What’s new since May 1

  • Changes are shown in orange
  • Most documents referenced have been revised but the hyperlinks still work and point to the latest version.
  • The changes in the referenced documents reflect more precision in information on specific topics but do not introduce any new topics. We see a convergence of information between the various sources.
  • CDC (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) have published the “Resuming Business Toolkit” which includes checklists
  • The New Zealand government has moved their country from Alert Level 2 to 1 on 8th June 2020. The hyperlink in the Other Sources table now links a document detailing the precautions appropriate to Level 1 (their definition).
  • Harvard Business Review has published an article “Questions an employer should ask about reopening” which is a US-based survey of return to work issues containing some interesting specifics. This has been added to the table of Other Sources.
  • Harvard Business Review has made many of their publications related to COVID-19 and remote working available free of charge during the pandemic. You can subscribe to a free “Daily Alert” which summarises new releases.


There are many documents giving guidance for a return to work after the COVID-19 shutdown. This is a listing of the five sources that seem the most relevant to reopening a Canadian organization in the service sector.

Scope and limitations

This document applies particularly to service industries. Neither this document nor many of the cited documents apply to health professionals. Some of the documents cited include information on manufacturing and other special sectors such as construction and education, but these factors are not included in the “Topics addressed” section below.

L&C’s intent is to provide links and references to apparently-relevant and readable generalized sources for managers. L&C is not affiliated with any organization mentioned in this document and does not warrant the applicability or value of the guidance provided by any of these sources; organizations are advised to take their own professional advice with respect to their own specific circumstances.

CRHA (Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agrées)

“MANAGING THE RETURN TO WORK, Information and Recommendations for Employers”

o English and French versions
o Published in April 2020; well written and concise; last updated April 30th 2020
o Includes links to other documents and special situations such as returning to work after contracting COVID-19

CNESST (Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail)

“COVID-19 Toolkit – Workplace Sanitary Standards Guide” + Quick Reference Check Lists

o French and English versions
o Published 13th May 2020;
o Includes occupational health and safety legal obligations
o Includes posters and additional tools for special sectors such as manufacturing

Government of Canada

“Risk-informed decision-making guidelines for workplaces and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic”
Name changed to “Risk mitigation tool for workplaces/businesses operating during the COVID-19 pandemic”

o English and French versions
o Published 2020; primarily written as a risk assessment guideline; revised 12th June 2020
o International travel restrictions

WHO (World Health Organization)

“Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19”

o Published 19th March 2020
o Was used as a baseline for many more recent and more detailed procedures
o Includes a link to other WHO documents, plus detailed information on meetings and travel

Technical guidance documents on many topics

CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

“Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)”

o Published May 2020
o Includes links to other information

“Resuming business toolkit” published May 2020 includes a “Restart readiness checklist”

Topics addressed by the Top Five Sources, with Examples

Other Sources

Toronto Public Health

“COVID-19 Fact Sheet – COVID-19 Guidance for Employers, Workplaces and Businesses”

o May 8th 2020
o 4 page summary of key points with links to related posters and other materials

White House and CDC

“Guidelines, Opening Up America Again”

o Three phase approach with guidelines to help state and local officials when reopening their economies
o Fairly high level – less detailed than other documents

U.S. Department of Labor

“Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19”

o Published 9th March 2020
o A lot of information on workplace protection and PPE
o Covers all types of workers including Health Care and people interfacing with the general public
o OHSA aspects relate to the U.S.

Detailed information on various topics

New Zealand Government

“Workplace operations at Alert Level 1” has replaced the document related to Alert Level 2

o Explanation of the 4 Alert Levels

Osler, Hoskins and Harcourt LLP (Ontario)

“The Employer’s COVID-19 Return to the Workplace Playbook”

o Published May 4th 2020, last updated June 7th 2020
o Includes links to information from federal and all provincial governments

Harvard Business Review