February 16, 2022 - update on removal of restrictions
MTAS remains vigilant in providing recommendations and insight to our membership, and updating you as new developments occur with the progression of COVID-19 pandemic.
On February 8th, the Government of Saskatchewan announced the phased removal of COVID-19 restrictions. https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/news-and-media/2022/february/08/saskatchewan-ending-proof-of-vaccination-requirement
Scott Moe: "As we shift to living with COVID-19, there is a continuing need for personal responsibility for self-monitoring, self-testing and self-management. It will be important for individuals to assess their own risk and comfort levels, and to take appropriate action if they are unwell."
We must stress to our members that it is imperative that you maintain the highest standards of practice as outlined in the MTAS Bylaws (11.8). e.g. hand sanitizer before and after treatment, cleaning and sanitizing equipment and tables, and changing of linens after every client. You may read the complete Bylaws here.
- Members must always provide a thorough client consultation and acquire consent prior to treatment.
- It is no longer necessary to complete the COVID screening for each client. Instead, you may wish to place the COVID screening questions on your reception desk, ask each client to respond verbally prior to treatment and chart accordingly.
- The Government-mandated PPE that was outlined in the Re-open Saskatchewan Plan is no longer required.
- Members should, however, assess the risk in treating each client and implement PPE depending on the consultation. e.g. for intra-oral work related to TMD/TMJ, we recommend that you continue to wear full PPE, due to the airborne nature of this virus and the close proximity to clients this work requires.
We have received legal advice on the following FAQs:
1. May I still wear a mask and ask my clients to wear a mask, after February 28, 2022 when the current Public Health Order is removed?
- Yes to both questions. The wearing of a mask is not protected under the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code.
- Each member must use their own discretion and professional judgement to determine the level of risk associated with providing treatment.
2. Can clients complain if I ask them to wear a mask or if I choose to wear a mask?
- Yes, however each business owner may establish their own policy.
- We recommend that you clearly post the specifics of your policy so that it is readily accessible pre-appointment.
- At the same time, you then agree to accept that some clients may refuse to mask, and may seek treatment elsewhere.
3. May I ask for proof of vaccination now that the indemnity provided by the last Public Health Order has been removed?
- Yes, however clients do not have to respond.
- If you receive a negative response, or no response, service may be denied. Businesses have the right to determine, based on safety concerns, to whom they will provide service.
- Vaccination is not a prohibited ground under the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code. A claimant would have to demonstrate discrimination based on prohibited grounds – race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status or disability.
- Our lawyer has advised that this would be difficult and there is no legal precedent. To date no-one has pursued such a claim, but that is not to say that there will not be a claim.
- Your decision-making has been made more difficult by lack of available medical information, but you must determine for yourself whether the safety concerns justify the continued proof of vaccination. The risk of making this decision has been passed on to individual businesses by the Government of Saskatchewan.
- The MTAS lawyer recommends erring on the side of caution and if the infection rate, hospitalizations, ICU usage and deaths change, revise your requirements accordingly.
We will continue to update our membership with any new recommendations and or any related items as determined by the Saskatchewan Health Authority and/or the Government of Saskatchewan.
September 16, 2021 - Government announcement
The Government of Saskatchewan has announced that effective September 17th there is once again a public health order in place for mandatory masking in all indoor public spaces in Saskatchewan.
Please refer to the Government of Saskatchewan website for the full details about all the newly implemented measures: https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/treatment-procedures-and-guidelines/emerging-public-health-issues/2019-novel-coronavirus/public-health-measures
September 28, 2021 COVID-19 Regulations and Protections: Summary for Employers and Business Owners
Today, the Government of Saskatchewan released additional information regarding the proof of vaccination requirements, which come into effect October 1st. Below, you'll find relevant information for business owners.
Government of Saskatchewan News Release
Human Rights Policy Update
The Employers’ COVID-19 Emergency Regulations
FAQ: Vaccination Requirements in the Workplace
Private Testing Sites
Mandating Proof of Vaccination for your Employees
Effective October 1, 2021, public employers will require their employees to make a choice to show proof of being fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result at least every seven days. A negative test result is also required for partially vaccinated individuals.
Employers outside the public service can voluntarily opt in should they wish to implement a proof of vaccination or negative test policy for employees. More information can be found in The Employers' COVID-19 Emergency Regulations.
Employers need to provide reasonable notice of the policy to every worker by:
- personally giving it to the worker
- posting it in the workplace
- posting it online on a secure website to which the worker has access
- providing it in any other manner that informs the worker of the requirements.
Employers may use a self-declaration process and are not required to collect or retain personal health information. However, employers are required to establish a verification process for reviewing the evidence of vaccination or COVID-19 negative tests provided by their employees and keep this information confidential.
The Saskatchewan Employment Act provides a legal defense to employers where they are exercising a power in good faith that is provided for in the Act or by regulation. No legal proceedings can be taken against a business or organization acting in accordance with the Act or the regulations.
The cost for all proof of negative test results for asymptomatic testing will be the responsibility of the individual. However, Employers can decide to cover the cost if desired.
