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COVID-19 Response Framework to Help Keep the Province Safe and Open

As the world continues to adapt to the Coronavirus, the Province of Ontario implemented the COVID-19 Response Framework on November 7th, 2020. The COVID-19 framework is an early warning system that will gather the data from across regions to make informed decisions about when to tighten restrictions or when to loosen restrictions. The aim of this Framework is to implement public health measures sooner that will protect the health and safety of individuals and families and provide more certainty to businesses and workers. This framework will allow the province to introduce early interventions to slow the spread of the Coronavirus and help keep the province safe and open and avoid a province wide shut down.  The Framework is available to the public and will allow the public to see what is happening within their region and surrounding regions.

The Covid-19 framework is a colour-coded system with 5 levels of risk. Regions are moved up and down the scale based on the COVID-19 activity within each region. Each level is based on 3 indicators – epidemiology, health system capacity and public health system capacity – and outlines the public health measures for each risk. Each indicator will be assessed on a two-week basis but if trends appear to be worsening rapidly, public health measures will be considered sooner than two weeks. As trends improve, measures will be reduced with caution.

COVID-19 Response Framework Risk

Green – Prevent

  • Focus on education and awareness of public health and workplace safety measures
  • Restrictions reflect the broadest allowance of activities in Stage 3 absent a widely available vaccine or treatment
  • Highest risk settings remain closed

Protect – Yellow Zone (Strengthened Measures) 

  • Enhanced, targeted enforcement, fines, and enhanced education to limit further transmission 
  • Apply public health measures in high-risk settings 

Restrict – Orange Zone (Intermediate Measures) 

  • Implement enhanced measures, restrictions, and enforcement to avoid any closures 

Control – Red (Stringent Measures) 

  • Implement broader-scale measures and restrictions across multiple sectors, to control transmission (return to a modified Stage 2) 
  • Restrictions are the most severe available before widescale business or organizational closure 

 Lockdown – Grey (Maximum Measures) 

  • Implement widescale measures and restrictions, including closures, to halt or interrupt transmission (return to modified Stage 1 or pre-Stage 1). 

The COVID-19 Response Framework establishes the measures for the general public health and sector-specific and workplace safety measures in the following areas: 

  • Public Health (Gatherings, Workplace Requirements and Face Coverings)
  • Restaurants, Bars and Food or Drink Establishments
  • Sports and Recreational Fitness
  • Meeting and Event Spaces
  • Retail
  • Personal Care Services
  • Casinos, Bingo Halls and Gaming Establishments
  • Cinemas
  • Performing Arts Facilities

Region- Specific enhanced measures for workplaces in Ontario

Toronto, Peel, Hamilton, Halton and York have moved to the red zone. Toronto and Peel have implemented additional measures not outlined in the framework to decrease COVID-19 transmission. All workplaces should implement these requirements:

  • Businesses and workplaces should implement work from home wherever possible 
  • Businesses should review their HVAC systems to ensure they are in good working order 
  • Workplaces should appoint a compliance officer to ensure implementation of occupational health and safety and infection prevention and control measures 

As this situation continues to change, it is imperative that every organization monitor its regions status. Please visit the links provided below for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19.

To monitor your region’s status on the framework and health measures imposed by local public health authorities visit:  http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/common/system/services/phu/locations.aspx#7 

Toronto’s enhanced measures

Guidelines for business and Community Organizations in Toronto: 

Peel region COVID-19 enhanced public health measures:

To learn more about the COVID-19 Response Framework and find out what each level means, visit:

To get more information on levels by region visit: 

For a daily epidemiologic summary visit:

All other Provinces 

Visit the link below for the most up-to-date information in your province:

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