The Ontario government declared a second provincial emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) on January 12 in response to increasing number of COVID-19 cases. With these guidelines, new measures and restrictions have also been put on construction activity.
Here are the permitted construction activities from the “Government of Ontario: Enhancing Public Health and Workplace Safety Measures in the Provincewide Shutdown:”
● construction activities or projects and related services, including land surveying and demolition services, that are associated with the health-care sector or/and long-term care, including new facilities, expansions, renovations, and conversion of spaces that could be repurposed for health-care space;
● construction work to ensure safe and reliable operations of, or provide new capacity in, municipal provincial infrastructure, including but not limited to the transit, transportation, resource, energy, and justice sectors;
● support the operations of, or provide new capacity in, electricity generation, transmission, distribution and storage, natural gas distribution, transmission and storage, or supplying resources;
● support the operations of, or provide new capacity in schools, colleges, universities, and child care centres within the meaning of the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014;
● are required for the maintenance and operations of petrochemical plants and refineries, significant industrial petrochemical projects where preliminary work has already commenced before January 12, 2021, industrial construction and modifications to existing industrial structures limited solely to work necessary for the production, maintenance, or enhancement of personal protective equipment (PPE), medical devices (such as ventilators), and other identified products directly related to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic;
● would provide additional capacity in the production, processing, manufacturing, or distribution of food, beverages, or agricultural products;
● were commenced before January 12, 2021, and that would provide additional capacity for businesses that provide logistical support, distribution services, warehousing, storage, or shipping and delivery services, or provide additional capacity in the operation and delivery of information technology (IT) services or telecommunications services;
● support the operations of broadband internet and cellular technologies and services;
● are related to residential construction projects where a building permit has been granted for single family, semi-detached, and townhomes, the project is a condominium, mixed-use, or other residential building, or the project involves renovations to residential properties and construction work was started before January 12, 2021;
● prepare a site for an institutional, commercial, industrial, or residential development, including any necessary excavation, grading, roads, or utilities infrastructure;
● are necessary to temporarily close construction sites that have paused or are not active and to ensure ongoing public safety;
● are funded in whole or in part by the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario, an agency of the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario, or a municipality;
● are intended to provide shelter or supports for vulnerable persons or affordable housing and being funded in whole or in part by, or being undertaken by the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario, an agency of the Crown in right of Canada, or in right of Ontario, a municipality, a service manager as defined in the Housing Services Act, 2011, a registered charity and not-for-profit within the meaning of the Income Tax Act (Canada), or a not-for profit corporation; and
● land surveyors.
These construction measures are to be enhanced with workplace testing and additional enforcement to ensure compliance.
The new public health and workplace safety measures are in effect for all of Ontario and are anticipated to be in place until at least February 11, 2021.