Mandating Proof of Vaccination for your Clients
Effective October 1, 2021 a provincial requirement for proof of vaccination or negative test is required for public access to a list of establishments, businesses and event venues that bring groups of people together, including:
- Indoor dining at restaurants;
- Nightclubs, bars, taverns and other licensed establishments;
- Event and entertainment venues, including conference centres, casinos, movie theatres, concert venues, live-music venues, museums, and indoor facilities hosting ticketed sporting events;
- Indoor fitness centres, and gyms.
All other businesses can voluntarily adopt this approach if they wish to implement a proof of vaccination or negative test policy for customers.
Current public health measures do not require proof of vaccination for the following:
- Business meetings and places of business closed to the general public, unless otherwise directed by the business or employer
- Retail businesses, including grocery stores
- Fast food restaurants offering takeout and delivery
- Health care services, professional services, or personal services (this is where massage therapy fits)
- Hotels or other lodging
- Private gatherings held at public indoor venues, such as weddings and funerals
It is recommended that proof of negative testing should be provided within 72 hours of entry.
Businesses requiring proof of vaccination will also require ID from anyone 18 and older.
Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test
Individuals who do not have proof of vaccination have the option of providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test result from within the previous 72 hours.
A self-administered take-home rapid antigen test should not be accepted as valid proof of negative COVID-19 results. Individuals requiring a negative test result have several private options on the market that will provide a rapid antigen test or a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for a fee.
Exemptions from Proof of Vaccinations
Vaccinations are not mandatory in Saskatchewan. As such, there are no provisions for legal exemptions – and there is no standard-issue exemption card provided by the province.
Unvaccinated people have the option of providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test to access a business or workplace requiring it.
Acceptable Forms of Proof of Vaccination
The only acceptable forms of proof of vaccination are:
- A QR code/MySaskHealthRecord vaccine certificate
- Wallet cards received at time of immunization
- A printed copy of your MySaskHealthRecord (MSHR) vaccine certificate (with or without a QR code)
- A screenshot of your MSHR vaccine certificate (with or without a QR code) saved to your device
- An earlier version of your MSHR COVID-19 vaccine certificate
- A COVID-19 vaccine printout from Saskatchewan Health Authority Public Health
MTAS recommends that our members respect the Government's encouragement of businesses to implement the same policy as is required for Government employees, i.e. full vaccination or proof of a negative Covid test for all employees in the workplace.
We also continue to stress the importance of members maintaining the previously provided standards for prevention of infection: masking for clients and therapists, hand hygiene and disinfection.
As we have done throughout the past 18 months, we will continue to post updates on this Covid-19 page of the MTAS website.
Thank you for your continued compliance with the Government-mandated requirements and guidelines for healthcare professionals.
July 11, 2021
Stage Three of the re-opening is quickly approaching for July 11th. MTAS remains vigilant in providing recommendations and insight to our membership and updating you to any new procedures or updates on the Covid Pandemic.
We expect the Re-open SK Plan to be rescinded. The Government is now beginning to take the position that health and business sectors can provide the best guidance for their Associations. “Each association is in the best position to develop guidance that is specific to the service their membership provides.”
We must stress to our members that it is imperative that you maintain the highest standards of Practice as outlined in the bylaws of MTAS (11.8). e.g. hand sanitizer before and after treatment, cleaning and sanitizing equipment, tables, and changing of linens after every patient. The complete bylaws may be read by clicking the link below.
- Members must be certain to provide a thorough client consultation and consent prior to treatment. (It is no longer necessary to provide the COVID screening for each patient).
- PPE requirements that have been mandated in the Re-open plan are no longer mandatory, but we continue to recommend wearing a mask during this opening phase, due to the length of time spent with your patient. Masking will comply with Physio Therapists, and Chiropractic recommendations of treating patients if they cannot maintain two-meter distance from patients and co-workers. 1
- MTAS does not advise you to ask patients about their vaccine status as this may constitute an unreasonable collection of private health information unrelated to the patient’s treatment.
- Members must assess any risk in treating the patient and implement the PPE depending on the consultation.
- Full PPE would be required to perform any intra-oral treatment related to TMD/TMJ.
We are expecting that there may be further changes to Massage Therapists' work environment as we continue to sail through these uncharted waters. We will continue to update our membership with new recommendations and or any related items as determined by the Saskatchewan Health Authority and or Government of Saskatchewan.
1. Government of Canada, National Advisory Committee on Immunization. Recommendations on the Use of COVID-19 Vaccines. Available at: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/immunization/national-advisory-committee-on-immunization-naci/recommendations-use-covid-19-vaccines.html
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to change rapidly, as does the information available regarding directives and recommendations. The MTAS office staff are working to make resources available to you to effectively manage through this pandemic and we are responding to inquiries as promptly as possible. We thank our members for their diligence in staying up-to-date through this uncertain time, and appreciate your efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect yourselves as well as the public.
We have developed this section on our website dedicated to COVID-19 information. This section is available on the public side of the website so that you can quickly and easily access the information, and refer your clients to it as well. We encourage you to check here regularly to look for new and/or changed information as this is the fastest way for us to communicate factually with our members, and to avoid outdated or false information sharing.
