LATEST REGULATIONS UNDER THE REOPENING ONTARIO ACT:
Requiring Proof of Vaccination and Increasing Capacity Limits for Condominium Amenities
On Monday October 25, 2021, amendments to the Rules for Areas at Step 3 and at the Roadmap Exit Step[i] (the “Regulation”) under the Reopening Ontario Act[ii] took effect. The amendments permit the lifting of capacity limits for organizations that require proof of full vaccination against the novel Coronavirus (“COVID-19” or the “Virus”). This article will review the applicability of these changes to condominium properties and the extent to which condos must comply.
Requirements for Proof of “Full Vaccination” or “Exemption”
Under the Regulation, organizations that require proof of full vaccination against the Virus may increase capacity limits for indoor fitness, meeting spaces, and other recreational amenities.
A resident is considered “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19 if they have received:
- the full series of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by Health Canada, or any combination of the vaccines;
- one or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada, followed by one dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine authorized by Health Canada; or
- three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada; and
- the resident has received their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least fourteen (14) days before providing proof of being fully vaccinated.
Alternatively, a resident is sufficiently exempt from the requirement to provide proof of full vaccination if they:
- are under 12 years of age;
- provide documentation that confirms they are currently participating in a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial authorized by Health Canada; or
- provide documentation that confirms they have a medical reason for not being fully vaccinated which specifies the effective time period for the medical reason.
Condominiums may opt-in daily to require Proof of Vaccination and raise Capacity Limits
The requirement to check vaccination status likely does not apply to condominium residents. The Minister of Health clarified that facilities in condominium buildings that are not open or accessible to the public are likely not public settings or facilities that would be subject to proof of vaccination requirements.[iii] Accordingly, condominiums are not required to check vaccination status before residents enter the gym, meeting spaces, and other recreational amenities.
That said, condominiums may opt-in to require proof of vaccination and may choose to adopt a vaccination status policy. In doing so, these condos may also be able to increase capacities for indoor recreational amenities that are currently subject to a capacity restriction. At present, while condominium gyms and other facilities “used for indoor sports and recreational fitness activities” are not subject to any capacity restriction, all other indoor recreational amenities must operate at fifty percent (50%) capacity or less to ensure social distancing between residents. However, condominiums opting to verify vaccination status may now increase capacity limits on those other indoor recreational amenities.
At all times where vaccination status is being checked and capacity limits are raised, a condominium is required to:
- screen residents at the point of entry of relevant amenities for proof of full vaccination or exemption, along with identification, before permitting entry and use of the facility;
- post a visible sign in a conspicuous place that indicates that vaccination status is being checked; and
- otherwise abide by all other provincial regulations applicable to vaccination verification.
Alternatively, where a condominium does not elect to require proof of vaccination:
- facilities in the condominium that are used for indoor sports and recreational fitness activities can open without any capacity restriction;
- other indoor recreational amenities can open, with indoors operating at 50% capacity or less and outdoors operating at 75% capacity or less to maintain a two (2)-metre distance between residents;
- the corporation must post a visible sign in a conspicuous place that indicates the maximum capacity; and
- residents must COVID screen themselves.
In either case, a corporation must continue to appropriately sanitize the condominium property, enforce appropriate face mask-wearing protocols, and collect tracing information from those residents that use the amenities for at least one (1) month.
Further Points to Keep in Mind
COVID-19 Safety Plans
Condominium corporations must continue to implement and enforce an appropriate COVID-19 safety plan in accordance with Schedule 1, section 3.3 of the Regulation, as amended, and ensure that staff and residents are aware of the additional policies, procedures, and precautions the corporation is taking in this regard.
Amenity Booking Systems, Time Slots, and Time Limits
A condominium that uses an amenity booking system to regulate capacity limits may dispense with such system only if it intends to require proof of vaccination from amenity users prior to allowing use of the amenity. Although, corporations must continue to collect and store tracing information from residents in accordance with the Regulation, and if the booking system has proved an effective tool for doing so, or if the corporation will not require proof of vaccination prior to allowing use of the amenity, booking systems should continue to be used.
Furthermore, where a corporation requires proof of vaccination and is entitled to raise the capacity limits of the indoor recreational amenities to 100%, residents would not necessarily need to book time slots or be restricted to time limits, since full capacity availability would consequently render time slot bookings and limits unnecessary. However, if a corporation chooses to raise a capacity limit to over 50% but under 100%, it should amend and enforce time slots and limits to ensure capacity limits are adhered to accordingly.
Cleaning and Sanitization Procedures
A condominium corporation may reduce, maintain, or increase cleaning and sanitization measures as required to remain in line with recommendations from its local Public Health unit. If a corporation’s board of directors is of the opinion that the corporation cannot sufficiently maintain or increase these measures, such board should consider refraining from opening or raising capacity limits for indoor recreational amenities – fully vaccinated individuals are still capable of carrying and spreading the Virus, and in light of the ongoing spread of the Delta Variant, condominiums should not significantly ease up on cleaning and sanitization procedures at this time, despite the recent changes to the Regulation.
Please be advised that the Regulations under the Reopening Ontario Act are continuously being revised and amended in response to the changing COVID-19 climate.
Always seek advice from your respected legal practitioner to ensure compliance with the Regulations.
© Deacon, Spears, Fedson + Montizambert, 2021. All rights reserved.
Natasha L. Mazzitelli, B.A., J.D.
(416) 489-5677 ext. 313
 The Regulation contemplates the election being made on a daily basis, but does not preclude a condominium making the election for multiple days or “pending further notice”.
[i] O. Reg. 364/20: Rules for Areas at Step 3 and at the Roadmap Exit Step.
[ii] Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, S.O. 2020, c. 17.
[iii] Ministry of Health Questions and Answers, Version 3 (October 15, 2021), p 18 <www.health.gov.on.ca/en/