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UPDATE: Ontario releases list of essential construction projects

Don Wall
UPDATE: Ontario releases list of essential construction projects

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s office has released a list of construction projects deemed essential after the province declared a provincial emergency this afternoon. 

Ford indicated at a media conference there would be restrictions on non-essential construction as part of broader measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 but did not initially define what was essential.  

Essential projects are deemed to be: 

  • Construction projects and services associated with the health care sector and long-term care, 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, provincial infrastructure, including transit, transportation, energy, mining and justice sectors beyond the day-to-day maintenance.  
  • Construction projects and services that support the operations of, and provide new capacity in schools, colleges, universities, municipal infrastructure and child care centres within the meaning of the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014. 
  • Construction projects under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. 
  • Construction projects and services that support the operations of Broadband internet and cellular technologies and services.  
  • Critical industrial construction activities required for, 
    1. the maintenance and operations of petrochemical plants and refineries,  
    2. significant industrial petrochemical projects where preliminary work has already commenced, 
    3. 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. 
  • Construction projects that would provide additional capacity in the production, processing, manufacturing or distribution of food, beverages or agricultural products.
  • Construction projects that were commenced before Jan. 12, 2021, and that would,   
    1. provide additional capacity for businesses that provide logistical support, distribution services, warehousing, storage or shipping and delivery services, or  
    2. provide additional capacity in the operation and delivery of information technology services or telecommunications services. 
  • Residential construction projects where,   
    1. a footing permit has been granted for single family, semi-detached and townhomes  
    2. the project is a condominium, mixed use or other residential building, or  
    3. the project involves renovations to residential properties and construction work was started before Jan. 12, 2021. 
  • Construction to prepare a site for an institutional, commercial, industrial or residential development, including any necessary excavation, grading, roads or utilities infrastructure. 
  • Construction and maintenance activities necessary to temporarily close construction sites that have paused or are not active and to ensure ongoing public safety. 
  • Below-grade multi-unit residential construction projects, such as apartments and condominiums.  
  • Projects that are:  
    • (a) intended to provide shelter or supports for vulnerable persons or affordable housing; and 
    • (b) being funded in whole or in part by, or are being undertaken by, 
    • (A) the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario, 
    • (B) an agency of the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario, 
    • (C) a municipality, 
    • (D) a service manager as defined the Housing Services Act, 2011, or 
    • (E) a registered charity within the meaning of the Income Tax Act (Canada), or 
    • (F) a not-for-profit corporation.

NOTE: The agricultural projects clause and the affordable/supporting housing clause reflect the final regulations released by the government Jan. 13. 


Follow the author on Twitter @DonWall_DCN.

Recent Comments (22 comments)

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caroline Image caroline

is this list of essential projects listed somewhere on the ontario site?

Caroline Image Caroline

Does a bathtub company considered essential ??

Melissa Image Melissa

Therefore all construction is open…

Faheem Image Faheem

Would construction of a new pharmacy be considered essential especially if the work is being done my members of the same household?


Working for a home builder and my job is warranty technician. Can I do non essential repairs ie fix drywall, squeak in the floor ,repair scratches in floor . 95 % of my job is cosmetic.

Alex Image Alex

It appears all construction is essential then. Why bother having this heading on their page.

Cameron Lapp Image Cameron Lapp

The “government funded” provision has been updated since yesterday to only apply to affordable housing & shelters?

Amy Image Amy

With residential construction being “essential” and allowed to commence if a footing as been installed before January 12th, would that mean that the companies office staff should be going to the office to work?

T Image T

We are building commercial office space and have been allowed to remain open. I think the majority of construction is allowed to stay open it seems.

Cliff Craig Image Cliff Craig

Is a plumber considered a essential worker .I would think so , people need water to drink n to be able to flush their toilet, they also need a plumber when their drain is clogged or frozen, I’d like some sort of conformation. Hopefully I don’t get a ticket. I’ve read the list .They don’t mention plumbers or electrician, only one mentioned is construction is put on hold, N I do service work . They have to get their act together.

Marg Bell Image Marg Bell

What about Roofing companies who are requested to do repair work during winter and Covid19 for Insurance claims due to weather damage, leaks etc.
Marg Office Manager

Jeff Bowman Image Jeff Bowman

What about property damage involving insurance claims ? Fire or water losses

Anonymous Image Anonymous

luxury condo construction is considered essential… Doug Ford literally cannot stop killing Canadians for his developer buddies

Petra Image Petra

It might be less confusing if there was a list of types of construction that was not allowed to continue. Looks like most construction can continue.

Melvin L Bauman Image Melvin L Bauman

Am I allowed to pick up materials in order to continue my renovation project which was started well before the lockdown ?

Carolyn Image Carolyn

so a residential home that hadn’t broken ground is allowed now to continue when they didn’t break ground until 4:00 pm on January 14th??? What protections are going to followed to ensure the subdivision will not end up with Covid-19 cases from a construction site breaking ground for the first time..

Brittany Image Brittany

Redoing 24 bathrooms in a hotel that have already been started??? Are we able to have them keep working on them


I work for a large home building community. My job title is a warranty technician. So once the home owner lives in there home for 30 days . We do small repairs. I.e drywall repair, paint repair etc not essential just cosmetic. My question ,is this legal

Dan Boisvert Image Dan Boisvert

Can an exterior door be replaced during the Ontario Lockdown?

Sally Jeong Image Sally Jeong

I wonder if I myself can repair my house during lockdown.


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