Please note that our Saskatoon office is currently closed to the public therefore we ask that to receive the fastest possible response, you please contact us via e-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
MTAS Re-open Saskatchewan Back-to-Work Planning Tools
- Why continued disinfection matters (February 2022)
- Infographic showing vaccination status and risks (January 2022)
- PHAC - vaccination guidelines (June 30/21)
- Government of Saskatchewan Re-open Saskatchewan Plan - revised
- Government of Saskatchewan - Public Health Orders
- 50% reduction in capacity Public Health Order - clarification (December 14)
- Government of Saskatchewan - list of approved sanitizer suppliers (April 30)
- Government of Saskatchewan - list of PPE suppliers (April 30)
- MTAS Guidelines for Infection Prevention and Control (May 7)
- MTAS guidelines for clinic audit and cleaning (May 7)
- MTAS waiver - Covid-19 specific
- MTAS consent form - Covid-19 specific
- Things you may need to consider buying before opening
PPE (note that MTAS does not guarantee availability or pricing):
- Complete Purchasing Services (CPS) - MTAS affinity partner for all your clinic supply needs
- Government of Saskatchewan - close contact definitions (January 7, 2022)
- Government of Saskatchewan - rapid antigen testing information (Sept 23, 2021)
- Government of Saskatchewan - Test To Protect - FAQ (Sept 23, 2021)
- Government of Saskatchewan - Test To Protect Intake Application Form (Sept 23, 2021)
- CDC - Vaccine Information
- Vaccine Information Factsheet - Govt. of Canada
- World Health Organization
- Health Canada - self-monitoring
- Health Canada - travel restrictions
- Public Health Agency of Canada
- Government of Saskatchewan - travel information
- Government of Saskatchewan - State of Emergency (March 18)
- Government of Saskatchewan - Public Health Order (April 17)
- Government of Saskatchewan - Public Health Order (April 4)
- Government of Saskatchewan - Public Health Order (March 20)
- Government of Saskatchewan - Self Isolation Support Program
- Saskatchewan Health Authority
- Infection Control Guidelines
- Canadian Red Cross First Aid App - includes enhanced information on disease transmission and how to reduce your risk during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Canadian Red Cross Resources web page
- The Scientist - article about symptoms of Covid-19
- A Massage Therapist's Guide to Covid-19
- MTAS Board of Directors' letter to the membership (March 17)
- MTAS Board of Directors' letter to the membership (March 19)
- Prime Minister Trudeau's address to the nation (March 23)
- Prime Minister Trudeau's update to the nation (April 1)
- Canadian Pain Task Force - online public consultation (Let's Talk Health) Use this forum to provide the Government with your input on pain management during the health crisis.
- Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ)
Small Business Resources:
Information on how to manage the pandemic as a small business owner, including your responsibilities to employees and what government supports may be available. This is an area that we expect to evolve as government support plans become more developed.
- Revenue Canada - summary of available benefits
- Government of Saskatchewan - summary of available benefits
- Revenue Canada - how to report COVID-19 benefits on your T4a
- Government of Canada - Western Economic Diversification Canada's Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)
- Government of Canada - list of available benefits (November 30)
- Government of Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (November 17)
- Government of Canada Recovery Benefit (October 16) - replaces the CERB
- Government of Canada Emergency Response Benefit (April 1)
- How to apply for the CERB
- FAQs for the CERB program
- Community Futures Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)
- Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment (SSBEP) - Emergency Support for Small Businesses (extended to include March 2021)
- Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRA) (May 25)
- WCB Relief Measures
- Government of Saskatchewan launches Business Response Team (March 23)
- Government of Saskatchewan - Business Support Page (March 23)
- EI Sickness Benefit
- Federal Government Financial Aid summary
- Business Development Canada - Support for Entrepreneurs
- Canadian Chamber of Commerce
- Canadian Federation of Independent Business
- Employment Insurance
- Saskatchewan Workers' Compensation Board
- Saskatchewan Employment Standards
- Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce - resources for business
- Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce - summary of issues
- Conference Board of Canada - economic implications of Covid-19
- Chart showing Canada-wide contacts for Covid-19 updates, plus how to determine if you qualify for financial relief
- Tips for Small Business Survival
General Pandemic Information:
Links to trusted sources on the pandemic.
Webinars related to Covid-19:
Below are some links to potentially useful information.
- World Health Organization - mental health considerations
- Government of Canada - awareness resources
- Government of Canada - mental health at work
- A Guide to Sleeping with Coronavirus Anxiety
- 19 ways to support your mental health during Covid-19
- Resource guide to your mental health during Covid-19
- Psychological consequences of social distancing
- Free online stress-management program (Shoppers Drugs)
- Tips for taking care of your mental health (Shoppers Drugs)
- Mental Health in the age of Coronavirus - United Nations
- CAMH - Mental Health and Covid-19
- Saskatchewan Government Mental Health and Addictions Services
- Saskatchewan 24/7 Emergency/Crisis Hotlines (2-1-1 Saskatchewan)