Ontario Premier Doug Ford has announced a new, smaller list of essential industries that will mean a significantly pared-down construction sector.
Under the new roster, most industrial construction will stop and no new residential building will be allowed to start.
“Necessary” infrastructure projects such as hospitals and transportation will continue, Ford said.
The new rules take effect at midnight, Saturday, April 4.
“The numbers show everything we have done since this started is working,” the premier stated.
“But we can’t stop now. Now the government is prepared to take every step possible. We are taking additional steps to flatten the curve.”
Essential work in the building sector will include:
- construction projects and services associated with the health care sector, including new facilities, expansions, renovations and conversion of spaces that could be repurposed for health care space.
- construction projects and services required to ensure safe and reliable operations of, or to provide new capacity in, critical provincial infrastructure, including transit, transportation, energy and justice sectors beyond day-to-day maintenance.
- critical industrial construction activities required for the maintenance and operations of petrochemical plants and refineries.
- significant industrial petrochemical projects where preliminary work has already commenced.
- industrial construction and modifications to existing industrial structures limited solely to work necessary for the production, maintenance, and/or enhancement of personal protective equipment, medical devices such as ventilators, and other identified products directly related to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.
- residential construction projects where a footing permit has been granted for single–family, semi-detached and townhomes; an above–grade structural permit has been granted for condominiums, mixed use and other buildings; or the project involves renovations to residential properties and construction work was started before April 4, 2020.
- construction and maintenance activities necessary to temporarily close construction sites that have paused or are not active and to ensure ongoing public safety.
Maintenance activities were also designated as essential, including repair and property management services necessary to manage and maintain the safety, security, sanitation and essential operation of institutional, commercial, industrial and residential properties and buildings.
The premier also gave an update on inspections at construction jobsites. Sixty new Ministry of Labour inspectors have been hired and hundreds are inspecting jobsites every day, he said.
In the past week, there were 583 inspections and five construction jobsites were shut down.
“Those few sites that will remain open will be placed under the highest level of scrutiny possible,” said Ford. “We will keep coming down hard.
“We will not hesitate to shut down more because the health and safety of all Ontarians is my top priority.”
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