Today, the Ontario government issued new temporary emergency orders under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to support the immediate needs of the province’s hospitals and health care workers so they can better manage critical health care human resources during COVID-19.

“By taking these steps today, we are improving flexibility for our hospitals and health care workers so they can focus more of their time and resources on providing patient care and stopping the spread,” said Premier Ford. “We will do whatever it takes to ensure our frontline health care heroes are safe and have everything they need to do their jobs more efficiently.”

The new temporary emergency orders issued today will:

  • Give hospitals the authority and flexibility to more quickly appoint, re-appoint and grant privileges to medical and other professional staff, in order to address potential surge volumes due to COVID-19. This emergency order will allow for the reduction of administrative processes and better enable hospitals to focus operational resources on providing frontline services.
  • Authorize coroners, registered nurses appointed as coroner investigators, and public health units to access the provincial electronic health record to help reduce demands on clinicians’ time related to death investigations, reduce exposure to COVID-19 related death investigations, and improve the ability to monitor the spread of the virus.
  • Allow registered nurses appointed as coroner investigators to complete medical certificates of death instead of a physician or nurse practitioner, giving these medical professionals more time to focus on patient care and helping to ensure that medical certificates of death are being completed and sent to funeral directors in a timely manner.

“Extending the authority to a limited number of registered nurses, who are trained and authorized to investigate deaths, is imperative as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19,” noted Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “This temporary order will help ensure clinicians remain available for patient care as well as provide respectful care of the deceased and the timely completion of medical certificates of death.”

Quick Facts

  • Registered nurses, currently appointed under s. 16.1 of the Coroners Act, are trained in all aspects of death investigation, including determination of cause and manner of death. Training specific to completion of the medical certificate of death will be provided with ongoing review and mentoring.
  • The completion of a medical certificate of death is necessary to understand the extent of infection and illness in the community.