Authors: Leah Schatz, Q.C., Shane Buchanan
On April 17, 2020, the government of Saskatchewan issued a public health order requiring all operators of special-care homes and personal care homes to restrict the movement of staff members among these facilities by ensuring that staff members work in only one facility that will come into force and effect on April 28, 2020.
Update: On July 6, 2020, the government of Saskatchewan issued a public health order continuing the same measures outlined in the April 28, 2020 public health order until, in the opinion of the Chief Medical Health Officer, there is no longer a public health threat.
The order extends to individuals or corporations who provide health-care services or support within these facilities as well. Staff members are required to disclose to their supervisors that they work at more than one facility.
Employers can apply for an exception
If a health-care employer caught by the order is not able to ensure adequate staffing levels within their facility as a result of the order, they may seek approval from a medical health officer to permit a staff member to work at more than one facility.
Who does the restriction not apply to?
This restriction does not apply to certain classifications, specifically, dietitians, medical laboratory technologists, medical laboratory assistants, nurse practitioners, home care workers, public health nurses, paramedics, pharmacists, physicians, resident physicians, speech language pathologists, podiatrists, and various transportation workers and trades, together with individuals exempted by the medical health officer. The order does not restrict workers from employment that is not in a facility such as home care, group homes, or other employment, except if their employment is within a hospital. Staff members are not permitted to work at a special-care home or personal care home if they work at a hospital.
The April 28, 2020 order also requires mandatory health screening at all facilities and hospitals operated by The Provincial Health Authority and the Saskatoon Cancer Centre, Allan Blair Cancer Centre, and the Hematology Clinic operated by the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency. Staff members who provide services within these facilities are required to undergo health screening, which may include a temperature check.
Individuals displaying or disclosing signs or symptoms of COVID-19 will be denied entry to the facilities. Individuals providing services will also be required to undergo temperature checks prior to leaving facilities. All temperatures will be logged by the employer.
Volunteers and students who assist in the provision of services within facilities are also required to undergo health screening, which may include a temperature check prior to or upon entry to the facility. Individuals who display or disclose signs or symptoms of COVID-19 shall be denied entry to the facility and temperatures will be logged by the facility. Individuals who provide direct patient care or working in patient care areas are required to wear a surgical mask continuously at all times and in all areas if they are either involved in direct patient contact or cannot maintain two-metre distancing from patients and others.
Individuals who do not work in patient care areas or do not have direct patient contact are only required to mask if they enter patient care areas and two-metre distancing cannot be maintained.
For more information and details concerning the public health order pertaining to the above restrictions please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Saskatchewan labour and employment group.
Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.