In reaction to a spiking third wave of COVID-19 cases across the province, the Ontario government has implemented new emergency orders, this time including the prohibition of non-essential construction.

While those of us supporting the construction industry have long-held that the nature of the work provides some measures of protection against the spread of the virus, new data is suggesting that regular public health measures are not enough (or not being followed strictly enough) to stem the tide of COVID's variants of concern on construction projects.

However, there is a considerable list of construction work that can continue even under the latest lockdown measures.  Most notably, residential construction and all construction associated with the health care sector and long-term care may continue.  You can read the full text of the newly-amended  O. Reg. 297/21: RULES FOR AREAS IN STAGE 1 here.  The Construction Industry provisions are reproduced in full below.

If you have any questions about how the latest COVID-19 lockdown will affect your workplace, reach out to any of the professionals at CCPartners for prompt advice, as we continue to be open to serve our clients.

Construction Activity Deemed Essential


43.  Construction activities or projects and related services, including land surveying and demolition services, that,

(a) are associated with the health care sector or long-term care, including new facilities, expansions, renovations and conversion of spaces that could be repurposed for health care space;

(b) ensure safe and reliable operations of, or provide new capacity in,

(i) municipal infrastructure, or

(ii) provincial infrastructure, including but not limited to, the transit, transportation, resource, energy and justice sectors;

(c) support the operations of, or provide new capacity in, electricity generation, transmission, distribution and storage, natural gas distribution, transmission and storage or in the supply of resources;

(d) support the operations of, or provide new capacity in, schools, colleges, universities or child care centres within the meaning of the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014;

(e) are required for,

(i) the maintenance and operations of petrochemical plants and refineries,

(ii) significant industrial petrochemical projects where preliminary work commenced before April 17, 2021, or

(iii) industrial construction and modifications to existing industrial structures limited solely to work necessary for the production, maintenance or enhancement of personal protective equipment, medical devices such as ventilators and other identified products directly related to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic;

(f) would provide additional capacity in the production, processing, manufacturing or distribution of food, beverages or agricultural products;

(g) were commenced before April 17, 2021 and that would,

(i) provide additional capacity for businesses that provide logistical support, distribution services, warehousing, storage or shipping and delivery services,

(ii) provide additional capacity in the operation and delivery of Information Technology (IT) services or telecommunications services, or

(iii) provide additional capacity to, or enhance the efficiency or operations of, businesses that extract, manufacture, process and distribute goods, products, equipment and materials;

(h) support the operations of broadband internet and cellular technologies and services;

(i) are residential construction activities or projects and related services;

(j) prepare a site for an institutional, commercial, industrial or residential development, including any necessary excavation, grading, roads or utilities infrastructure;

(k) are necessary to temporarily close construction sites that have paused, or that are not active, to ensure ongoing public safety;

(l) are funded in whole or in part by,

(i) the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario,

(ii) an agency of the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario, or

(iii) a municipality; or

(m) are,

(i) intended to provide shelter or supports for vulnerable persons or affordable housing, and

(ii) being funded in whole or in part by, or are being undertaken by,

(A) the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario,

(B) an agency of the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario,

(C) a municipality,

(D) a service manager as defined the Housing Services Act, 2011,

(E) a registered charity within the meaning of the Income Tax Act (Canada), or

(F) a not-for-profit corporation.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.