In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the provincial government has issued several public health orders that have significantly restricted business operations in Saskatchewan.
Certain businesses have been allowed to continue operations if they are designated a “critical public service” or an “allowable business service”. For more information on whether businesses are classified as a critical public service or an allowable business service please see our Saskatchewan Closes or Restricts Non-Essential Businesses blog.
Public services and businesses entitled to operate are required to follow social distancing protocols and occupational health and safety in the workplace.
The provincial government has recently issued a fact sheet/information bulletin regarding social distancing practices at workplaces that continue to operate (the “Workplace Safety Bulletin”).
The Workplace Safety Bulletin contains a number of important guidelines for workplaces that continue to operate. These guidelines broadly relate to the following areas:
- general information about operations, including customer visits and transactions;
- cleaning, disinfection and personal protective equipment; and
- workplace health policies.
The Workplace Safety Bulletin also includes specific guidelines for employees who work are engaged in providing the following services:
- delivery and mail;
- workplace food and accommodations (including work camps);
- retail and customer-based workplaces; and
- hotels and motels with guests self-isolating in rooms.
Although the Workplace Safety Bulletin does not have the force of law, critical public services and allowable businesses entitled to operate are encouraged to review the Workplace Safety Bulletin as a guide to ensure that they are complying with public health order requirements surrounding social distancing. Modifications to your business operations may be required. A failure to comply with a public health order can result in significant fines and penalties.
The MLT Aikins labour and employment team will continue to monitor the situation and provide additional updates on legal issues that may impact employers. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team if you require assistance in getting your organization prepared for addressing the operational impacts of COVID-19 and particularly if you are unsure as to how your business can adhere to social distancing guidelines.
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.