Implication of the Ontario Provincial Emergency and Stay-at-Home Order on Research Activities

A message from Professor Lori Ferris, Associate Vice-President, Research (Oversight and Compliance) April 8, 2021 (reviewed April 19, 2021)

The Government of Ontario has announced a provincial emergency and a stay-at-home order, effective Thursday, April 8. This order requires “everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise , or for work that cannot be done remotely”.

Please note that as before the institution is responsible for ensuring that any person who performs work conducts their work remotely, unless the nature of their work requires them to be on-site at the workplace. Therefore:

  • All research work that can be conducted remotely must be done remotely, and researchers may only work on campus if the nature of the work requires them to be on-site. Those who need to come to campus for research are expected to return home upon completion of the research task/activity (e.g., come to the lab to run an experiment and then return home to continue with other aspects of the research that can be performed remotely).

Please limit travel on campus; perform work during approved, designated shifts in designated work areas unless individuals are absolutely required to travel to other areas

There are no changes for on-campus lab research: the regulations allow organizations that maintain research facilities and engage in research to continue and therefore researchers may continue with their approved on-campus research plans, with only those who require access to campus facilities being allowed to come to campus. All researchers that can work remotely (from home) must do so. Those who come to campus must continue to follow the public health measures already in place and the processes currently in effect, such as the proper use of appropriate personal protective equipment (e.g. masks), maintenance of physical distancing, scheduling of time and people in the lab, and following recommended entry and exit routes in buildings. Anyone coming to campus must complete a COVID-19 Self-Assessment.
 

Face to Face (F2F) Human Participant Research (On or Off Campus) Requests to restart face-to-face (F2F) research can continue to be submitted through the F2F review process. However, approval for these requests may not be granted until public health conditions improve. Online and virtual research may continue as usual.

Please visit the University’s Human Research Ethics Webpage for more details.
 

For Off-Campus Research (No Face-to-Face Human Participant Component) Researchers currently conducting approved field research may continue, as long as they follow all applicable public health directives and safety measures, including all provincial and local directives. If researchers can work remotely (from home) they must do so, only going in the field as necessary. If you have any questions/concerns regarding safety while conducting research, please contact ehs.office@utoronto.ca.

Please note that new proposals to conduct field research activities must demonstrate why both the research and the travel are essential, and require approval of the new Face-to-Face and Off-Campus COVID-19 Review Form by Occupational Health and Safety. Detailed instructions on this process can be found on the Review of Face-to-Face and Off-Campus Research page. Final approval will be provided by the divisional research restart process, where there will need to be a justification for essential travel and essential research. If approved, please note field researchers must ensure they are aware of and abide by any travel restrictions and local public health requirements at their research host location.
 

For More Information Please see the University of Toronto Principles for Research Recovery & Adaptation and the COVID-19 Research FAQ for more information.