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Ontario slashes essential construction sector list

Don Wall
Ontario slashes essential construction sector list

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 singlefamily, semi-detached and townhomesan abovegrade structural permit has been granted for condominiums, mixed use and other buildingsor 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.”


Follow the author on Twitter @DonWall_DCN.

Recent Comments (7 comments)

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Wayne Image Wayne

I work in sheetmetal with eight guys. We all use the tools in the shop. There is a way we can wipe the tools down.

Mark Image Mark

We are a supplier to the construction industry. Since 90% of our sales to this industry will now be cut off we will be forced to close down. We won’t be open to supply our products to the 10% of the sites deemed “necessary”. So how will they complete the “necessary” construction. Not sure if they fully thought this through.

Scott Barrett Image Scott Barrett

What a joke. We are still working bringing in new subcontractors in to do work on our plant. Working side by side welding and trying to finish piping the plant. Production guys working even though we are not producing anything. Liquid asphalt is definitely a necessity – come on give your heads a shake. We are no different then anyone else. We should be at home.

Wilfrido felix Image Wilfrido felix

What about The workers are working seasonal like outsite join the summer and what gonna happen with us my question is if the outsite constructions like sidewalk protect will begin soon or will remain close thank you

Bernard Image Bernard

Ottawa City interprets the residential construction rule as if the construction has started before April 4, then it could continue. If this is correct then why are the rules about “footing permits” and “above grade” there?

Ash Image Ash

It’s odd that a condo with 50 workers can go on, drywallers back to back, 8 guys shoulder to shoulder in a trench. However a commercial site with 4 – 8 people on 5 acres is forbidden? the most frustrating thing is communicating with the government, their hotline serves no purpose the just read their website to you. The municipal bylaw officers read the same site to you and they all give you different answers. In addition at least we can control social distancing and safety on the job site, now there’s groups of people on lay off herding in parks, were is the social distancing. I hope the government provides a clear and consistent guidelines so we can continue to operate at some point,.

Shay Stobo Image Shay Stobo

Is new pool building and landscape construction in residential neighbourhoods deemed essential and permitted during Covid 19


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