Ontario COVID-19 updates: Temporarily Moving to Modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen ​

Ontario COVID-19 updates: Temporarily Moving to Modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen

TORONTO — In response to recent trends that show an alarming increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, the Ontario government is temporarily moving the province into Step Two of its Roadmap to Reopen with modifications that take into account the province’s successful vaccination efforts.


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Ontario Temporarily Moving to Modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen

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Ontario in response to the rapid rise of Omicron cases

The rapid rise of Omicron cases, which may soon number in the hundreds of thousands, could result in the province’s hospital capacity becoming overwhelmed if further action isn’t taken to curb transmission. In response, the province will return to the modified version of Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen effective Wednesday, January 5, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. for at least 21 days (until January 26, 2022), subject to trends in public health and health system indicators.

These measures include:

  • Reducing social gathering limits to five people indoors and 10 people outdoors.
  • Limiting capacity at organized public events to five people indoors.
  • Requiring businesses and organizations to ensure employees work remotely unless the nature of their work requires them to be on-site.
  • Limiting capacity at indoor weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites and ceremonies to 50 per cent capacity of the particular room. Outdoor services are limited to the number of people that can maintain 2 metres of physical distance. Social gatherings associated with these services must adhere to the social gathering limits.
  • Retail settings, including shopping malls, permitted at 50 per cent capacity. For shopping malls physical distancing will be required in line-ups, loitering will not be permitted and food courts will be required to close.
  • Personal care services permitted at 50 per cent capacity and other restrictions. Saunas, steam rooms, and oxygen bars closed.
  • Closing indoor meeting and event spaces with limited exceptions but permitting outdoor spaces to remain open with restrictions.
  • Public libraries limited to 50 per cent capacity.
  • Closing indoor dining at restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments. Outdoor dining with restrictions, takeout, drive through and delivery is permitted.
  • Restricting the sale of alcohol after 10 p.m. and the consumption of alcohol on-premise in businesses or settings after 11 p.m. with delivery and takeout, grocery/convenience stores and other liquor stores exempted.
  • Closing indoor concert venues, theatres, cinemas, rehearsals and recorded performances permitted with restrictions.
  • Closing museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions, amusement parks and waterparks, tour and guide services and fairs, rural exhibitions, and festivals. Outdoor establishments permitted to open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy, where applicable, limited to 50 per cent capacity.
  • Closing indoor horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues. Outdoor establishments permitted to open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy limited to 50 per cent capacity. Boat tours permitted at 50 per cent capacity.
  • Closing indoor sport and recreational fitness facilities including gyms, except for athletes training for the Olympics and Paralympics and select professional and elite amateur sport leagues. Outdoor facilities are permitted to operate but with the number of spectators not to exceed 50 per cent occupancy and other requirements.
  • All publicly funded and private schools will move to remote learning starting January 5 until at least January 17, subject to public health trends and operational considerations.
  • School buildings would be permitted to open for child care operations, including emergency child care, to provide in-person instruction for students with special education needs who cannot be accommodated remotely and for staff who are unable to deliver quality instruction from home.
  • During this period of remote learning, free emergency child care will be provided for school-aged children of health care and other eligible frontline workers.

Please view the regulation for the full list of mandatory public health and workplace safety measures.


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Quick facts on COVID-19 measurement in Ontario

  • As of January 2, 2022, more than 27 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, with more than 90 per cent of Ontarians aged 12 and over having received at least one dose and more than 88 per cent having received at least a second dose. More than 43 per cent of children aged five to 11 have received their first dose and over 3.7 million booster doses have been administered including to 47 per cent of individuals aged 50 and over and more than 31 per cent of individuals aged 18 and over.
  • In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontario updated its COVID-19 testing and isolation guidelines on December 30, 2021. These updates follow recent changes in other jurisdictions in Canada and the United Kingdom to ensure publicly funded testing and case and contact management resources are available for the highest-risk settings and to protect the most vulnerable and help keep critical services running.
  • The Ontario government is amending O. Reg. 263/20 (Rules for Areas at Step 2) under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA)to apply additional or modify public health and workplace safety measures, and amending O.Reg. 363/20 (Steps of Reopening) to move Ontario to the amended Step Two, effective Wednesday, January 5th.

Additional Resources

  • Anyone who meets provincial testing eligibility criteria can go to an assessment centre, participating pharmacy, or specimen collection centre for testing. Visit Ontario.ca/covidtestinglocations to find a testing location and for eligibility criteria to be tested.
  • For public inquiries, please contact the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 (TTY for people who are deaf, hearing-impaired or speech-impaired: 1-866-797-0007).
  • For resources in multiple languages to help local communication efforts in responding to COVID-19, visit Ontario’s COVID-19 communication resources webpage.
  • Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect the people of Ontario from COVID-19.
  • Business who have questions about public health and workplace safety measures can call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
  • For public inquiries call ServiceOntario, INFOline at 1-866-532-3161 (Toll-free in Ontario only)

IRCC confirmed Canada reached 401,000 new immigrants during pandemic in 2021

Before the pandemic, about 30 per cent of new economic-class immigrants were already in the country when they got permanent residency, while about 70 per cent moved from abroad. In 2021, this has been reversed with some 70 per cent landing from within Canada and about 30 per cent arriving from overseas.  

IRCC has made shifts in operations to transition more temporary residents to permanent residents.

Some of the changes include holding Express Entry draws that target Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates, as well as launching six streams in May to offer pathways to permanent residence to as many as 90,000 international students and temporary foreign workers living in Canada. 

In the pre-COVID days, Canada landed between 25,000 and 35,000 immigrants per month, with figures being higher during the warmer spring and summer months. Canada got off to a slow start this year before ramping up landings in June. Since June, Canada has consistently landed over 35,000 new permanent residents each month, and in recent months has exceeded 45,000 landings per month. 

Achieving the 401,000 newcomer target has been one of IRCC’s top priorities in 2021. Now that the department has achieved this goal, IRCC will broaden its priorities following the release of a new mandate letter

IRCC aim to higher number of immigrants in 2022 and 2023

Under the Immigration Levels Plan 2021-2023, Canada is looking to welcome 411,000 new immigrants in 2022 and 421,000 immigrants in 2023. Fraser will announce the new Immigration Levels Plan by February 10, 2022. Fraser has suggested the new plan may entail even higher targets for 2022 and 2023.

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