Workers Must Sign Daily Health Screenings in Ontario

Automate COVID-19 screening for Ontario workers

woman putting open sign in store window

COVID-19 can feel like a moving target at times, but the Ontario government has effectively pinpointed specific operating procedures for each stage of reopening to keep citizens safe. There's a new requirement now, in addition to O Reg 364/20 that provides “General Compliance” guidelines on disinfecting, social distancing and mask wearing. Businesses are also required to use health screening questionnaires for all workers and essential visitors each time they come into the workplace.

As of September 26, 2020, Ontario Regulation 530/20 regulation 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 Ontario Public Health screening tool requirement is specifically for employees and for any essential visitor to that workplace, such as a delivery person, not patrons or customers. Health screening should occur before or when a worker enters the workplace at the beginning of their day or shift, or when an essential visitor arrives. That means being vigilant about health screening before or upon arrival for work – every employee and every visitor, every day they come to the workplace. 

At a minimum, these three things must be confirmed prior to beginning work or entering the premises:

  1. Any new or worsening symptoms or signs that are set out in the Screening Tool
  2. Any travel outside of Canada in the last 14 days
  3. Any close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19

If an individual answers yes to any of the above, they should not enter the workplace (indoor, outdoor or partially outdoor), immediately self-isolate, and contact their healthcare provider.

Efficiencies for Signing Daily Health Screenings

How will your business manage the signing and storing of daily health forms for all employees and essential visitors? Since there is no government requirement stated as to how the screening tool must be completed, you have several options.

Paper waivers can be available at reception when workers or visitors arrive – though this may create daily havoc. Imagine a lobby full of staff completing the physical form before they start work, plus a mountain of paperwork that must be filed each day, with separate tracking for essential visitors to your workplace. 

And what about storing those forms? The Ministry doesn’t specify exactly how long COVID-19 health screening records must be kept, but it’s been recommended that businesses maintain forms for at least 30 days which is the requirement for bars and restaurants to keep client records for contract tracing purposes.

In addition, health screenings must be kept confidential in compliance with PHIPA, the Ontario Personal Health Information Protection Act, as they contain private health information for Ontario residents. 

The safest, most efficient way to maintain compliance with the new regular health screening regulation is to digitize the process. Digitized fillable forms can be sent in advance by email or, more conveniently, be posted online where they can be completed prior to arrival – by both employees and visitors alike. And filing the forms is digital, too, making it easy to stay compliant with storage guidelines. 

Here are three useful digital tools employers can use to stay compliant with the new daily health screening regulation.

1. Bulk Send

Bulk Send makes quick work of sending out a high volume of documents ready to be completed and signed remotely. It personalizes each individual form in preparation for mass distribution.  Simply import a list of employees or contacts and each receives a unique, personalized copy of the health screening form. Add a signature box for individuals to sign and you’ve eliminated the need to create and send separate emails. 

2. Templates

Templates let you standardize your screening forms. Reusable templates automate end-to-end data gathering with common fields and a clear click-to-sign signature box. Include freeform fields or add an attachment if need be. Screening forms can be easily customized to contain both health information as well as new operational procedures for employees and essential visitors to sign off on. 

3. PowerForms

PowerForms are the perfect method for screening clients and visitors. A single click takes employees and visitors to the self-assessment screening questionnaire on your website. A custom form is generated from their answers; then worker or visitor signs the personalized form remotely from their own personal device (PC, tablet, phone). The form is completed prior to arriving at the workplace, and is automatically secured and stored with the employer. PowerForms are the most efficient way to create on-demand, self-serve documents for signature – just share the link with those who need it. 

As the coronavirus continues to impact how Canadian businesses operate, employers must be able to quickly pivot to stay compliant with changing government requirements. Digital solutions allow organizations to keep operational overhead low and adjust easily to temporary guidelines – keeping Canada’s employees safe and businesses open.

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