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January 5, 2022 - By Elia Associates

Covid-19 Bulletin No.48: Ontario Reinstates Further Restrictions

As of Wednesday, January 5th 2021, in response to the rapidly spreading Omicron variant of COVID-19, Ontario will be returning to a modified Step Two of its re-opening plan, resulting in the closure of indoor dining, gyms, theatres and re-instating lower capacity limits in most other indoor and outdoor settings. The new restrictions will be in place for a minimum of 21 days. Ontario Regulation 2/22 (“O. Reg. 2/22”) was issued amending its already existing Step 2 Regulation: Ontario Regulation 263/20 (“O. Reg 263/20”).

What are the new restrictions in effect January 5th 2021?

What does this mean for condominiums?

Condominium boards can hold board meetings face-to-face, indoors, provided there are no more than 5 attendees; however, given the high transmission rate of the new Omicron variant, it would be prudent for all board meetings to be conducted virtually. Further, all owners’ meetings must continue to be virtual. While the Ontario government extended the previous deadline of December 31st 2021 for condominiums to hold virtual meetings and permit electronic voting without a by-law to September 30th 2022, we encourage all condominiums to be proactive and pass a by-law permitting same.

All facilities providing for indoor sports and recreational fitness activities (i.e., gyms, swimming pools, etc.) must be closed. There are exceptions, as outlined herein; however, they do not apply to condominiums. Both indoor and outdoor sports and recreational fitness amenities can, but do not have to, open for the sole purpose of allowing a person with a disability to use the amenity if they have received written instruction for physical therapy from a regulated health professional who is qualified to provide these instructions and only if that person is not able to engage in this physical therapy elsewhere.

All rented indoor and outdoor meeting or event spaces must be closed, except where those limited exemptions under Section 11 of O. Reg 2/22 apply. We do not foresee any of these exemptions applying to condominiums, and as such, a condominium will not be permitted to rent out its party room or any other meeting space for any leisure activities. However, from our review of the Regulation, same does not prohibit a business or place from using the space for business reasons (i.e., a board meeting), provided there are no more than 5 attendees; however, we encourage all meetings to take place virtually.

The modified Step 2 only requires patrons to show proof of vaccination in certain settings that remain open (i.e., outdoor meeting and event spaces or outdoor sports and recreational fitness activities). Given that it is January and outdoor temperatures have significantly dropped, it is unlikely that there are many individuals who will partake in outdoor activities in the winter, except of course for winter sports. Regardless, it is unlikely that many, if any, condominiums are able to facilitate the same.

We remind you that condominiums continue to have the authority and ability to adopt vaccination policies requiring residents and/or visitors to show proof of vaccination in certain settings. With the current Omicron variant, confirming vaccination status when accessing non-essential amenities is a reasonable precaution to ensure the safety of those using the same.

What has not changed?

Face masks covering an individual’s mouth, nose, and chin continue to be required in all interior common areas, with the usual exceptions under the Human Rights Code. This applies to all indoor common elements. If a condominium has not yet implemented a mask policy, it is recommended that one be implemented to provide the condominium with protection and to ensure compliance with provincial and municipal requirements.

Condominiums must also display signage at all entrances of the premises, in a conspicuous location visible to the public, informing individuals on how to screen themselves for COVID-19 prior to entering the premises. Condominiums must also actively screen all individuals who work at the premises (i.e., employees and contractors). Condominiums must continue to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the advice, recommendations and instructions of public health officials, including any advice, recommendations or instructions on physical distancing, cleaning or disinfecting.

Light at the end of the tunnel?

Pandemics do eventually end, but it won't be as simple as flipping a light switch. Canada, and the rest of the world, will have to learn to co-exist with a virus that's not going away. B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the record-breaking surge of COVID-19 cases could eventually lead to a stage where the virus becomes endemic. In the interim, we remain hopeful because vaccines have proven to offer strong protection from serious illness, even if they do not always prevent a mild breakthrough infection.

Omicron is a warning about what will continue to happen "unless we really get serious about the endgame" said Dr. Albert Ko, an infectious disease specialist at the Yale School of Public Health. "Certainly, COVID will be with us forever," Ko added. "We're never going to be able to eradicate or eliminate COVID, so we have to identify our goals." Mutations will continue and might eventually require boosters that are updated to better match new variants; however, human immune systems will continue to get better at recognizing and fighting back.

At some point, the World Health Organization will determine when enough countries have gained sufficient control of the number of COVID-19 cases, or the number of resultant hospitalizations and deaths, to declare that the pandemic is officially over. It is not clear at this time what exactly that threshold will be.

Please refer to our previous COVID-19 Bulletins, which contain information on recommended protocols and procedures to be implemented in condominiums.

Please ensure that you speak with legal counsel if your condominium does not already have COVID-19 protocols and policies in place to help manage the risks associated with COVID-19.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact anyone on our team:

Richard Elia

1-866-446-0811 ext. 801

Patricia Elia

1-866-446-0811 ext. 802

Antoni Casalinuovo

1-866-446-0811 ext. 808

Ashley Winberg

1-866-446-0811 ext. 806

Megan Molloy

1-866-446-0811 ext. 805

Victor Yee

1-866-446-0811 ext. 810

Jonathan Wright

1-866-446-0811 ext. 603

Julia White

1-866-446-0811 ext. 824


All of the information contained in this article is of a general nature for informational purposes only, and is not intended to represent the definitive opinion of the firm of Elia Associates on any particular matter. Although every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this article is accurate and up-to-date, the reader should not act upon it without obtaining appropriate professional advice and assistance.