The Gradual Reopening of Businesses and Workplaces Following the COVID-19 Crisis: Your Legal Obligations

In the context of the gradual reopening of businesses and workplaces following the COVID-19 crisis, employers and employees will likely have to deal with several challenges.

In order to properly implement a reopening plan, it is essential that employers be adequately equipped to ensure that they apply the internal measures requested by the CNESST and the Quebec Public Health Department. To facilitate this, we thought we would outline non-exhaustive list of measures to implement before the reopening of your businesses.

The employer has an obligation to ensure that risks are identified, controlled, and corrected. The employer must ensure to undertake these prevention processes while at the same time promoting the participation and collaboration of workers.

Plan to return to work

Before bringing your team back to the workplace, be sure to identify the risks of transmitting COVID-19.

Once the risks have been identified, the risk of contamination must be prevented.

Once the employees have returned to work

If an employee has contracted COVID-19:

If an employee refuses to return to work:

Review your policies and employee manual:

Train and communicate:

In our opinion, 3 main themes should guide your efforts and your approach to this new reality:

1- The health and safety of your employees must take precedence over the financial considerations linked to the new measures to be taken in terms of health and safety;

2- You must maintain a balance between the health and security of everyone and the respect of the private life of each of your employees; and

3- Do not forget to consider risks related to the mental health of your employees by promoting a work environment that encourages empathy, collaboration, respect, patience and open-mindedness that allows your employees to express their fears and anxieties that may be causing them personal problems and other related issues as a result of this pandemic (working from home, family, financial insecurity, etc.).

Make sure to stay on the lookout for any updates from the government and from the Director of Quebec Public Health and be sure to share all new guidelines with your team as soon as possible.

We refer you to the CNESST Covid-19 informative package for more details and information related to each specific sector of activity 2. There, you will find very simple tools to help you enforce the new measures and respect your obligations.

If you have any questions regarding this topic or if you need help resolving a dispute, please know that we are available to look over and discuss with you the solutions at your disposal.

We wish you a safe return to work.

1https://www.inspq.qc.ca/publications/2986-tableau-levee-isolement-covid19 2https://www.cnesst.gouv.qc.ca/salle-de-presse/covid-19-info-en/Pages/toolkit.aspx

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