Essential Workplaces in Ontario: What about Churches and Charities?

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Late on Monday, March 23, 2020, the Ontario government issued a list of essential workplaces that will be allowed to continue operating. The list can be found here.

“Businesses” includes both for profit and non-profit entities.

Churches operating solely as religious institutions are not included as an essential service. Charities may fall into any number of categories, depending on the nature of its services.

What can churches and charities do?

  1. Contact your insurer to determine what your obligations are to maintain coverage should your facility be closed
  2. Carefully review your church and charity’s operations: for example, do you provide:
    • Financial services including payment processing, or have a payroll division (#34)
    • Radio and television broadcasting (#44)
    • Home care services (#48)
    • Services supporting health sector including mental health and addictions and counselling supports (#55)
    • Personal support services (#57)
    • Critical personal support services in home or residential services for individuals with physical disabilities (#59)
    • Supporting the provision of food, shelter safety or protection such as food banks (#60)
  3. If you do provide these services, consider how you can continue to provide them under current directives to social distance, provide hand washing and sanitizing stations, etc., in an effort to cooperate with governing authorities.

As of today, March 25, the province has launched a toll-free line to provide support to Ontario businesses who have questions about the order and how emergency measures impact their employment. The line is open Monday to Sunday 8:30 am – 5:00 pm 1-888-444-3659.

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Noteworthy is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Every organization’s circumstances are unique. Before acting on the basis of information contained in this blog, readers should consult with a qualified lawyer for advice specific to their situation.