In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Ontario has restricted the types of businesses that may remain open.

In accordance with plans to start reopening the Ontario economy, Premier Doug Ford announced that certain closed construction projects may re-open as of 12:01 a.m. Monday May 4, 2020 provided that they comply with guidelines with respect to public health and safety. The following is a list of construction related projects that may re-open:

  • Essential construction projects that include:
    • shipping and logistics;
    • broadband, telecommunications, and digital infrastructure;
    • any other project that supports the improved delivery of goods and services;
    • municipal projects;
    • colleges and universities;
    • child care centres;
    • schools; and
    • site preparation, excavation, and servicing for institutional, commercial, industrial and residential development.
  • Supply of other materials and services including:
    • Garden centres and nurseries with curbside pick-up and delivery only; and
    • Lawn care and landscaping.

The Government of Ontario also released more than 60 guidelines that must be followed by businesses that are operating. The guidelines that provide best practices to be employed on construction sites include:

  • means to protect co-workers;
  • reporting illness;
  • mandatory reporting requirements to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, trade unions and joint health and safety committees;
  • mandatory posting and publicizing of COVID-19 policies;
  • physical distancing measures;
  • on-site sanitation requirements and suggestions;
  • adjustments to on-site and production schedules; and
  • requirements to track and monitor workforce.

Business-owners with questions concerning their essential business status and whether they fall within the current list of essential workplaces may call the Stop the Spread hotline at 1-888-444-3659. The hotline is available from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The Construction Litigation group at Pallett Valo LLP continues to monitor the response of the Government of Ontario to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the construction industry.

Originally published May 2, 2020

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.