As Ontario closes non-essential workplaces, essential construction continues
March 24, 2020
To further contain the spread of COVID-19, the government of Ontario has ordered the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces effective today at 11:59 p.m. ET. The closure will be in effect for 14 days, with the possibility of further extension as the situation evolves.
“Slowing the spread of COVID-19 will allow the people and businesses of Ontario to move forward from this unprecedented situation,” says Rod Phillips, provincial minister of finance.
With the order, businesses that can continue operations with employees working remotely or through other contingency measures were given approximately 36 hours to prepare and adapt. Also, the order does not preclude the provision of work and services online, by telephone or by mail/delivery. Indeed, teleworking and online commerce will be permitted at all times for all businesses.
Essential services may continue their operations to maintain supply chains and ensure people have access to necessities. To clarify the distinction, the government has released a lengthy list of businesses that are considered essential services in Ontario, including the following definitions within the construction industry:
- Construction projects and services associated with the health-care sector, including new facilities, expansions, renovations and conversions.
- Construction projects and services required to ensure safe and reliable operations of critical provincial infrastructure, including transit, transportation, energy and justice sectors, beyond day-to-day maintenance.
- Construction work and services, including demolition services, in the industrial, commercial, institutional and residential sectors.
- Construction work and services that support health and safety environmental rehabilitation projects.
“We urge the business community to share ideas and capabilities to fight COVID-19 through our portal, www.ontario.ca/OntarioTogether,” says Vic Fedeli, provincial minister of economic development, job creation and trade.
The government says it will also make a new website and toll-free number available tomorrow to handle further inquiries.