October 22, 2021
Ontario Announces Plan to Safely Reopen

The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has released A Plan to Safely Reopen Ontario and Manage COVID-19 for the Long-Term which outlines the province’s gradual approach to lifting remaining public health and workplace safety measures by March 2022. The provincial government said the plan will be guided by the ongoing assessment of key public health and health care indicators and supported by local or regional tailored responses to COVID-19.

“Thanks to our cautious and careful approach to re-opening, we are now in position to gradually lift all remaining public health measures over the coming months,” said Premier Doug Ford. “This plan is built for the long term. It will guide us safely through the winter and out of this pandemic, while avoiding lockdowns and ensuring we don’t lose the hard-fought gains we have made.”

Ontario will incrementally lift all remaining public health and workplace safety measures, including the provincial requirement for proof of vaccination and wearing of face coverings in indoor public settings, over the next six months. The government sdaid the phased approach will be guided by the ongoing assessment and monitoring of key public health and health care indicators, such as the identification of any new COVID-19 variants, increases in hospitalizations and ICU occupancy and rapid increases in transmission to ensure that public health and workplace safety measures are lifted safely.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, Ontario has taken a cautious approach to reopening to protect the health and safety of Ontarians,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Our plan will ensure we replicate this success and take a gradual approach that will protect our health system capacity, prevent widespread closures, keep our schools open and support the province’s economic recovery.”

See the plan


Quick Facts

  • The powers to extend and amend orders under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 are currently in effect until December 1, 2021, and Ontario intends to seek the Legislature’s approval to extend these powers as authorized under the ROA in order to be able to maintain necessary public health and workplace measures until they are no longer needed.
  • ​Well-functioning heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems can help to disperse and remove respiratory droplets and aerosols that may contain viruses from indoor spaces. However, these tools must be used in conjunction with all other public health and workplace safety measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
  • Local medical officers of health have the ability to issue advice, recommendations or instructions under the Reopening Ontario Act (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA) as well as Section 22 orders under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, and municipalities may enact by-laws, to target specific transmission risks in the community.
  • As of September 22, 2021, Ontarians are required to be fully vaccinated with proof of vaccination along with ID to access certain public settings and facilities. The enhanced vaccine certificate with official QR code and the free, made-in Ontario Verify Ontario app are now available for download, making it easier, more secure and convenient for individuals to provide proof of vaccination where required to do so.
  • As of October 22, 2021, 4.8 million Ontarians have downloaded their enhanced vaccine certificate, and one million people are using the Verify Ontario app.
  • On July 16, 2021, the province moved into Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen. Face coverings in indoor public settings and physical distancing requirements remain in place throughout Step Three.
  • Under the 2021 Budget, Ontario is investing an additional $1.8 billion in the hospital sector in 2021-2022, bringing the total additional investment in hospitals since the start of the pandemic to over $5.1 billion. This includes creating more than 3,100 additional hospital beds to increase capacity and reduce occupancy pressures caused by COVID-19.

 Additional Resources