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Jun 9, 2022

Most Provincial Masking Requirements to be Lifted June 11

Ontario's Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Chief Medical Officer of Health announced that most of the remaining provincial masking requirements will be lifted on June 11, 2022.

Risk assessment, careful communication, tolerance, and professional judgement should continue to guide occupational therapist’ decisions on treatment and the use of personal protective equipment.

The remaining Directives will also be revoked and replaced with MOH guidance for health care workers and organizations. This includes guidance on when masks should be worn in hospitals and other health care settings.

Important note: Masks will still be required in long-term care and retirement homes.

Organizations may also choose to implement their own masking policies.

Occupational therapists are encouraged to speak with their employer about masking requirements within their organization.

Some clients may want to continue to mask and ask that OTs be masked throughout the service provision. OTs may also request that their clients wear a mask.

If an occupational therapist determines that it would be appropriate to have a masking policy to minimize the risk of infection, they should communicate this to their clients before their appointment.

Be prepared to have respectful discussions with clients to explain why the policy is in place, and alternatives you can offer if a client does not wish to wear a mask.

For example: virtual care, attending in a separate room or at specific hours, referral to occupational therapy service provider that can accommodate them.

The College’s Standards for Infection Prevention and Control, 2019 outlines the minimum expectations for accepted infection prevention and control measures relevant to their practice setting. Occupational therapists are expected to follow any Ministry of Health and public health guidance.  

OTs must maintain current knowledge of infection prevention and control measures and:

  • consider the risks of transmission among patients, self, other health professionals, and staff before each patient interaction,
  • incorporate the appropriate infection prevention and control measures based on the risks of transmission,
  • ensure that there are appropriate written infection prevention and control protocols in their practice setting.

OTs should continue to perform a Point of Care Risk Assessment before providing in-person care (see Recommended Risk Assessments section in Public Health Ontario's guidance document), considering all relevant factors including rate of infection in the community, the vulnerability of your client populations, risks associated with the practice setting and any organizational protocols.  

If you have any questions, please contact our Practice Resource Service at 1.800.890.6570 ext. 240 or [email protected].