoms, even if mild.
Going to work
In addition to personal practices for all public spaces, take additional measures when going to work.
- Notify your employer if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been confirmed to have it.
- Bring your lunch, coffee and snacks from home.
- Avoid gathering in groups in breakrooms and common areas.
- Avoid visiting public spaces between your home and workplace.
Hosting small gatherings
Remind your guests to follow the recommended practices for protecting themselves and others. In addition to the general precautions, take the following measures when hosting small gatherings.
- Host your gathering outdoors.
- Make sure the size of your gathering meets your local public health authority's guidelines.
- For gatherings where food or drinks will be served:
- use disposable dishes and cutlery
- limit the number of people serving
- have servers wear a non-medical mask or face covering
- remind guests and servers to clean their hands
- encourage your guests to bring their own food and drinks
- avoid shared snack bowls, or using hands to eat from the same bowl
- For high touch surfaces:
- clean and disinfect high touch surfaces and objects often
- limit the amount of surfaces and shared items your guests need to touch
- provide disposable disinfectant wipes so guests can clean surfaces before and after using them
- Promote hand hygiene by providing:
- liquid soap
- no-touch waste containers
- hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol
- disposable paper towels in washrooms instead of cloth hand towels
If one of your guests has symptoms during or after your gathering:
- have the guest safely leave your gathering
- consult with your local public health authority for advice
- clean and disinfect all areas the guest may have come in contact with
- inform everyone in attendance so they can monitor themselves for symptoms
In addition to personal practices for all public spaces, take these additional measures when running errands.
- Limit the number of people you bring with you to run errands.
- Limit what you touch by only picking up items you plan on purchasing.
- Follow floor markings and other physical distancing visual cues when:
- waiting in lines
- moving through the aisles
- entering and exiting a building
- Try not to take your mask off between stops if you're visiting more than one store or business. If you do remove your mask, sanitize your hands afterwards.
Visiting health professionals
In addition to following personal practices for all public spaces, take additional measures when you visit your health professionals.
- Before your appointment, check for phone calls, texts or emails that explain any COVID-19-related measures. You may need to fill out a pre-screening questionnaire and wear a non-medical mask or face covering.
- Reschedule or cancel your appointment if you're feeling sick.
- Avoid bringing others to your appointment (unless essential).
- Wait in your vehicle or outside the building until it's time for your appointment (if possible).
- If you need to remove your mask for your appointment, such as dental procedures, handle it carefully.
Gathering in outdoor spaces
It's important to use protective measures while in public outdoor spaces. This includes areas like:
- outdoor recreation spaces
- parks, including playgrounds and dog parks
In addition to personal preventive practices for all public spaces, you should also:
- play only low-contact recreational sports and where you can keep a 2-metre distance from other players
- avoid large groups or crowding at:
- picnic areas
- lookout points
- trail entrance/exits
- wash or sanitize your hands after touching common surfaces, including:
- park benches
- public washrooms
- playground equipment
- carry a water bottles and refreshments and avoid using public drinking fountains
- avoid sharing items with people who don't live with you or aren't in your small and consistent social circle. These items include:
- swimming materials
- sports and recreation equipment
July 1, 2020
Summer is here and so is the HEAT & HUMIDITY!
The next 2 weeks are going to be HOT, HOT, HOT!
Weatherman or weather woman says to expect daytime temps to push 30oC in the GTA with humidity expected temperatures to be around 35oC to 38oC.
Are your prepared?
Are employees prepared?
Keep your workplace and employees safe, provide water, whether it be bottled or from a tap, tell your workers to drink a few sips every 15 to 20 minutes even if they are not feeling thirsty.
Provide alternate sources such as freezes, ice packs, juice fountains or even ice cream!
Provide cool/air-conditioned rest/lunchrooms allowing your employees the opportunity to cool their core temperature, reducing the possibility of a heat/humidity related incident.
Remember, should an employee collapse and possibly faint, you are required to call the Ministry of Labour. Do not wait for that to happen, be proactive, talk to your work force, remind them to get proper rest between work hours, eat cool foods, take medications prescribed. When the temperature rises, it is even more dangerous for people with medical conditions such as asthma or heart conditions.
