As many of you will have heard by now, the Government of Ontario has announced that it is imposing a “province-wide stay-at-home” order commencing January 14, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.
As was the case with the previous shutdowns, certain businesses and industries are permitted to remain open. The industries which may remain open, include large portions of the construction industry and services that support those construction industry activities.
The Government’s announcements as to exactly what type of projects can remain open are unclear. The best information which we have so far, defining “essential construction” which can keep going is as follows:
• Construction projects and services associated with the healthcare 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 and municipal 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,
- the maintenance and operations of petrochemical plants and refineries,
- significant industrial petrochemical projects where preliminary work has already
- 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 are due to be completed before July 2021 and that would provide additional capacity in the production, processing, manufacturing or distribution of food, beverages or agricultural products.
• Construction projects that 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
• Residential construction projects where,
- a footing 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.
• 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. The Ontario government also provided that businesses must follow public health measures and should review the workplace safety guidelines.
• Construction on any project intended to provide either,
- affordable housing, or
- shelter or supports for vulnerable persons,
• If the project is being funded in whole or in part by, or is being undertaken by, any of the following:
- 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 in the Housing Services Act, 2011, or
- E. a registered charity and not for profit within the meaning of the Income Tax Act
Because many of our members will be continuing to work, the Union will also be open and working to provide services and support to our members. Members are urged to contact their business representatives if they have any questions or concerns. This is particularly important for issues of health and safety and the enforcement of our collective agreements (as some contractors have used COVID-19 restrictions to try to cheat).
Even though our industry, our members and our Union is continuing to work, these are not normal times. Members should take all necessary precautions to stay safe including wearing face masks and practicing social distancing (wherever possible). Also, we are asking members to contact the Union and their business representatives by phone or by email as much as possible and only visit their Union Halls in person if absolutely necessary (and by pre-scheduled appointments if possible).
Now more than ever, the Carpenters’ Union is here for you.
Executive Secretary Treasurer