New measures aimed at curbing spread of COVID-19 in Toronto workplaces to be announced this afternoon

TORONTO — Toronto officials will be announcing new measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces during a briefing Monday afternoon, Mayor John Tory confirms.

Workplaces currently account for the second highest number of known outbreaks outside of healthcare institutions.

There have been 302 community and workplace outbreaks in Toronto, including six new ones since Dec. 30.

In an interview with CP24 on Monday morning Tory said that the measures being announced today will be aimed at imposing additional safety requirements for essential workplaces as well as additional reporting requirements.

Currently, workplaces are under no obligation to report COVID-19 outbreaks publicly and the statistics provided by the province only lump outbreaks into larger categories.

“There will be more public reporting and transparency and this is on the theory that information is power,” Tory said. “Information is power for the public but more importantly for the workers themselves to ensure they are kept safe.”

Toronto’s Board of Health did ask Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa to begin publicly releasing information about workplace outbreaks back in September.

At the time, de Villa said that she would be “exploring” the proposal, though she also said that it was important to balance the need to release as much information as possible with privacy concerns.

“At the end of the day the fundamental goal of public health is to improve the health status of the population and to reduce any inequities in that health status and in so far as the sharing of relevant information supports that, that is what we seek to do every day,” she said.

Today’s briefing is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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