On December 21, 2020, the Ontario Government announced legislation that would implement a shutdown of businesses across the province, commencing on December 26th at 12:01 a.m. Fortunately for those in the construction sector, the new restrictions should have minimal impact on their projects in Ontario.
Under the amended O. Reg. 82/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 1 (Lockdown), "construction activities or projects and related services that support construction activities or projects, including demolition services" are permitted to continue (section 43). This broad carve-out exempts construction sites from the requirement to shut down, otherwise imposed on many Ontario business on Boxing Day.
Despite this, COVID-19 will certainly continue to affect operations: while construction can continue, so must the additional measures required for all businesses, including physical distancing, ensuring workers wear masks, and screening workers and anyone else who attends a work site. These limitations, along with potential challenges to supply chains, will continue to impact many projects across the province. See our earlier bulletin for recommendations for mitigating the effects of COVID-19 in the construction sector.
Any business continuing to operate must continue to familiarize themselves with their workplace obligations, particularly as governmental response to the current wave of COVID-19 infections remains an evolving situation. The Ontario Government website provides resources on employer obligations and recommendation, which includes construction-sector specific guidance.
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