Effective April 17, 2021, the Ontario government shut down all non-essential construction projects in the province. This closure was part of an expanded emergency order aimed at slowing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and easing the demands on a strained healthcare system.
The following types of construction projects and related services, including demolition and land surveying, have been designated as essential and are therefore allowed to continue.
- Projects that are related to healthcare and long-term care services, including renovations, conversions, expansions, and new facilities
- Projects that expand capacity or ensure reliable and safe operations of municipal or provincial infrastructure, including transportation, transit, energy, justice, and resources
- Services that expand capacity or support the supply of resources, operations of electricity transmission, generation, storage, and distribution, or natural gas transmission, distribution, and storage
- Services that expand capacity or support the operations of child care centres, schools, colleges, or universities
- Projects that are necessary for the operation and maintenance of petrochemical plants and refineries, significant industrial petrochemical projects for which preliminary work began before April 17, 2021, or industrial modifications or construction of existing industrial structures that work solely for the production, improvement, or maintenance of medical devices, personal protective equipment, and other items specifically related to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic
- Projects that expand capacity in the production, manufacturing, processing, or distribution of beverages, food, or agricultural products
- Projects that began before April 17, 2021, and expand capacity for businesses that provide warehousing, storage, distribution services, logistical support, or shipping and delivery services; businesses that manufacture, process, and distribute productions, equipment, and other materials; or businesses that provide information technology or telecommunications services
- Projects that support cellular technology, broadband internet, and related services
- Residential construction projects, activities, and related services
- Activities that prepare sites for a commercial, industrial, institutional, or residential development, including applicable grading, excavation, roads, or utility infrastructure
- Actions necessary to temporarily close construction sites that are on hold, or not active, as a way to ensure ongoing public safety
- Projects being partially or wholly funded by the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario, an agency of the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario, or a municipality
- Projects that provide affordable housing, shelter, or support for vulnerable persons and are being partially or wholly funded by the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario, an agency of the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario, a municipality, a service manager (per the Housing Services Act, 2011), a registered charity (per the Income Tax Act), or a not-for-profit corporation
Although these types of projects are allowed to continue, it is important to note that government inspection efforts are increasing in Ontario. Contractors and site managers must ensure that all workers have been trained in COVID-19 safety measures and those guidelines are being followed.