COVID-19 Regulatory Initiatives
All Nova Scotia businesses are required to follow the Health Protection Act Order issued by the Medical Officer of Health. The Health Protection Act Order can be viewed here. The following sectors are subject to additional business and service restrictions, which can be viewed here. Those sectors include:
- Childcare and education;
- Disability support programs;
- Healthcare and continuing care;
- Personal and wellness services;
- Recreation services;
- Religious services;
- Restaurants, bars and casinos; and
Businesses that were previously ordered to close under the Health Protection Act Order are required to follow approved sector-specific plans for re-opening. The approved sector specific plans can be found here.
Regardless of whether your business was previously ordered to close under the Health Protection Order, it is important to follow government guidelines for keeping your workplace safe. Those guidelines can be found here.
Bringing Employees Back to Work
- Whether employees were temporarily laid off or working from home, we recommend that employers provide as much notice and guidance as possible in advance of their planned return to work.
- As of March 22, 2020, Nova Scotia declared a state of emergency under the Emergency Management Act. If an employee is unable to perform their work duties because of an emergency declared under the Emergency Management Act, Nova Scotia’s Labour Standards Code provides that the employee is entitled to an unpaid leave of absence for as long as the emergency continues or prevents the employee from performing their duties. Reasons employees may be unable to perform their work duties due to Covid-19 include unavailability of childcare, self-isolation requirements or the need to care for a relative who has Covid-19.
- Employers should work with employees as necessary to accommodate a safe return to the workplace for all. Employers should be cognizant of the protected grounds under Nova Scotia’s Human Rights Act. Where an employee is unable to return to work or feels unsafe returning to work due to circumstances falling under one of these grounds, a duty to accommodate to the point of undue hardship may arise on the employer’s part. Protected grounds which may be of particular relevance during the Covid-19 include:
- family status;
- physical or mental disability; and
- irrational fear of contracting an illness or disease.
Information Relevant to Local Industries
- Anyone entering Nova Scotia must self-isolate for 14 days when they arrive. Where a person is entering the province to board a fishing vessel, where possible, they may self-isolate on the fishing vessel for 14 consecutive days. If a person chooses to self-isolate on a fishing vessel, that person can’t leave the boat for any reason until the end of those 14 days, including to get supplies. The boat can dock and have supplies delivered.
- Persons working in the transportation sector, whose work involves transporting goods or people across Nova Scotia’s border, including, truck drivers, and crew, maintenance and operational workers on planes, trains or marine vessels, and who are in good health are exempt from the 14 day self-isolation requirement.
- Nova Scotia is allowing temporary foreign workers to enter the province. They are required to self-isolate for 14 days. Where possible, temporary foreign workers should self-isolate onsite at their place of work.
For more information regarding regulations and policies that may affect you and your business, please do not hesitate to reach out to us directly at 902-539-2425 or firstname.lastname@example.org