Finally, ask yourself “what if”, what if we have a person collapse, are we prepared?
· who are our certified first aiders?
· what is the building address?
· where do first responders enter our building?
· when should we call for an ambulance?
· how do we know what medications people are to take?
Complete a safety talk, express your concern, need to know if someone takes medication.
· Explain the additional measurers you are taking to protect them at work
· Explain their role to protect themselves
· Look at what work that is labour intensive, hot, and could this be done at a time of day when it is cooler?
· Could you add additional employees thereby spreading work activities out amongst workers, reducing their overall activities or have the additional employee provide a 5-minute cool down?
· Is it possible to reduce the amount of goods produced keeping within expected daily production?
Remember, it will take one incident that could have a major impact on your business.
If you need assistance with your heat stress program, let us know. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
June 10, 2020
HOW TO SAFELY HAVE FRIENDS AND FAMILY OVER AMID COVID-19
With restrictions lifting as provinces slowly reopen, limits on the number of people allowed to gather socially are increasing. Here is what the experts say about doing it safely:
Opt for outside: "We know that it's more difficult to transmit it in the outdoors because there's a lot of wind and there's a dilutional effect of the large amount of atmosphere," said Dr. Gerald Evans, chair of Queen's University's infectious diseases division in Kingston, Ont.
Maintain distance: Just because gathering sizes have increased does not mean people should stand close together. "You should have to speak just a little louder than you otherwise normally would. If it feels a bit awkward that's probably the right distance, and if it doesn't feel a bit awkward then maybe you're too close".
B.Y.O supplies: Bring your own supplies. Do not share cutlery, glasses, or food. That means no communal bowls of chips: "Instead of having a big bowl, you should set up small, individual bowls that already have the chips in them".
Still, it is important to assess individual health risk. If you or a friend or family member are not feeling well or are at risk, rethink the gathering. "It's super important to make sure that everybody sort of self-checks themselves before they are going out to meet with others".
USING THE BATHROOM ISN’T A BIG RISK
Having guests go into one’s home to use the bathroom is not something to stress about. it is "absolutely safe" for people to share a toilet.
However, he suggests doing away with hand towels that can harbour bacteria.
"Instead of having a common hand towel that everyone is using, put out individual towelettes so that everyone uses their own personal piece of paper towel to dry their hands after they've washed them". the host should clean and disinfect the bathroom before guests arrive and after they leave.
Keeping up with Canada’s fast-changing employment and labour laws
Did you know?
On January 1, 2019, the entitlement under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000, to personal emergency leave (including two paid days) was repealed and replaced with three new unpaid leave entitlements in each calendar year: 3 days Sick Leave, 3 days Family Responsibility Leave, and 2 days Bereavement Leave.
1. 2018 was a year of change for employers across Canada. The legalization of recreational cannabis coupled with seismic shifts in employment standards and labour relations legislation required many employers to change the way they do business.
2. You may be thinking about rolling back the wage parity among full and part-time employees brought in under Bill 148. Can you? Should you? The analysis is both practical and legal.
3. In a non-unionized workplace, a unilateral and substantial change to an essential term of employment can, in some cases, be considered a constructive dismissal.
4. Takeaways for employers
As noted above, an appeal of the decision is scheduled to be heard on March 25, 2019. Until the law is settled, employers should remember this:
1. A notice of resignation or retirement must be clear.
A healthy-given notice of resignation or retirement may not be upheld by a court. An employer that relies on such notice does so at some risk.
Best practice: If an employee “resigns” in the heat of the moment or shortly following an incident, proceed with caution. Consider allowing a reasonable period of time to pass, then confirm resignation in writing.
2. Acceptance of a resignation may be sufficient to create a binding agreement.
Subject to point 1 (above), assuming English v. Manulife remains the law, an employer need only accept a resignation for it to be binding.
Best practice: To minimize the opportunity for disagreement and/or misunderstanding down the road, ensure “acceptance” is clear (written confirmation) and consider taking a step or action in reliance on the resignation.