Note that on March 23, the Government of Ontario issued an emergency order to close at-risk workplaces and encourage non-essential businesses to find ways to help their employees work from home. Businesses who have questions about closures of at-risk workplaces or how emergency measures impact their business or employment can call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659. Help is available from Monday to Sunday, from 8:30 a.m.―5:00 p.m. A complete list of essential services is available on the Government of Ontario’s website.
How to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Among Individuals
Health authorities have identified a number of best practices that businesses and their staff can adopt to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
The following preventative steps are recommended by Toronto Public Health:
- Practice social distancing, defined by the City of Toronto as: keeping 2 metres (6 feet) apart, avoiding mass gatherings, and avoiding crowds. Implement a work from home policy if possible.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 15 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
- Stay home when you are ill and go into self-isolation.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands.
- If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- If you have returned from a trip abroad, it is encouraged that you go into self-isolation for a 14-day period.
Travellers who have returned from anywhere else outside Canada, including the United States, should:
- Self-isolate (i.e. stay at home and avoid close contact with others, including those in their home) for a total of 14 days.
- Call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or their primary care provider’s office if they experience symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. fever, cough, difficulty breathing).
- Call ahead prior to visiting any healthcare provider and let them know about travel history and symptoms (e.g. fever, cough, difficulty breathing) so that they can make special arrangements to see you quickly, provide testing, and ensure that they use proper infection control measures.
For more information, it is recommended that you visit the Public Health Toronto website.
Employers are encouraged to empower their staff to protect themselves by communicating and enabling preventative measures across their organization.
More information on preventing the spread of COVID-19
The following resources provide general information from government and public health authorities on how businesses and their staff can help mitigate the spread of COVID-19:
What the Toronto Region Board of Trade is Doing in Response to COVID-19
The Toronto Region Board of Trade and World Trade Centre Toronto are taking proactive measures to ensure the personal health of residents, and the continuation of business activities to the safest extent possible during this crisis.
Board Events and Workspace
As of March 13, and until further notice, the Toronto Region Board of Trade will not be hosting any events and will postpone scheduled events. If you have registered for an event that is being postponed, you will receive updated information in a separate email as it comes available. If you are hosting an event, we ask that you reach out to the event manager you have been working with, in order to discuss.
In addition, we have also closed the member lounge at our offices until further notice. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but we are taking these measures to do our part in protecting the community at large.
Note that we will be assessing this position on a ongoing basis, and our policy regarding event hosting and use of membership space may be subject to change, given the fluidity of the situation.
Businesses should note as well that the Government of Ontario has issued an emergency order barring organized public events and social gatherings of more than 5 people, as of March 28th.
Business Continuity Advisory Group
The Board leads a Business Continuity Advisory Group, comprised of leaders from large employers in Toronto’s major business sectors including legal, banking, insurance, manufacturing, health care, regional transportation, Pearson International Airport, and Toronto Public Health. The purpose of this advisory group is to help manage the impact that COVID-19 has on our region’s business community, and ultimately our workforces and residents.
Available Mental Health Resources for Individuals Seeking Support During COVID-19
The Hon. Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, launched a new portal dedicated to mental wellness. Wellness Together Canada will connect Canadians to peer support workers, social workers, psychologists and other professionals for confidential chat sessions or phone calls and will make it easier to find credible information and help address mental health and substance use issues.
CAMH has developed a website to provide information and suggestions about how to best cope in this difficult time. It is not intended to be a resource for people who require screening for COVID-19 or are experiencing a mental health crisis.
WellCan offers free well-being resources to help Canadians develop coping strategies and build resilience to help deal with uncertainty, mental health and substance abuse concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sunlife is offering free access to their Lumino Health platform, featuring a wide variety of mental health resources.